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What is a Digital Telephone System?

By Erika C.
Updated May 16, 2024
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A digital telephone system is a phone system typically used in businesses that supports such features as multiple extensions and direct lines; unified voice, fax and email messaging; voice messaging; keypad-entry menus and interactive voice response. Systems usually support a specified number of users. Most digital telephone systems use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also known as Internet phone technology.

The standard digital telephone system usually includes a specified number of phones, with the ability to expand up to a predetermined capacity. It includes the ability to use extensions or direct lines to dial each phone, keypad entry recognition for inbound calls and paging capabilities for internal communication. Most systems also include the ability to use hold music. Some use preset hold music, while others can play hold music from custom digital sources. Almost all digital telephone systems have the ability to record and manage voicemail.

A more advanced digital telephone system may have special features like email notification of missed calls and voice messages. Voicemail notification emails usually allow audio playback of voice messages. Some digital phone systems have web management centers where users can review calls, listen to voice messages, save and delete messages, access and place calls using a company directory and automatically see customer account data when placing calls to or receiving calls from a customer. Advanced digital systems may also have interactive voice response capabilities so callers can use voice commands to navigate through call menus instead of having to use a telephone keypad.

Sometimes, a digital telephone system also has professional call center capabilities. With professional call center capabilities, calls are automatically distributed to agents. The basis of routing usually includes customer menu choices and pre-assigned agent skill-set specifications. Professional call center capabilities also include reporting on such things as call times and customer satisfaction to measure the quality of service. Many systems automatically record calls so managers can review conversations and monitor service.

A digital telephone system can be costly to acquire but has several business benefits. Digital systems can increase productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction by automatically routing calls to the most qualified individuals in call center settings. Systems that use VoIP can eliminate long distance call charges. Email and web integration capabilities make it easier for employees who work from various locations to stay informed of communications and return calls in a timely manner even when they aren’t at their desks, and integrated digital phone systems that automatically display customer accounts can be useful for enhancing sales and customer relationships.

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