VoIP is quickly gaining ground on legacy phone systems (one report sited 114 percent growth in the second half of 2011) -- and for good reason. Not only is the cost of switching to to web-based telephony unbeatable, but service providers and other software creators are continuously developing new features that are revolutionizing the way companies manage calls.
Here are 10 really cool features you can add on to your VoIP phone service to make your business run more efficiently and effectively.
1. Video Conferencing - Connecting remotely has become increasingly important to businesses as they strive to make global connections, so versatile video conferencing software is key. These days, there are numerous services that offer dynamic video conferencing that includes features like HD video, video recording, file sharing and annotation, and more for multiple users. You'll never need that conference room again.
2. Call Recording - There are plenty of reasons an organization might have for wanting to record a call - whether its to provide customer service coaching, resolve disputes or simply to store information. Many companies now offer software that allows you to not only record calls, but also monitor live calls and provide coaching to the employee that can't be heard by the customer.
3. Voice Recognition - Dialing numbers is so last century. Now there are services that use voice recognition to allow users to simply state the name of the person they want to call and voila they're connected.
4. Call Encryption - One of the major concerns among individuals and businesses about VoIP is call security (because calls are Web-based, they're vulnerable to hackers). Now there are providers that offer call encryption, which is especially appealing to businesses that regularly share sensitive information.
5. Integrated Voicemail - There are several ways different services are improving the voicemail experience, including allowing you to listen to your voicemail through your e-mail so you never have to leave your inbox, voice to e-mail, live call screening, and telemarketing blocking.
6. Integrated Messaging - Many service providers allow you to access any type of message -- whether its voicemail, e-mail, fax or instant message -- from one interface.
7. VoIP to Mobile Apps - Several companies offer a mobile application that allows you to make VoIP calls using your mobile device's data plan, rather than costly voice minutes from your cell carrier.
8. Private Phone Numbers - Say you're selling an item on CraigsList or eBay and you don't want potential buyers to know your real phone number. Now there are now several services that can create an anonymous phone number for you to use to preserve your privacy.
9. Automated Messaging - Remember those trusty old phone trees your son's T-ball team used to let parents know when a game was canceled? Now there are services that automate this process for organizations. All the group has to do is create a contact list and any time they need to share information, a message can be sent out automatically to all members of the group via voice, e-mail or text.
10. Auto Attend - Your business can save money on a receptionist and get some added cache making use of an auto attend feature, which gives all customers a list of menu options to better direct their call. Many providers offer this service with options to change how calls are routed after hours, on weekends and holidays.
Learn more about VoIP and find a the right service provider for your business on Business.com.