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Ooma Blog

Turn Your Phone into Command Central with Ooma’s Extension Monitoring

By Mark Maxwell|Tuesday May 28, 2019

For many businesses, a ringing phone means new clients, new appointments, or new projects.

However, an overwhelmed receptionist may dread this positive business growth. Even if he or she started the day deftly juggling incoming calls, a spike in call volume could quickly turn into a chaotic scramble.

The difference in the two scenarios typically isn’t a reflection on the employee’s skills, and it’s instead determined by the call management tools he or she has available.

In a boost for small businesses, Ooma Office service has just released its newest calling feature: Extension Monitoring. With this advanced feature, users have full command over system-wide communications.

Ooma extension monitoring call management

What Is Ooma’s Extension Monitoring?

Ooma’s Extension Monitoring feature allows power users to manage a large number of phone calls effortlessly. Here’s how it works.

First, it provides users with immediate information on the status of other users within the system. Each button on your phone that’s configured with Extension Monitoring can reveal the status of another user via the indicator light.

  • When the light is steady red, the monitored extension is on an active phone call.
  • When the light is flashing red, there’s an incoming call to the monitored extension.
  • A steady green light indicates that the monitored extension isn’t in an active call.

With Extension Monitoring, it’s easy to understand the activity of users across your phone system.

Second, the feature allows users who monitor other extensions to take actions. A user who sees the quickly flashing light on the extension monitoring button can intervene and answer incoming calls for the monitored extension. Users can also use Extension Monitoring to transfer a call, initiate a 3-way call, and speed dial an extension with a single press of a button.

The Extension Monitoring feature is accessible on several Ooma-compatible office phones, including the Yealink SIP-T21P, Yealink SIP-T23G IP Phone, Yealink T27G IP Phone, and Yealink EXP20 Expansion Module.

Ooma Office small business phone

How Can Extension Monitoring Transform Business Communications?

Here are seven ways that implementing Ooma’s Extension Monitoring feature can impact your business operations.

1. Streamline Your Communications Portal

Office administrators can keep a pulse on business activity without being burdened by information overload or complex processes.

Without Extension Monitoring, administrators are flying blind when managing calls. Their best bet for knowing if a staff member is on the phone is to walk down the hallway and look.

Using the feature transforms small business phone systems from a basic access point into a portal of information. Administrators can manage multiple lines easily, improve call routing, and know instantly which users are free and which are on the phone.

2. Have Better Customer Conversations

Your incoming caller may have bypassed your virtual receptionist, opting for personalized assistance rather than being connected instantly via the auto attendant.

Extension Monitoring helps your receptionist improve the quality and personalization of these phone calls by providing the information on which employees are free and which are busy. This ultimately improves the level of customer service that your business can provide.

For example, after telling the caller that the desired employee is occupied, the caller then can make an informed decision if he or she would prefer to speak to another available employee, leave a message, or be placed on hold.

There’s no runaround and no confusion.

extension monitoring business phone

3. Help Power Users Become More Powerful

We’ve previously talked about how the right phone gear can help turn your receptionist into a call management ninja. Powerful desk phones provide instant access to features such as one-touch transfers, which can help prevent bottlenecks. They also have a built-in capacity for advanced communication features, such as Extension Monitoring.

When you pair Extension Monitoring with robust phone hardware, your business’ power users can boost their capacity to manage communications better.

4. Improve Employee Collaboration

Extension Monitoring allows users to pitch in to help answer incoming calls that are ringing on other extensions. This functionality can help your team work more cohesively.

For example, a receptionist can jump in to answer a call while someone is in a meeting. A backup receptionist can help answer calls when the call volume spikes. A coworker can help cover for a lunch break.

Rather than a user having to respond to a phone need by jumping up and rushing over to a neighbor’s desk, Extension Monitoring lets users collaborate by simply pressing a button.

5. Improve Operations Oversight

The Extension Monitoring feature isn’t just for receptionists. Managers and executives are using the tool to understand their teams better. By monitoring phone activity through the Ooma Office call log, users can understand call volume and patterns better, which can inform business decisions.

For example, a company’s support department may see a high call volume in the afternoons when there’s a slowdown in other areas. This knowledge can help businesses redistribute resources where and when they’re needed the most.

6. Increase Your ROI on Your Phone System

One of the best aspects of Extension Monitoring is that the calling feature is automatically included for all customers. Businesses don’t need to upgrade their phone plan or pay additional fees.

Ooma Office is already a great deal, with some businesses saving about $2,000 per person over three years. Our savings calculator will reveal how much you could save, and because there’s no added cost for Extension Monitoring, you’re getting even more value for the same low monthly price of $19.95 per user.

With more features at your fingertips, your business will improve the ROI on its business phone service.

7. Leverage Big Business Tools on a Small Business Scale

Ooma’s Extension Monitoring allows businesses of all sizes to have the same powerful functionality that’s typically only available to big businesses using PBX systems.

Small businesses don’t have to be held back by sub-par functionality or shell out big bucks for tools to meet their needs. Ooma Office provides a powerful communication platform that’s feature-rich, contract-free, and affordable. Jumpstart your communications with a cloud-based phone system that includes powerful call management tools, caller ID, toll-free numbers, conference calling, location flexibility with the Ooma business mobile phone app, modern essentials such as call blocking to fight unwanted calls, voicemail audio to email, and much more.

Are you ready to get started? Learn more about how Ooma Office can help your business thrive, and watch a demo to see it in action.

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Ooma Business Starter Pack

Ooma Phone Business Starter Pack

Comes with:
– 1 Ooma Office Base Station
– 2 Wireless extensions
*Compatible with existing analog phones

Choosing small business accounting software isn’t as much fun as making sales. Yet it is vital if you want to stay organized, minimize your taxes, and pay your bills accurately. When you use accounting software, you will be able to complete your payroll taxes much more quickly. You will also suffer far fewer cash flow surprises. Now, what critical features should you look for?

What should you look for in bookkeeping software?

Accounting tools can drown you in features, reports and data if you’re not careful. You don’t need a Fortune 500 style accounting system. Instead, look for a tool that helps you to manage and report on the following critical business activities.
  • Balance sheets. The ability to create these reports (e.g. assets and liabilities) is essential when you deal with banks, manage debt, and if you plan to sell your business someday. For example, it should be easy to report on current liabilities vs. long-term liabilities. This will tell you when and how to use your credit cards, cash and other resources for the best effect.
  • Cash flow management. The best accounting tools can automatically generate cash flow reports. These reports help you to decide how much of a cash reserve to hold and when you can afford new investments. Sometimes, cash is not enough, so plan by learning how to manage business credit now. The free perks you get with business credit cards (e.g. cashback on your card) are well worth the effort.
  • Creating invoices and sending invoices. You need to get paid! Many small business accounting tools let you send invoices directly from the package. Ideally, look for a solution that enables you to accept credit cards for payment as well.
  • Expense management. You can make millions in revenue, but what about profits? To obtain a clear picture of profitability, you need expense management functions. It is helpful to review reports on fixed costs (e.g. rent), variable costs (e.g. hourly employees), and other types of expenses. Using Ooma’s small business phone system makes expense management more manageable because you have a straightforward bill to manage each month.
  • Free trial. You are going to use your accounting tool on a weekly and monthly basis for years into the future. It is crucial that you like it and find it easy to use. Therefore, look for an accounting tool that gives you a free trial. If the company doesn’t advertise a free trial, contact the vendor and request a free trial.
  • Inventory management. Strictly speaking, this capability is only important if your business sells goods. For example, if you run a retail store, then you need to keep track of your inventory, cost and profits on each item sold.
  • Payroll taxes. Managing payroll taxes can get complicated because you need to consider requirements from federal and state governments. If you have multiple locations in different jurisdictions, payroll taxes may become more complex.
  • Sales tax management. Track and record sales tax on each sale so that you pay only the correct amounts.
  • Time tracking. If you offer services, time tracking is essential. For example, you might have a junior staff member with a $50 per hour billable rate and a $70,000 per year salary. To measure performance, you need a time-tracking capability. If you have a large team, you do not want to be the bottleneck for entering data into the system. Check to see if the accounting tool makes it easy for multiple people to complete their time tracking activities each month.
Tip: Meeting tax requirements requires specialized expertise. Therefore, consult your accountant to see if they have suggestions on critical features or accounting tools. They will also need the ability to download reports.

Business accounting tools for small business owners: Four starting options

To grow your business, you need to track your money. For example, can you afford to pay yourself a bonus or dividend this quarter? Reviewing your bank accounts only tells you your cash balance. Reviewing accounting reports will help you forecast expenses and make better-informed decisions. Here are four accounting tools you can consider to get started. In our research, we selected these four accounting tools because they have received a large number of positive reviews on Capterra, a business software website. FreshBooks (offers a free trial) Capterra reviews: 3200+ reviews, 4.5 stars out of 5 Built for small business owners, FreshBooks supports several important accounting features. You can create and send invoices directly through the system and accept credit card payments. FreshBooks also supports time tracking. The package also includes the option to explore reports to Excel for additional analysis. QuickBooks online (offers a free trial) Capterra reviews: 16000+ reviews, 4.5 stars out of 5 QuickBooks Online provides several different options depending on your needs. With the Simple Start plan, you are limited to one user, and you can perform basic tasks like managing receipts. With the higher-priced plans, you get additional features like adding other users (e.g. yourself, your bookkeeper, and accountant). Note that many small business accountants and bookkeepers are trained in QuickBooks. Sage 50cloud (free trial available) Capterra reviews: 200+ reviews, 3.7 stars out of 5 Do you rely on Microsoft Office? If so, take a close look at Sage 50cloud. This accounting tool includes integration with Outlook and Office applications. That’s valuable because you can look up a customer’s accounting status at a glance. In addition, Sage provides expense management features so you can track your expenses and forecast cash flow accurately. Once you have it set up, make sure you use the “1-click reports” to get a current picture of your sales, taxes and profitability. Zoho Books (free trial available) Capterra reviews: 400+ reviews, 4.4 stars out of 5 In contrast to Sage, Zoho Books is designed to integrate with more than 40 Zoho business apps. If you already use Zoho products like CRM Plus, Mail and Docs, Zoho Books is worth a close look. In terms of accounting features, you get time tracking, inventory management, and standard reports (e.g. cash flow and balance sheet). Zoho Books is also appealing because they offer several pricing tiers so you can get started with a small budget. Small business accounting software: make the most of your free trial Most accounting tools for small businesses offer features like cash flow and balance sheet reports. You will also find the ability to create and send invoices are widely available. So how do you choose which product is right for you? Start by asking for a recommendation from your accountant or bookkeeper. Second, check for technical compatibility (e.g. does the tool integrate with your credit cards, bank accounts and office software)? Based on these first two questions, you will probably narrow down the list to two or three options. The final step in choosing bookkeeping software is to get your hands dirty! Sign up for at least two free trial accounts. During those free trials, put some data in and see how the system performs. Do you like the built-in expense management features? Are you getting helpful insights to grow your business? Based on these assessments, choose the bookkeeping software that is easiest to use.