Compared to the old PSTN lines you will find that VoIP communication is light years ahead. PSTN is just a voice. VoIP is lots more. It is not surprising businesses are taking to VoIP and shedding PSTN in the process.
You have voice, text, fax, voicemail, email, video, instant messaging possible in a unified communication system that even gets you social media interaction. Which business enterprise would want to ignore all these advantages especially since delivering exemplary customer experience is priority of the day?
1. VoIP has options and features to power your business
VoIP brings infinitely more to the table when it is a matter of business communications:
- Unified communications
- Integration of voice, chat, video, IVR, email, fax, voicemail and text message
- Call management, distribution, porting to mobiles
- Call recording, analytics and reports
It is not just telephony with VoIP; it is total communication as you will see.
2. The IP PBX is your business communication powerhouse
Call center software is feature rich and more so than IP PBX but even VoIP PBX is no mean performer. Today’s IP PBX has a measure of artificial intelligence, can route calls to the right person and even port calls to mobiles. You are never out of touch or reach and, in business, that matters a lot where speed is of the essence.
IP PBX features call forwarding and voicemail whether you are in office or outside and must be reached through a mobile phone. With IP PBX software solution you have call forwarding with conditions attached, cal hold, call return and call transfer within an office or even within branches.
Busy executives save time with the help of the auto dialer you can configure for outbound calls and the automatic call distribution system ensures inbound calls go to the right person. What front end users do not realize is the backend class 4 and class 5 softswitches that make all the connections possible and assist with media transcoding as well as least cost routing.
Consider the case of this business enterprise that employs about 75 people in its office. Prior to IP PBX implementation it was a chore to transfer calls to the right person. If the executive happened to be out of office then the caller could not connect. Ever since they switched to VoIP technologies all these are in the past. Today, communications are smoother and a breeze for employees as well as for customers and vendors.
3. Cost reduction
Say goodbye to PSTN and the associated high costs with lots of limitations. VoIP goes over the internet and you connect through VoIP service providers who in turn connect to carriers through the class 5 softswitch and class 4 softswitch that together make the world a communication connected place.
These softswitches facilitate VoIP calls but importantly, your costs reduce in a dramatic fashion. You do not have to worry about counting minutes on international calls. It does not cost much more than local calls. You can call any time and as often as you like and still pay a reasonable monthly bill. That is about ongoing running expenditure.
- Even your up front expenditure is less when you opt for hosted IP telephony. All you need is a suitable IP router, server and IP Phones in your office. Do not wish to invest in even this much then WebRTC in IP PBX is for you.
- Then there are expenses that relate to maintenance staff and equipment maintenance. Simplified hardware means you do not need personnel for maintenance and you do not have to invest in hardware. You save both ways.
X, a global business enterprise with branches across the world found telephone bills to be astronomical. The switch to IP PBX drastically reduced costs of their international calls and encouraged executives to talk with each other more often unlike in previous times when international calls were strictly controlled.
Operational costs apart, the switch to VoIP PBX also saw a reduction in hardware and maintenance expenses while business increased due to better customer services. They dumped their PSTN lines and switched over to VoIP technologies.
Y is a startup company that needed excellent communications and VoIP was their first choice. They opted for hosted IP PBX. This meant no upfront capex for them but all the features and facilities of the enterprise grade IP PBX system.
Excellent communications paved the way for a spurt in growth. The money that would otherwise have been spent on IP infrastructure or PSTN lines was used for purposes that led to more revenue generation.
Switching to VoIP reduces costs in different ways. You do not have to spend on hardware. You do not have to spend on maintaining an IT team to take care of the hardware. You do not pay excessively for long distance calls.
4. WebRTC in IP PBX
VoIP changed the way businesses communicate compared to PSTN. In the same way WebRTC changes the way you communicate compared to IP PBX. Here is why you should have an IP PBX with WebRTC inclusion.
- It works in a browser. Executives in business can use their smartphone or desktops with just a microphone and headset at office or at home. Your business communication improves dramatically with webRTC since you have audio and video chat as well as conferencing.
- From the cost angle, it costs less to communicate through WebRTC. It also costs less to have a communication system in place since this technology does away with the need to have dedicated IP hardware. WebRTC does much more for business.
- Conduct face to face video chat and close deals or resolve issues. Exchange documents. Show presentation within the ongoing video chat. Invite anyone to join the chat and turn it into a conference.
- Talk with customers. Talk with vendors. Collaborate with team members at any time and from anywhere. This is the power of IP PBX with WebRTC to speed up and facilitate business. Your productivity improves and so does your revenue growth.
Two case scenarios amply illustrate just how good WebRTC is in the VoIP communication chain.
Mr B wished to start his own enterprise and floated a startup. With so many areas in which to invest, he had very little funds for a full-fledged IP PBX system. It would necessitate investment in software and hardware. He opted for hosting WebRTC based IP PBX solution and, at one stroke, did away with the inconvenience and upfront investment.
WebRTC inclusion means you can use your mobile phone for calls and for audio-video chats. He and his small team remained interconnected with each other as well as available to customers on mobile.
Then there is XYZ Corporation, an established business that made use of IP PBX with integrated WebRTC. Today, they use the audio-video conference feature for a variety of purposes. If a customer calls, he is transferred to an executive who starts a video chat in what is a virtual face to face meeting.
The executive can make it a three-way conference by inviting another team member to join in. They resolve all issues on the spot. In another area the webRTC comes in useful for team collaboration and training sessions. It is also perfect for them when they wish to link up with vendors, with production and with sales.
Executives may use the desktop system while in office and their mobile phones when they are out. Another benefit of WebRTC is that the company has done away with IP hardware. Desktops with microphone, webcam and headphones function as their communication centers.
If WebRTC delivers full value it is possible due to superb integration of media codecs and protocols in the IP PBX that, in turn relies on class 4 and class 5 soft switches for global connect with ease. Thank the developers of class 5 and class 4 software solutions that help carriers and service providers provide communication services to businesses and power their growth.
5. IVR, CRM
Businesses need not deploy personnel to handle all incoming calls. This is a wasteful expenditure especially when inbound calls are of a routine nature. The self-service IVR system is a useful adjunct to your IP PBX. Callers can dial any time and carry out most functions without human intervention.
Tied to the CRM and some artificial intelligence the IP PBX even delivers a beyond normal experience so much so that callers will prefer the IVR first and human agent next. Happy customers are loyal and will buy as well as recommend. Consider a couple of typical use case scenarios.
Take a look at a popular hotel chain with branches in several cities. Ever since it switched over to an IP PBX with inbuilt IVR and CRM connect, their services improved. Customers dial a number and are diverted into the IVR. It becomes easy for them to know about room availability and tariffs at any time of the day.
A product manufacturer implemented IVR CRM powered IP PBX and experienced gains by way of better lead conversion and customer retention. The IVR is always available and customers can leave a message for call back at any time or simply use the IVR to find information.
Existing customers receive a personalized greeting since the PBX calls up records from the CRM. They can opt for self-service and, if that is not sufficient, select a number to press that gets them a live agent on the line.
Whatever the scenario and industry segment the IVR part of the IP PBX makes a noticeable difference to the customer experience.
6. Call records, analytics
With no control, monitoring or records to analyze your system could well become inefficient or lead to higher operational expenses or reduced quality of customer service. Thankfully, today, most IP PBX solutions have inbuilt facilities to record calls and the better ones even incorporate artificial intelligence powered analytics. You can pinpoint areas of deficiency and take remedial action in time and this leads to better business.
An example should illustrate this. CBC is a consumer product company. They make use of the IP PBX and IVR along with the CRM to receive leads and follow up on leads.
Further, existing customers go through the IP PBX. Prior to this there were no records of interactions and it was difficult to gauge quality of caller experience and resolution levels. With the IP PBX call records and analytics feature the managers were able to listen to recordings and identify lacks.
Conversations also gave insights into customer expectations and recommendations they decided to adopt. The analytics give an idea of what was being done wrong. Employees received further training on how to handle various scenarios with call records and their performance improved as did level of customer satisfaction.
Intelligent analytics are important to assess various stages of customer journey during the communication process and it surely helps businesses improve their responses.
7. Even startups and small businesses grow fast with VoIP
One can be forgiven for assuming that VoIP PBX is only for larger enterprises. The fact is that small business owners and particularly startups would benefit far more by giving VoIP technologies a due place in their communication. Startups, for instance, must project an image and look as if they are a large business.
VoIP’s hosted communication facility lets them enjoy this image and all the features without investing anything up front. You have enterprise grade world class communication. Communication is vital for small businesses and startups if they are to respond expeditiously to customers, manage them and deliver superior services.
Why startups prefer VoIP and hosted IP PBX with WebRTC is amply demonstrated in this example. Redco is a startup on a tight budget. They started operations in temporary rented premises and planned to shift once they got going. Opting for PSTN would have meant considerable delay when they shifted office and a break in communications.
Instead, they chose hosted VoIP PBX systems. They had a full-fledged communications system easily accessible to their executives on the go and shifting office premises would not entail a break in communications. Plus, they gave an impression of a large corporate, established business with their IP PBX system.
Of course users are not aware of what is going on in the background and how class 4 and class 5 softswitches work together to help them communicate.
When you do opt for IP PBX, if you have not done so already, get a superior, AI powered intelligent system with WebRTC, IVR and other features from developers of class 4 and class 5 softswitches. They know their business and you get top performance at bottom prices with a great boost for your business.
8. Class 4 and class 5 softswitches power VoIP communications
In all the above cases the user of the IP PBX does not even know the technology behind VoIP and how important class 4 softswitch and class 5 softswitches are for their communications.
- When a user makes an international call the call travels to the local provider that has a class 5 softswitch in the network. The softswitch enables connection in local areas at the retail level. It also facilitates connection to standard PSTN lines. The softswitch may have intelligent features that let it decide the best route for voice packets to travel and thus reduce cost of calls. You can use your mobile phones for VoIP calls and this softswitch enables such calls. Class 5 softswitch gives features such as call authentication, routing, IVR, callback, support for codecs, social media integration, call transfer/hold/forking facility and connection to PSTN.
- The class 4 softswitch kicks in when international calls must go from local service providers to a carrier and the carrier uses the softswitch for bulk calls to another carrier in the same or another country. Class 4 softswitch takes care of volume traffic between different exchanges. Least cost routing is also a feature of this grade of softswitch as is the ability to handle various audio codecs and protocols.
Suppose a person dials a number. The class 5 softswitch determines whether the called number is a local or international number and routes it according to a local exchange or to the country exchange where the class 4 softswitch takes over for long distance calls across geographic boundaries.
Were it not for the class 4 and class 5 softswitches working in the background it is doubtful if IP PBX would work and deliver that ease of use and superior functionality that everyone is so used to and expects from modern VoIP systems.
9. Get your IP PBX from a company that also develops class 4 and class 5 softswitches
Survey the market and you will see that there are dozens of vendors offering IP PBX solutions. There are only a few that work in class 4 and class 5 softswitch development for carriers and for service providers and they also offer IP PBX. Naturally this type of vendor should be your preferred choice:
- They know precisely and in intricate details how class 4 and class 5 softswitches work for VoIP communications and how to best develop IP PBX systems that mesh seamlessly with these softswitches. Your system works much better and the call quality is far better.
- You have more features in your IP PBX such as smart least cost routing and intelligent codec transcoding.
- They may already have a hosted IP PBX solution you can subscribe to on a pay as you go basis.
So what about intelligence?
This is one question to ask in today’s environment where AI is a part of everyone’s life. Pick the VoIP developer that also works in artificial intelligence and you have an IP PBX system that has smart features such as:
- Intelligent call routing that learns and recognizes patterns resulting in transfer of call to the right person quickly and without errors.
- Natural language processing, language translation and even sensing the mood of the caller are some of the features that follow as a result of AI implementation.
- Your analytics improve vastly when you have artificial intelligence embedded in the software.
- Your system does not become outdated. It becomes smarter and grows with you.
It is a difficult decision to make when you have to choose an IP PBX offered by so many vendors. Your life and choices become easier when you pick a vendor who already works in class 4 and class 5 softswitch development. Your system is infinitely better when it has intelligence bred into it. Lastly, a full featured IP PBX can let you do so much more and maximize customer experience.
Akash Soni holds the position of Digital Marketing Executive at Ecosmob, a Customized VoIP and Web-IT Solution provider company. A writer at day and a reader at night, he is having keen digital marketing skills along with an experience in writing SEO-friendly, creative & informative contents for distinct industries.