Written by Marcel Manning on November 15, 2021 Under
Even though you might not realize, the importance of your business phone service provider is crucial to your business. It's like having a license to print money. Every minute that your phone doesn't ring it's like throwing hundreds (or even thousands) in the trash. That being said, choosing the right one can be very tricky... There are literally dozens of providers in most area codes, so how do you know what to look for?
Here are 10 features that all business phone service providers must offer:
First things first, what's an IVR? It is a system that can carry out tasks for you without your assistance. For example, the IVR might call you when it gets a voicemail, read it to you, and then ask if you want to delete or save it. If you have scheduled conference calls at work then the IVR should be able to dial them in for you. You should also be able to easily access your voicemail from any phone without having to call a certain number first.
Providers with an effective service will have a system that can do most of this on the fly, which is nice because it saves time and frustration... While those who don't know what they are doing will force you to listen to the entire menu of options every time. If they don't, it is an occasional annoyance at best.
Time condition is an option that allows you to schedule the days and times that your phone line will ring. This can be done via web browser, fax, or even using an Interactive Voice Response system. If you work out of your home then you might want to set it up where your phone only rings after 10 am so you can get some sleep in the morning. If you work 10 hours a day and go to school at night, then you might want it to ring from 9 am - 7 pm since that is when you will be home most likely. Of course, there are other conditions such as night and weekend hours that should also be considered which we will talk about later.
The majority of providers have this feature. Some charge more money while others don't, so it is up to you to decide which one makes the most sense for your business. The nice thing about some of them is that you can control these settings from any phone. There are many options available, but hopefully, this gives you a good idea of what you should be looking for.
Call forwarding is a feature that is very important because it allows you to redirect your calls to another phone. This can be done in case of an emergency or just for convenience depending on the situation. You might have a cell phone that you want to be routed to your business line in case someone needs your personal number, or maybe you are sick at home and need to stay there...
The possibilities are endless, and this is why call forwarding is important. The ability to forward your calls allows you to do more than just answer them. Without it, you might as well be incarcerated in a cell with no door or windows because that's basically what it's like without the option of redirecting your calls.
This feature is even easier than time conditions and it doesn't depend on your phone service provider. This means that any phone can benefit from this feature whether you are using a cell phone or not. You can also send your calls to any number you want which is great if your business line is always engaged.
There are a few different ways to have caller ID, but you need it for this feature too. The best kind is the one that alerts you who is calling before your phone even rings. Of course, there are other things to consider such as how much it costs per month and what areas it covers.
For example, some services charge a monthly fee while others include it for free with their service... Other times, the area it covers is limited so you may need to pay more if your office moves. Regardless of what the specifics are, you will still need this feature for the next one.
Call recording is a feature that can be pretty expensive to set up on your own, but it isn't very expensive with the right business phone service. This feature allows you to record important conversations for later reference and playback...
A lot of companies use this to protect themselves from false claims or accusations since they have proof of what was said during the conversation. This feature is especially important for businesses that deal with multiple employees since it helps to prevent confusion and avoid feuds.
Since this is an expensive feature, most providers don't include it without charging you extra for it. You may also need to purchase equipment or software separately so check their terms of service before committing.
This service is pretty standard nowadays, but it's still important to make sure that your provider offers this before signing a long-term contract. One way to check is simply by asking them over the phone.
If you work from home then having a separate business email address for voicemail might be worth it. In some cases, the "voicemail to email" feature is just an app that lets you do it on your phone. When it comes to apps, some are dedicated while others might be part of a larger service you already subscribe to.
Custom hold music and announcements are cool to have, but not necessary. You can usually put them on your normal voicemail, so this feature is only nice to have if you want something more creative...
You can also do it yourself if you don't mind spending the time because most phone service providers allow you to upload custom music or announcements. Of course, this option is not as flexible or easy to do as most phone services, but it gets the job done if you don't mind doing it yourself.
A mobile app is an absolute necessity when it comes to a phone service provider. Most services won't even work without it, so if they claim to offer one then make sure that you get it.
It's hard to use a cell phone as your primary means of communication if you can't access your messages from anywhere in the world. This only applies to those who want the best possible experience because there are still other things to consider like price and features. The best app is the one that fits your personal style so don't be afraid to try out different ones until you find one that works for you.
This is my favorite and most important feature. If you want to make your office location flexible then you need a phone service that supports it... You can change this option in your settings, and they will let you choose which days and hours you work.
It's also used as an advantage if you want to set up meetings with multiple people from different time zones. Simply set up a conference call and they can all join you from anywhere in the world!
Of course, there are many other features to be considered which is why it's important to have an open mind when choosing a phone service for your home or office. Some services offer more than one of these features while others only offer a few.
Having top-notch tech support is one of the most important features to consider when choosing a reliable business phone service provider. Most phone service providers offer support, but what's important is how quickly they can resolve your issues. You don't want to wait days or even weeks before receiving help when something goes wrong.
Especially for business services, you don't want to be without your phone for days or weeks because technical difficulties force you to wait. If the issue can't be resolved remotely then you will probably want it fixed as soon as possible.
So, be sure to check out how quickly their tech support can solve your problems. If they offer remote assistance then you will be able to work with them while they fix the issue instead of having someone come to your home or office. This option is definitely useful if you would like to avoid any inconvenience because it allows you to keep working even when issues arise.
Before choosing a phone service provider, be sure to ask yourself what options are important to you. If you don't want to require these extra features then it's not necessary to spend more on them. You can still choose from many affordable providers that offer the basic services required for home or office needs.
In most cases, the best strategy is to focus on the 3 most important features and then you can narrow down your choice from there. It's important to look at the options available and compare them between each provider. If you find conflicting opinions online then don't be afraid to ask your family or friends for their advice.
If they have any working experiences with a particular phone service then that information is definitely worth noting before making a choice. And if they don't have any experience, then ask them about the services they use and why they're satisfied with them. Of course, all of this advice is just a simple tool to use when discussing phone service providers with buddies and family members.
This list should help you gather more information before making a final decision that is right for your home or office needs. Thanks for reading!