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Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is an all-in-one business software that combines voice and digital communication channels with team collaboration tools. Unlike omnichannel contact center (CCaaS) solutions that focus on customer-facing support and sales, communication, UCaaS platforms optimize internal communication between team members while providing basic business phone system functionality.

In this post, we highlight the top UCaaS features, how they work, and the benefits they offer.


Top UCaaS Features to Look For From Your Provider

By choosing a UCaaS provider that offers the following features, you can ensure a seamless communication experience for your business and customers.


1. Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is easily the most important UCaaS functionality, and comes with its own set of advanced (and often, AI-powered) features. Video calling tools let internal team members, external clients, and anyone associated with your organization meet face-to-face in real time–regardless of their geographic location. Although meeting participation and duration limits vary by provider, most UC solutions include essential video conferencing features like in-meeting chat messaging, whiteboards, screen sharing with remote screen control, and meeting waiting rooms.

GoTo Meeting review by GetVoIP team

Additional video conferencing features include:

  • Host Controls: Hosts can appoint meeting co-hosts, mute/unmute participants, ban or remove participants, start and end meetings, and turn participant video on/off
  • Breakout Rooms: Break up larger meetings into random or preset small discussion groups, then bring all small groups back to the larger meeting to share their findings with all participants
  • Meeting Polls: Conduct in-meeting polls or Q&A sessions and view real-time participant responses
  • Meeting Recording: Meeting audio, video, and screen recording with real-time closed captioning or post-meeting transcripts with speaker differentiation
  • Meeting Views: Switch between gallery and active speaker views (among others), add custom meeting backgrounds and filters, touch up your appearance
  • Smart Meetings: AI-powered video meeting features include real-time closed caption translation and shareable automated meeting summaries with highlight reels of important meeting moments, key topics, and suggested follow-up tasks/action items


2. Huddle Rooms

Huddle rooms are always-on video conferences that team members can “drop in” on at any time. Unlike standard video meetings, huddle rooms have no start or end times and no set topics or agendas. Huddle rooms are essentially virtual versions of office conference rooms that enable brief and informal ad hoc meetings, create digital co-working spaces, and improve remote team collaboration.


3. Team Chat Messaging

Create custom public, private, group, or one-on-one chat messaging channels to enable real-time team collaboration between all employees, specific departments, or agents working on the same project. In the chat interface, agents can upload/share files, update their user presence (status), turn push notifications on/off, and record video or audio messages.

teams chat messaging


Additional team chat features include:

  • Mentions: Tag or @mention individual users or groups in chat channels
  • Reactions: React to messages with emojis or GIFs
  • Message Threading: Directly reply to specific messages to avoid cluttering larger channels
  • One-Click-Calling: Instantly transition from chat messaging to voice or video calling with one click


4. Virtual Whiteboards

Online whiteboards are virtual versions of traditional whiteboards accessible in and outside of video meetings on desktop and mobile devices. Users can take real-time collaborative notes on whiteboards, upload files and digital sticky notes to them, comment on whiteboards, and tag other users.

microsoft teams whiteboard

Additional whiteboard functionality includes highlighters, laser pointers, multicolor pens for freehand drawing, and shape design tools. Admins can save, share, and edit whiteboards. Virtual whiteboards allow for real-time visual collaboration and are ideal for brainstorming, project management, improving meeting participation, and explaining complex concepts to clients.


5. File Sharing, Co-Editing, and Storage

Alongside team chat, whiteboards, and video meetings, file sharing and co-editing are essential aspects of successful team collaboration. Unified communications solutions generally include in-chat/in-meeting file sharing and limited cloud storage, but not all offer real-time co-editing and file versioning.

Co-editing (with assigned pen tools to keep track of who made what edits) allows multiple users to collaborate and edit the same file in real time, ensuring all team members are working off the most recent file version. Most UC providers offer searchable and scalable cloud storage that acts as a file repository and provides persistent access to company files.


6. VoIP Calling

VoIP calling, which makes/receives calls over the Internet and not the wired PSTN, is the most important communication channel included in UC systems. VoIP calling lowers communication costs and is accessible on any device in any location with Internet access–meaning users can access their business phone system in and out of the office.

VoIP vs Landline

Users can choose from a variety of VoIP phone numbers (local, toll-free, vanity, international) and assign specific extensions to individual agents or departments. Most UC tools include unlimited local and long-distance (domestic) calling, tiered bundles of monthly toll-free minutes, and competitive international calling rates.


7. Call Monitoring+Recording

VoIP call recording lets admins create custom call recording rules, automatically record all calls, or access on-demand call recording. The pause-resume recording feature lets agents pause call recording to protect sensitive customer data, while recording transcription tools automatically transcribe voice calls either post-call or in real-time.

In addition to standard call recording tools, admins can use the call monitoring feature to listen in on live calls with or without the agent’s knowledge. If the agent needs help, admins or supervisors can use the call whisper to coach the agent without the customer hearing, or use the call barge feature to take over the call.


8. Call Forwarding

Call forwarding automatically forwards unanswered telephone calls to additional phone numbers in a predetermined order without disconnecting the current call.

For example, if a customer can’t reach their favorite sales agent at their business phone number, call forwarding sends the customer call to the agent’s personal cell phone number. If there’s no answer there, the customer’s call is forwarded to the agent’s home phone number. If the call remains unanswered, the customer call may be forwarded to the agent’s voicemail box, another sales team member, or a call queue to wait for an available agent.

Call forwarding

Admins can customize the amount of time (or number of rings) before unanswered calls are forwarded to the next number. Calls can be forwarded to internal business phone numbers or extensions, external personal cell phone or home phone numbers,  call queues, ring groups, and voicemail boxes.

Call forwarding eliminates excessive call transfers, prevents customers from dialing multiple numbers to reach a live agent, and gives agents the flexibility to leave the office without worrying about missing important calls.  Small businesses with remote and mobile teams benefit the most from call forwarding, as it helps lower missed call ratios, increases FCR, and cuts down on the number of customer callbacks.


9. Call Routing

Call routing is a call management strategy that automatically directs inbound callers to the best available agent based on the number dialed, customer IVR input, preset business hour rules, and live call center activity.

Admins can implement one or more call routing strategies, including:

  • List-Based Routing: Routes callers to agents according to a preset sequential list that “resets” after every call (Agent A takes all inbound calls, Agent B only takes a call if Agent A is unavailable)
  • Skills-Based Routing: Routes callers to the agent with the specific skill set, availability, and language knowledge needed to provide the best possible assistance (callers with payment questions are sent to the billing department, callers wanting to place orders are sent to sales teams, etc.)
  • VIP/Relationship-Based Routing: Routes callers to their preferred agent/the agent they have an existing relationship with, or automatically places important/high-value clients at the top of the call queue, minimizing their wait time
  • Round Robin Routing: Evenly distributes calls between available agents (first call goes to Agent A, second call goes to Agent B, third call goes to Agent C, fourth call goes back to Agent A, etc.)
  • Most Idle Routing: Routes calls to the agent that has been idle for the longest time

Effective call routing strategies shorten call queues, increase FCR, cut down on customer wait times, and improve the overall customer experience without overburdening agents.


10. Ring Groups

Ring groups (call groups) are customizable groups of agents that are assigned to specific call queues, increasing the chance that customer calls are answered by a live representative.

Usually, ring groups consist of agents working in the same department with similar skills and schedules.

When an inbound call is received, call blasting (simultaneous ring) automatically rings all call group members’ phone numbers at the same time–and the agent to answer the phone first takes the call. Admins can also use custom ring rules or the above call routing strategies to dictate how ring group members are assigned customer calls.



IVR (Interactive Voice Response) uses automated and customizable call menus to either direct customer calls to the right agent/department or entirely resolve basic customer service requests without involving a live agent.

Customers can respond to these call menu prompts via touchtone dialpad, or by speaking their responses directly into the phone. Using Natural Language Processing to determine customer intent, ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) then routes callers to their desired agent or optimal call queue.



Admins can customize and edit IVR call flow paths via an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, creating call menus and sub-menus for more complex requests.

IVR frees up live agents, collects valuable customer data, prevents customers from repeating themselves, and enables 24/7 customer self-service.


12. Call Queues

Call queues are virtual lines that customers wait in until an agent is available to assist them. Admins can customize maximum queue length and wait times, add custom hold music or messages that play to on-hold customers, and give customers real-time updates about their queue position. Callers are placed in queues according to their IVR input or based on the number of available agents.

To reduce hold times, implement automated customer callbacks that let customers choose when to receive a callback instead of waiting on hold for an available agent.


13. Virtual Voicemail

Virtual voicemail (voicemail-to-text) creates and sends written transcripts of voicemail messages, allowing team members to prioritize callbacks and save time. Admins can enable real-time message notification alerts and voicemail-to-email, which sends both the voicemail audio file and transcription to an agent’s inbox.


14. Audio Conferencing

Audio-only conferencing (conference calling) is another team collaboration tool included in nearly all UCaaS solutions. Most providers offer unlimited audio conference lengths but may have participant caps. Like web conferences, conference calls can be scheduled or ad hoc, and include internal and external participants.


15. Third-Party Integrations

Third-party integrations let end users streamline all their business communication and collaboration tools into one interface–meaning that once you purchase a UC platform, you can continue to use your existing CRM tools, helpdesk solutions, chat apps, etc. Effective third-party integrations let agents receive real-time CTI screen pops during active calls, showing valuable CRM data or call scripts on agent screens without app switching. Developers can also use APIs to add specific functionality to their UC solutions–but doing so does require basic coding knowledge.


16. Mobile App

UC software should always include a desktop softphone app and mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. Note, however, that mobile unified communication apps are scaled-down and don’t offer access to all the same features as desktop versions. Before committing to a provider, review which features are and are not included in the mobile version of the software.


17. SMS+MMS Texting

SMS/MMS business text messaging is ideal for sending customers automated order confirmations, appointment reminders, or quick follow-up messages letting them know their message was received and they’ll receive a call from an agent when one is available. Agents can also offer SMS-based customer support via two-way text messaging.

Unlike CCaaS solutions, UC platforms generally only include 1:1 or small group SMS messaging, not extensive SMS marketing campaign tools (though some offer SMS campaigns as paid add-ons.) Additionally, review monthly SMS limits on message length and the number of inbound/outbound monthly texts. Most providers include a preset amount of monthly SMS messages in their bundled plans, with the option to purchase additional SMS credits if needed.


18. Real+Historical Analytics

Real-time and historical analytics identify peak call times and customer behavior trends, monitor productivity levels, and evaluate everyday call center activity. Most UC platforms include a variety of pre-made reporting templates with customizable KPIs, alongside real-time push notifications when KPIs dip below expected performance thresholds. Admins can filter reports by date range, call type, device, agent, department, and more.

aircall analytics

Essential UCaaS KPIs include:


19. Call Flip

Call flip lets agents seamlessly switch between devices during active calls without disconnecting callers or putting them on hold. For example, if an agent receives a call at their desk phone but needs to leave the office, they can leverage the call flip feature to instantly transfer the call to their smartphone, finishing up the conversation on the go.

Like call forwarding, call flip is an essential feature for remote/hybrid teams, agents juggling simultaneous calls, or sales teams that need to be “on call” even when they’re not physically at the office.


20. Virtual Faxing

Virtual faxing lets team members send, receive, and manage faxes from desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices–no bulky fax machines required. Users can set up dedicated virtual fax numbers or send/receive online faxes via their standard business phone numbers. All faxes are stored in a cloud-based virtual inbox, and users can attach documents and files to outbound faxes.


How To Choose The Right UCaaS Provider

Once you’ve decided which UCaaS features are essential for your team, nice to have, or unnecessary for your current business phase, you’re ready to shop for UC platforms.

Not sure where to start?

At GetVoIP, we review top UCaaS providers and their available pricing, plans, features, integrations, security, customer support, and overall user experience. Our insights, informed by hands-on product testing, years of industry insight, and detailed analysis of current UCaaS trends, will help you make the right decision.