I’m sure you’ve heard of virtual phone systems, but you may not be aware of why they have taken the business world by storm.
Virtual phone systems have completely changed communication in today’s modern workplace. These days entrepreneurs don’t have the time to navigate clunky business phone systems, expensive hardware or out-dated telephone interfaces. Essentially, a virtual phone system can help your business stay organized, sound professional and stay connected.
What is a virtual phone system?
Virtual phone systems work via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VOIP enables users to make voice or telephone calls with help of a broadband internet connection instead of a regular phone line. Sound is compressed to data packets and transmitted through a high speed internet connection. Companies receive a virtual phone number that is stored in a cloud and easily accessible through any internet connected device.
Entrepreneurs adopt cloud-based virtual phone systems in lieu of making a massive investment in traditional phone services. For example, it is super easy for location independent entrepreneurs to use virtual phone systems from remote geographical locations also; as all they require is a smartphone, tablet or laptop with Wi-Fi access.
Meanwhile, many virtual phone systems can do everything a conventional business phone system does – and more: toll-free numbers, high quality sound, auto-receptionist, call forwarding, voicemail and transcription, multiple extensions, call queues, after hours call routing, conference calls, call recording and more.
Virtual phone systems are particularly useful for businesses with remote teams who need to stay connected. Companies with a high level of field work or an independent salesforce benefit from workflow improvement and cost savings.
Key features and benefits of virtual phone systems
With a simple and minimalistic interface, it’s an ideal solution for startups and small businesses to modernize communication technology. Here’s a deeper look at some key features that make virtual phone systems appealing.
1. Virtual and toll-free phone numbers
Virtual phone systems provide access to local and toll-free phone numbers across the globe. This feature allows users to operate multiple country numbers without the hardware cost of each phone number. This helps companies present a local dialing option to customers in any geographic location which builds trust and offers ease of communication.
2. Call screening and transfers
Virtual phone systems provide immediate and seamless call transfers. Call screening enables users to answer a call or redirect it to voicemail. Useful features, such as “find me” options, ensure important calls are not missed by routing them to your office, home or an alternative phone numbers. This helps you remain accessible to clients, colleagues and external stakeholders – on your terms.
3. Auto attendant
Auto attendant settings replace the expense of a full-time receptionist and still answer every call professionally and in a timely manner. An auto attendant feature brings several key features together to provide you with the peace of mind to know that your business always appears professional.
For example, it ensures all inbound calls are automatically attended to with a prerecorded greeting, no matter the time of the call. Users can record customized greetings or use a voice studio to create a professional introduction for callers.
Unlike with a live operator, the auto attendant feature means you’ll never miss customer service calls—or sales opportunities. You can customize your virtual answering service to route calls to the appropriate department, extension, or voicemail inbox, even outside of office hours. Callers can also be given the option to search through a company-wide name directory or transfer to extension or voicemail. A virtual auto attendant completely eliminates the need of a receptionist or switchboard operator, thus it offers huge cost savings.
4. Voicemail to email
Often customers are unable to reach employees and need to leave a message, especially after business hours. Virtual phone systems can forward voicemail or fax message attachments to a designated email address, so they are easily accessible remotely through any mobile device or personal computer.
This ultimately leads to quick and efficient follow-ups. It also connects multiple office locations flawlessly and offers employees the tools and flexibility needed to work remotely.
5. Automated call distribution
Many service-oriented businesses require telephone support. We all know how frustrating it is to call a business and sit on hold for hours as your call gets tossed from one person to the next.
A quality virtual phone system will offer automated call distribution (ACD), a streamlined service for customers to call in and talk to the right people quickly.
In a preset sequence team members can receive calls and share a common inbox where incoming calls are screened, progress updates can be shared and comments can be added for follow-up. Calls can also be recorded and stored to monitor customer support performance.
6. Mobile access
Today, communication can be controlled from the palm of your hand! Virtual phone systems empower you to answer, redirect, and review phone calls from your mobile device. Many virtual phone systems offer a companion mobile app for easy accessibility so you never miss a beat.
There is no place for complacency or mediocrity in today’s competitive business environment. Virtual phone systems offers a level of service and professionalism that startups need at a fraction of the cost of older and outdated business phone systems with clunky hardware.
Stay accessible, productive and efficient at any time, in any place in a highly mobile world. If you need an affordable, convenient way to optimize business communication in a fast-paced industry a virtual phone system is the answer.
This article has been edited.
Ashok Pandit is a Digital Marketing Manager at CallHippo. He loves to share his knowledge about VoIP and virtual phone systems. Ashok has reviewed software in various categories including small business, startups and cloud telephony. Connect with @CallHippo on Twitter.