Getting the Most from Your Existing Phone System

By Jelani Harper
Updated: September 09, 2011

No matter what phone system an enterprise presently employs—whether a key system, private branch exchange (PBX), or a PBX with Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) capability—there are a number of features and techniques that should be employed to maximize the usage and efficiency of such telephony devices. Standard practices related to policies for phone usage, integration with information technology systems, and proper techniques for handling high call volumes may all be used to increase productivity and generate more business.

Telephone Usage Policy

The rendering of a uniform, standard means for employees to communicate with customers and other businesses while on the phone is fairly integral to the integrity and image of a particular enterprise. Therefore, it is essential to mandate a formal greeting that should be used by all telephone representatives, as well as to adequately train employees in the responsibilities and names of employees in the various departments of an organization for the sake of accurate, expedient transfer of calls. It may be of value for companies to monitor calls for the purpose of training and quality control, to ensure that representatives are sufficiently fulfilling these responsibilities.

IT Systems And Telephony Integration

Oftentimes, it is of immense benefit to an organization to integrate its phone systems with existing IT technology—whether it’s merely a typical computer database or a Customer Resource Management (CRM) solution—to enable computer telephony integration (CTI), which provides for a plethora of uses. Some of the most valued of these include the means for dialing numbers directly through a computer or presenting customer history to representatives while accepting calls.

Other prudent applications of CTI include the consolidation of fax, phone, voicemail and email messages into one inbox and the ability to make outward calls over the internet. Depending on which phone system is used, additional hardware and software may be required for networking components.

Heavy Call Volumes

The expedience and efficiency of production levels may actually increase during a period of heavy call volume if organizations choose to utilize a couple of features specifically designed for such situations. One is an automatic attendant feature (which may require key phone system users to upgrade to a PBX) that answers calls before routing them to the proper department, and reduces time and the number of employees required to answer initial calls. The other is known as automatic call distribution, which positions calls in a queue before directing them to available employees, often times allowing organization to inform callers of the length of their wait period.

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