Collaboration platforms are not new, many of them such as Asana, Slack, Zoom, and Trello have been around for a while. But with to the novel coronavirus pandemic forcing many businesses to adopt a remote working business model, they’ve come under the spotlight. Different users prefer different options for different reasons, and articles comparing the features and benefits have flooded the internet.

Each option has its own pros and cons, but one platform that has established itself as a serious contender is Microsoft Teams. In fact, Microsoft announced last year that their platform had reached 20 million daily active users – making them the leading team collaboration tool on the market.

And it’s no wonder. Not only does Microsoft Teams offer company wide text and voice chat, file sharing, and meeting capabilities, but it also enables users to make calls to and take calls from any number from within the Microsoft Teams app.

The Microsoft Teams Voice feature, commonly known as Microsoft Teams Calling or just Teams Calling, is an add-on available to licensed users of the Microsoft 365 Suite (formerly Office 365). To be clear, voice chat or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling is not a completely new feature to Teams.

Before 2018, it was essentially limited to internal communications because users could only call other Teams users in the same business from within the app. But Microsoft Teams has matured into a robust meeting and calling solution, that allows you to make voice calls to any landline or cell number without leaving the app as part of Microsoft 365 Phone System.

Teams Calling is fully integrated with Microsoft 365. So you can call any of your contacts directly from Outlook if you want to. In fact, you can call someone even if they aren’t a saved contact! As long as their contact number is included in their email signature, you can simply click on it, and Teams Voice will connect you.

Say goodbye to your traditional PBX systems

With Microsoft Teams, you can replace your entire existing business phone system with a managed cloud service. With the Microsoft Teams phone system, you can do everything your existing PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system does and a whole lot more.

Things like auto attendants that direct calls to call forwarding so customers can easily get to the right departments, call holding and transfers, voicemail, and more are all possible when you add the Teams phone system to your Microsoft 365 subscription.

Configuring the Microsoft phone system for your whole team can take a little time, particularly if you have a large organization – but it can all be done directly from your Microsoft 365 dashboard. It is also designed to be as user-friendly as possible.

You’ll be able to completely remove all deskbound handsets if you want to, as well as the bulky PBX you’ve been using until now. You also won’t have to pay a third-party telephony provider to handle your calling infrastructure, which means your business will be saving a fair amount of money in the long run.

Another benefit is the fact that you’ll no longer have to worry about the negative impact on your operations that occurs every time the copper cables your outdated phone system runs on are stolen or damaged.

The rates for Teams Calling are also incredibly competitive, so you’ll be saving money on your actual monthly phone bill – an amount that you can work out for yourself using the handy savings calculator that Microsoft provides.

How to make calls

When Teams Voice is active, you will see a dial pad in the Teams interface on both the desktop and mobile apps. How to use that is self-explanatory, of course; it works just like the normal dial pad on your mobile phone. So all you need to do is type in the correct number, and you’ll be able to call just about anyone.

You’re doing this from within Teams, so there’s no need to leave the app whenever you need to call someone outside your business. Having all these collaboration and communication functions grouped together in one central location is a huge way to boost productivity. And according to the Total Economic Impact report from Forrester, it can save users as much as eight hours per week!

Assign unique numbers to everyone

With Teams Voice, you’ll be able to give your physical business and each of your Teams users their own unique telephone number. Managing cellphone contracts and SIMs won’t be necessary anymore because your staff can simply download the app and use the Teams Voice feature on their personal devices.

Users of the Microsoft phone system can use their mobile devices, a laptop, or a PC with a headset. Or if they prefer a traditional handset, they can also use any of the many IP phones that work with Teams. And if a user has Teams installed on multiple devices, they will all ring when receiving a call!

Although Teams Voice is incredibly easy to use, we recommend educating your employees on the benefits and process of using the feature for at least a month before rolling it out. And make sure that material is still available even after your teams start using it, as they may forget how to achieve a specific outcome if it’s not part of their normal daily use.

The team at Softlanding has already deployed the Microsoft Office 365 Phone System for numerous clients and are experts at providing the training to use the service as well as providing support after deployment.

If you’d like to explore how Teams Calling can help your business, contact us to learn more or visit our event page to explore the Teams workshops we offer.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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