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What is a Virtual Phone System? Features and Guidelines.

00:00 12 October in Telephony For Sales, Telephony For Support
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The world knows about the existence of cloud-based virtual phone systems, yet a number of businesses haven’t unleashed its benefits.? What is holding them back? This article aims to fill up the information gap. After reading this article, you should have a clear understanding of virtual telephony and its advantages. You will also get guidelines for choosing the right one for your business.

So, what is a Virtual Phone System? Let’s get familiar!

A virtual phone system is a cloud-based phone system rooted on the internet.  When a caller reaches your toll-free number or business number, calls are routed forward to pre-set telephone numbers, chosen by the client: fixed, mobile or VoIP.  The agents will accordingly receive calls on a computer(softphone), landline (hard phone) or mobile device.

  • An agent can make/receive calls on the internet browser. Or the virtual number can work as a gateway between traditional calls (PSTN) and VOIP.
  • Since the actual phone could be located anywhere, a virtual phone system enables remote working.
  • This system can use VOIP Calling to enable long distance calls without incurring long distance charges.

What are the advantages of Virtual Telephony?

Business VoIP is growing in use worldwide. While the technology has countless advantages, some are listed below:

Cheaper, easier setup: With virtual telephony, you don’t need any expensive hardware or software to set up. You don’t need any of the infrastructure, switchboards, chips, and cables of legacy contact centers. Just a set of headphones and a working internet browser or softphone for your employees. You save on a lot of capital expenditure right there. Plus there are no maintenance costs either.

Mobility: You don’t have to be next to your desk phone to make calls on a cloud-based phone system. Virtual Telephony allows you/your staff to work anywhere with a working Internet connection. Your staff can work from home, on the go, or as full-time remote employees. There’s no need to wait at your desk for that important phone call or fax– Calls can be routed to your mobile phone.

Control: Your virtual phone system captures all call details. So you know when your agents are logged in, who they spoke to, and for how long. You have access to all your call recordings plus a large number of performance and queue reports.

Integrations: Legacy contact center systems have architecture limitations which don’t allow them to open up APIs for third-party applications. Virtual phone systems, on the other hand, often have open platforms that can easily integrate with any third party applications. This could be your CRM, your ticketing platform or a social media integration. So you can:

  • Send text messages pre or post your call.
  • Integrate your telephony and email into a single support center
  • Integrate your telephony with Zoho, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Salesforce or any other CRM or ticketing software. This saves agent time and customer experience in multiple ways. (learn more)
  • Integrate your telephony system with WhatsApp, facebook messenger or other social media platforms, so customers and prospects can contact you in multiple ways.

24X7 Connectivity: With a virtual phone system, you can set up call centers in different time zones to ensure 24 x 7 support. But even if you don’t, your virtual phone system will capture voicemails, and send you missed called alerts via email with the recording as an attachment.

Scalability. It’s easy to scale from 5 to 500 agents on the same platform. So if you have plans for growth, virtual telephony is perfect for you.

Features to look out before purchase

Good Voice Quality: Virtual telephony can and should give as much or more clarity than your regular telephony. There are reasons why some providers fail on this though. One question you can ask your provider is where they operate from? Ensure you telephony provider has a point of presence in the countries you serve or voice quality in these regions will be poor.

Good Support. Make sure your virtual telephony provider assures 24 x 7 support. Read reviews to hear what other customers think of their support. Though problems don’t often occur in virtual telephony, when they do, need a prompt response, else your business will suffer. The seller whom you choose should have a proven track record of having provided in the past, not good but great support!

Speed: Another business make or break point is the speed of virtual cloud telephony. A slow pace or lag in the API can create business losses straight. A lot of call center phone systems depend on third-party platforms for their core telephony. That is, they are built on third-party CPaaS (cloud platform as a solution), and so the speed is low. As a smart customer, we can bet, u don’t want that one!

Power dialers: While a click to call functionality is a common feature within the ecosystem, what you need to look out for are automated or power dialers. These dialers are a blessing. They can improve productivity by at least an amazing 18x times! There are three kinds, progressive, predictive or preview dialers. Chose a cloud telephony provider who has all these three to offer!

Reporting and analytics: Most good reports will include various parameters for agent performance and contact center performance. However, that’s just the beginning. The scope has to be wider. Pre-analysed data, that draw strategic learning is required.  Some cloud platforms offer up to about 70+ unique reports covering every aspect of a contact center and offer various filters to extract reports as you need.  

AI: Tools like conversational IVR aren’t just nice-to-have. As customers get used to dealing with intelligent interfaces in their daily lives (Alexa, Siri, Google Home), they will expect these when they call your business too. Look for cloud telephony platforms that invest in AI. They won’t just improve customer experience, they can analyze customer details, call patterns and more to make predictive suggestions.