Does Microsoft Teams offer Voice Calling?
Even though it is not a native feature, Microsoft Teams voice calling is possible. Business owners often want to enhance this already powerful tool to help it fulfill more communication needs. So, let’s learn about its basic functionalities.
First off, there is a free version of Microsoft Teams, but it is only available to Microsoft365 subscribers. With this plan, chat, audio and video calls are unlimited. Your team will have access to 10GB of file storage and each employee can use 2GB of storage.
The Teams app also introduced a feature called Together Mode, allowing multiple users to share a virtual space. By creating a sense of a real-life working environment, Microsoft hopes to help users feel more engaged virtually. Teams calls of any size can use Together Mode, starting from one-on-one sessions.
The Microsoft 365 package also offers the capability to integrate Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and other tools that you frequently use directly with Teams. In addition, you can include up to 150 additional business applications into Teams and incorporate up to 300 contacts outside of your organization as team members. Video calls, chat and file storage are some of the features of Microsoft Teams that go beyond those associated with traditional phone systems.
According to your plan choice, you will have access to different features, but overall you can expect:
- Meetings and calls: Enjoy web-based audio and video calls, conferences and events that feature screen sharing, customizable backgrounds and recording capabilities.
- Chats and collaboration: Attach files to chats, share documents, collaborate on Office documents, and access 250 built-in apps.
- Productivity: Access Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), Exchange email hosting, OneDrive sharing and additional Microsoft 365 options.
- Security: Leverage end-to-end encryption, single sign-on, multi-factor authentication and advanced audits and reporting.
- Administration: Access configurable user settings, user management tools and usage reporting.
- Support: Guaranteed uptime, phone and web support.
While this variety of Teams features is helpful for many businesses, they lack enterprise-level voice tools, such as multi-way calls, call routing, queueing and reporting. For most companies that need more than basic calling features, adding more robust voice calling to Microsoft Teams is a must.
Related: BCM One Releases Voice-Enabled Teams
Can Teams Replace Phones in your Business?
You have to keep in mind that Microsoft Teams voice calling was not a part of the initial idea to develop the app. Teams is not an enterprise communications platform per se but rather a well-designed online collaboration platform with basic calling capabilities.
Remote and hybrid work modes may be forcing you to scale your communications network to fit all of your staff communication needs. Recent data from a PwC survey found:
- The majority of employees worked from home during COVID-19 (70%).
- Almost half of the executives had planned to offer remote working options to their employees after the pandemic.
- After COVID-19, 72% of employees would like to work from home at least part of the time.
If you were using Microsoft Teams to make conference calls and have chats, it’s relatively common to feel you’re stuck now as far as its functionality goes. Traditional PBX phone systems often lack the capabilities required for multi-location business communications and Teams cannot offer what your PBX can.
Where to Start with Microsoft Teams Voice Calling
Your company needs to first weigh all the features in Microsoft Teams against its needs before you can decide if it can replace your phone system. Teams may actually work quite well for solopreneurs or small businesses who can stay within the parameters of their calling plan and only need the built-in features. In general, Microsoft calling plans are relatively expensive and a little limited compared to most carriers. Still, they may work just fine if your company fits the description mentioned above.
However, if you’re a larger enterprise with a more complex infrastructure, and you’ve been looking for ways to improve how you connect internally and externally, there’s another way. Leaders in the telecom industry have filled the gap, adding voice calling to Microsoft Teams to make it more robust as a business platform. Microsoft Teams voice calling provides a more seamless calling experience for your employees and customers, adding phone features, such as call routing, extensions and call transfers.
Related: 6 Reasons to Make the Move to a UCaaS Provider
How to Integrate Microsoft Teams with Voice Calling
Realizing the limitations of basic Teams, IT and telecom leaders started to think of ways to integrate Microsoft Teams with voice calling. Only the best recognized the value of Teams while still acknowledging its shortcomings in other functionalities businesses still require, such as fax, phone tree, voicemail and advanced routing and queueing.
Today, you can enhance Microsoft Teams by partnering with a voice expert that will combine the collaboration features of Teams with enterprise voice features your business requires. Here’s a quick overview of how to find a partner who can get your company into Microsoft Teams voice calling:
- Track record: Deploying Microsoft Teams voice calling to replace your phone system requires looking beyond your IT department and letting them focus on other business needs. Find a reputable provider who can boost Microsoft Teams instances by filling in the voice and service gaps you may encounter if you use Teams alone.
By integrating voice capabilities into this app, you can transform it into an enterprise voice platform. Your growing business will still be able to access all the video, chat, file storage and Microsoft integrations you currently use with Teams, plus the enterprise voice features you require.
- Microsoft-certified: Choose a service provider with extensive Microsoft experience and certifications. Integrating voice and collaboration can be tricky, but the whole point of scaling your communication capabilities is to provide all the features you want without the complexity.
Choosing a Microsoft Gold Partner with a dedicated Microsoft team will ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Gold Partners must be able to demonstrate best-in-class capabilities within an approved Microsoft solution. Having them on board for implementation will bring you time and cost savings, as well as headache-free troubleshooting in the future.
- Telecom expertise: When choosing a provider to implement Microsoft Teams voice calling, you should select one with both Microsoft experience and telecom knowledge. Streamlining and improving your voice network can add significant value, but you must never rush this process. It is not unusual for outages to lead to excessive downtime, lost productivity, unhappy customers and poor customer service.
Your organization’s customers, partners, vendors and other external contacts need rapid access to the right people. Developing a voice platform that includes the internal and external calling capabilities your enterprise needs will require an investment in new functionality. This is why Microsoft Teams voice calling can be a valuable solution.
Communication and collaboration are essential in today’s businesses. Ensure your employees have what they need to succeed and your customers have a good experience whenever they get in touch with you.
BCM One has provided voice solutions to businesses of all sizes, including SIP Trunking, Voice-enabled Teams and UCaaS. Moreover, we are a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with a dedicated Microsoft practice and offer Microsoft365 and Azure deployments, among others. Experts from our accounts team and network engineers will guide you from Microsoft Teams voice calling planning to deployment and optimization. Contact us to learn more.