Fonality PBXtra Call Center Edition released

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Fonality PBXtra Call Center Edition released

FonalityFonality today released their latest version of PBXtra Call Center Edition v3.5, an Asterisk-based IP-PBX, and added some interesting new call center features. For instance, PBXtra Call Center Edition has a new feature that lets remote call center agent's receive phone calls using any type of phone - VoIP phone, analog phone, cell phone. etc. PBXtra will call the agent when it's his/her turn to answer a call in the ACD queue. This is similar to DISA (Direct Inward System Access) that call centers have used over the years to allow remote agents to remotely partipate in ACD queues. The problem with using DISA is that it required the agent to place a potentially long-distance call to the corporate PBX, logon with DTMF access codes, and remain connected to the switch/PBX. This not only racked up PSTN per-minute charge, it also uses valuable port resources on the PBX.

Fortunately, PBXtra Call Center Edition takes a novel approach by only dialing the remote agent when a call is being routed. If the agent doesn't answer the call, the call will be routed to the next available agent using whatever phone device & phone number the agent chooses. You can also configure PBXtra so if an agent is logged in and doesn't take say 8 calls in a row, PBXtra will automatically sign off the agent. I asked if some sort of alert is sent to a supervisor and Fonality said this feature isn't currently available, but they'd consider my suggestion. I'll just bill Fonality my standard "consulting fee".

This release also adds "text whisper" using the optional HUD Agent software client so the supervisor can send text IMs to the agent. The HUD Agent client also supports monitor and barge-in on the call. Another advanced call center feature is agent overflow, which will automatically route calls to other branch offices once all the available agents are unavailable.

I spoke with Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality on Monday and he told me, "There are a lot of small businesses that have 3,4,5, or 6 sales guys and really wanted call center functionality but couldn't afford it. We're selling the better part of 50% of our sales purchase the Call Center upgrade. That doesn't make any sense since we sell into 20 seat businesses - we're not selling into big businesses. We sell into 200-300 seats, but our average seats is like 20 and they're buying call center, which tells us what we hoped was true... That these folks need some sort of call queuing - they just need it."

In summary, what's new in PBXtra Call Center is the ability to manage call queues across multiple branch offices, and support for home-based workers and agents on cell phones. Also new is the web-based reporting capabilities which deliver real-time reports of the call queues. PBXtra Call Center is optionally available with HUD Agent, a universal contact management application that provides company-wide visibility and interaction, and includes secure chat and employee presence management for an additional $1000.

As with most all Asterisk-based phone systems, you get a lot of "bang for your buck" with a ton of features with PBxtra Call Center Edition.

Fonality PBXTra Call Center Edition Pricing:
$2995 Call Center Edition, +$1000 Upgrade for advanced HUD functionality (barge-in, recording, whisper chat), Unlimited Seats (no per seat licensing)

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