Six Features to Explore Before Choosing Your Next Phone System

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Think of unified communications (UC) as a phone system on steroids. Just as your smartphone can perform many functions in addition to phone calls, a UC solution can combine your business phone system, IVR, voicemail, instant message chat, fax, conference call bridges and videoconferencing. It can also integrate with email, Web applications, social media and business tools, like your customer relationship management system (CRM).

Most businesses are choosing UC solutions over a traditional phone system because it’s a better way to future-proof their investment and keep pace with advances in technology. UC also makes employees more effective, which saves your business time and money. Here are a few examples of how UC can be used:

  • Provide one interface to access email, voicemail, fax and conference call bridges
  • Reach co-workers on the first attempt using Find-Me, Follow-Me, which automatically routes calls to various locations
  • Transfer calls to your mobile phone when you’re on the go
  • Use presence information to know when your employees are available to talk and alternate ways to communicate with them
  • Locate an entry automatically in your CRM system when a person calls you to know an important customer is on the line before you answer

Tip: Get a list of the supported UC features and ask for the cost associated with each one. A UC solution offering the best value will include all features for a flat rate. Most UC vendors nickel and dime you by luring you in with a low base price, but charge extra for all the most useful features your business will actually need.

Businesses that don’t have a dedicated IT staff sometimes feel like they need a magic decoder to shop for a new phone system. However, learning to identify and evaluate six key features is a simple, but thorough, way of ensuring businesses get what they really need.

In this slideshow, Digium decodes six basic phone system features – interactive voice response (IVR), unified communications (UC), voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), fixed mobile convergence (FMC), bring your own device (BYOD) and application programming interface (API) – so companies can shop for a solution and get back to business.

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