Text-based communication such as email and instant messaging, is quickly and quietly displacing every other form of contact, and many business leaders are beginning to wonder: Does business even need phones anymore?

The answer is a short-and-sweet, resounding yes. Unified phone systems are essential for a functioning office for a variety of reasons, all of which serve to deliver business success. If you need more convincing, here are five features of phone functions that surpass the capabilities of most email service providers.

Call Forwarding

While more and more businesses are allowing employees access to company networks from anywhere, millions of workplaces still prohibit access to work email when workers are outside the office. There are good reasons for this: Employees are by far the weakest link in digital security, and the more access an employee has, the more likely he or she is to make mistakes that compromise the entire system. Unfortunately, in offices that don’t use phones, this effectively prevents workers from getting things done on the go.

Most phone systems boast call forwarding, which allows office phones to connect callers with their intended receivers, no matter what. For example, the “Find Me, Follow Me” feature allows you to construct a sequence of attempted forwards, from the office phone to the cellphone to the home phone and beyond. It certainly beats emails, which might never reach their recipients, and you’d have no way of knowing.

Call Recording

Though not all conversations should be preserved for posterity, there are plenty of reasons to make a record of workplace interactions. Recording the phone conversations of new employees and reviewing them later might help new hires improve faster, increasing sales and customer satisfaction accordingly.

Additionally, making recordings of informative calls prevents workers from missing important details while remembering the conversation later; they can listen to exact wording and act upon it appropriately, avoiding mistakes. You can find more applications for call recording than you might first expect.

Call Monitoring

Another useful tool for training, call monitoring allows others to observe workers’ conversations without obviously intruding on the interaction. Often, call monitoring includes features such as “Whisper,” which allows listeners to speak so only internal parties can hear, and “Barge,” which allows both parties on the call to hear, much like a conference call joined in-progress.

Both during and after a call, managers can provide feedback regarding employee action and behavior, which is especially crucial for new or troubled workers ― or for managers who like to keep a close eye on their teams.

Call Video

When a phone call isn’t quite enough, you have the option of outfitting your office with phones boasting fully functional video capabilities. In many offices, teleconferencing is an arduous task that requires relocating to the largest conference room and tinkering with complex equipment.

Conversely, video-capable phones, like Cisco’s DX650, allow for collaboration right from an employee’s desk. This particular phone is equipped with a seven-inch screen for excellent display, and it integrates with other collaborative apps like Jabber. Combining video and phone into one makes work faster, easier, and more fun.

Call Security

In recent years, one of the most revolutionary changes to office phone systems has been the move to the cloud. Many cloud service providers have built infrastructure to help businesses manage their phones, which means contacts, voicemails and more are stored online. While the cloud provides a number of additional features, one of the most important is enhanced security.

Security is of the utmost importance in the modern office, when a single data breach could mean a significant loss of customer trust. Typically, the cloud is a safer place to store data because your average firewall and virus scanner isn’t enough to beat back today’s aggressive hackers. Cloud service providers have the tools to protect your data thoroughly, which means you don’t have to worry about wiretapping or bugs anymore.

Other Benefits of Phones

If the above features aren’t convincing enough, there are other reasons your business should still invest in a phone system. For one: No matter your industry, your customers still make calls. Using the phone to contact a business remains one of the most reliable ways to receive service immediately, which means having a single contact number will inspire trust amongst your audience.

Additionally, many search engines look for contact information as a sign of a reliable business, which means, at the very least, having a phone number on your website will improve your SEO. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you use your phone every day; simply having a phone available in the office is a significant advantage that will bring you success.

Jackie Roberson is a content coordinator and contributor who creates quality articles for topics like technology, home life, and education. She studied business management and is continually building positive relationships with other publishers and the Internet community.