Updated: Nov 15, 2020
In Part one of the article we have reviewed some of the useful business functions of an IP PBX. In this article we will touch on the distribution of calls. Still, this is the main task of a PBX, and modern IP PBXs have developed functionality for this:
7. Call transfer - this is a standard PBX function, it is usually used in cases when you have received a call and in the course of a conversation with a client realised that your colleague has a better understanding of the issue under discussion. You enter a special combination of characters in tone mode, then the internal phone number of a colleague and the call goes to his phone. Often on IP phones there is a special button for call transfer, which you can press instead of entering a combination of characters in tone mode, then you enter the phone number where you want to transfer the call. Distinguish between “cold” and “warm” call transfer.
Cold transfer (sometimes called blind transfer) is when you pass a call to your colleague without first speaking to him. This is useful when there are a lot of calls.
Warm transfer (sometimes called supervised transfer) is when you put a client on hold and then dial your colleague's number in order to inform him of the client's requirements. Then you pass the call to your colleague. This way the client does not need to repeat it again, and your colleague can handle the call more efficiently.
8. Call hold - placing a call on hold, allows you to interrupt it at the time of a conversation, and dial another number, then return back. A typical example is a short consultation, when the person who received the call does not know the answer, and communicates without breaking the channel with a colleague to receive an answer, and then communicates the answer to the caller.
9. Call waiting - allows you to use the so-called "second line", that is, to put a call on hold and simultaneously receive another incoming call on one phone, and then, for example, return to the previous call.
10. Call forward - the ability to set forwarding (call forward) "busy", "unavailable", "unconditional" - these functions allow the subscriber to independently set other numbers on which they will be available, including mobile and international. Thus, your employees do not need to know the location of each other, and always make a call to an internal number. Also, in the absence of an employee at the workplace and active forwarding, the client's call will be directed to the number set for communication.
11. Call parking - allows you to "park" a call, hang up, switch to another phone and resume an interrupted conversation. This is a very convenient function for subscribers who often have to move around the office and beyond. Another example of using this function, when you need to change the phone for a conversation to a more suitable one, for example, you received a call through the mobile SIP phone application, and then you need to transfer the call to the softphone of your computer with a headset to free your hands, or to a conference phone in meeting room to connect your colleagues to the conversation.
12. Call pickup - when another phone rings in the same pickup group, you can pick up an incoming call from your phone. A very convenient function within one office with several employees, when one of them is persistently ringing the phone, but he is not present. In this case, you can pick up a call directly from your phone without having to pick up a colleague's handset.
13. Rings groups - is a function that allows you to address a telephone call to several extensions of your IP PBX at once. Extensions are grouped together and assigned a separate number that can be used when calling or as a target in the voice menu (IVR). For example: you have ‘customer service’ in your company, and you need employees to receive incoming calls. The internal numbers of employees are combined into a group and the IP PBX is configured so that all calls are addressed to this particular group. Another example is when your IVR contains numbers of departments of an enterprise, and you need someone from this department to answer the call when you select a department number.
An important parameter of Rings groups is the calling strategy. The following strategies are mainly found:
The call goes to all numbers of Ring groups simultaneously, i.e. all phones in the group ring simultaneously until one of them is picked up.
The call goes to the numbers of Ring groups for each in turn.
The call arrives at the first idle number
The call is routed to the specified numbers with a certain priority so that calls are distributed relatively evenly.
14. Queue - this function allows you to automatically put an incoming call on hold while the called party receives another call. All incoming calls are put on hold one by one, the caller is told his queue number and estimated time to answer. In order to not be so boring, music or some kind of informational voice message or advertisement can be played while waiting. This feature is useful when the number of operators is limited and there are many calls. And it allows you to keep the client on the line, which is more preferable than just terminating the call, because the client may not call a second time. In practice, it is effective to use a queue if you have an inexpensive product or service and short consultations over the phone, since the client can have time to order the product elsewhere if you call him back later. If you sell cars or houses, where consultations are lengthy and the decision to buy is not made immediately, a good strategy is not to use a queue, but to immediately reject the call. Then you call back on missed calls. So the client does not wait in vain for a long time, and the negative from this does not appear.
15. Time-based Routing - is an equally interesting and useful function that allows you to change the call conditions depending on the time, day of the week, holidays, etc. For example, you can make a voice message about the opening hours of the company if the call was outside of working hours. Or transfer the call to the specialist on duty.
16. Reject the call - without picking up the handset or setting the busy state on the phone. When for some reason you are not ready to talk, on the IP phone you can either reject the call without lifting the handset, or set the busy state in advance. These states will be taken into account when routing a call, for example, in the calling strategy in the Ring group. It should be noted that in software IP PBX and in Cloud PBX this functionality is considered basic, and as a rule is present immediately. For hardware IP PBX additional modules and licenses may be required, check with the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, in practice, company employees do not know all the capabilities of their telephony systems and do not use them. Using the functionality of modern IP PBX correctly, you can seriously increase the efficiency of your telephone conversations.