6 Phone System Features to Ask for

If you’re a small business, you might think that feature-rich call center options are not affordable or available to you. However, that’s not the case. Many on-premise and cloud-hosted phone systems come standard with (or have flexible add-on options for) built-in call center features.

Here are six features to look for in your call center system:

Call Queues

Call queues are a fundamental building block of every call center system. Incoming calls are placed into a queue where answering “agents” are assigned to answer the calls. A pre-determined call queue strategy determines how incoming calls are distributed to agents. As callers wait in the queue, hold music or advertisements are aired, filling the void.

There are 6 common options for call queues:

  • Ring All: All available agents are called simultaneously until one answers
  • Linear: Agents are called in a specific order
  • Least Recent: The agent who has been called the least recently receives the call
  • Fewest Calls: The agent with the fewest completed calls receives the call
  • Random: An agent is called randomly
  • Round Robin: Agents are called in Round Robin scheduling

There may also be a Virtual Call Queue which allows customers to receive a callback instead of waiting on hold.


Monitoring features allow supervisors to assist agents throughout the call process. These features allow for hands-on training of the agents while still allowing for supervision by managers to better gauge the agents’ actions while on the call.

Typical options include:

  • Listen mode: The extension monitoring the call can hear both parties in the active call, but the listener will remain muted
  • Whisper mode: The extension monitoring the call can hear both parties in the active call, but can only be heard by the agent on the call
  • Barge mode: The extension monitoring the call can listen and speak to all parties on the active call, similar to 3-way audio conferencing

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

Computer Telephony Integration is a technology that allows the integration between telephone and computer networks. This functionality is an important building block of the call center solution allowing agents more flexibility when handling a high volume of calls. Agents are able to perform most call control functions on their desktop in just a few clicks. A web-based switchboard provided for real-time monitoring of call queues and performing different operations which include:

  • List of waiting calls
  • List of proceeding calls
  • Ability to manipulate proceeding calls
  • List the Agent’s status
  • Ability to manipulate the Agent’s status

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management can also be supported by allowing Agents to search for contact information collected in the contact record. The phone system can be integrated with popular CRM tools such as SugarCRM, ZOHO CRM, and Salesforce. When integrated, agents are able to retrieve contact information during the calls in order to provide their clients a more personalized experience.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

With an IVR module, businesses can create and manage a multi-level system that customizes their callers’ experience by enabling them to select from pre-set options. By using the IVR, businesses essentially guide inbound phone traffic to help customers reach a desired department or individual without interaction with a live agent. Examples include recording custom prompts, enabling key-pressing events to guide callers to the right department, selecting language options, and even setting up blacklist and whitelist filters.

Call Recordings

As with any call center system, call recording is an integral part of the caller’s journey through the call queue. Call recording can be initiated automatically or through the feature codes for active calls. This allows the administrator to keep a record of all calls under the call queue system for monitoring, statistics, and also to use those recordings as learning tools. Once the auto-record feature is enabled, the system will record all calls under the assigned queue in .wav files to be accessed, downloaded, and assessed.

CM3 deploys both on-premise and cloud-hosted call center solutions, including the Grandstream series of internet-based phone systems (IP PBX). Many of these solutions are specifically designed for small and mid-sized businesses with call center needs. Please reach out for a consultation.