One of the first decisions businesses make when implementing their Hosted VoIP system regards the call flow for their incoming calls. Good hosted VoIP providers will guide you through the many options and customization now available to your business with the technology. Where it is possible to match your current call flow, taking advantage of the options afforded to your business through an auto attendant, direct inward dial numbers, and ring groups can help create an edge for your business in a competitive climate.
Auto Attendant – Businesses can place an auto attendant as a call manager at various places in the call flow. Some companies choose to have an auto attendant at the beginning of the call flow, directing callers to the departments of choice. Others have placed the attendant after first ringing a primary receptionist or a group of employees, thus serving as a back up call manager during high call volumes. With time of day routing options, the attendant can be changed from a primary or back-up as the company chooses, such as after hours. The fundamental question regarding the attendant surrounds how to best delight the callers to the business.
Direct Inward Dial Numbers (DID) – Another option of VoIP systems provides is the availability of DIDs for all phones in the business. This provides an avenue for company employees to provide their direct number to callers specific to them and bypassing the initial call flow to the business. Callers who have a routine destination to that employee see it very beneficial to bypass the receptionist. With options such as call forwarding, simultaneous ring to cell phones, and voicemail to email, concerns about finding the specific employee when callers need them are diminished, and it makes the primary call flow to the business more efficient.
Ring Groups – Deploying ring groups throughout the call flow for your business creates an edge for your customer satisfaction. As mentioned, initial calls to your business can point to a primary receptionist or a ring group of employees or flow from the receptionist for a few rings, a back-up ring group, then to the Auto Attendant. Once the initial call is answered by either an individual or the attendant, they can transfer the caller to the specific individual or another ring group associated with a department. For example, your business may have a customer service department. An extension can be created where the call can be transferred that rings all or some of the phones in your customer service department.
Again, one of the signs of a good hosted VoIP service provider is their ability and desire to consult with you on the variety of options available to your business and to do the programming of the call flow for you. There are many providers out there that simply ship the phones to you and provide a web portal for you to design and program call flow. Where self service is nice, most businesses converting from traditional systems are not aware of the variety of options now available to them and don’t have the best practices and examples of how to program and deploy call flow to enhance their call flow experience. As you narrow selection of your hosted VoIP provider, prioritize call flow customization and programming as one of the essential selection criteria you will use in making your decision.
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.