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Business Phone System Features

Business Telephone Systems Buyers' Guide

Some business phone systems, particularly PBX, have a remarkable range of features. But suppliers have estimated that the majority of companies use no more than ten percent of the ones they have available. So rather than buy a business phone system by comparing the features of different models, it seems more sensible to establish precisely what you want from your system and presenting this list to the supplier.

Among the most common features are:

Automated Self-service Phone Systems

Most business phone systems have an automated self service phone systems attendant that answers callers with a recorded message, gives basic information about your business, and sends the callers to the correct extension. The usual options an auto attendant gives callers are to push a certain button to contact a person or department; to dial the number of an extension; or to press a button to speak to an operator. In this way, the auto attendant reduces the number of calls handled by a receptionist or phone operator.

Conference calls

There's a wide range of conference call features available, so it's wise to consider how often you need to make and receive such calls, and how many people need to take part.

Hold Music

A music on hold unit is, in effect, a CD player with royalty free music. Callers placed on hold have the music piped to their phones. You may choose to mix short pre-recorded marketing messages or status updates into your hold messaging.


There's a wide range of phones to meet your need for style, features and simplicity of use.

  • Cordless phones may seem handy but bear in mind that staff must place them back on the cradles to recharge them. Cordless phones also go missing or people drop and damage them.
  • Hands-free phones with headsets are ideal if staff have to use computers while talking to callers.
  • Display phones show who an internal caller is and how long the call is lasting.
  • Speaker phones are increasingly common in private offices or conference rooms.

Voice mail may come as part of your new business phone system. If not, and you want it a later date, it can prove expensive to add. Alternatively, you may already have voicemail so you should ask your supplier if it matches the phone system you're thinking of buying.

Ease of Use

Phone system features can improve the efficiency of your business but your staff must be able to employ them easily and quickly. Before you commit to buying your phone system, check that each feature is simple to use and fast to access.

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