Everyone’s talking about VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), but do you really know what it is and how to use it? In a practical sense, VoIP is a less expensive way to transmit calls and information from point A to B.
There are definite advantages to VoIP. Within the call center, the most obvious one is less wiring. With VoIP you won’t need to run separate audio cables. It is also less expensive to transmit calls, so phone service rates will be lower. Next, VoIP is adventitious for disaster preparedness, as VoIP calls can easily connect to different remote locations. The multiple connections mean you will still be connected to the phone company even if your main connection is lost from an internal or external disaster. Lastly, VoIP is a practical and cost-effective way to have a distributed call center and to support home-based reps.
Here is an overview of how key vendors are using VoIP in their product offerings:
Alston Tascom has used VoIP technology to produce several remote agent scenarios. Here are three working configurations:
- Site 1: The call center has no building. Their home-based agents know their assigned hours, clock into the system, and perform their duties just as any on-site agent. Managers pull reports, train, and consult with the agents and clients. This configuration uses IP agents and local DID numbers via VoIP (provided by CommPartners). The Evolution system is in California; the call center is not.
- Site 2: The IP agents are located in two different states. Callers use toll-free numbers. Again, the agents log in from their home offices.
- Site 3: An Evolution site took several IP agent seats and then rented space in offshore call centers in the Far East (with a second office in Asia). All equipment remained in the call center’s back room in the United States; the only hardware offshore is Tascom keyboards.
All of these are due to VoIP and creative people who see the future. Alston Tascom’s Evolution system is powered by Braxtel, a COTS (commercial off the shelf) system.
Contact Wayne Scaggs at 909-548-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amtelco has integrated its Infinity call distribution and messaging platform into VoIP-enabled systems using both Cisco and Quintum VoIP switches. This enables Amtelco’s customers to expand their operations and service offerings in a variety of ways with only a minimal investment.
Amtelco’s VoIP method is hardware-based, not software-based. ISDN spans are used to connect the Infinity switch with the VoIP switch, giving VoIP-enabled agents access to the complete range of Infinity’s features and functionalities. No special agent software is required.
The Infinity VoIP integration works as well for on-premise staff as it does for remote and work-at-home employees. The VoIP integration eliminates the need for a station board, reducing the overall number of boards in the Infinity chassis. This reduces the cost of and number of slots required in the system.
For more information, contact Jim Becker, vice president of sales and marketing, at 800-356-9148 or email@example.com.
Startel‘s 5700 digital switch affords call centers the ability to take advantage of agents working remotely via VoIP, whether it’s one agent working from a home office or an entire staff at a remote office location. Startel customers have deployed VoIP gateways and/or routers in their home and office environments, seamlessly connecting this equipment to Startel’s 5700 digital switch via a T1 utilizing ISDN PRI protocol to take advantage of the powerful call processing capability of Startel’s ACD.
Remote agents can utilize all of the features afforded to agents within the main office environment, including split group attributes such as overflow call routing, call throttling, and priority call handling.
Startel customers have deployed VoIP solutions for remote agent access for years, whether they are across town or in countries as far away as Pakistan. VoIP now provides a cost-effective solution for deploying remote work environments and seamlessly connecting them to a Startel environment.
For more information, call 800-782-7835.
Telescan: Disaster preparedness is another key benefit of VoIP. It is more effective when combined with Telescan’s Cluster Server technology, as it provides telephone connection redundancy in real time at multiple locations. This means, that should a main phone line be disconnected, agents will still be able to connect calls in different locations. The VoIP connection keep the call center connected regardless of the disaster that struck the main line. The Cluster Server provides the ability to reroute calls uninterrupted to any remote location.
Telescan recommends that when shopping for VoIP solutions, users should be careful to select a provider that supplies a clear connection. When adding VoIP there are some crucial questions to ask. A key factor is the provider’s bandwidth. In some cases, VoIP connections are hard to understand. “Clipping” or incomplete words can occur without adequate bandwidth.
To find out more about the VoIP by Telescan, call 800-770-7662.
[From Connection Magazine – October 2006]