By John Pope
A question comes to me almost weekly from call center and teleservice managers is, “Can I provide an enhanced service for my mobile professional clients to access their messages and return calls without long distance phone charges?” I always reply, “Yes” and tell them about how I would do this.
First of all, you do not have to partner with a VoIP vendor like Vonage or BroadVoice, as long as your call center has good Internet access with a DSL or ADSL modem or a T1 connection. Next, you need either a VoIP gateway or an intelligent gateway. Then you can easily handle this kind of service for your clients. There is a misconception that you need the additional expense of a VoIP provider; this is not correct.
Obviously, the mobile professional clients would need a VoIP phone that can work with their laptop or PC when they are on the road. The most common used option is a USB phone (costing about $20). This allows the mobile professional to arrive at his or her destination (anywhere, even overseas), check-in to a hotel that has Internet access, log-onto the Internet, and start their USB phone (by simply plugging it into their laptop). The phone will simply need to be programmed to connect directly to your VoIP gateway connection in your call center.
From this point, if your call center uses a VoIP gateway (which are available as small as four ports analog), you can route their call to an agent or to voicemail, allowing them to retrieve their messages; this is done using your existing switch. This gives the mobile professional the ability to pick-up messages without long-distance charges.
Alternately, if your call center has an intelligent gateway, you would be able to provide all of the preceding services, plus allow clients to place outbound calls (either via the Internet or the public switched telephone network), participate in multi-party conferences, or return calls from voicemail messages. This would all be through their Internet connection, saving them phone charges and the inconvenience and additional expense of making multiple calls to different numbers. This also allows you to sell enhanced services to your client.
These are options that are available today to provide value to your call center clients. I personally use this service and find it quite easy to use and setup.
John Pope is the President of CenturiSoft which provides Unified Communication Solutions. For more information about CenturiSoft, call 800-866-1929.
[From Connection Magazine – June 2005]