There are way too many communication apps nowadays. There’s a platform for chatting with colleagues, another one for speaking with customers, another one for emailing business partners, and the list continues. It's easy to see how communication quickly becomes challenging and time-consuming, especially when you're a small business owner. Fortunately, communications providers have started to work together to come up with solutions that integrate each other's products to allow access to all the necessary tools through only one platform. An example of this is the integration of virtual phone systems with Microsoft. Considering that Outlook already offers a dedicated tab for contacts, it makes sense that users should be able to make a call with a few mouse clicks – now possible due to these collaborations.
Why You Should Integrate Your VoIP System With Microsoft Outlook
It's not news that virtual phone systems offer advantages over traditional landlines. VoIP affordably offers enough features to build a robust phone system, and then some. Besides having the usual call handling characteristics like call transfer and call forwarding, it's very easy to implement complex IVRs, and everything is integrated with an administrator console that displays analytics and call logs. But the icing on the cake is how these systems integrate flawlessly with other software, such as Outlook.
There's no way around it: companies prefer Microsoft when it comes to operating systems. Considering that computers supporting Microsoft products tend to be cheaper than Macs, are straightforward to use, and have more programs available, you can understand why. It's consequently no surprise that organizations utilize Microsoft products to do almost everything, including sending emails through Outlook. Microsoft even offers a phone system, but it's hardly the best out there.
Since email is still the most common way of communicating in the business world, it helps a lot to have the ability to integrate that application with other software. VoIP is an excellent example of this. By dovetailing a virtual phone system with their email service, users can make and receive calls, and exchange SMS directly from Outlook. Each VoIP provider works differently, but all of them offer the possibility of getting in touch with people through their contact card, which saves an enormous amount of time.
And there's way more to this integration than just contacting someone with a few clicks. Equally convenient, users can listen to voicemails without leaving the email service, and even get a view of the complete communications history as well as all their contacts – VoIP plus Outlook – on one screen. Lastly, it’s also possible to schedule and start group calls directly from Outlook.
Companies that want their employees to be as efficient as possible should definitely look into this option since it creates a seamless communication flow for both inbound and outbound conversations.
Best VoIP Systems to Integrate With Microsoft Outlook
RingCentral is a comprehensive VoIP provider that truly shines in everything related to call handling. It also shines when it comes to its integrations, including Outlook. This virtual phone system offers all the features mentioned earlier. It provides the ability to make and receive calls as well as schedule both online meetings and conference calls directly from Outlook, and integrates all information – contacts and communications history – seamlessly. For as low as $19.99 per month per user, besides the necessary call-handling features and Outlook integration, RingCentral users get unlimited phone calls within the U.S. and Canada with 100 toll-free minutes included, and a local or toll-free number.
Nextiva is another top-tier VoIP provider that offers a vast array of features, including unlimited phone calls within the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. When it comes to Outlook integration, Nextiva offers a plugin that displays the Nextiva App contact presence within the email service, making it possible to chat, place calls, and start video calls directly from Outlook. Moreover, the plugin also changes the contact presence in the Nextiva App based on appointments and meetings in the Outlook calendar. Prices start at $20 per month per user, but to get customer surveys, call analytics, and a live chat on the website, companies will need to get the Enterprise plan, which adds an extra $10 per user each month.
Best VoIP Systems of 2020
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