Dozens of different options for business Voice over IP (VoIP) service are available today, ranging from over-the-top providers to incumbent phone company cloud offerings. Features, not price, should be the primary way to evaluate business VoIP services. While some providers may be cheaper, lower cost doesn’t mean anything if service providers don’t have the tools your business needs.
Most features are included in the basic VoIP service price, but you will have to have to pay a couple dollars more per seat or extension for some of the must-have features. Value-added or extra-price features such as desktop plug-ins that connect the VoIP service with a third-party customer relationship management (CRM) service are musts for certain departments.
At the top of the list of must-have features for business VoIP is a downloadable mobile app that works seamlessly with the employee’s primary assigned business number. Calls made to the business number should be automatically routed to the mobile app, while calls made through the mobile app should be made with the business caller ID appearing when the employee is calling someone else. Customers, employees, and your business should all be able to use a single phone number to reach an employee, rather than having to juggle different business, personal, and mobile numbers. In a Bring Your Own Device world, support for both Apple iOS and Google Android phones is a must.
Call logging and analytics go hand in hand as a must-have feature. Most services do basic call logging, keeping a complete record of all inbound and outbound calls, as well as time, date, and length of call. Must-have tools in the call logging and analytics category include the ability to sort call logs by duration and type, along with being able to download call logs into Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format for more detailed processing.
Voicemail transcription services typically cost extra because a voice message is turned into text and then sent via e-mail along with an audio attachment of the actual call. Such services are typically worth it for the ability to quickly read a voicemail as a part of the e-mail inbox on the go or in a meeting, rather than having to take the interruption and time to replay the audio of a message. It also enables you to easily forward a voicemail to others in e-mail.
Desktop plug-in support for Salesforce.com and other third-party CRM services is the next must-have feature. More specifically, the ability to easily connect your business CRM service with your business VoIP service. Plug-in support uses caller ID to instantly pull up the associated CRM record on a PC, automatically providing salespeople and contact center employees with the information they need. If your VoIP service can’t work with your CRM service, it’s time to change one or both.
The fifth and final necessary feature all business VoIP services should have is the option to add contact center capabilities on a per-seat basis to extensions. Contact center features should include the ability to directly route calls to agents, the aforementioned integration with CRM services to automatically pull up inbound caller information, agent supervisor tools for real-time statistical information on call queues and agent statistics, call recording, and the ability to listen in on and join agent calls in progress.
Contact center functionality isn’t cheap, but it is necessary for a business that has any sort of customer support or sales call center. It also isn’t something that is easily retrofitted to an existing business VoIP service.
To learn more about VoIP contact MCC’s Telecom Solutions today!