Virtual business phones can handle business calls but also perform many more functions. Here are some of the top features.
Voice over Internet Protocol means your team can stay connected better than what traditional phones would allow. This lets businesses of any size explore more flexible business models that can cater better to their needs. In today's competitive markets, flexibility makes your business more adaptable to disruption and uncertainty.
Platforms like 8x8 allow unlimited free calls from within 48 countries. Different services will have international calling rates for numbers outside of the US and Canada, but this can also be rectified by purchasing a toll-free or international number.
An auto-attendant is the first line of defense when handling a vast number of incoming calls. This helps guide callers to the right department or individual to address their query. The call routing pattern is pre-configured and can be adjusted to fit business needs.
Automatic Call Distribution
ACD is a telephony solution for automatically routing calls. An ACD programmed with skills-based routing can combine agent performance analytics with caller needs to route calls to the best agents, improving overall first contact resolution rates.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Many virtual phone platforms have a higher tier of call handling that involves interactive voice response. Like the auto-attendant, pre-recorded prompts are used to assist customers before they are routed to a live agent. Some IVRs even use technology like natural language processing (NLP) to give the caller a more natural interactive experience as they are guided through the process.
For simple customer issues, the IVR can solve the problem itself without requiring the attention of any agent or rep. An example of this would be placing a call to an electric company to pay a monthly bill. The IVR can be programmed to guide the caller through the entire process up to and including the transaction over the phone.
More call routing features
With 8x8, you get many advanced features including:
- Custom greetings and menu
- Caller ID
- Call blocking
- Do not disturb
- Call hold
- Custom hold music
- Call transfer
- Call flipping
- Call monitoring
- Call forwarding
With virtual phones, call forwarding is highly customizable, and it is a breeze to set up. This can be configured by an admin or by each individual user. Calls can be set to forward to any device of choice or directly to voicemail. And these settings can be adjusted for normal business hours.
For example, a user can have incoming calls after business hours forwarded to their mobile phone, home landline, or even voicemail. Or in another case, a user can have all calls forwarded to their desktop phone during office hours.
We’re all familiar with voicemail but with a virtual phone app, you get so much more. You can customize settings for forwarding calls to specific mailboxes. But even better, you can have a voicemail transcription sent to you in the form of an email or text message. This helps your team keep track of voicemail messages, return important calls, and resolve pressing issues.
Call queuing and callbacks
For business contact centers, call queuing ensures lower call waiting times and an improved customer experience. A call queue can be set to a first-in-line basis or based on the importance and complexity of a call. An IVR can help decide where callers fall into a queue and even handle simple calls. This will shorten average handling time (AHT) significantly.
You can also improve your customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores by offering a callback option. This allows callers to avoid long waits and go about their day instead of being tied to the phone.
Some virtual phone solutions will offer automatic call transcription and recording. Call recording can help team leaders with training and employee review sessions by recording customer-employee interactions. This makes it easy for managers to review call history, identify frequent customer issues, and respond to these before further problems arise.
Sometimes, there is a better way to communicate than a phone call. Some examples might be when a matter is not immediately pressing, a coworker may be in a noisy environment, or someone only needs specific information like an email address or phone number. And, of course, companies today often have team members in multiple time zones, making it difficult to arrange scheduled calls.
With virtual phones, your hands aren’t tied to one communication channel. You can get messaging options for company-wide communications, and you can set up private group chats for smaller teams as well. This will make it easier for everyone to stay on track, keep up to date on projects, and stay aligned on company goals.
Today’s workforce is out and about, and needs flexibility. Many organizations are hiring the best candidates regardless of geographic location. Daily communication through email, SMS, and group chats is great as a primary contact.
However, with more flexible and remote working, it can be harder for every member to connect and feel part of the team. HD video and audio conferencing add the human touch of making eye contact with your team members and leadership. This applies both to one-on-one video chats and all-hands-on-deck type video meetings.
Virtual phone solutions like 8x8 offer a plethora of video conferencing features:
- HD quality video and audio
- Customizable and branded virtual backgrounds with vanity URLs
- Screen sharing from any device
- Mobile browser support
- Moderation controls—host delegation, meeting lock, participant permissions, and more
- Conference dial-in with toll-free numbers
- Meeting recording stored on the cloud
- Automatic calendar updates for scheduling and notifications
- Live YouTube streaming
Porting and business phone numbers
Number porting is the process that allows you to add any phone number to your business phone system. This can be done with almost any virtual PBX or cloud contact center platform.
Landlines and local numbers
Any existing landline or business phone number can be added to the virtual phone network of your choice. This is done through local number porting and is a great way of retaining your brand equity. Porting lets your customers continue to call your business number from local area codes like before.
How long it will take depends on many factors. Get in touch with the provider or use a number porting tool to find out what’s possible with your service.
Virtual phone number
You can also purchase and add international virtual phone numbers to your VoIP service. This can be used by individual team members or the business as a whole. These numbers only exist in the cloud but can be dialed into like any other phone number.
The best virtual phone solutions include a wide variety of native integrations for cross-platform functionality. This adds business communications to your existing solutions like third-party CRM and workforce management software.
Several benefits of 8x8’s integrations include:
- Better customer experiences thanks to management software such as Salesforce, Bullhorn, or 1CRM.
- Quicker issue resolution as well as improved first call resolution rates. This is because agents can pull up customer info automatically from the dashboard.
- Ability to call team members via 8x8 on other platforms like Zoho and Google Workspace
- Automatic schedule updates across all calendars with services such as Office 365.
- More flexible communication with team members adding voice calls to team messaging apps
Analytics and AI
Virtual business phone services give you the ability to monitor and collect all kinds of data through analytics. With automatic and customizable real-time reporting, you and your team can gain valuable insights about your business performance. Cloud phone analytics data can help you track call length, call quality, first call resolution rates, and other valuable customer support metrics.
Many virtual phone system providers have speech analytics that record patterns in customer behavior and provide sentiment analysis.These insights can help guide agents in real-time for quicker call resolution in your contact centers. If a call is quickly going south, this tool can alert a team leader or manager to take over and fix the issue promptly.