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Office 365 Phone System: Working Remotely with Microsoft Teams

When the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of people home from work, businesses were forced to shut down and phone calls for sales and service went unanswered. However, organizations with foresight already had a tool at their disposal which allowed employees to answer phones from anywhere, anytime and were able to effectively keep operations up and running.

That tool? Microsoft Teams.

If your company is already on Microsoft Office 365, you are probably using Teams as a chat and collaboration tool. Smart organizations have added Office 365 Phone System functionality that allows Teams to give you Private Branch Exchange (PBX) capabilities. Users can easily call one another within Phone System and for calls outside the organization, you can connect Phone System to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Benefits to using Office 365 Phone System

Save Time

With an integrated system, employees are able to save time having their phone system built into their collaboration system.

Save Money

Phone Systems can be a costly expense for most organizations. The upfront costs alone can be very high for hardware, licensing, and implementation. By utilizing Teams Phone System, you gain the ability to spread that cost out as a predictable monthly expense.

Enable Remote Workers

By utilizing Teams as a phone system, it makes it easier to enable a remote workforce. Forwarding desk phones is a thing of the past because users receive their phone calls through their Teams application. It doesn’t matter where your workforce is located to receive phone calls for your office. As long as there is an internet connection, the phone system works. You can place audio calls or video calls easily, plus, make and receive calls with people using “landline” phones and cell phones.  Conference calls can include people using Teams and a mix of people using landlines.

Advanced Features

Advanced features that you would expect in a phone system are available with the Teams Phone System. The Auto-attendant feature answers incoming calls with a greeting and can provide the caller with information such as business hours, then prompt with menu choices to direct the call to the correct person or department.  Call queues can be created to route a call to a group of people – the sales department, for example.  The queue can manage how the calls are assigned to users – ringing all at one time, ringing each queue user in order, or round robin balancing the number of calls between all users in the queue.  The queue can have music on hold, and its own voicemail that is shared by all users of that queue.

Scalability

Unlike a PBX Phone System, Office 365 Phone System is easily scalable with business growth.

Requirements

The licensing required will depend on the Office 365 plan that your organization is currently using. Some of the Office 365 plans have the phone system included. Those plans can be reviewed on Microsoft’s website. If you want your users to start utilizing the Teams Phone System, you need to procure at least two licenses. Plus, you will need a Phone Plan license and either a Domestic Calling Plan or Domestic and International Calling Plan.

Microsoft has proven they are investing a lot of effort and money into their Teams application. They are frequently releasing new features to the platform. By utilizing Microsoft Teams as a phone system, you are helping future proof your organization by saving money, saving time and enabling your remote workforce.

If you are interested in learning more about using Teams as your business phone system, visit the Microsoft website or give us a call. We’ve helped many customers implement these systems and would love to help you too.

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