Business VoIP Key Features

The business VoIP industry is filled with jargon and specialized features. Below are some plain English definitions of the terms you'll need to know to help you make an educated choice on your service provider.

ACD Queuing: An Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) queue is an "intelligent" call handling system of a Business VoIP service that routes calls based on individual specifications, such as dialing the extension that has received the fewest calls, has been idle the longest, etc. This intelligent queuing system even gives you the option to route calls to your best employees first and can make sure your most important clients get top priority by automatically putting them at the top of the call queue.

Auto Attendant: Allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of an operator. This type of program also features a menu system that will let callers select which department they want to be routed to. For example: Dial 1 for Sales, 2 for Customer Support, 3 for Billing or 0 to speak to an operator, etc.
 
Call Block List: A feature that allows you to automatically reject calls from specific numbers.
 
Call Forwarding: Call forwarding directly transfers a call to a specified number, instead of requiring someone to answer the call and then manually transfer it to the desired number.
 
Call Handling Rules: Parameters that determine what will happen to a call when it is received.
 
Call Logs: A record of all calls made and received within a specified time period.
 
Call Recording: A feature that allows you to record calls.
 
Call Screening: Typically, you have the option to take the call, transfer it to voicemail, block the call or transfer the call to another number.
 
Call Tagging: After the caller dials through the auto-attendant and chooses an option like sales, billing, or customer support, you can hear the recorded "tag" identifying which department the caller selected before you answer the call.     
 
Call Transferring: With most Business VoIP systems you can transfer calls to any phone (fixed or mobile), not just other phones in your system. 
 
Caller ID: A feature that shows the name of the caller (which is usually not saved as a contact in your address book).
    
Click to Call: A feature that allows you to insert an object (button, image, or text) into your website for users to click that will instantly call into your business phone system.    
 
Conference Calls: A function that interconnects three or more phones simultaneously.
 
CSV File: CSV stands for comma-separated values and is a delimited text file that uses a comma to separate values in spreadsheets and databases in order to import and export files, such as address books, into virtual contact lists.     
 
Custom Greetings: A custom message that you can set to be played for callers.
 
Dial-By-Name Directory: Lets callers find the number they want by spelling the name of the person they are trying to reach on a touch-tone keypad.  
 
Do Not Disturb (DND): A setting that tells the system to not route calls to specific extensions because the operator is not available.
 
Extensions: An additional telephone that operates on the principal line.
 
Follow Me/Find Me Call Handling: Designate a series of phone numbers (e.g. office phone, cell phone, car phone, home phone, etc.) and the system will sequentially try each number until the user is reached. The service will forward the call to voicemail if the call is not answered at any of the designated numbers.
 
HD Voice: A feature that broadens the range of frequencies that the sound is transmitted over, creating clearer sound on your calls.
 
Internet Fax: The process of either sending or receiving a fax document over the Internet.
 
Mobile App: Short for "Mobile Application," which allows you to access and use the online interface of your system through a smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.).  Some Business VoIP providers offer mobile apps
 
Moderator Features: Settings of a conference call that let the administrator or initiator of a call direct the people involved in various ways (e.g. mute, connect, disconnect, etc.).
 
Music on Hold: Music that plays while callers wait to talk to someone.
 
Number Porting: The ability to transfer an already existing number into your business phone service to be used as one of your Business VoIP numbers.
 
Online Address Book: A list of your contacts that you can store in the online interface.
 
Online Interface Management: Control every aspect of the Business VoIP service, from setting up extensions to listening to messages, by logging into an online interface. This is an extremely crucial feature and is what makes Business VoIP services convenient, easy to maintain, and easily accessible.
 
Set-up Wizard: A program that walks you through the initial process of creating and setting up extensions.
 
Softphone: A software program for making phone calls over the Internet using your personal computer, laptop or smartphone, rather than using dedicated hardware.
 
Vanity Numbers: Usually a toll-free phone number, this is another name for a personalized number (e.g. 1-888-GO-GREEN) that can help your customers remember not only your phone number but your company as well.  
 
Voicemail Alerts: Get a text or email notification from the service letting you know that you have received a new fax or voicemail message.  
 
Voicemail Service: Get voicemail messages via an electronic mail box that can be accessed via phone, email (voicemail to email) or online. Some of the less robust systems do not provide the user with access to online voicemail.   
 
Voicemail to Email: Receive voicemails in WAV format via email by designating one or several email accounts to receive the file. This is an almost universal feature that is almost always included with a business phone service. 
 
Voicemail Transcription: A service (that usually costs extra) that transcribes your voicemails into text that you can receive in your email.