Microsoft Teams is a business communication platform that is incredibly popular in Australia. It features an intuitive chat-based interface, voice and video conferencing capabilities, file sharing, and powerful software integrations. Thus, making it the perfect solution for modern businesses. While Companies mainly use Teams for internal communication, it also has an enterprise-grade telephony solution capable of external communication. This telephony solution is called Microsoft Teams Calling, and here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is Microsoft Teams Calling?
Teams Calling is a cloud-based phone system that allows users to make and receive calls from anyone inside or outside your organisation. Building a telephone network in your organisation using Teams Calling doesn’t require specific hardware and software, making it a more flexible solution than traditional private branch exchange (PBX) systems. The cloud-based phone system allows administrators to manage users in the internal telephone network and configure communication settings from a centralised console.
Teams Calling also connects to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) so users can make external calls. This essentially turns Microsoft Teams into a desk phone you can access from any device. It even offers a host of enterprise phone features such as:
- Call forwarding – redirects calls to another number or Teams user in your company
- Call queues – place callers on hold as they wait for the next available agent to answer their call
- Simultaneous ringing – routes incoming calls to multiple devices at the same time so users can answer calls no matter where they are
- Auto-attendant – lets callers interact with a voice menu system that directs them to the right department and customer service agent.
- Call history – provides a detailed log of all the calls users made, received, or missed.
- Voicemail – allows callers to leave a message when the intended recipient cannot answer the call.
- Emergency calling – routes outbound calls directly to the relevant authorities, such as medical services, police, or fire departments.
- Analytics – tracks call minute usage per user, as well as call quality and performance
How do you enable Teams Calling?
To enable users to make calls outside your organisation, you must have a phone number, Microsoft Teams add-on licences, and PSTN connectivity. Set up phone numbers in Microsoft Teams from the Voice menu in the app’s Admin Centre and select phone numbers. To procure add-on licences, contact Microsoft representatives, or a trusted managed IT services provider. As for getting PSTN connectivity, you can either opt for Microsoft calling plans or direct routing.
Microsoft Calling Plans
If you don’t already have a service provider for hosting Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls, you can select Microsoft’s domestic and international calling plans. These calling plans are charged per user, per month, with extra charges if you exceed your monthly voice call minutes.
When implementing this service, you’ll need to port your company’s phone numbers to Microsoft 365. Microsoft essentially hosts and manages your VoIP phone systems, enabling you to call anyone through Teams.
Direct routing allows you to connect Teams to the PSTN with any third-party telephony carrier. Instead of being charged Microsoft’s calling rates, you can work with a provider that offers much more affordable fees. Direct routing is an excellent option if you want some flexibility in your phone plans and more specialised support from telephony providers.
How can you make calls in Teams?
There are several ways you can call people in Microsoft Teams. For starters, you can dial someone’s number on the Calls tab found on the left-hand side of Teams. The Calls tab also lets you save contacts and add them to speed dial if necessary.
If you’re already in a chat with external Teams users, click on the call icon in the top-right corner of the app and choose whether to host a voice or video call. During the call, you’ll be able to record meeting minutes, share files, and enable different presentation formats.
Another way you can call in is through a command function on Teams’ search bar. All you have to do is type ‘/calls’ on the search bar, followed by the intended recipient’s email address or a name saved in your contact list. Then, just hit enter, and Teams will start the call.
Why should businesses use Teams Calling?
By using Microsoft Teams as an enterprise phone system, your business can enjoy the benefits of unified communications. Phone calls, instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and other nifty calling features are all in one place, so users have all the tools they need to communicate effectively. To illustrate, imagine conducting a business meeting with a client over the phone. With Teams Calling, you get the advantage of crystal-clear voice calls, but you can also use video chat, share your screen, and record minutes on the side if you have to.
Additionally, Teams Calling enables users to communicate from anywhere with an internet connection while still using their official business number. Thanks to features like call routing and simultaneous ringing, you can ensure that incoming calls are always answered no matter where your agents are or what device they’re using. This is especially useful now that more companies adopt remote or hybrid working arrangements.
Since you’re only relying on one cloud-based system for all your communication needs, you can save costs on PBX hardware, software licensing, phone bills, and maintenance.
If you want to seamlessly implement Teams Calling and reap its benefits, Empower IT can make that happen. We’ve partnered with leading communications provider Access4 to help us deploy the solution and configure it according to your needs. Call us now to transform Microsoft Teams into your enterprise-grade phone system.