There are many reasons why a business might want to switch its phones over to voice over IP (VoIP). Many of these reasons hinge on a fundamental of VoIP: It is modern. Being a modern technology, it comes standard with many tricks that the traditional phone network cannot do out of the box. So unlike the phone service we grew up with, VoIP services offer a range of features that come standard without additional costs.
Some of the features are those we’re now familiar with but used to paying extra for. With VoIP, they are free, including call waiting, caller ID and voicemail.
Then there are VoIP features we expect to experience, such as high-definition voice because VoIP is a digital technology; the freedom to make calls anywhere because our VoIP phone numbers goes wherever there is internet; and unlimited or very inexpensive calling because all calls effectively become a local call with VoIP.
There also are features that come standard with VoIP that we don’t always consider. One of those is VoIP call screening.
VoIP call screening gives users an audio pre-screening of any incoming call. During the pre-screening, the user is given the phone number of the person who is calling, the caller’s number, and the option to accept or reject the call. All this happens while the person calling still hears the ringing phone.
“Though this function may not seem as important a feature as others, call screening is crucial in providing users with an alternative option for answering calls,” noted Michael Ventimiglia at GetVoIP.
“The call screening function provides users with both the identity and the purpose of a caller,” he added. “This can be extremely helpful in allowing users to better prepare for conversations (especially those where information is needed on hand).”
There are three basic types of call screening.
First, there’s call screening to see and hear who is calling. With this type, basic information appears on the user’s phone display before the call is connected. With this information, VoIP business users can choose to accept, reject or send the call straight to voicemail. With almost all VoIP systems, the user also can use an auto receptionist feature to prompt callers for their names prior to connecting them.
The second type is call screening to block unwanted calls forever. Call screening can be set up to permanently block specific numbers or to help compile an approved list of callers. Whole area codes can usually be blocked, as well as a list of numbers. Telemarketers often can be blocked automatically.
The third type of call screening is an automated text-to-speech response to calls. Being a modern technology, VoIP phones can often be configured to give a speech-to-text reply to callers when the user is busy. The message delivered to the caller can be a default response or a custom message. It can sometimes be geared for specific incoming numbers.
“The screening feature may often be glossed over; however, it is a crucial part of VoIP,” according to Ventimiglia. “The Call Screening feature allows users a comprehensive way to monitor their phone calls.”
Want to learn more about cloud computing solutions geared specifically toward small to medium-sized businesses? Don’t miss the Cloud4SMB Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud4SMB Expo. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey