VoIP Phone Features

Now let’s look at a typical VoIP phone and examine its functions and features. This is a general description, but we will use a diagram of a Polycom phone. So the specific functions and button locations will differ slightly with other models. You will need to understand the wide range of options to make the best choice for your business.

VoIP Phone Features
  • Speaker – Where the sound comes from when in speakerphone mode. The quality of a phone’s speaker is important for effective communication.
  • Dialpad -The standard number arrangement used for dialing.
  • Transfer – Allows you to send the caller to another user’s phone.
    • Different from call forwarding in that it is designed to be used after someone has answered the phone.
    • Warm Transfer–allows you to have caller hold while you check the destination number recipient.
    • Blind Transfer–allows you to send the call over to the new device without first checking if they will answer.
  • Messages – This button gives you quick access to your waiting voicemail.
    • Sends you to your voicemail where you can get access to all the advanced features of VoIP voicemail.
  • Hold – similar function to the hold buttons we all know and love.
  • Screen – This will vary between models; there are now many devices with full-color touch screens.
    • A VoIP phone screen usually shows all the info the user needs. This can include things like time, date, soft keys, global messaging, parked calls, etc. (Everything the phone thinks you want to know.)
    • Higher end phones employ touch screens like smartphones that can replace some or all the buttons on the device.
  • Message waiting indicator – A simple light to let you know “You’ve got mail”
  • Line keys
    • Usually these buttons light up to remind you when there is a call waiting or parked on that line.
    • An easy way to identify the number of lines available on this phone, count these buttons.
    • Often these buttons can also be programmed with speed dial access to your important clients.
  • Home key – Sometimes as you search through the options on your phone, you will need a shortcut to go back to the beginning.
  • Soft keys – These keys will change function based on the context of what you are currently doing. Usually the display will tell you what it can do for you.
    • Here is a list of generally available options you might see on the display for the soft key.
      • These options are displayed when the phone is active (when the phone is off the hook or engaged in a call).
        • Transfer
        • Blind Transfer
        • Conference
        • Park
        • Redial
        • Directory
        • Speed Dial
      • These are displayed when the phone is idle (when the phone is on the hook).
        • Redial
        • Directory
        • Call Pickup
        • Call Forward Activate / Deactivate
        • Do Not Disturb
        • Last Call Received
        • Missed Calls
        • Speed Dial
    • Softkeys are dynamic. They can be programmed to do different functions if you’re on a call vs if the call is idle
  • Navigation keys/select key – Use these to navigate the display, like a mouse or joystick.
    • Directions correspond to the on-screen menus: up/down to scroll through contacts, left/right to choose options like a ring type for each contact, etc.
  • Headset key – Switch to your headset if equipped.
  • Speakerphone key – Impromptu conference calls and hands free so you can multi-task.
  • Mute key – Used to mute the microphone so a quick confidential comment can be made, or if you want to make an espresso during a conference call.
  • Volume keys – Up = louder, down = softer
  • Microphone – Often a tiny hole in the case that picks up sound on your end during a speaker phone conversation.


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