Here’s the second installment of my look at unified communications features your small business should have.  The list came from Compare Business Products. Part 1 looked at “presence” through “one number reach.”  I’ll explore “click to dial through “disaster recovery” in this post.

  • Presence
  • Unified messaging
  • Integrated audio/web conferencing
  • Instant messaging/chat
  • One number reach
  • Click to dial
  • Corporate phone books
  • Extension dialing over all locations
  • Screen pops
  • Disaster recovery

Executive VoIP PhoneClick to dial: You may already be familiar with click to dial — also called click to call. It enables you to click a phone number on a web page and initiate a voice over Internet (VoIP) call in real time. Think of it as a ‘mail to’ or ‘email’ link in a website that launches your email program when you click on it. Integrated with your UC platform, anyone can dial a phone number or join a conference directly from a web browser. Click to dial saves a lot of time looking up phone numbers. It can be particularly helpful to your small business when you make it easy for prospects to get in touch with ‘one click.’

Corporate phone books: Integrate different directories and databases – customer, supplier or partner — that your small business uses with your unified communications system. Doing so easily enables IP phones and desktop computers to search for a phone number using a variety of parameters you set, such as name, phone number or even project.  Depending on your need, you could search for someone’s home or mobile number or alternate business number and then ‘click to dial’ the number.

Extension dialing over all locations: Extension dialing uses a short number – three or four digits – to connect to anyone in your small business even if they are different locations.   Extension dialing making it easy for your team to call each other and transfer calls faster. Also it helps your small business look like everyone is in one location since callers don’t know where the extension is when they dial it.  Extension dialing also can include mobility so it doesn’t matter where someone is located in the office, on the go, or at home; the call will go through to their mobile phone wherever they are.

Screen pops:  When a call comes in, screen pops can bring up a profile of the caller from your customer relationship management system (CRM) or other contact databases you use so that whoever is answering the phone knows who is calling and has relevant information to facilitate the call. A screen pop can occur both during an incoming call or when an outbound call is placed.

Disaster recovery: Your UC platform should have a disaster recovery capability provided by the vendor or a partner that enables you to define policies and procedures to ensure voice traffic will continue in the event of a power or carrier outage. Many of today’s UC disaster recovery programs are available in the cloud.

The key in deploying your UC platform is to choose features that help you maximize your operations today and fk keep an eye on new technology to support your business needs as they evolve.