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Telephone System Features

Advanced phone system features allow a greater efficiency with office communications. It is important to utilise the right functions for your business to allow a strong and efficient communication system internally and externally. Whilst many features come as standard with many companies, some features are charged as an additional add-on, so its important to know which features are needed when deciding.

This guide will help you make a wish list of the features that you want in the future and make a checklist of what you need right now for your enterprise. To receive bespoke quotations on telephone system with your desired features, simply fill out the quotation form above.

Here we explain some of the most popular features, broken down into general categories.

Auto Attendant

This is one the most common features in phone systems. You don’t need a live operator or receptionist. Callers can choose the extension they need based on a menu. The call will automatically be transferred to that department as an auto attendant takes the place of an operator or a receptionist. Before, only large companies could afford this feature because of the high cost of installation but with the inception of the VOIP, this feature can now be enjoyed by small and big businesses alike. You can get this feature usually for free from most providers. Having an auto attendant saves you money, time and most importantly, peace of mind knowing that all your phone calls (whether from business partners or clients) are handled 24/7.

Automated Directory

This is a feature that goes hand in hand with the Auto Attendant. With this feature, your clients can look up the extension of the person they are trying to call. The Automated Phone Directory is responsible for routing all calls to their specific destinations.

Dial by Extension

This is another auto-attendant function that enables callers to reach the person they are calling by dialling their extension.

Dial by Name

This is a directory that enables callers to reach someone by dialling the first three letters of their name or last name.

Personal Automated Attendant

If a call is unanswered, it is delivered to a voice prompt that will allow the caller to choose from several options like choosing another extension or external number or deposit voicemail.

Music on Hold

Users can choose a song or upload a customized one such as a company jingle or promotion and play that for callers on hold. This prevents the clients from getting bored, irritated or frustrated while waiting for a person to pick up the phone. Just make sure that someone will answer the phone within a few minutes to avoid losing a customer. Large companies opt to put their jingle, a commercial or announcements in place of the music. This feature then becomes a powerful marketing tool.

Legacy Extension Support

Callers can use legacy extensions to reach the person they are calling from the automated attendant. You never miss an important call through this upgrade.

  • Calling Features


You can block calls to specific area codes.

Forced Conference Barge

Allows a user to barge into another user’s call by forcing a conference into the existing phone call.

Monitoring Barge

Allows a user to listen in on another active call.

Caller ID

Users can view the caller’s phone number.

Caller ID with Name

The caller’s name is displayed along with the number.

Internal Caller Name Display

This function displays the internal caller’s name plus the extension.


The user may pause the current conversation, this is especially useful when you need to discuss confidential matters regarding the call with a colleague or boss.

Classes of Service

You can restrict outbound calls entirely or by area codes on a per-user basis.

Intercom One-to-One

Two callers can speak hands-free via speakerphone.

Intercom Groups

A user can communicate hands-free with multiple users with the use of their speakerphones.

Paging Groups

Users can page groups of phones throughout the office regardless of physical location.

Phone Alerts

Some activities are brought to the user’s attention through on-screen alerts. Messages such as new voice messages or missed calls appear near the top of the display.

Remote Phone Use

Remote and travelling users can use the office phone from any location with the use of a broadband connection. This is useful for teleworkers.

Speed Dial

You can program up to 16 internal or external numbers. These features are always included in a BTS. You can store your frequently used numbers in the phone for easy access.


Call the last number dialled without re-entering the numbers. Just press a button.

Transfer Announced

A user can send a call to another extension after conferring with the recipient. This is also called a consultation or supervised transfer.

The primary call is put on hold then another call is opened with the intended party. The user then speaks to this recipient first before connecting the transferred call.

Transfer Unannounced

A user transfers the current call on his phone to another phone number without first consulting the recipient. This is also called cold or blind transfer.

  • Voicemail and Messaging

General Voice Mailbox

Callers can leave a message in the general voicemail box not associated with the user’s extension. This is an Auto Attendant option. This is normally accessible by the receptionist.

Message Waiting Indicator

Users are given visual notifications of voicemails through red lights and on-screen alerts.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Voice Mail Access

Users navigate voice menus to deposit or retrieve voicemail messages via IVR. Users can even access voicemail from their own phones with just one touch or remotely from any touch tone phone.

Multiple Voice Mailbox Access

One user can access multiple voice mailboxes through their phone.

On-Screen Voicemail

Users can navigate the screen to retrieve messages.

Voicemail Broadcast/Distribution to all users

Forward a voicemail to the entire user base.

Voicemail Messaging

Messaging integrated with your system.

Voicemail Keep on Phone Control

Users can keep emailed voice messages saved on their phone or delete them after forwarding to email.

Voicemail to Email Group Notification

Multiple email addresses can receive voicemail notification.

Voicemail to Email WAV file forwarding 

Send a notification with the WAV sound file attached to an email address.

Reply by Calling

Reply to a voicemail message from the system by calling back the Caller ID

Message Envelope Information

Incoming messages are automatically labelled with the time, date, duration and Caller ID.

  • Conferencing

This allows two or more people to have a conversation over the phone. The most common number is two but you can add more depending on the system you choose and your provider.

Conferencing Floor Moderator

A user can serve as a moderator on a conference call. This person can manage invitations, mute participants, view and rest hand-raises, etc.

Ad Hoc Conferencing

Set up a conference call with up to 5 additional parties without conference bridge port reservations.

On-Screen Moderator Conference Controls 

Manage conference participants from a service menu on the phone.

  • Call Coverage

Conditional Call Forwarding

An incoming call is forwarded to an alternate internal or external number when the line is in use.

Permanent Call Forwarding

All incoming calls to specific number are permanently forwarded to another destination.

Direct Inbound Dial Phone Number Assignment

Every phone is assigned a Direct Inbound Dial phone number. This allows calls to be routed to the recipient without passing through the main number or auto attendant.

Call Screening

Treat calls differently according to the caller ID. For example, specific numbers can always be forwarded to a mobile device, voicemail or disconnected.

Do Not Disturb

Temporarily prevent incoming calls from ringing an extension. Route them automatically to a pre-programmed destination.

Find Me or Follow Me

Create lists of numbers that you want to be found at before sending a call to voicemail. This is more sophisticated than Call Forwarding. A call can be configured to first ring an office number for a few times then go to his mobile phone and then to his home phone.

Call Pickup

Answer another call on another phone from your phone.

Directed Call Pickup

Pick up incoming calls ringing on another phone by pressing a soft key and dialling that extension.

On-Screen Pickup

Pick up incoming calls from another phone by selecting it from an on-screen list.

Call Park

Pause a current conversation and then retrieve the call from any phone using a graphical Park service menu.

Ring Hunt Groups

Allow calls to a single number to ring on several phones simultaneously or in series.

On-Phone Presence Monitoring

View the on or off phone status of other lines by associating buttons with those lines.

Extension Assignment

Assign an extension to every phone. The last 4 digits of that phone’s Direct Inward Dial are typically used. These extensions can be used for transferring, internal calls, etc.

Shared Line Appearances

Allow a set of extensions to appear on a group of phones

  • Phonebook, Call Logs and Directories

Company Phonebook

This is a list of configurable company extensions by a client administrator. These numbers are accessible from the phone.

Employee Directory

A list of users and extensions of your company’s phone system that can be accessed from the phone.

On Phone Call Logs

Displays the date and time of received, placed and missed calls for a particular user.

  • Instant Messaging, Presence, File Sharing and Video Conferencing


You can quickly see if your colleagues are available to chat or if they are busy on the phone. Some platforms automatically update the status of the users.

Desktop Sharing

This feature enables users to launch a desktop sharing session during a video or audio chat. You can share your entire screen or choose just a portion of it you want to share.

Instant Messaging

Chat with officemates, regardless of where they are in the world. You can eliminate multiple, unsecure and unmanaged instant messaging applications.

Peer-to-Peer Video Chat

You can have a face-to-face conversation with co-workers in the office and in other locations. Even if your co-worker is in another country, you can easily collaborate on a project.

File Transfer

You can send files easily to your co-workers during a chat.

  • Integration with PCs and other systems

Business Application Integration

Depending on your supplier, you can configure your system to integrate with your core applications such as CRM, ATS or ERP. Some vendors also offer pre-packaged offerings that allow you to click-to-dial, automated call records, inbound call screen pops and simple note entry. Some of these features are available at no extra charge.

Auto Dialer Software

This is software thats integrated to your core management system that will automatically dial numbers, only connecting your agents to active callers. It can be programmed with your company´s requirements, even personalised with the clients details.


You can dial your phone by clicking a phone number in your Internet browser or even Microsoft Outlook.

Personal Phonebook

This is a list of your personal contacts.

Personal Phone Book – Import

You can import a Personal Phonebook into your vendor’s portal from a comma-separated values file.

Phone Assistant

This is software used in conjunction with your phone. It allows users to monitor multiple lines in an office on their computer. It also allows them to handle multiple calls easily.

Paging System Integration

You can integrate your platform with a third-party office paging system. Manufacturers now also make their solutions compatible to most systems in the market.

Billing Codes

End users can have the option to press a soft key and then enter a billing or accounting code to tag inbound calls even while the call is still in progress.

View/Add Service Requests

Administrators can view the status of their service requests online and add them online. This feature is now becoming popular among vendors to make support easy and more convenient for both parties.

Door Phone Entry Buzzer Integration

You can integrate your phone system to an analogue door phone to allow you to have a two-way conversation with a visitor and then unlock the door from your phone.

Vendor’s Portal

Your vendor will provide users as well as administrators the access they need to configure and manage the system. They can set preferences and even monitor activities through a web interface. This is simple and easy to use so you don’t need special training.

  • Business Intelligence

Detail Reports

Administrators can view and even export inbound and outbound reports that include call details. They can view these reports by originator, rate centers, destination, duration and even cost.

  • Administration and Portability

Non-Emergency Number

This is usually a 3-digit number that is reserved for a local non-emergency service.

Toll Free Numbers 

You can let your customers call you for free. This makes you easy to reach. You can also brand your phone number with vanity toll free numbers.

Directory Assistance Listing

You can ask your supplier if they can make sure that your directory assistance listing is accurate. Your main listing is already included in your service but if you need a supplemental directory assistance listing, you may be charged extra.

Outbound Caller ID

You can configure an outbound Caller ID to announce DID numbers or the company main number. You can also block it entirely.

Outbound Caller ID Blocking

You can ask your supplier to restrict your outbound caller ID data from being announced.  This is by location.

Enhanced Emergency Service

Your supplier sends location information to your local emergency unit when an emergency calls is made from any of your network phones.

Alternate Outbound Dial Digit

An additional digit is allowed to make outbound calls according to the requirements from the customer to send certain digits.

Authorization Codes

Administrators can require a code to be able to make certain kinds of calls. This is useful to prevent unauthorized international or expensive calls.

Fraud Monitoring

If your company is a potential victim of fraud, find a supplier that will routinely monitor unusual international activities.

Hardware Reassignment

Users can log in and out of phones or move one’s presence from one phone to another and back. Users are allowed to time-share their phones.

Nationwide Telephone Number Availability

Work with your supplier if they can secure telephone numbers across the UK.

Line Management

The administrator can add new users or change names.

Privacy Settings

You can ask your supplier to configure the phone line to be accessed by Pick Up, Barge, etc. to increase group functionality but reduce privacy.

Password Administration

The administrator can manage voicemail and phone passwords online.


There are a wide variety of different features available for a hotel system – these can be found here.

Tying it all together

If you have a cloud-based phone system, you can even add more services to it so you can create a customized solution to meet your needs. Here are some of them.


Take business calls on your mobile device using your business phone number. You can enjoy your phone system features and stay connected even when you are not in the office.

Call Recording

You can record inbound or outbound calls to enhance training, identify best practices and ensure compliance. You can record calls with the touch of a button and play them back. You can also search them from a web-based interface.

On-demand conferencing

Users are given a permanent dial-in number and entry pass code that can be used 24/7. This allows users to host a virtual meeting anytime, anywhere.

Voicemail to email transcription

Your supplier can transcribe your voicemail messages into text and then send them along with the WAV file to your email. You no longer have to listen to voicemail to see who called. You can see them all in your inbox.


Many organizations still have fax as an integral part of their communications. If you are one of them, you can receive incoming fax in your inbox and send outbound faxes as email attachments. You don’t need to have a dedicated fax machine and all the costs and hassles associated with it.


Remember to choose features and functionalities carefully. You may want a feature right now but do you really need it in the future? Start with a few features that you really need and grow from there. These can be expensive and not advisable for small and upcoming businesses.

Getting the right business telephone system for your company depends largely on the size of your company, your budget and your company´s needs. Make sure that your company can fully utilize each feature. Do not get swayed by your provider’s sweet talk about added features that are useless for your company. At the end of the day, it is you who is going to use the system and knowing what’s best for your clients and your company will save you a lot of money and aid in your company’s growth.


Author: Yazz

Yazz is a trained telecommunications engineer with a diploma in telecommunications. He has spent the last 15 years working for Telefonica, one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world.