Businesses love Microsoft Teams. Data from Statista shows that, between the start of the pandemic and mid-2021, Teams’ number of daily active users grew by 100%.
But Teams is not without its limitations.
In fact, and as many an angry Redditor will tell you, it has many. The ones we hear about repeatedly have to do with Teams’ phone system. In short, when it comes to making and taking external calls with customers and clients, Teams just doesn’t cut the mustard.
The good news is that it’s easy to ensure your phone system veritably cleaves the mustard. Even if you continue using Microsoft Teams.
You’ll hear why shortly.
First, the 3 key ways in which, as a phone system, Microsoft Teams is letting down your business.
☎️ IVR Menus
IVR menus (aka Auto Attendants) are those ‘press 1, press 2’ menus that you hear all the time when calling businesses.
We’ll venture an unpopular opinion here: IVR menus are great.
While they can be a pain for customers when not pared down to a spartan rap, IVR menus still save time for both the business and the customer. That’s because it takes more time for an ‘operator’ to pick up the call, take the request and manually forward the call on to the intended recipient.
Most businesses, however, have a departmental structure more complex than can be described with a single IVR level. That’s why the best business phone systems provide an IVR feature that allows for multiple levels.
Here’s what we mean:
Microsoft Teams, in contrast, allows for only one level in your IVR menu, making its implementation of this feature less than useful for many businesses.
That’s not all, though.
You’d think that a simpler kind of IVR menu would be easier to set up for your organisation. Not so with Teams.
Implementing an IVR (Auto Attendant) in Teams is a process consisting of about a bazillion steps, involving Resource Accounts, Virtual User licences, multiple setup wizards and manually linking all of these things (plus a phone number) together. Oh, and a whole lot of waiting around while Microsoft ‘sets up’ each of these things after you’ve created them, before you can actually link them together for a working IVR.
The number of steps it takes to set up an IVR menu with Yay, however, is not a bazillion. It’s three.
- Create a new call route.
- Drag the IVR module into the flow.
- Drag in any other modules you need.
You’ll then need to assign the route a phone number, so you could argue it takes four steps, but there’ll be no waiting around. The minute you hit SAVE on your shiny, new call route it’ll work.
☎️ Call Recording
Many businesses perceive call recordings as useful assets, but for some businesses they’re downright essential.
That’s because businesses like contact centres and financial services need call recordings for compliance reasons.
The most useful implementation, as common sense dictates, of call recording for such businesses is a global toggle that enables call recording for all calls, internal and external, across the entire business. Then, to handle exceptions to the rule by whatever makes most sense to the admin. EG by user, for outgoing calls, or by call route, for incoming calls.
With Teams, sadly, this is not the case.
Teams allows businesses to record meetings by default, but not calls. You can record internal calls, but only after an admin has created a new calling policy to force recording permissions on. Then, the admin must apply this calling policy to each user whose calls you want recorded.
Even then, these users will still need to hit the record button manually on each call they want to record, opening the door to missed recordings. What’s more, you can’t record PSTN (external) calls at all without turning to a third party solution. Of course, any third party solution will come at extra cost.
Contrast this with enabling call recording on our platform.
With Yay, admins can enable call recording globally in a single click. More granular control is available for toggling automatic recording on or off too. This makes ours a handy and efficient compliance call recording solution for businesses of all sizes.
☎️ Hunt Groups
Finally, we come to hunt groups.
Hunt groups are just groups of users to which you can assign a phone number. If someone rings that number, all of the users in the hunt group will ring simultaneously.
In this way, hunt groups open the door to dead efficient implementations of other features like call queues.
Aside: for the record, call queues are created in Teams in much the same way as Auto Attendants. That is, with a bazillion different steps to the process.
In Teams, this functionality just doesn’t exist.
We can approximate hunt groups through call forwarding and simultaneous ring, but these are ‘user driven features’. That means that users set these up themselves through the Teams app.
Yep, you read that correctly. If you want to approximate a hunt group in Teams, admins cannot configure it.
Instead, a user will set up a ‘call group’ within the Teams app, add users, then all calls to this user will be forwarded to the other users in the group they just set up.
In other words, this user’s calls will now be shared across the call group.
You’d think Microsoft could just have implemented hunt groups in the same (convoluted) way they’ve brought call queues and auto attendants to the table. IE have an admin create a resource account, assign that account a phone number and a virtual user licence and have that resource account act as the ‘user’ sharing its calls with a group.
With Yay, you just create a hunt group and select the users you’d like to be a part of it. You can then reuse this hunt group across call routes, call queues and any other part of your phone system you feel makes logical sense.
What Your Business Can Do About It
Teams letting you down? Your business has two options:
- Continue using Teams and invest in a Direct Routing solution.
- Forego Teams in favour of a solution with a stronger phone system.
With option 1, businesses end up paying for two providers. First is the necessary licensing from Microsoft to be able to use Teams phone system. The second is the third-party provider that patches the gaps in Teams phone system.
Though this sounds inefficient, the advantages are many:
- Cheaper & more flexible calling plans.
- More and better phone system features.
- Better customer support.
- Wider range of compatible devices.
Visit our Direct Routing page to learn more about the service and its advantages.
If you’re concerned about the efficiency of using multiple collaboration/communications solutions, it might fit your business better to drop Teams altogether. Instead, use a solution that’s a strong phone system first, emphasising usability as a primary concern, rather than as a nice-to-have.
UCaaS solutions like ours combine secure text chat for businesses, for asynchronous collaboration, with a state of the art phone system to provide your customers and clients with an excellent caller experience, as well as to give you the insights you need to make data-driven decisions.