Business VoIP is all about flexibility, and most of our users answer calls through apps or call forwarding. For some businesses, the desk phone is still a vital piece of equipment, and it’s more than earned its place on their desk.
If you’re thinking about switching to a VoIP provider, but you like having a phone on your desk, you’ll need to buy a hardware phone that can connect to our network. While these phones look like ordinary business telephones, they have some extra features to look out for.
Standard VoIP features
VoIP desk phones support many of the PBX features that your Nimvelo account is set up for. Using a hardware handset, you should be able to:
Use multiple lines from multiple providers. If you’re in the process of switching to Nimvelo, set up your old provider on the second line so you don’t miss a single call.
Power over Ethernet. This means you only have one cord going into the back of the phone, since it draws power over the Ethernet connection and doesn’t need a separate power lead.
Put a call on hold. This allows you to speak in private, or neatly transfer the call, while the caller hears a busy tone or music.
Transfer calls between extensions. Seamlessly transfer the caller to a colleague to continue the conversation.
See the status of the phone. Most desk phones now show VoIP status and line information on the display. This will tell you whether you have any voicemails waiting, or whether you’ve missed any calls while you’ve been away.
Use a speakerphone. While not an essential, this is a handy feature to have in the office.
Note that these features are not standard on every handset, and you should check the manufacturer’s data sheet to find out the specifics of each model. The majority of the above should be supported by basic handsets.
For many people, a cordless desk phone provides the best of both worlds. DECT VoIP phones are available, and offer the same features as corded phones. You’ll usually have to buy a master unit (like a base station), but you can then add inexpensive cordless handsets ad hoc. The SNOM M325 DECT phone supports up to 20 handsets per base station, while the Gigaset N300 supports up to 6 per base station.
On most VoIP desk phones, you’ll notice a handful of programmable keys. These are provided for your own customisation, so you can use features that might not be assigned ‘out of the box’.
For example, let’s say that you frequently have to redirect calls to the support person at your company, and you’re tired of dialling the extension manually each time. You can assign the redirection to a programmable key, and simply tap it once to transfer the call.