Software add-ons give cloud-based phone systems added benefits

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems can simplify a company’s communications in a number of ways. Upgrading phones from a traditional system to VoIP can streamline call routing and increase efficiency, but it can also benefit customer service.

“When you’re looking at the customer service experience and using your phone system to help you with that, you have to be able to pick and choose those applications that truly are helpful for you,” says Alex Desberg, sales and marketing director at Ohio.net. “Don’t assume the full features of a really sophisticated phone system are what you need. Pick those applications that make a difference in your business and ignore those that don’t matter.”

Smart Business spoke with Desberg about types of VoIP features that are beneficial in terms of customer service.

What software add-ons are available for a VoIP system?

Call recording for call centers is a great attribute of a phone system. It allows you to go back and review calls with your staff or your customers from a quality assurance standpoint. The reviewer can then use the recordings to train other employees or verify what a customer wants or where a problem occurred. There is a manager portal where managers can access calls by operator, time of day, numbers dialed, and other filters to research and analyze. It’s a very strong tool that you can use on selected phones or a selected location.

Call monitoring is another add-on that can be put in place to allow managers to listen in on calls. For quality assurance, managers can evaluate operators in real time. If there is a problem, a manager can actually speak to the operator on the call without the caller hearing and notify the operator to collect an outstanding balance, answer a question in a particular way, whatever the case may be.

Furthermore, they can break in and say, ‘This is the manager, I’d like to discuss this with you,’ and take over the call. It’s a great way to help operators or customer service personnel with their calls.

Features such as these typically require a sophisticated phone system that is designed specifically for call centers. But with VoIP, existing users can implement a software add-on. It can also be trialed or removed if it isn’t right for the company or circumstance.

How can smartphones tie-in with VoIP?

Increasingly, employees are telecommuting or on the road. They are mobile, but need to be a part of a customer service experience. Traditionally, an out-of-office employee can be conferenced-in on a call. Now these employees can be connected via software that allows remote workers’ smartphones to become an extension on the VoIP system. So a four-digit extension system can be used to contact and include someone working in the field.

Are there systems available to analyze calls placed and recorded?

Call detail records are an after-the-fact review of who is calling the company and what numbers they are calling from. These can also be used to evaluate the performance of the sales team or customer service department, the time of day most calls take place, the length of the average call or a number of other metrics. These metrics can be used to review the communications a company has with its customers, and can even be automatically compiled and viewed online as a report.

What does the setup and implementation look like?

Because the cloud-based system is hosted, the vendor should manage it for the customer and set it up. To do so, the vendor interviews the company to determine the features a company needs, installs and applies them. Then during the training sessions, employees are taught how to use the software add-ons.

Alex Desberg is the sales and marketing director at Ohio.net. Reach him at [email protected].

Insights Telecommunications is brought to you by Ohio.net

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