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What is A Complete PBX System Solution?

Most PBX systems manufactured today have some sort of additional software or hardware that they interact with to perform specific functions. This can involve the use of software to administer the system, receive calls, or interact with other systems where information is stored.

In the case of administration, administrator functions were performed via a telnet session through telnet software. This consisted of command lines where the administrator could make changes to the system, perform upgrades and monitor system performance. Now that most PBX systems are now IP- based, most administrative functions are performed via a web interface. This interface is accessed by entering IP address in the browser address window. This web interface is inaccessible to the outside world and can only be reached from the company's internal intranet. Having a web-based administrative tool eliminates the need to maintain software on an administrator's computer. This way, any time there is an upgrade, the administrator's computer can remain untouched.

A call center environment is a complex integration of both computer and telephony technologies. Call center agents use software to interact with customers and maintain customer information. This is achieved by the agent logging into an application that interfaces with multiple systems. When a call comes into the agent, the incoming phone number is recorded and compared against entries in a database. When a match is found, the screen is then populated with all of the pertinent information for that particular customer. This allows the agent to address the customer by their name as well as have immediate access to the customer's phone number, address, account number and account information. This improves productivity as well as the customer experience. The customer doesn't need to be asked for personal information or their account number. The speed with which the call is handled is greatly increased and allows the call to be handled in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

A predictive dialer interfaces with the phone system to automatically dial where the agents are delivered calls based on account selection criteria. The dialer queues up the call and automatically connects the call to an available agent. This requires no interaction on the part of the agent and works for both inbound and outbound calls. Campaigns or jobs can be set up based on the objective of the calls. One job might focus on a particular delinquency of accounts, where another might focus on customer service type calls. A predictive dialer provides consistency in the number of calls made and allows management to closely monitor the call volume to agent ratio. If this task to be performed manually, you would see large inconsistencies in the number of calls made per agent each day. This is because some agents would naturally be more inclined to make more calls than others. A predictive dialer evens the workload amongst available agents. Additionally, the analytical reporting that a dialer provides allows management to more accurately ascertain staffing needs and schedule or higher accordingly.

A VRU, or voice response unit, routes calls based on caller selection. A VRU will often interact with other systems that contain information relevant to that particular customer. Based on the entry of an account number, either spoken or entered on the phone keypad, the VRU can then query the outside system

and provide the customer with the information they are requesting. If after receiving their account information the customer would like to speak to an agent, the VRU then passes the call to the phone system. This allows customers to have access to information without interacting with an agent. This helps to reduce cost as it reduces the number of staff needed due to reduced call volume directed to agents.

Although some PBX systems have a voicemail system built-in, many do not. In these cases, a separate voicemail system is required and must interface with the PBX so that calls can be routed to voicemail in the event they are not answered. Although this does require more administration, in many cases a separate voicemail system is more robust and offers more features. Features such as a broadcast mailbox, e-mail forwarding, and fax capability to name a few, can provide a business with extra benefit.

Call accounting is an often overlooked and yet important way to monitor communication costs and allocate expenses to various departments. This is done through an external system that is connected directly to the PBX. As calls come in, important data is collected. Information such as duration, whether it was an inbound or outbound call, the extension that the call came to or from and how much the call actually cost, are all recorded and entered into a database. This information is later used for accounting purposes.

A PBX system can be a significant investment. However, the PBX system that a business owner might choose must have the capacity and the ability to deliver the technology that a particular business might need. Ensuring that a PBX system can easily interface with external systems when needed means that a business owner can achieve the results he or she is looking for when implementing a complete telecommunications solution.

 

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