Customer Service and the Future of PBX Systems
Customers today expect to connect with businesses instantly and in a variety of ways. They want to ask product questions, follow-up on warranty repairs, or type their comments about your products or services using their smartphone or tablet through the channel of their choice. It might be via email, instant messaging, social media, or even an old-fashioned phone call, but most customers expect to be able to contact today’s companies quickly and easily and receive a timely response to their inquiry.
As a result, enterprise communication systems need to advance with the times and consumer demands. These demands have been the catalyst for an evolutionary process that is taking place in the area of PBX phone systems and the way they need to be molded for call centers and customer service providers. So fast-forwarding, what will the blueprint for future PBX systems look like? Looking toward the future, it’s helpful to know where the PBX originated and how it will change for the customer service centers of tomorrow.
The Future of PBX Systems
In the past, an organization’s incoming calls were connected manually by a live operator using cords and switchboards. Then, in the 1960s, the private automatic branch exchange (PABX) was introduced. This technology enabled employees to make inter-office phone calls or to connect to an outside line without an operator. The PABX cut costs and reduced calls since fewer lines were needed and more lines were available for outbound calls. Eventually, the PABX became known as the private branch exchange (PBX).
But it wasn’t until the 1990s that PBX makers began to provide companies the flexibility they were looking for, allowing systems to be expanded through the addition of cards and ports versus adding an entirely new system. At this point, PBX systems became better-integrated with computer technology, improving call-handling and ease of administration. Over the years, the PBX phone system has grown to be data-centered, transforming into a digital delivery system for voice and multimedia communications.
Following mainstream PBX adoption came the digital revolution, bringing us the digital PBX. These systems gave companies more functions using fewer resources. Functionality like voice and data transfer, automatic call-forwarding, and voice dialing became commonplace, with improved reliability.
But today’s global marketplace has brought about the need to go beyond the traditional PBX system. Businesses need to provide high-quality customer service through multiple streams of communication, 24 x 7. Not only do consumers want to use the communication method of their choice to initiate contact with organizations, but customer service employees, as well as sales and support staff, want to be able to manage their communications in different ways.
Why Hosted PBX
To meet the demands of current and potential customers, staff need access to email, fax, instant messaging, and voicemails on a continual basis. With advancements in technology and the capabilities and available functions of today’s PBX phone systems, companies of all sizes are realizing the benefits of cloud-based or hosted PBX systems. These systems give businesses reliable phone communications that are expandable and cost-efficient. On top of that, these systems offer the latest in unified communications (UC), which help employees providing customer service to stay on top of customer interactions.
Nowadays, hosted PBX systems can easily and effectively manage a contact call center’s call flow – whether inbound or outbound. Furthermore – through the use of unified communications like unified messaging – emails, faxes, and voicemails can be accessed via a single, common inbox, where they can be distributed among agents as appropriate. And UC tools like presence allow for proper call-handling when an agent steps away from their desk. To obtain more efficient call-routing and decrease customer wait times, monitoring and reporting can be leveraged to make sure that service and performance metrics are being met.
When utilizing a cloud-based PBX phone system, each extension number acts more like an email address, in the sense that employees can take it with them wherever they go, from the call center, to the car, and all the way back home. This can be accomplished through ‘find me/follow me’ features. So customers can get their issue or order handled by one representative – working anytime, anywhere.
Another feature of many of today’s PBX systems is an adaptable and flexible auto-attendant. Current auto-attendant features can offer the ability to answer and deal with multiple calls in real-time, through the use of drag and drop in a simple client interface. With a hosted phone system, it is also possible to customize the auto-attendant for time of day, call volume, or to play different menus based on the type of customer call. The expansion of the auto-attendant helps to provide customers with an improved customer experience.
As with the rapid advancement and development of technology in general, the future of PBX systems is looking bright! To meet the customer service needs of tomorrow, more cloud-based PBX systems will be implemented. The reason: they are adaptable, customizable, feature-rich, and upgradeable. This will allow enterprises to keep up with the demands of tomorrow’s consumers – today!
To see how your company can gain communications improvements in customer service and support, contact West Unified Communications Services today at 1-855-544-0455 or connect with us on our About Us page.