One big problem for companies in handling customer calls is uninformed answers. That is, the person answering the call has no idea who is calling or why. Large companies solve the problem by using call centers, which integrate high-end CRM (customer relationship management) systems with sophisticated call-handling systems. For smaller companies, integration of hosted or premises-based IP PBXes with hosted CRM services is a good solution, eliminating the need for premises-based CRM systems. And a new "rich calling" service launched by Ringio at this week's eComm conference simplifies things even further. For a flat rate per user, it provides both IP PBX and basic CRM functions in a single hosted service.
Betting that consumer-oriented companies really want to keep their customers happy after they've made their purchases is risky. The evidence: the differences in wait times for calls made to sales numbers as compared to customer support numbers. Toronto-based Fonolo does in fact help such companies keep their customers happy. Its so-called deep dialing service provides online interfaces that let customers click buttons to bypass convoluted and frustrating call-in phone menus. But Fonolo also does something that bottom-line-oriented enterprises might find more appealing: It saves them time and money on the handling of inbound calls.
There were more advances than true innovations in the VoIP world in 2009. That's because some of the most important developments had more to do with commercial and political maneuvers than with technical creativity. Still, such maneuvers often helped spread the benefits of VoIP as much as did technical innovation. And collectively, the advances brought some already-evident trends into clearer focus. A key such trend is the increasing integration of voice with other applications and services. Another is the intensifying interest in HD voice. A third is the growing interconnection of VoIP services, in part in response to the possibilities that end-to-end HD voice offers. With such trends as background, here, in no particular order, are our top 25 VoIP advances of 2009.
Ifbyphone has launched a new version of its hosted telephony platform. The platform is one of a growing array of hosted services offering sophisticated business telephony capabilities, including features such as call center and interactive voice response systems, for small to medium-size businesses. The new version is particularly convenient for users in the advertising business.