Updated: Sep 3
The core of the modern corporate telephone system is the IP-PBX, which is the technical capabilities of the system as a whole. If used correctly, IP-PBX will become your friend and an indispensable assistant in working with clients.
The main function of IP PBX is to receive incoming calls and distribute them to internal subscribers. Of course, this reduces the number of resources required to operate, since you do not need a separate external phone number for each employee. But the main value is that you can create a single entry point for customer calls, which, on the one hand, will make it easier for the client to call you, on the other hand, it will allow you to process these calls with better quality. A modern IP PBX will allow you to improve the customer relationship, quality service, reduce the impact of non-targeted calls, and most importantly, eliminate missed calls.
Let's consider the main and most valuable IP PBX functions for businesses:
1. API (application programming interface). It is a dedicated mechanism for integrating your IP PBX and third-party software such as CRM, Service Desk, ERP, PSA, etc. It looks like a set of commands with parameters to control your IP PBX. For example, thanks to integration with CRM, you can fully manage customer relationships in the context of phone calls. All call events will be linked to the client's card. There is an opportunity to automatically keep a call log for each client, schedule new calls, listen to the recordings of telephone conversations, control that all incoming calls
2. Call recording. There are people who are biased about keeping a record of phone calls, but when used correctly, it is a valuable tool. Recording telephone conversations will allow you to recall anything, and if necessary, listen to the conversation again and note all the details. This is especially true if a large number of details are discussed during the conversation. In addition, with the help of call recording, you can improve your own telephone conversations by analysing the conversation and working on mistakes. And of course, recording phone calls is a great tool for monitoring the quality of customer service on the phone.
3. Voicemail. This is an IP PBX feature that allows the customer to leave a voice message. Then you can either listen to it using your phone, or receive an e-mail with a digital audio file in an attachment, for example in mp3 format. It is good practice to leave a voice message if no one answered the call. In practice, people do not want to leave a voice message so often and prefer to call back, but if the question is urgent, then they use this opportunity. It is very convenient to receive voice messages promptly by e-mail, there are usually not many of them, they are concise, and contain the essence of problem. The voice message should have a higher priority, at least you should listen to it as soon as possible, and quickly decide how important the information in it is.
In companies with a small number of employees and inability to answer every phone call, the following strategy for handling customer requests can be applied:
Incoming phone calls are accepted whenever possible. If you are busy, you cannot answer, just leave the call missed.
Voicemail is sent to e-mail and listened to as soon as such an opportunity appears. Decisions on information from voice mail are made promptly.
Missed calls are handled regularly, throughout the day, using the missed calls log and CRM
E-mail processing is performed last, as a rule, such messages do not require high efficiency.
Thus, you do not need a lot of resources to cope with all incoming customer calls, and at the same time, no call will be lost or left unattended.
4. Caller ID is a telephone service that allows you to get a caller's number. With Caller ID you can see the caller's number on your VoIP phone. In IP PBX this is a standard function, it is used both for matching the customer card to the telephone and for routing calls.
5. Announcement. This small phrase, which the IP PBX reproduces to the client upon an incoming call before connecting with the employee, usually something like the following - “Hello. Thank you for calling BCom Services. ” Such a message makes it clear to the client that he was not mistaken with the number. Combined with a pleasant, calm voice, it can help reduce stress levels. Recording the announcement by professional speakers will greatly improve the effect. The gender and age of the speaker depends on your target audience. Announcement also reduces the number of inappropriate calls, people who call by mistake hang up at the stage of greeting.
6. Interactive Voice Menu (IVR) is an IP PBX system that includes pre-recorded voice messages and the function of routing calls within the IP PBX using information entered by the client on the telephone keyboard using tone dialing. Before the IVR, a "Welcome" is always played first. IVR allows the client to influence the routing of calls himself, due to this, several useful goals can be achieved at once:
Reduces the burden on call-receiving specialists, office managers, account managers, etc. The client can immediately choose the direction that he needs without intermediaries. It also increases the speed of telephone service to the client and reduces the resources spent.
Using IVR, you can automate some processes, for example, receiving a fax.
With the help of IVR, you can make a separate voice message, which the client can listen to on their own by selecting the appropriate menu. Since you are left with the option of listening or not, these ads are mild enough and don't cause negative emotions.
An example of such an IVR:
"Hello. Thank you for calling the company "X"
"To connect with the sales - press one"
"To connect to technical support - press two"
"To listen to information about new services and promotions of the company - press three"
"To send a fax - press four "
"To listen to the menu again - press five"
"If you did not find a suitable item, wait for the operator's response."
Here are some of our recommendations for creating a good IVR:
Use the services of a professional announcer to record IVR voice messages. Choose a speaker that is pleasant to your target audience with good diction and a calm voice.
Avoid a lot of items in the IVR menu, do no more than 7.
Avoid nesting. This is when, when you select a menu item, you get to the next menu. Ideal IVR is single-level with no more than 7 points.
Value your clients' time. Choose phrases as laconic as possible. Leave the possibility for the client to skip any item or the entire menu as a whole.
These are not all the opportunities that are useful for your business, which are provided by modern IP PBX and Cloud PBX. We will look at other functions and examples of their use in the second part of our article.