Quelles sont les alternatives au standard téléphonique ?

What are the alternatives to switchboard services?

In an ever-changing business landscape, efficient telephone communications are crucial. Beyond traditional switchboard systems, various alternative solutions are emerging to meet the needs of modern businesses. By exploring these new solutions, companies can optimise their communication flows, improve accessibility and offer a smoother customer experience, adapted to today’s demands. Find out more about alternative solutions to switchboards in this article.

What is a switchboard?

A switchboard is a telephone system that handles incoming and outgoing telephone calls, directing them to the appropriate extensions or departments. The system may be equipped with one or more automatic exchanges connected to various analog (for the PABX system) or digital (for the PBX system) telephone extensions.

The main functions of a switchboard are numerous:

  • Direct incoming calls to specific employee or department extensions;
  • Provide features such as call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, etc. ;
  • Enable internal calls between employees within the organisation;
  • Manage outgoing calls via connected telephone lines.

There are two types of switchboard. The first is the classic PABX. This is a terminal integrated directly within the company, used to handle incoming and outgoing calls internally, hence the name “private automatic branch exchange”.

Alongside this is the Centrex, also known as a virtual or hosted switchboard. Unlike the classic model, which is installed on the company premises, this one is hosted on remote servers. In-house, there’s no need to install any equipment other than telephone sets. Access to the switchboard’s functions is via the Internet.

Why are switchboard services crucial for a company?

Switchboard services are crucial to a company for several reasons.

Efficient call management

A switchboard enables efficient call management by centralising an organisation’s incoming and outgoing communications. It offers features such as call transfer, call queuing and automatic call distribution, enabling calls to be directed to the right people quickly. In addition, it facilitates call management by supporting multiple lines and customising greeting options.

Easier internal communication

The switchboard facilitates internal communication by enabling the rapid transfer of calls between different departments and employees. It also offers features such as voicemail and conference calls, encouraging collaboration between company members, even if they are geographically dispersed.

What’s more, intelligent routing options ensure that calls reach the right people, reducing delays and improving efficiency. By centralising internal communications, the switchboard helps create a connected, productive working environment.

Optimising your company’s professional image

The switchboard optimises the company’s professional image by providing a smooth, professional customer experience. Features such as interactive voice menus and well-managed queues reinforce the perception of the organisation as a serious, organised business.

What’s more, efficient call transfer functions and personalised greetings convey an image of professionalism and accessibility. By providing clear, efficient communication, the switchboard demonstrates the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, reinforcing its reputation and credibility in the marketplace.

Increased productivity

Thanks to interactive voice menus and call redirection, the switchboard saves your agents time and the number of calls to be handled is reduced. It also optimises collaboration between agents, thanks to the possibility of transferring calls quickly and easily.

Performance monitoring

Modern switchboard systems often offer performance monitoring features. This enables the company to analyse inbound and outbound call data to improve processes and customer service.

What are the alternatives to a traditional switchboard?

There are several alternatives to the traditional switchboard. What they have in common is that they offer more flexible functionalities, adapted to the changing needs of businesses. Here are just a few of these alternatives:

1. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that enables voice to be transmitted over the internet instead of the traditional telephone network. It converts voice signals into digital data, enabling them to be transmitted over the internet.

This technology is advantageous since it reduces call costs and offers great flexibility in terms of features. VoIP systems can include features such as e-mail voicemail, video conferencing, integrated mobile telephony and more.

Note that VoIP differs from PBX in that the former is a voice transmission technology, while the latter is a telephony system. VoIP can be used in the PBX and also in other telephone systems, such as softphones.

2. Unified communications software

Unified communications software is a platform that integrates multiple communication tools, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, VoIP, online presence, etc., into a single interface.

Its deployment enables efficient, real-time collaboration between employees, regardless of their location. The platform saves time, boosts productivity and reduces costs.

Today, there are many unified communication tools you can make available to your employees, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or RingCentral.

3. Interactive voice response (IVR) systems

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are the other alternative to switchboards.These automated systems guide callers through an interactive voice menu to meet their needs without the initial human intervention. They are often used for tasks such as taking orders, checking account balances and so on.

Integrating IVR offers many advantages:

  • Reduced customer waiting time;
  • Optimised customer satisfaction;
  • Reduced staff costs;
  • 24/7 information availability.

4. Remote switchboard

The remote switchboard, also known as the outsourced switchboard, is an approach that entrusts the management of a company’s telephone calls to an external service provider. This may be a contact centre, such as ProContact, or a company specialising in communications management. With this type of outsourcing, calls are directed to the service provider. Its agents answer these calls on behalf of the client company, and can offer various services, such as customer support, order taking or complaint management. With a remote switchboard, the service provider can handle both incoming and outgoing calls.

Instead of setting up an in-house switchboard, companies can opt for outsourced switchboard services. This solution offers the following advantages:

  • Lower costs;
  • Improved customer service quality;
  • Greater productivity;
  • Access to cutting-edge technologies;
  • Enhanced brand image;
  • Follow-up and reporting.

Let ProContact manage your switchboard

Integrating a switchboard can be costly. Choose the most economical and efficient solution by entrusting the management of your incoming and/or outgoing calls to ProContact. We offer a complete, customised solution to meet your customers’ needs. Our agents are trained to manage your remote switchboard, from customer support to order taking and complaint management.

Contact us via our contact form to establish a quality collaboration with us. You can also find out more about our services by calling us on (+33) 1 84 76 24 03.

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