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Benefits of Cloud PBX – VOIP

Virtual PBX for better business efficiency

For decades, most corporate phone systems were powered by on-premise PBX hardware.

Legacy PBX systems once provided key advantages, but those benefits are now outweighed by major cost drawbacks and severely limited functionality. Traditional PBX hardware is inflexible and lacks the scalability to adapt to the ebb and flow of business. It hinders true mobile device integration and the seamless connectivity of remote workers and multiple locations. Additionally, onsite hardware requires a significant upfront investment that is expensive to maintain. Simply put, on-premise PBX phone systems are cost-prohibitive and impede even the most basic forms of modern communication.

Enter RingCentral.

An early innovator of cloud communications, RingCentral saw a new way to revolutionize business PBX using the power of the cloud. They developed a virtual PBX (also known as cloud, hosted, or IP PBX) solution, which has all of the benefits of traditional PBX—voice, fax, voicemail, extensions, conferencing, paging, intercom calling, etc.—without the expense and limitations of hardware such as trunks and switches. And with RingCentral Office®, virtual PBX now offers key advantages over legacy systems. Advanced PBX features such as complete mobile integration, business SMS, and online meetings with screen sharing enable businesses to compete in the new world of work.

Benefits of virtual PBX

Maximize uptime and safeguard your data.

  • On-premise PBX systems do offer some measure of security, since they are physically controlled by a specialized IT team or service business vendors. However, it is precisely this environment that leaves your phone PBX vulnerable to a security breach or natural disaster. A virtual PBX eliminates these threats.
  • RingCentral’s cloud PBX is housed in bi-coastal, Tier 1 data centers and features multiple layers of redundancy, failover technology, physical and biometric security, encryption, system hardening, and 24/7 monitoring. With RingCentral, your valuable company data and communications are protected by enterprise-grade security.
  • Ensure business continuity during emergencies or disruptions. In the event of a power outage, inclement weather, or a major disaster in your area, your operations can continue without interruption. With the RingCentral mobile app, employees can call, fax, text, and host conference calls and online meetings using their smartphones or tablets. Even if internet service is unavailable or of low quality, the mobile app can use cellular voice and data networks.
  • Maximize uptime and quality of service (QoS) for your phone PBX with carrier-grade reliability. What does “carrier-grade reliability” really mean? RingCentral’s operations are co-located in world-class data centers with all of the major US telecom companies, so response times and interconnect services are the same as those provided by the titans of telecommunications.

Lower overall costs and increase ROI.

  • Eliminating on-premise PBX hardware reduces initial capex as well as the long-term, hidden costs of maintenance and expansion. With RingCentral’s business PBX, you don’t have to shoulder the burden of hardware upgrades and upkeep. Your state-of-the art cloud communications system is continually updated to deliver the latest in communications technologies.
  • The simplicity of cloud PBX means there are no “sunk costs,” so you’re spared the expense of specialized IT staff or outside vendors. Legacy systems require onsite support for everything from troubleshooting to adding new extensions, and manufacturer-specific training is required to service these devices. With RingCentral, you can manage the entire system online—no obscure certifications required.
  • RingCentral Office is simple to use and easy to manage. Each user can modify powerful features such as call handling, voicemail, greetings, and much more without IT assistance—so they (and the IT team) can be more productive.
  • Avoid convoluted billing. Choose a single provider for all your business communications, and receive one bill for all users, locations, and features. VoIP system, mobile minutes, fax, text, voicemail, conferencing, online meetings, the virtual receptionist, and desktop and mobile apps—everything is included in one low, monthly cost.

Connect multiple locations and mobile and remote workers.

  • Unite geographically dispersed locations, in-office staff, and remote workers into a single, seamless communications system. Employees in India can text or fax their colleagues in Indiana. The team in the UK can have online meetings with their US counterparts. RingCentral Office bridges distance, enabling collaboration among teams situated around the world.
  • An IP PBX allows for complete integration of mobile devices. With the RingCentral mobile app, smartphones and tablets are integrated and have all the functionality of a business phones service’s system: voice, text, fax, conferencing, online meetings, and access to the corporate directory. Users make and receive phone calls and texts using their extensions or direct numbers, and they can use company-issued or personal mobile devices, ideal for BYOD initiatives.
  • Employees can make and receive phone calls using the main business number or their direct line, regardless of which device they use: a desk phone, a personal or corporate smartphone, desktop, their home telephone, or even a hotel phone (with RingCentral’s RingOut® feature).

Choose a solution that can flexibly adapt and scale to business needs.

  • Get new phone numbers, locations, phone lines, and extensions up and running the same day. With the free RingCentral desktop and mobile apps, your cloud business PBX doesn’t require hardware like the systems of yesteryear, so you don’t have to wait for equipment to be shipped and installed before you can start working.
  • From the admin portal or using the RingCentral mobile app, you’re able to add permanent or temporary employees, and purchase devices to the system immediately and change group or individual user settings just as quickly. Spend less time on admin tasks and focus on mission-critical ones.
  • Accommodating sales staff who are always on the go or people who work at client sites or from home offices is smart business. Unlike traditional PBX systems, RingCentral Office provides your employees with the freedom and the flexibility to work more efficiently, no matter where they are. When people are empowered to work where and how they choose, their productivity increases—and so does your company’s bottom line.

6 Tips to tackle contact center scheduling challenges

Highlights:

  • Contact center scheduling doesn’t have to be complicated or frustrating with the right contact center software.
  • Workforce management solutions automate the scheduling process.
  • They ensure adequate staffing, the right mix of skills, and give agents the flexibility to work from home.

When you think about scheduling contact center agents for shifts, which words come to mind? “Unpleasant,” “complicated,” and “frustrating” might all come to the fore. However, that doesn’t have to be the case with the right contact center software.

This post explores how to tackle contact center scheduling challenges with the right technology, so your contact center can be properly staffed and run as efficiently as possible.

What challenges does contact center scheduling bring?

Among the most significant challenges to contact center scheduling are:

  • Balancing the needs and wants of agents
  • Ensuring that the contact center is adequately staffed, meaning there are enough agents to handle the volume, and no one is sitting idle
  • Making sure that agents with the right skill set are on shift

The way you schedule your agents matters, too. If you’re using manual methods like spreadsheets, that adds a layer of complexity and frustration.

What happens if someone unexpectedly calls out sick suddenly, or isn’t able to make it to a shift for another reason? That throws off your schedule entirely, and you wind up with a contact center that’s understaffed.

How can you overcome contact center staffing challenges?

It comes down to following a few best practices:

  • Choose the right contact center software
  • Automate the scheduling process
  • Optimize staffing so no one sits idle
  • Ensure employees with the right skills work when they’re most needed
  • Offer flexible scheduling to agents
  • Enable agents to work from their location of choice

1. Choose the right contact center software

The first step to solving your schedule woes lies in choosing the right contact center software. The right contact center software features a workforce management solution. The term “workforce management” or WFM refers to a set of internal processes that allow decision makers to manage:

  • Human resources
  • Workforce planning
  • Leave management
  • Workforce analytics

Workforce management solutions process:

  • Demand forecasting – so you can staff your contact center with enough agents to meet demand
  • Employee scheduling
  • Agent assignments, so agents with the right skill sets work the right shifts

2. Automate the scheduling process

If you use a spreadsheet to schedule agents, you know what a headache it is to update it. A WFM solution gets rid of spreadsheets.With workforce management solutions, you can automate the scheduling process to save time and ensure the right staffing mix for your contact center shifts.

Automated scheduling means you no longer have to juggle agents’ scheduling preferences manually. A formerly time-consuming process is much faster thanks to the speed and accuracy of modern technology.

Virtual PBX for Better Business Efficiency

3. Optimize staffing so no one sits idle

For most contact centers, the largest expense is the cost of human labor, so you want to be sure to optimize your staffing to get the best return on your investment in your employees. When your employees are on shift, do you know how much work they’re actually doing? They might have a high volume of interactions to handle or they might be spending part of that time idle.

WFM solutions minimize idle time (and helps you save on operational costs) by optimizing agent schedules; they ensure that a shift doesn’t have too many or too few people. Agents stay busy without being overwhelmed or idle.

4. Ensure employees with the right skills work when they’re most needed

Let’s say you know that people who want to return items seem to call during the evening shift because that’s when they’re home from work. You need agents on that shift who have experience handling returns.

A WFM solution helps you staff shifts so that the employees with the most in-demand skills work the right shifts. For example, you could schedule agents with return experience to work in the evenings so that they could put their skills to good use.

5. Offer flexible schedules to agents

Flexible schedules (also known as “flex-time”) mean that employees can shift the times that they work, yet still work a full shift. For example, Jessica normally works the day shift, but she has to take her daughter to an appointment in the afternoon. She asks her supervisor if she could take the evening shift instead; Jessica will still work a full eight hours, just not between 9 to 5.

Workers want flex-time. A study conducted by the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals showed that 33% of contact center supervisors surveyed said their agents would take a pay cut of 2.5% in exchange for flex-time. Workforce management expert Tiffany LaReau corroborates this with anecdotal evidence: she’s seen agents take jobs that didn’t pay as well just so they could have more flexible schedules.

WFM solutions make it easy to offer flex-time to employees. Because they automate scheduling, it’s simple to shift one person’s shift to another shift to ensure the contact center is adequately staffed. That’s not something you can do with spreadsheets – the manual data entry process would result in confusion and errors.

6.  Enable agents to work from the location of their choice

Giving agents location flexibility leads to a better work experience. Research from Pipkins reveals that agents who work from home have a higher retention rate (80%) than agents working on-site. But how can they effectively supervise agents if they’re not in the contact center?

That’s no problem with WFM solutions that feature built-in monitoring tools so managers can listen in on calls and review on-screen interactions. There’s also whisper coaching and barge-in functionality to steer agents back on course if an interaction takes a wrong turn.

10 Benefits of cloud-hosted PBX

Benefits of Cloud-Hosted Pbx

As enterprises migrate their phone system to the cloud, the most likely question on your mind as a business owner or IT manager is whether cloud Hosted PBX is for you or is it just a buzzword that would likely be replaced by the next innovation. You probably already have an existing phone system that is currently meeting your business needs, and you are wondering whether any incentives are disrupting your current system for a new one.

The good news about cloud Hosted PBX is that it offers a plethora of advantages that will make that decision easy for you.

Here are some of the advantages of a Cloud Hosted PBX:

1. Massive cost savings

Cloud Hosted PBX solution means that you do not need to invest money into sophisticated hardware because your entire phone system is hosted and managed in the cloud. You only pay for the services you need which release you from massive investment in capital expenditure and technical know-how required to set up your system. From the Service Providers perspective, the cost is generally shared between thousands of users which significantly lowers the per-unit usage/subscription cost for the customer when compared to the cost of fixed lines.

Cloud Hosted PBX is not limited to any geographical location, which could lead to massive call savings for businesses like Call centres that handle a large volume of long-distance calls. This means that your entire organisation regardless of where they are in the world can consolidate their communication infrastructure into a single system, making calls from one branch to another, seem like internal calls. The plethora of call plans which include unlimited calls to mobile numbers will lead to a significant reduction in average cost per call.

2. Time Savings

On your typical PBX, office expansion entails ordering the hardware, booking an appointment for a technician to analyse your call flow requirements, before going onsite for installation. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to months. On a cloud Hosted PBX, setup is quick and easy. Provisioning is typically instant; implemented on a graphical user interface accessible via your desktop computer. Adding a phone line or 20 new lines typically takes a few minutes (or clicks) because it is all software-based. You also save time on server maintenance and equipment upgrades because the service provider usually has a team of dedicated experts working 24 hours to ensure you experience no downtime.

3. You can keep your old/existing phone system

For companies that do not want to disrupt their existing solution but want to enjoy the benefits of the cloud-hosted PBX in a new city or branch office, you can still benefit from cloud Hosted PBX solution because it can be easily integrated with any legacy system or device with a few simple clicks. If your legacy system supports SIP Trunks/VoIP, you don’t even need to buy any additional hardware. Cloud Hosted PBX can interface with any existing infrastructure giving you more flexibility on how you route your calls. Cloud Hosted PBX can be configured to allow users on both systems to call each other and for users of legacy PBX to make calls via cheaper VoIP routes. This can be beneficial if you want to keep your in-house PBX but also have access to trunk lines at affordable prices, giving your office a wider reach.

4. Flexibility

Cloud Hosted PBX empowers you to connect from anywhere in the world using your VoIP phone, a smartphone with software for VoIP, or desktop PC from any manufacturer. Now your employees can choose to work from home or even overseas at any time with the same office number using their preferred device. You can flip office calls from your desk phone to your soft-phone and answer calls in-transit. The power of flexibility can also improve your reachability to customers meaning you can connect virtual or toll-free numbers like 03/0800 numbers easily to your cloud Hosted PBX and receive the call whether you are on a remote site or in your office.

5. Advanced features

You are no longer limited to the features on your phone or in your local in-house PBX, even when you are using basic equipment. With cloud Hosted PBX, it is now possible to have access to all the features available from your service provider at no extra cost. These features such as Call Control, Voice Menu, Time Conditions, Call Recording, Queue, Wallboards and much more; are generally available on a web portal, which is constantly updated as new features are added, and existing ones are upgraded.

6. High-Quality Voice Calls

With improved Quality of Service (QoS) schemes, better compression rates and high internet speeds, voice communication via the internet has improved tremendously. Before the commencement of your VoIP service, various tests can be carried out by your service provider to measure the quality of your internet connection to recommend the best VoIP solution for your location. Cloud Hosted PBX can now give you high quality calls over the internet with voice prioritisation and other packet loss resilience schemes. Many service providers now have their dedicated Fiber Broadband, 4G or ADSL networks which means that QoS schemes can be applied holistically from the central office to the subscriber guaranteeing excellent quality voice calls.

7. Scalability

Businesses grow and contract all the time. During periods of growth or contraction, you need a system that can scale up or down in proportion to your business requirements. With in-house PBX, you reserve resources and pre-allocate space for future expansion. Which means you pay for unutilised resources which may or may not need in the future. Cloud Hosted systems can easily scale to meet your usage capacity as your demand increases or decreases. You can start small with a few lines and grow your users as your business expands. Seasonal businesses can leverage the scalability of cloud-hosted PBX by commissioning new lines just before a major event or festival and decommissioning them immediately the event is over.

8. Increased Redundancy and Disaster Recovery

Reliability is a major concern for organisations looking to switch over to cloud Hosted PBX systems. Unlike your old PSTN, which relies on fixed copper lines susceptible to damage from vandalism, local hardware failures or power outages, cloud Hosted PBX depends on the internet and is usually managed by your service provider. Service providers typically have a highly redundant infrastructure with dedicated resources and servers in different cities peering with multiple Transit providers around the world. Fail-over is automatic and software-based, which means that on an event of a natural disaster, servers can be spun up in seconds, and redundant routes can be used instead of single copper wire.

9. Real-time monitoring and Report Analysis

Cloud Hosted VOIP systems give you access to real-time statistics and monitoring of all the activities in your PBX including ongoing or missed calls, active or available agents, call rates, subscription costs through a web portal accessible on a desktop or mobile. As a business owner, you can analyse employees by performance, view instant call recordings and make an informed decision just by viewing the various reporting tools on your PBX. The reporting tool not only collates data but also organises and presents the information using statistical tools like mean, pie chart, bar charts, and other graphs that make usage analysis easy to comprehend.

10. Security

Cloud Hosted PBX solutions are generally more secure than in-house PBX. In VoIP systems, the security of the solution is the responsibility of the service provider which means that your service provider handles all the software upgrades, firewall and security patches. Your service provider has a dedicated team of highly specialised professionals working to make sure VoIP service is fully secure and protected. Even if your local network is compromised VoIP Provider like VoIPLine Telecom has algorithms in place to prevent large volumes of unauthorised calls.

 

Looking for a reliable VoIP provider? Sign up at VoIPLine Telecom and get 14-Day free trial to try the best features of our Hosted PBX phone telephone solution.

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