As a Microsoft Teams user, you are probably familiar with the basic concepts and benefits collaboration provides to your organization. But you may not be aware of some less utilized features of Teams that can increase your employees’ productivity and save you time and money. Below are ten of the most underused Microsoft Teams applications.
#1. Utilizing Teams as your phone system
The days of employees being tethered to their office desks are over. Traditional landline-based phone systems are expensive, clunky, and unproductive in a world of remote or hybrid work environments. But did you know that the Microsoft Teams applications that you already have on your computer and your mobile phone can now be where you receive all of your work calls? With clear audio and video, mobile and desktop capabilities, security and compliance features, scalability, easy installation and use, and compatibility with your email and CRM software, Microsoft Teams provides the ideal phone solution for your business. All you need to get started is an internet connection and your device—it’s that easy. Connect, collaborate, and simplify work in a secure and compliant way, all in one virtual phone system. You can even customize Teams to meet your business’ needs with features like voicemail transcription, group call pickup, and shared line appearance.
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#2. Including external people in your Team
Microsoft Teams isn’t just for internal employees. You can add partners, vendors, and customers as part of your Microsoft Team. External team members can interact with internal team members in the same way that internal team members interact with each other. Teams uses Azure Active Directory to control guest access. A guest can be given nearly all of the same capabilities as internal members—they can chat, call, meet, and collaborate on files.
#3. External chat
Microsoft Teams also enables you to utilize the chat feature with external partners, vendors, or customers—even if they have not been added as a guest of Microsoft Teams. This capability enables you to have easy communication with an external party without giving them access to all of a team’s communications and documents.
#4. Integrating with Office 365 applications and cloud solutions
You probably know that Teams is integrated with Microsoft applications such as Planner, Excel, Windows Notebook, and many more. But did you know that Microsoft Teams is also integrated with more than 600 non-Microsoft cloud solutions. The list is too long for this blog, but here is a short list of examples: Zoom, WebEx, Slack, Jira, Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce, Confluence, Polly, Lucid Chart, Hive, Mural, Woobot, Kiwi, GitHub, Guru, and many more.
#5. Direct call to video conferences
Have you ever needed to join a video conference, but were stuck in your car or needed the ability to move around? Microsoft Teams provides two ways for you to have an audio connection to a Teams video conference. The first option, included out-of-the-box, is for when you have joined the call on your computer, but your audio isn’t working, or you just want the option to move around. You can click on the three dots on the top right of your Teams call and choose the option to have Teams call you. The other option is to purchase an additional license called the Audio Conference app. This option gives users a phone number to dial into a Teams video call—like the old conference calling services. This option is ideal when you can’t join the video but would like to participate through audio only.
#6. Email to Teams
Every channel inside of a Microsoft Team can be email-enabled. Through an email address assigned to the channel, you can copy company notifications or important messages that you send to Team members into the Teams channel. The information is sent right into the channel, just like a chat communication.
#7. External channel connectors
Many Microsoft Teams users are unaware that they can utilize connectors to connect their channel with the outside world. Doing so enables your Team to stay current by delivering frequently used content and service updates directly into a channel. For example, if you wanted to bring customer feedback into a Teams channel, you could enable a web hook to pull that content into the channel via a survey platform. Every time a customer submits feedback via the platform, the web hook pulls the content into the channel. In addition to the many available connectors, you can also build custom connectors, as well as incoming and outgoing webhooks.
#8. Forward slash search
Did you know that you can access a list of textual commands in Teams? Simply go to the Teams application and enter a forward slash into the search bar at the top. A list of textual commands is displayed. For those who like command lines, this feature can save you time.
#9. Mobile voice assistant integration
Have you ever been driving and needed to join a Teams meeting but didn’t want to fumble with your phone? With the Microsoft Teams mobile app, you can tell Microsoft Cortana to join your next meeting. The application will go to the Teams meeting on your calendar and automatically start dialing it. The Teams app can also be used with voice assistants for iPhone and Android.
#10. Customize your Teams status
Teams automatically sets your status as Available, In a Meeting, Do Not Disturb, Away, and Be Right Back. But did you know that you can add a more detailed description to your status? The message could say with whom you are meeting, why you are out of the office, when you will return to the office, or whatever information you would like others to know.