Agility and versatility are buzzwords in an age where remote working has become the norm. Yet, ironically, the more small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) try to be agile and versatile, the farther they seem to get from those ideals.
The answer lies in communication solutions which help businesses with employees scattered across the globe achieve a “single office” environment. Cloud PBX systems are the most important asset in achieving this goal.
Most businesses will already have experience with traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, but when you couple them with reliable Voice over IP (VoIP) connections, you end up with unified communications, even when your staff is based around the world.
Types of PBX Systems
Before we get into the features of a cloud PBX system, it’s important to understand the different types of PBX system that you can get. The two most common PBX systems are:
- Traditional / On-Site PBX – This system, as the name suggests, is based on-premises, with all the hardware set up and maintained by the business, and run on their own servers.
- Cloud / Hosted PBX – This cloud-based phone system doesn’t need any on-site equipment setup, as it’s accessed over the Internet. The hardware and server are maintained by a service provider, so businesses don’t need to worry about setup or upkeep at all.
Features of Cloud PBX
Now that you know what separates a cloud PBX system from the traditional one, let’s dive into the features it offers.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
“Welcome to Solid Systems. Press 1 for Support. Press 2 for Accounts…”
We all know about those handy menus for connecting your customers to the team that they need, and with a cloud PBX system, you can setup a customised greeting and menu for your business.
Flexibility in Phone Choice
Cloud phone services allow businesses to make or receive calls from any corner of the world using smartphones, computers or specialised handsets, with nothing more than a stable Internet connection. This gives you the option to reduce hardware costs by using staff’s existing devices, and helps your teams to work in the way that’s most productive for them, improving communication and boosting your customer service.
Time-Based Call Routing
If a customer calls your business at 2 o’clock on a Sunday morning, would your phone line ring and ring, going unanswered? Wouldn’t it be better for them to get a message explaining your business hours?
Also known as a Time Router, the time-based routing feature lets businesses forward customer calls, or provide an automated message, based on the time or the day that they’re calling. This is particularly useful for businesses that offer 24-hour support, or have staff members across time zones, as it lets you set up a convenient calendar to follow staff schedules. When a customer calls, you can make sure that they automatically reach an available staff member, rather than having to wait on hold.
Call Reporting and Real-Time Call Analytics
Managing a call centre is no easy task, even when your staff are based in the same office, never mind when they’re spread around the globe. But call reporting is a feature that simplifies call centre management through comprehensive real-time analytics. Gain insights into how your business uses your phone system and optimise productivity with details like:
- Number of calls answered or missed.
- Number of toll-free calls
- Time of the day that most calls come in
- Team members answering the most and the least calls
This helps your business refine call centre scripts, enhance efficiency, and keep tabs on exactly what your staff are spending their time on.
Keeping a record of all the calls that your teams make and receive is an invaluable asset for any business. Recordings can help you:
- Train staff for multiple caller scenarios
- Manage quality control
Resolve caller disputes
- Ensure security in case of false reports
With a cloud PBX system, recordings are effortless to retrieve, and even include a comprehensive search-and-listen function through your management portal.
Another incredibly handy cloud PBX feature is call forwarding. When your staff members are on the go, the phone system lets them forward calls from their extension to a cellphone or to another extension. This is particularly useful when staff move between working at your office and their homes on a regular basis. Plus, if an employee isn’t available, you can redirect incoming calls to one of their available colleagues. This is a great bonus for remote working and significantly improves customer satisfaction, as your clients will get the answers they need, from the right team members, straight away.
Voicemail to Email
Improve efficiency and response time with email notifications for voicemails. As soon as a customer leaves a message, you’ll be notified and have the opportunity to respond as quickly as possible. The voicemail recording will even be attached to the email itself! This helps your remote teams to organise, rename, delete, and even forward voicemail messages to their colleagues. This feature opens the gates for the employees to access voicemails from any device, from computers, to smartphones and tablets.
Connect with multiple staff members or customers at any time with this handy cloud PBX feature. Hold meetings, presentations, regular catch-up sessions, and so much more with easy-to-use conferencing. You can create private calls, provide an extension for joining, transfer external users into the conference, and have a productive group session with your team members.
Advanced Call Queuing
There’s nothing worse as a customer than listening to an endless ringing dial tone when you desperately need help. When your call centre gets busy, having a call queuing cloud PBX feature will feel like a lifesaver.
Place callers in a queue with handy hold music until an agent is free to help them. You can add useful announcements or helpful information to keep them informed as well! And, if your customers don’t have time to wait, you can give them the option to leave a voicemail. This enhances the customer experience, as they are given a good idea of their place in the line and how long it should take for their call to be answered.