Voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) business phone features represent the broad range of functionality and capabilities of this style of phones. Typical features include call recording, automated attendants, voicemail, and video conferencing. Most VoIP systems have these capabilities, but you can typically choose different feature plans based on your needs, with costs ranging from $25 to $50 per month.
What Type of Business Phone Service is Best for You?
Top 13 VoIP Business Phone Features
VoIP business phone system providers offer a plethora of VoIP features with their service plans. Some are designed to streamline the call management process while others are meant to improve the customer experience or help teams work more efficiently together.
Let’s look the most popular VoIP business phone features.
1. Automated Attendant
An automated attendant (auto-attendant) answers callers and routes them to the right extension or department quickly, increasing the likelihood of a favorable customer experience. Basic automated attendants offer simplified features like prerecorded messages and a small library of hold music options. Basic auto-attendants are useful for solopreneurs and freelancers who need an extra hand answering phone calls.
Multilevel auto-attendants include more complex VoIP features like customizable greetings and the ability to route calls to multiple phone numbers. Multilevel auto-attendants are helpful for larger organizations and call centers that deal with high call volumes. For more information on auto-attendants, including which VoIP systems offer the feature, check out our article on the best auto-attendant phone systems.
2. Call Forwarding
Call forwarding is a business phone feature that ensures a customer’s call never goes unanswered. When activated on a phone number, inbound calls to that line are redirected to another designated phone or an answering service, making it an ideal solution for business owners who don’t want to send important calls to voicemail. To decide where to forward your business calls, read our article on the best live receptionist answering service.
3. Call Hold & Transfer
Call hold and transfer are business phone features offered by most providers. Once a caller is placed on hold, users can transfer them to another extension or phone number. Most phone systems offer users a choice of blind transfer or assisted transfer where the sender stays on the line to make sure the call is answered. Call hold and transfer is a VoIP feature that businesses with more than one person will want with their phone system. To decide how to best manage your business calls, read our article on the best call management systems.
4. Call Recording
Call recording is a VoIP feature that allows business owners to record calls for training and quality assurance purposes. Depending on the business phone system provider and service plan, calls may be recorded company-wide or for specific numbers or extensions. Some providers also offer cloud storage space to store recordings temporarily or indefinitely. Call centers and organizations that take a lot of customer calls will want call recording.
5. Caller ID
Inbound caller ID provides key data on callers before the phone is answered, including name and phone number. This VoIP feature is useful for blocking anonymous or unknown calls and helps auto-attendants route known callers to predesignated destinations. Outbound caller ID allows extension users to select which ID to use when placing an outbound call, which important for anyone using their personal phone for work.
6. Call Screening
Call screening puts customers in control of which calls to take. Caller ID details on the phone’s display allow users to decide whether to take the call, decline it, or send it to voicemail. Some providers pair call screening with a call block feature that let customers specify that certain numbers should be allowed to ring through. Call screening is a useful VoIP feature for business owners who want to prioritize calls when answering their own phone.
7. Call Flip
Call flip lets users transfer calls from one device to another with the press of a button while a call is in progress without disconnecting the call. This VoIP feature comes in handy when a user’s mobile device battery is about to die and he or she needs to switch to a desk phone, or he or she is ready to leave the office and want to move calls to a mobile phone without hanging up. Call flip is a benefit to business owners and sales agents on the go who want to stay professional with clients.
Basic voicemail allows callers to leave messages and notifies users they have messages waiting. Advanced voicemail features include custom greetings and transcription services that convert messages to text. Voicemail is a VoIP feature every company should have to accommodate customers who call when offices are closed. If you’re considering custom greetings, be sure to read our article on the best professional voicemail greeting providers.
9. Business Tool Integration
Some VoIP features include integration with business tools like support ticket systems, chat, and email to keep teams connected and working efficiently. Some also support tools for sales teams like customer relationship management (CRM) application integration for documenting interactions with customers and automatic dialers that automating the dialing procedure. To learn how auto-dialer software saves sales teams time and money, check out our article on the best auto-dialers for small business.
10. Conference Bridge
A conference bridge is a VoIP feature that allows users to hold meetings with dozens or even hundreds of participants via a computer, smartphone, or internet-connected device with a microphone. A conference bridge is great for consultants and sales agents who frequently make multiperson calls. To learn more about how a conference bridge works and which VoIP providers offer the feature, read our article on the best conference bridge services.
11. Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is a business phone feature that facilitates multiperson video meetings and typically includes tools for screen sharing, screen drawing, and more. Video conferencing is a good VoIP feature for remote teams and business owners that want to meet with clients when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible. To learn more about how video conferencing can benefit your team, check out our article on the best video conferencing services.
12. SMS Text Messaging
Short message service (SMS) text messaging is a VoIP feature that allows users to send and receive text messages on their business phones. It provides an additional channel of communication for customers and gives business owners a way to respond to missed calls quickly and discreetly. SMS text messaging is also great for business owners wanting to target markets that prefer communicating by text rather than phone.
13. Hot Desking
Hot desking is a business phone feature that lets users log into a shared desk phone to access personalized profiles and settings. It’s a terrific way to allow employees to access their own voicemail and other VoIP features from any office phone while minimizing hardware investment costs. Hot desking is a good choice for businesses with field agents, remote workers, and off-premise workers who only need occasional access to on-site phones.
How to Choose VoIP Features
The most important VoIP features for your business depends largely on the needs of your employees and customers. Freelancers, consultants, and solopreneurs may prioritize conferencing tools over call forwarding and transfer features. Conversely, larger companies and call centers may find value in call recording and business tool integration features.
VoIP Business Phone Feature Costs
There are numerous things to consider when choosing a business phone system with VoIP features, including price, ease of use, and customer support. Providers range in price from $25 per month with 8×8 for unlimited calling to international calling zones to $49.99 per month with RingCentral for unlimited domestic minutes.
VoIP Business Phone System Providers
With so many VoIP business phone system providers to choose from, it can be difficult to select one that matches the needs of your customers, employees, and company. Here are some of our top picks to help you choose the right business phone solution for your organization.
Nextiva, which ranks as our best business phone system and best VoIP provider, is an affordable solution with enough business phone features to meet the needs of most businesses. Pricing runs from $19.95 to $27.95 per user, per month. All plans include unlimited domestic calling, free phone numbers, voicemail, fax, and free phone number porting, making the basic tier a good choice for businesses wanting a turnkey solution.
Upper tiers add Nextiva’s mobile app with team collaboration tools, a conference bridge for calls with up to nine participants, call recording, and Nextiva Anywhere, a feature that allows users to make and receive calls from any device and any location using a single phone number. Nextiva’s upper levels are right for business owners who work from the road and distributed teams who work remotely.
Our readers give Nextiva a four out of a five-star review, highlighting the company’s good customer support team and excellent call quality. However, some users say the website portal is unintuitive and could be improved.
RingCentral is a great option for companies wanting a business phone system that offers VoIP service with a hosted private branch exchange (PBX) and call center tools. Pricing ranges from $29.99 to $59.99 per user, per month. All plans include unlimited phone calls, cloud PBX service, toll-free minutes, unlimited SMS, and mobile apps. The lowest tier supports up to 10 users, making it a good fit for very small teams and young companies.
Higher tiers add VoIP features like integration with Zendesk and Salesforce, multilevel auto attendant, and voicemail transcription. Also included are automatic call recording and call quality reporting, making RingCentral a smart choice for sales and support teams that want to monitor and improve call center performance.
Our readers give RingCentral a four out of a five-star review, emphasizing its call management tools and reliable customer support. However, some customers say the user interface is a bit cluttered, and the dashboard can be a bit laggy.
Vonage is a good choice for companies wanting to customize the right business phone system solution for their needs. Pricing runs between $19.95 and $27.95 per user, per month. The basic tier is a softphone-only plan that includes unlimited calling, free local and toll-free phone numbers, and an auto-attendant, making it a good fit for mobile teams that don’t need desk phones.
Upper-level plans add on-demand call recording; visual voicemail; CRM integrations with G Suite, Office 365, and Salesforce; and video conferencing with up to 100 people. A la carte VoIP features include conference bridge, company-wide call recording, and paperless fax. Higher-level plans are great for growing organizations that want a provider that can scale with them as business needs change.
Our readers give Vonage a three out of a five-star review, noting how easy the mobile and desktops are to use. Customers report the voicemail-to-email feature is extremely convenient. However, some users report problems with dropped calls and call quality, which is a factor to consider in purchasing decisions.
8×8 is a business phone system for companies that make and receive a lot of international calls and don’t want to be surprised by large pay-per-minute phone bills. 8×8’s pricing ranges from $25 to $55 per user, per month and includes unlimited domestic calling and to sets of international calling zones. The provider’s basic tier includes CRM integration, making it a good for teams that want customer relationship tools built into their VoIP phone system.
Higher-level tiers add calling for to up to 47 countries, mobile apps, call recording, auto-attendant, and an outbound predictive dialer. Upper tier VoIP features include post-call surveys, quality management analytics, and other reporting features to track agent and company performance. These are a good fit for organizations wanting a variety of ways to monitor the health of the call center.
Our readers give 8×8 two out of a five-star review. Customers report they are happy with the company’s features and the customer service team, but some say the price is too high. Some users also say it can take a long time to port phone numbers.
Grasshopper is a business phone system for solopreneurs and very small business owners who want to stay competitive in larger markets by ensuring business communication always appears professional from any phone, including a personal landline or mobile device. Grasshopper costs between $29 and $89 per month, depending on how many phone numbers and extensions are needed.
All plans include unlimited domestic calling and VoIP features like an auto-attendant, voicemail and voicemail transcription, inbound fax, and call forwarding. Grasshopper plans also offer vanity numbers, toll-free phone numbers, call forwarding, custom greetings, and business texting.
Our readers give Grasshopper a three- out of a five-star review. Users are drawn to its affordable pricing and ease of use and how simple it is to set up an account. However, users say the service doesn’t consistently connect calls, which is an important point when making buying decisions.
What to Consider When Switching to a VoIP Business Phone
Selecting a business phone solution with the right combination of VoIP features is the foundation of creating a solid telephone communication system for your company. However, there are a few other things to keep in mind to make sure you make choices that serve you well for years to come.
1. How Much Will I Save by Switching to a VoIP Business Phone?
Traditional landline phone systems transmit call data over a regional phone company’s expensive standard copper wiring while VoIP technology transmits your voice as data over the internet. As we’ve noted, VoIP’s newer technology offers access to a wider range of phone features at a lower cost than traditional landlines.
The exact amount of money you save by switching to a VoIP business phone system depends on a number of variables, including initial setup costs and ongoing monthly costs for new service. However, a VoIP system offers the newest technology and business phone features without the responsibility and expense of managing and maintaining a phone system on your own.
2. How Many Phone Lines Can My Bandwidth Support?
Because VoIP phone service is internet-based, a reliable and fast internet connection is critical for supporting high-quality calls. For instance, a stable internet connection with a 10 Mbps upload speed can comfortably handle at least 20 VoIP phone lines. However, many impact how many phones your bandwidth can support, so we’ve put together a guide on how to test your VoIP speed and understand what the numbers mean for you.
3. What Kind of VoIP Business Phone Hardware Do I Need?
Except for a handful of VoIP features like video conferencing that require phone hardware with specific characteristics like video screens, most VoIP phone equipment can accommodate the standard business phone system features. When purchasing phone hardware, consider how its features will be used in and around your office.
Basic desktop VoIP phone models accommodate VoIP features like call forwarding, hold, and transfer. Advanced desktop phones feature video calling screens, call recording, and business tool integration. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 for no-frills handsets to $800 for a higher-end model with more features.
Conference Center Phones
Low-end conference center VoIP phone features include a programmable keypad and call hold buttons. Higher-end models support options like a touchscreen interface and meeting participant tools like mute, block, and eject. Pricing for conference center phones ranges from $250 for basic models to $800 for phones with many features.
Call Center Phones
Basic call center VoIP phone features include dedicated hold buttons, transfer, and voicemail buttons while pricier models include integration for CRM apps and built-in tools for video conferencing. Call center phones prices start around $50 for budget phones and run as high as $600 for full-featured phones.
The Bottom Line
VoIP phone features add a lot of value to a company’s business phone system. From call hold and transfer tools to hand off calls to colleagues in other departments smoothly to audio and video conferencing features that keep teams connected, VoIP phone features enhance everyday communication equipment and keep busy offices running smoothly.