VoIP Call Features
There are a number of benefits to putting down the traditional phone and picking up a VoIP service. These services come with low monthly rates, are more portable, and have a host of VoIP features of their own. VoIPs have some of the same basic features as traditional phones such as holding calls, forwarding calls, and call waiting. You can use a web portal provided by the VoIP service provider to manage the different features and configure rules for call forwarding and put together your call block list. This is something that can’t be done through a regular phone company.
Standard VoIP Call Features
The following are the most basic VoIP call features. These features are provided by most VoIP service providers for free.
- 3-way calling
- 411 directory assistance
- Auto forwarding
- Address book
- Call block, forward, and hold
- Bring Your Own Device
- Caller ID and ID block
- Number portability
- Call return and Call waiting (including with caller ID)
- Speed dialling
If you don’t mind paying a little extra then you can enjoy additional features such as faxing, voicemail-to-email, and integration for Outlook. What is contained in the basic and advanced VoIP package depends on the provider though. Take a look at the features the service provider offers before you create your account so you understand which features you do and don’t get.
Business VoIP Call Features
Business VoIP services have the same benefits as regular VoIP services. Combining your business VoIP service with an IP PBX unlocks additional VoIP features including faxing, auto attendants, and VoIP call transfer.
The features in a business VoIP package also vary by service provider. Some features are always including in a business VoIP such as call queues, transfers, and extension. However the more advanced VoIP features, such as setting up a toll-free number and recording calls, could be hidden behind a paywall.
- Auto attendant
- Call logs, recording, and queues
- Do not disturb
- Enhanced voicemail
- Find me/follow me
- Music for when on hold
- Remote office
- Virtual numbers
- Toll-free numbers
- Unlimited local calls
This is a feature that allows users to call more than one person at once and arrange a conference call.
411 Directory Assistance
411 services work on VoIP just as they do with a traditional phone; just give 411 a call to find out phone numbers and more. However some providers charge for 411 directory assistance.
Auto-forwarding is sometimes known as Ring Splash and is when any call that you receive is automatically sent to a number of your choosing – commonly your cell phone. This features goes hand in hand with find me/follow me tools.
An address book stores all your contacts. From here you can manage your contacts, create speed dial options, put together a group, or update caller ID.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
This feature allows you to keep your old device when moving to a new service or provider. It’s a great way to save more money when switching to VoIP.
Block individual numbers or create a list of callers to be blocked.
Manually forward a call to a different number.
Put a caller on hold without dropping the call. This leaves the call ready to be picked up again when you have the time.
Displays the name and number of the person calling you, and makes your information available when making an outbound call.
Caller ID Block (*67)
Prevents other people from seeing your caller ID information when making an outbound call.
Call Return (*69)
Automatically calls the last number that called you.
Call Waiting (With Caller ID)
Call waiting lets you know if someone is calling you while you’re already in a call. With caller ID you also see information about who is calling you.
You must ensure that your address and phone number are correct when using e911 so that emergency services will be able to see and reach your location should you place a 911 call.
Keep Your Number
This service – also known as Local Number Portability – allows you to keep your phone number when moving.
Arrange a 2-digit code that can be used to call a specific contact.
VoIP services usually feature a free voicemail service.
An auto attendant is sometimes called a virtual receptionist. They help you by greeting callers, rolling calls, giving a pre-recorded message and giving you a searchable directory.
Call logs keep a record of all inbound and outbound calls that you can easily check.
Records calls and arranges them by department or extension for easier playback and review.
Put calls in a queue ready to be answered when an employee becomes available.
The click-to-call feature works with the address book to make it easier for you to make calls. Click the name of the contact to call them without the need to dial a number.
Do Not Disturb
When you don’t want to be disturbed this feature sends any call straight to voicemail.
The enhanced voicemail feature lets you check voicemails online. That way you can listen to your voicemails anywhere that you have an internet connection. These services also typically come with voicemail-to-email features.
Extensions allow you to give each user a phone for inbound and outbound calls. Each extension has the same set of VoIP functions.
Some VoIP services allow you to attach an adapter to your current fax machine or use an IP fax to send faxes. Faxes are sent, stored, and received online ready to be viewed, printed, or attached to an email.
Find Me/Follow Me
These features allow you to never miss calls again. When you are out of the office a Find Me feature allows you to be called at a number of locations, while Follow Me sends incoming calls to different numbers. This is one of the most advanced and helpful varieties of call forwarding.
Music on Hold
This gives people on hold a pre-recorded message or piece of music to listen to instead of having them listen to silence.
Have access to calls and voicemails when not in the office.
Scalability allows you more flexibility than you get with traditional systems and allows you to add or remove extensions as the business grows.
Toll-free numbers gives long distance callers convenience by allowing them to call for free.
Unlimited Local Calling
Many business VoIP service plans feature unlimited calling for the contiguous 48 states and Canada.
Virtual numbers are numbers that can be used with your VoIP line or forwarded to your real number. In order to create a truly virtual presence they can feature any area code.
If you want to charge customers for any of the services we’ve described then you need VoIP billing software. This billing could be done on premise or, even better, through the cloud. This is known as cloud billing, billing as a service (Baas) and SaaS subscription billing. This kind of billing offers billing features and subscription features. In order to rate usage it needs to be compatible with usage-based billing.