Virtual PBX, IVR Cheat Sheet, Hosted Contact Center Best Practices, Symbio VoIP

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Virtual PBX, IVR Cheat Sheet, Hosted Contact Center Best Practices, Symbio VoIP

In the hosted PBX space, Virtual PBX "has added call recording to its palette of services at no charge for customers," accordingto industry observer Charlene O'Hanlon.

"This is the latest in a series of enhancements that Virtual PBX has rolled out this year," Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX, told O'Hanlon, adding that "We've had requests for call recording from our client base and felt it was something a majority of our SMB clients could use. Since we innovated the entire hosted PBX space, we feel it is necessary to lead by example and continue to enhance the service."
According to O'Hanlon, call recording, Brashier said, can be a valuable training tool for customer-oriented staff such as contact centers and customer service departments: "This is where most of the demand originated. In particular, we've found that many call centers love this feature since it's a free and effective tool that allows them to improve company performance."
Companies "also can use the call recording feature to capture conference calls to listen to at a later date or for employees who were unable to attend. Also, call recording can be used for legal purposes," Brashier said.
In May, TMC's Brendan Read reported on the introduction of the Virtual PBX Open VoIP Peering service: "It allows the users of any SIP-compliant softphones or desktop phones to employ the firm's services," he said, adding that "the added versatility gives even fewer reasons to buy premise-based IP-PBXes and to keep clunky and cludgy PSTN boxes and Centrex solutions."
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Yes, we all need the good ol' cheat sheet now and then, so hasg raciously supplied you with the one you need for IVR. Here are some best practices in IVR design to make your system efficient and effective for both you and your customers:

Let callers know what to expect from the system immediately. This is a simple rule that applies to any customer experience. Present a pleasant greeting and explain succinctly what the system can and will do for the caller.
Do not hide the option for callers to speak with a live agent. No matter how useful your IVR system is for customers, there will always be times when customers want and need to speak to a live agent to resolve their issue.
Whenever possible, give the caller an approximate time for the completion of the request. If transferring to a live agent, let the caller know the expected hold time and provide options to go back into the IVR system.
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Ovum's Daniel Hong recently published a useful study on best practices for a hosted contact center implementation. The entire study is well worth your time, so here's a summary of the high points:

Start with a clean slate: Enterprises should start with a clean slate and think "outside the box" when it comes to extending the capabilities of the hosted contact center to their business practices. They should not replicate any business processes that were dictated by the technology constraints of legacy equipment.
Understand your resources: Before making the switch to a hosted solution, contact centers must conduct a full assessment of their technology assets and human resources, including agents, managers and technology staff. In doing so, enterprises will be able to decide which technologies to keep in-house, provide new performance and cost metrics to executives, and more.
Link front- and back-office functions: Linking the contact center with other parts of the organization provides strategic value. The contact center should be aligned with the back office, which provides order fulfillment, product information, accounting, supply chain, and logistics.
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Sydney, Australia-based Symbio Networks provides managed and wholesale Voice over IP (VoIP) services based on the Stratus Telecommunications ENTICE (Emerging Networks Telecommunications Infrastructure Control Environment) Session Border Controller (E-SC) and the ENTICE Class 5 server.

The company offers voice calls plus business and consumer-class features to customers in the Asia Pacific Rim area.
Symbio manages services from its operations center in Sydney, where six ENTICE E-SC platforms aggregate incoming VoIP traffic and form the company's core voice network, company officials explain: "Each ENTICE platform supports a different aspect of the company's operation -- for example, wholesale or managed services. The Sydney center connects to numerous points of presence and collocation centers throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore."
But as use and popularity of VoIP services began to grow, Symbio discovered that the managed services market was becoming increasingly saturated with customers who already had signed up for services. "Today most providers use VoIP, so it became increasingly difficult to find new entrants into the market interested in our offering," said Alastair Slattery, Symbio's manager of wholesale and business development.
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