Interview with EASE people

Phonet: IP-telephony (Virtual PBX): 5 tools for sales increase

The article was being prepared before Russia started a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. The service of Phonet discussed herein is relevant for the companies that continue to work or plan to restore their activities in the near future, as well as for volunteer organizations to which this service will be  provided by us free of charge.

A lot of the companies have long been contacting their customers, partners and clients using the phone. And today in times of war not only business needs to stay in touch. Logisticians, volunteers, drivers, psychological support lines and public organizations also need a well-established mobile call processing system.

Hryhorii Osadchyi, co-founder & CEO of PHONET, LLC, is here to tell us about the advantages and disadvantages of IP-telephony, its operation and options to choose.

1) Which companies need IP-telephony?

IP-telephony is needed for those companies that communicate by phone with customers, suppliers or partners.

For example, among the clients of Phonet there are companies of various sizes and business areas, starting from the  enterprises with one employee to the projects with hundreds of operators.

Today, IP-telephony is a must for every company that wants to have an efficient and competitive sales department.

The most popular IP-telephony is with e-commerce, of course, for example, telephony for online stores. And even if the sale is carried out entirely on the site, you still have to contact the client by phone to:

  • confirm order details and make some changes to the order;
  • Cross-sell — upselling goods of related categories;
  • accept complaints, returns, etc.

Also without telephony it is impossible to achieve rapid communication with suppliers, contractors and employees.
2) Why has IP telephony become so popular? What are its advantages?

Among the key advantages of IP-telephony, I can highlight:

  • Lots of useful features: telephone conversations recording , integration of the telephony  with the CRM systems, detailed statistics and analytics, voice menu and others.
  • Continued relevance: IP-telephony is the transfer of calls under the control of the program, which makes it possible to constantly add to it new functions and capabilities necessary for the business..

3) How to choose and to organize IP-telephony in the company? 

The easiest way is following the recommendation. If your immediate environment does not have experience in a successful telephony organization, you should consider the largest market players, talk to their managers and make a decision based on professional advice.

Be sure to pay attention to the following issues:

  • Whether it is possible to connect numbers of the operators you need (mobile and landline numbers).
  • Availability of the integration with the CRM-system, whether the integration is included in the recommended tariff package? Often after connecting telephony it becomes necessary to pay separately for integration and configuration.
  • Whether it is possible to customize fields in the contact card.
  • Changing call scenarios, access rights in your personal account, and not only through technical support.
  • Is it possible to make calls from a mobile phone with its fixation in the CRM system?
  • Is it possible to use your mobile phones to receive and make calls with their fixation in the telephony (and CRM) of the company?

Telephony setup is best left to professionals. Attempts  to install it by yourself often incur significantly higher costs than using ready-made solutions.

4) How to make and receive calls using IP-telephony?

To make and receive calls using IP-telephony you can use:

  • SIP-softphone (IP-phone) is a special telephone set that is connected directly by cable to the Internet through a router or switch. It already has “built-in” echo and noise cancellation, special audio codecs to improve sound, and you can always hear an incoming call. It is not tied to the operation of the main device, as, for example, a softphone depends on the performance of the computer.
  • Softphone – a computer program installed on a computer, or a program in the form of an application on a smartphone.
  • Regular phone connected to the Internet through a special adapter VoIP-gateway (IP-gateway).
  • Mobile phone. An important and trendy opportunity of IP-telephony is to work using FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergence) mobile phones. It should be noted here that in this case IP telephony as such works “behind the screen”, since the company employee and the client can use mobile phones with a regular GSM connection, and via the Internet the call goes from the mobile operator to the virtual PBX and back. At the same time, the advantages remain: fixing all calls in the general call log, transferring them to the CRM, call analytics, etc.

5) Are there any disadvantages of IP-telephony?

As a rule, all the disadvantages  of IP-telephony are related to the operation of the Internet through which calls are transmitted to it , and respectively they are associated with ensuring the stability of its work.

  • Unstable internet connection. Short-term interruptions of the Internet connection look like loss of syllables and words during the telephone conversation.
  • Old and weak “home” router. Good routers have a prioritization of the voice data stream. Weak routers may not be able to handle the fast, timely transmission of the large amount of data passing through them. For example, when an office of 10 people works on a home router.
  • Overloaded Internet channels. When using one common Internet for telephony and other tasks, when the Internet speed is low, and the Internet is used to watch high-resolution videos, download large files, etc.
  • Cheap headset up to $35 with no echo and noise cancellation.
  • Weak overloaded computer with many programs running at the same time, with hundreds of tabs open  in the browser, and/or with lots of viruses, may affect the work of the Soft Phone.

6) What features of IP-telephony make it so useful for business? 

Apart from the fact that thanks to IP-telephony you can set up a workplace in a matter of minutes in any place where there is Internet (including work from home), the most demanded feature for businesses is the ability to record company calls to work on improving sales and service levels.

Audio recording of calls

It is convenient for monitoring and understanding of the real communication of managers with clients, as well as of compliance with scripts.

When recording calls, there is always the opportunity to figure out contentious situations when it is not clear which side is right. Audio recording makes it possible to recover information. Also a manager working with the client, or another employee who has picked up further work with the client is able to listen to the call recording. In addition, audio recording is effective for studying as  you can listen to your own conversations, analyze mistakes or, on the contrary, successful conversations with clients.

Integration of the telephony with the CRM-system of the company

Another popular feature is the integration of the telephony with the CRM-system of the company. With an incoming call, you can immediately see in the CRM-system the main information about the client in the pop-up client card. Leads, deals, orders are automatically created when clients call, so that it is impossible to forget about them. It also enables you to direct an incoming call directly to the responsible manager specified  in the client card, to listen to the history of the telephone conversations with the client, as well as to make a call by clicking the contact in the CRM-system without dialing the number.

Besides, various CRM-systems  provide additional features for telephony integration, such as providing information concerning the advertisement the client clicked on,  making end-to-end analytics, and other features that help to attract more customers and work with them, increasing company sales.

Statistics, analytics and convenient call search

Virtual PBX  provides an opportunity to see the company call log,  calls that are active right now, missed calls that have not been called back from any place where there is Internet access. In addition, it is convenient to find and filter calls in the log according to various criteria.

These features greatly improve work efficiency.

It is important for every company to see statistics and analytics. IP-telephony keeps records  of all calls and displays all indicators in the form of convenient reports ensuring the possibility  to compare and predict the work of employees and departments.

IVR Voice Menu

Among the popular features, the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Voice Menu should be noted:

  • When calling the company, the customer will hear an automatic, professionally recorded greeting with the name of the company. This will create a positive impression of the company even before talking to the manager;
  • Voice menu working 24/7 and providing answers to the most frequent questions of the customers;
  • With the help of IVR you can immediately distribute customers to the departments or specific employees they need.

The Callback order on the site

An opportunity that really affects sales, customer loyalty and site conversion is an instant call automatically generated by the  telephony to a client who has previously ordered a call on the site (CallCatcher).

Reasons why customers prefer ordering a callback on the site to a call to a number:

  • it is obvious that the call ordered on the site will be free;
  • people prefer to get calls and not to make calls;
  • it’s faster than wandering through the voice menu and talking to the call distributor;
  • it’s a kind of gambling whether the manager will be able to call you during the waiting time of the countdown of the built-in stopwatch.

All of the above is not a complete list of features. If you are not using IP-telephony in your business yet or you are not using all of its features, be sure to fix it. Your investment in IP-telephony will pay off quickly, as in most cases the cost for the companies with 10 employees does not exceed the cost of one cup of coffee per day.

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