In today’s world of infinite technology, there are more options for a virtual phone than one can fathom. Advanced call routing, a number of VoIP protocols and even Instant Message Integration are all features possible with certain types of virtual service. But, realistically, how many features does a contact center really need?
For starters, virtual phone numbers have the capability to receive an international call forwarded number. This means that you can have a number local to China (or Brazil, India, Germany, UK, or anywhere else) and when locals call that number, it transfers to wherever you’re actually located. While your customers think they are calling a Beijing number, your headquarters rings on a local number – whether it’s rural Indiana or London. This enables several international numbers to ring to the same centralized office.
Local Number Portability is crucial to most businesses. While “physical” or POTS lines cannot transfer your number outside of a fairly small geographic region, virtual numbers can be moved anywhere in the world. Many businesses value their phone number almost as much as the company name, as it’s sometimes the only method of contact for a past customer.
Most of the remaining basic features are very straightforward, depending on the size of the business. Things like standard call forwarding, basic voicemail, call waiting, call blocking and caller ID come standard and require little or nothing extra.
Along with the aforementioned, there are also some very unique features that virtual phones offer. Whether or not they’re beneficial for a business is completely dependent upon the business needs, and some are more universally accepted than others.
Trunk groups are especially common in SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), but are also very common in VoIP. Trunk groups allow a business with many lines an efficient means to call path routing. This is especially important for call/contact centers, but can be beneficial for any company with more than 2 lines.
Selective forwarding is another widely used feature in the business world, and is especially convenient for a growing business. This allows the end-user or business to create conditional forwarding services, such as busy or no answer. It can be configured to automatically reroute a busy call to another line so that the caller won’t hear a busy signal. This can be forwarded to a cell phone, backup/rollover number, or a different facility entirely.
Time of day forwarding is perhaps the most effective for managing a queue. Most businesses have a peak usage between 11-1 and another from 4-7. Being able to effectively manage where calls are routed based on these times can help managers and owners plan ideal solutions for high volume of calls.
Finally, find me/follow me is a pre-determined sequence of rings, where an incoming call is transferred to a chain of phone numbers (including cell) until the recipient picks up or the final number either terminates or goes to voicemail. This is especially helpful for decision makers and others who have time-sensitive needs, and call also be paired with simultaneous ring.
What’s Right for You?
When it comes to virtual calling, there are a plethora of options that every business needs to carefully weigh the cost and return on investment. Even a basic service offers a slew of benefits, so while it’s easy to get confused by the number of options, often it’s best to stick with the basics until a need arises. Choose the ones that are right for your business, and avoid those that can quickly increase your telecommunications spending.
Comment below: which features help your business to operate at maximum efficiency?