Admin portals are crucial in managing various aspects of your VoIP system—including services and features, lines and extensions, support, user profile information, payment history, and more. For example, 8×8’s Account Manager provides users with Call Log Summary, Billing Summary, Phone System Setup, Account Updates, and a “how do I” section. While these headings may seem standard, they allow users to engage various aspects of their account. With that, users should look for similar function from their portal.
Setup: Online Portals should allow users to extensively manage their phone systems—which include, adding or dropping features, activating/deactivating services, ordering/managing extensions and other features. Here are some beyond standard options you might want: User profiles–which allow users to use and manage their account from any computer by logging in; Extensions–quick find/search by extension, view all, edit multiple, and change numbers; Download Call Recordings; Music On Hold–select music from provider's library, purchase, or upload (non copyrighted) music; Create Ring Groups to distribute incoming calls; and Call Recording–set recording settings for individual or all extensions.
Billing: Most providers will put you on an auto-payment, therefore your portal should provide billing/financial records of your service. Full billing access can help users manage their payments by providing due date, payment status, and payment amount. Also, users are also typically able to view (and download) statements of past payments—allowing for thorough financial records. Lastly, users can typically set up/modify monthly payment options directly from the portal to allow for either managed or automatic payment.
Call Log: Portals should allow users to keep detailed records of calls made, received, and missed —at least for a certain length of time (the longer the better). Ultimately, these records help users keep track of call times, locations, and system usage—which can help users budget their time and system better. For example, call logs can be helpful for tallying International calling minutes. Typically, call logs should include the extension, the caller’s number and ID, and the time and date. Additionally, users should be able to search through records by timeframe (one week, two weeks, etc.), time of call, and date.
Account Updates: In logging in, users should be able to view any alerts—i.e. networks, upgrades, or maintenance alters. This helps manage the overall functionality and quality of the system by alerting users of any network issues, planned maintenance, or available software downloads.
Support: Users should look for quality support both inside and outside of their portal. While providers offer various customer service options (calling, live chat, emails, etc.) portals should be able to provide users with comprehensive support including: phone support, live chat, case history (logs previous issues), FAQs, security settings, and account policy, terms, and conditions.
Navigation: Though useful, navigating portals may seem like more trouble than it's worth. In quelling this concern, many providers have moved to simplify accessibility for users. For example, providers such as 8×8 and Nextiva break down portal entrances by designations—i.e. Account Manager, Virtual Office Online (8×8); Office Manager, Employee, NextOS, etc (Nextiva). In doing this, each users can select how they wish to enter the portal. Under each designation, there are different functionalities/intended uses; therefore, in selecting an entry, users will be able to move to their intended destination sooner. For example, 8×8's account manager allows users to view and manage their account settings, whereas the Virtual Office Online option allows users to employ the provider's service.
Users looking for an all inclusive hub need not look further. VoIP providers offer a tremendous amount of services and features; therefore, users should be sure they have all the necessary tools to successfully navigate and manage their accounts and services.