IP PBX Software: Some might argue that if you are going to choose a VoIP communication platform for your business you might as well put down money for contact center software that has almost all the functionalities of IP PBX and more. Then again you may want a system purely for communication in which case IP PBX software is best but which one to choose? There are dozens of vendors and it may be confusing so this mini guide should help you to make a considered choice.
Look at the solution provider
You have choices when you look at IP PBX solution providers. It ranges from top names no doubt offering quality IP PBX software at top dollar with services to match but the services too cost money. Then there is another segment of PBX software providers that makes use of open source platforms like Asterisk and Freeswitch. You may expect top IP PBX software and back up services to match. Choose one, especially those offering customization. This way you get a lean and mean IP PBX that does not strain resources or finances.
Consider on-premise and hosted IP PBX
You will want to know cost of ownership. If you opt for on-premise IP PBX system you will have to invest in software, hardware and also space as well as power required for these equipments. You will also need maintenance or support personnel.
However, operational costs may be lower. This is the way to go if your company makes and receives large number of calls. If, however, you are not willing to invest a large sum then the hosted path is easy, especially for startups and small business owners. With on-premise systems you can have extreme customization but the choices in hosted IP PBX solutions are limited to availing specific packages regardless of whether you want the features or not.
Voice call is the primary purpose of the IP PBX software. How well the software is implemented with tight codec integration can have an impact on audio clarity which is absolutely essential. Unlike PSTN, VoIP operates with packets. Missing and dropped packets, latency and other factors can hamper communications. You need expert implementation of technologies by someone with expertise and knowledge to get perfect clarity regardless of bandwidths and internet speed and regardless of whether you are using an IP Phone, desktop or mobile phone.
Most IP PBX software companies offer a full feature list like least cost routing, phone book, do not disturb, intercom, call forwarding and screening, fax to email to fax and others so you do not have to worry much but it does help to cross check and compare.
For instance, some may offer IVR as an extra while others include it and it is a useful feature to have. That, of course, depends on whether you need it. For instance, you could find multi-lingual feature helpful if you serve customers from various regions or have branch offices across the world. One important feature you must have is mobility.
Given the trend of BYOD and that executives use their mobile phones whether they are in office or out, your PBX software must include mobile access such as through an app. Authorized employees can access full functions of the PBX and stay connected at all times. Whether it is talking with team members or with customers, it is good to communicate through the same channel and maintain records. Talk of records and inevitably data crops up.
CRM is your data repository. Linked to the IP PBX through API integration it works synergistically. Serving customers becomes a breeze. You can plan and launch campaigns. The CRM with IP PBX pushes leads to marketing for follow up and complaints through the IVR to service support personnel. Your call records go into the CRM. You can analyze such data and derive actionable insights so make it a point to focus on this aspect when you choose the best IP PBX software for your business.
Voice is good. Video is much, much better. Look for IP PBX software that integrates WebRTC. This helps you engage in audio or video chat and conference and even share documents as well as make presentations. It is great for talking with nexgen customers. It is ideal as a collaboration tool. Make it a must have feature and your IP PBX investment will repay you many times over.
Administration console, user perspective
How easy it is to use is another factor to consider. People are busy in the office and may want to carry out things like call transfer or intercom use with just one or two key presses. The same goes for administration console that should allow the administrator to view activities and to set permissions as may be required.
With IP PBX software you have some degree of intelligence woven in along with a lot of features. So you go back to evaluating the vendor and consider what features are included and what cost extra and why. Cost does matter from the initial investment view and from the operational expenses view. Some IP PBX software that could give you the best in terms of cost and performance are available from Hodusoft.