December 28, 2021
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Why You Should Use Microsoft Teams as Your Business Phone System

Working-from-Home has caused a significant change in the way that organizations are communicating, both internally and externally. This has led to a massive spike in collaborative tools such as G Suite, Slack, and Basecamp, but none of these saw a more dramatic spike than the increase in usage of Microsoft Teams. 

The number of daily active users of Teams more than doubled from 32 million users in March 2019 to 200 million as of 2021. Microsoft reports that over 91% of the fortune 100 US companies use Microsoft Teams Phone System. 91%!

The internet has opened up a wide range of communication options for businesses, from email to live chat systems, but there’s one channel that hasn’t changed: the phones. A Cloud-based phone system is the life of many businesses, allowing direct audio conferencing and they will always play an essential role.

Phone systems are valuable for internal communication too. Sure, the office Slack or Teams channels have given some employees a way to reach one another, but nothing is quite as immediate and effective as a phone call using mobile devices.

Maybe you’ve reached a point where your business needs to expand its phone system and you’re looking into a new connectivity option. Maybe you’re already using Teams cloud solution and Outlook, and you’ve heard that Office 365 has additional phone system options that can unify your communications channels under one umbrella. Maybe it’s just time for something new. 

Microsoft Teams Consulting and Office 365, as part of a larger package, offer PBX (private branch exchange) services as an additional cloud-based managed service. In other words, in addition to handling email through Outlook, live chat through Teams, and productivity through Office, you can also set up this voice solution through the Teams PBX service on your admin center.


Teams Phone Features

Teams Business Phone System provides the following features.

Teams Business Phone feature

Description

Cloud Auto Attendants

Cloud Auto Attendants let you create a menu system that enables external and internal callers to locate and place or transfer calls to company users or departments in your organization.

Direct Routing 

A configuration called Direct Routing allows customers to connect voice trunks directly from their network to Microsoft Teams or interconnect other telephony entities such as domestic calling plan or analog devices. Learn more about Teams Direct Routing and Calling plans here.

Cloud Call Queues

Let’s you configure how call queues are managed for your organization: for example, set up greetings and music on hold, search for the next available call agent to handle the call, and so on.

Music on Hold

Plays default music defined by the service when an external call from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is placed on hold. This feature works for one-to-one PSTN-to-Teams calls in addition to calls made to a call queue. This feature provides on-hold notification parity with other platforms.

Call Answer/Initiate (by name and number)

Let’s users answer inbound calls with a touch, and place outbound calls either by dialing the full phone number or by clicking a name in the client.

Call Forwarding Options and Simultaneous Ring

Let’s users set up forwarding rules so calls can go with them anywhere, or calls can be forwarded to colleagues or to voicemail.

Group Call Pickup and Forward to Group 

Let’s users share incoming calls with colleagues so that the colleagues can answer calls that occur while the user is unavailable. Less disruptive to recipients than other forms of call sharing (such as call forwarding or simultaneous ringing) because users can configure how they want to be notified of an incoming shared call.

Transfer a Call and Consultative Transfer

Let’s users transfers calls to another person. Or, if they need to leave their office but want to continue the conversation, they can transfer the calls from their PC or IP phone to their cell phone.

Transfer to Voicemail Mid Call

Let’s users transfer to voicemail during a call.

Call Park and Retrieve

Let’s users place a call on hold in the Teams service in the cloud. When a call is parked, the service generates a unique code for call retrieval. The user who parked the call or someone else can then use that code and a supported app or device to retrieve the call.

Call Phone Number from Search

Let’s users place a call from the search box by using the /call command and specifying a name or a number.

Calls from inside the company display a detailed caller ID that pulls information from the corporate directory, showing picture ID and job title instead of just a phone number. For calls from external phone numbers, the caller ID as provided by the phone service provider is displayed. If the external phone numbers are secondary numbers in the corporate directory, then the information from the corporate directory will be displayed.

Device Switching

Let’s users play a call or meeting on another HID device that is connected to Teams; for example, switching from their PC speakers to a headset.

Presence-Based Call Routing

Controls inbound communications with presence, enabling the user to block all incoming communication except from those specifically indicated.

Integrated Dial Pad

Let’s users dial by name or by number anywhere in the search bar and in the dial pad, speeding up the process of making outbound calls.

Federated Calling 

Let’s users securely connect, communicate, and collaborate with users in federated tenants.

Make and Receive a Video Call

If the user's account is enabled for video calls, the user can make face-to-face video calls with their contacts. All they need is a camera, their computer’s speakers and microphone. Users can also use a headset if their computer doesn’t have a built-in audio device.

Cloud Voicemail

When a user receives a voicemail, it is delivered to their Exchange mailbox as an email with the voicemail message as an attachment. Users can listen to their messages on their certified desktop phone, conference phones and on all Teams or Skype for Business applications. 

Cloud Voicemail User Settings

Lets users configure their client settings for voicemail greetings, call answering rules, and greeting language, including out-of-office greetings.

Secondary Ringer 

Users with multiple speaker devices connected to their PC can choose to set a secondary device to ring in addition to their default speaker. For example, a user with a headset connected to the PC and desk speakers can choose to have both headset and desk speakers ring when a call comes in so that they don’t miss a call.

Distinctive Ring Alerts

Let’s users choose separate ringtones for normal calls, forwarded calls, and delegated calls so they can distinguish the type of call.

Shared Line Appearance

Let’s users share their phone line so that another user can make and receive calls on their behalf.

Call Blocking

Let’s users add (PSTN) phone numbers to a blocked list so that the next call from that number is blocked from ringing the user.

Common Area Phones

A common area phone is typically placed in an area like a lobby or conference room making it available to multiple people. Common area phones are set up as devices rather than users and can automatically sign into a network.

Media Bypass Support

For better performance, media is kept between the Session Border Controller (SBC) and the client instead of sending it through the Teams Phone.

Microsoft Teams as Your Business Phone System

Let’s look into how Microsoft Teams makes the perfect business phone system.

 

Unified Communications

The biggest benefit of using Teams for your phone needs is that it helps you unify your communications and productivity channels under one roof. With Microsoft managing your phones, your instant messaging, your productivity apps, your email, your server architecture, your cloud services, and all the rest, you’ll never look back with this high-quality audio.

 

Worldwide Access

One of the biggest benefits of using Microsoft Teams as the foundation for your phone system is that it’s a cloud-based infrastructure. As with any cloud-based service, one of the biggest benefits is the ability to access it from anywhere. Have a call center set up in your office park? They can access it. Have an employee or a whole roster working from home due to current events? They can access it. Have a marketing team attending a show or conference halfway around the world? They can access it.

 

Easy Connection to PSTN Systems

If you’re not familiar with phone terminology, there are two definitions you’ll need to know. The first is “PBX”, or Private Branch Exchange. This is your in-office call system, where dialing an outside line requires an extra digit or two, and an outside line calling in requires an extension to reach a particular person. A PBX system does not access external lines at all, on its own.

If you’ve ever had to try to fight with a PBX system just to get it to connect to the broader PSTN at large, you know how awful and frustrating it can be to configure. With Microsoft Teams, it’s generally extremely easy to set up this connection. You can use your own existing switchboard and PSTN access, or you can buy access as an additional feature directly from Microsoft.

 

Flexible Calling Plans

Microsoft allows very flexible call plans within the Teams phone system. You can set up specific lines or specific departments to have access to different ranges of phone connectivity. Some departments can be internal-only, while others might be able to access the PSTN for domestic calls but not international calling plans.

A common example of this in use is actually a powerful security feature. You can restrict, say, your finances department to only place calls to domestic numbers, which helps limit their access to phishing and scamming lines. At the same time, your sales team – which may need to contact people around the world – can dial out to international numbers without restrictions.

 

Low Pricing

Pricing for using a calling system with Teams is quite low. The price you’ll have to pay depends on the system you already have set up, specifically what level of Office 365 license you’re already using. Enterprise Voice Phone systems are included add-on licenses with Office 365 at the E5 level, but E1 and E3 require a minor additional fee ($8) to add the phone system. From there’s, it’s a simple matter of $12 for domestic calling and $24 for international calling.

It’s worth mentioning that those prices are for a basic default package of minutes for domestic and international calling. If you exceed a certain level of usage, you may need to purchase additional credits, which will cost more depending on your location. You can download the rate sheet directly from Microsoft here. All of this goes to show that Microsoft’s system is designed to be easy to use, accessible, quick to set up, and convenient for businesses of all sizes.


What Happens to my Phones After Microsoft Teams Phone System Integration?

Teams offers several benefits. One of these is that it can connect office PBX systems, which means that anyone can place and receive internal and outbound calls with active users anytime, anywhere. This is a system that makes telephony easy for your clients, even if they are working from a different office, while on the road or at home. You can also easily and efficiently conduct video calls or audio conference calls to loop important people in your online meetings. There are a number of software that enable some amazing Microsoft phone system features after integration. 

Let’s learn more about the phone features these software furnish. 


Calling Plans

Microsoft also offers all-in-the-cloud voice solutions, such as Calling Plan. However, a hybrid voice solution might be best for your organization if:

  • Microsoft International Calling Plans are not available in your country.
  • Your organization requires connection to third-party analog devices, call centers, and so on.
  • Your organization has an existing contract with a PSTN carrier.


Teams Direct Routing – Hybrid Voice Solution

Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing lets you connect a supported, customer-provided Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Phone System. With this capability of advanced routing, for example, you can configure on-premises Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connectivity with Microsoft Teams client.


Call Recording in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams does not initially come with a call recording solution, but does allow flexible integration with third party options like the one we'll get into now.

Atmos by Call Cabinet, is a multi-tenant call recording, quality assurance, and voice analytics platform designed specifically to provide uninterrupted services for call recording. It is designed using the True Cloud technology in a network of Microsoft Azure data centers. This network consists of 23 data centers located throughout the world, providing efficient services to thousands of end customers. Call Cabinet is certified by Microsoft and 100% compatible with Microsoft Teams.

Contact Center in the Cloud

Cloud Auto attendants let people call your organization and navigate a menu system to speak to the right department, call queue, person, or an operator. You can create auto attendants for your organization with the Microsoft Teams admin center, or with PowerShell. Teams comes with built-in Cloud Auto-Attendants but again, it doesn't bring along a but contact center. However, that doesn't mean that we have no hope because Microsoft Teams allows complete integration with third-party contact center solutions and today's been a good day so I'll also share the platform that provides the most flawless contact center experience. 

Enghouse Interactive specializes in software designed to transform contact centers (including those for the work-from-home agents) into growth engines for businesses globally. It provides all the characteristics that are required for an active call center. Enghouse too is compatible with Microsoft Teams and is certified by Microsoft. 

Paging in Microsoft Teams

To avail the paging feature in Microsoft Teams, we would need to aquire a third-party integration. To offer the best, I would suggest you look into InformaCast Fusion to activate the paging feature in Teams. 

You can collaborate with InformaCast Fusion to offer the paging feature. InformaCast Fusion is a powerful mass notification system that notifies the user both, on their mobile and on-premise devices. If you want to get a quick message across and make sure no one misses it, InformaCast is your go-to tool. It delivers attention-grabbing audio to a wide variety of devices. The image below describes its compatibility options and workflow.


How Long does Microsoft Teams Phone System Integration take?

There are a few aspects that are factored in when we try figuring out how long the integration would take. Setting up calling services in Teams is one thing. But the deployment and integration of the Microsoft Teams Phone System follows an entirely different timeline. Roughly, if you have shook hands with a Microsoft Gold Partner, they would give you a timeline that would take care of the following:

  • Discovery/Familiarization
  • Microsoft 365
  • Session Border Controller Lite
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Paging
  • Contact Center
  • Configure Phone Headsets
  • Training & Documentation

This may seem like an overwhelming change but having the right MSP manage it for you would do you wonders. 

  

Why Choose Communication Square?

Communication Square promises fully managed services; from planning to implementation and support and then also training the employees, improving user adoption. We make this essential, yet complex procedure a possibility for multinational deployments by furnishing individual licenses. Through our cloud-based telephony platform, we empower organisations of all sizes to benefit from flexible, feature-rich and cost-effective communications provided by Microsoft Teams. If you feel that we can help you with the set up, book a strategy call with us today! 


Frequently Asked Questions


Question 1: Describe the process by which user licenses for your solution are issued.

  • User licenses for Microsoft: Phone System license, Domestic Calling are Mandatory and Office 365 G3 license, International Calling, Voice Services, Audio conferencing license are optional if needed (per user)
  • User licenses for Contact center: Enghouse Contact Center Advanced Bundle (per user)
  • User licenses for Call Recording: Atmos by CallCabinet (per user)
  • User licenses for Paging: InformaCast – Fusion (Per user)


Question 2: Do you provide toll-free customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Please specify all paid and unpaid support options.

We have on duty support resources 24/7 x 365. Based on the SLA commitment in your plan, an engineer would reach out to you within the promised time frame. Issue Escalation is also available for Critical issues based on SLA commitment.

 

Question 3: Do you provide North American, English speaking-based support?

Yes, we provide North American and English based support.

 

Question 4: Is your support provided from within the United States? What other countries you provide support in?

Support is provided within United States, Spain and Pakistan.

 

Question 5: Do you provide complete turnkey, onsite implementation, and project management support? Please specify which support will be included and which is provided for an additional fee. Also specify whether support is available directly from the vendor or provided through a partner.

We cannot provide onsite implementation support due to widespread transmission of COVID-19, but do provide remote support.

 

Question 6: Describe the type of training provided to administrators. Specify whether training is available directly from the vendor or provided through a partner.

All the trainings will be provided by certified partners.

 

Question 7: Do you provide future software releases and updates to all applications as part of regular software maintenance fees?

All the applications are updates automatically as it’s a cloud-based solution.

 

Question 13: Do you provide remote software monitoring to identify anomalies and provide automatic upgrades?

Monitoring is based on the SLAs. All the applications are updated automatically as it’s a cloud-based solution.

Last Updated 1 week ago

About the Author

Rijah is a professional Marketing Executive & content specialist. You may know her from her greatest hits like, "No, I can't just make it go viral." or "No, you can't have everybody as your audience." and "Yes, you're absolutely going to need a copywriter!"

Rijah Naseem

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