Migrating from a legacy PBX to a modern IP-PBX can both be easy and challenging all at the same time. It affords the opportunity to step back and review how the system is configured and where any changes or amends can be made to simplify the customer call journey. IP-PBX systems boast many additional features that businesses may not have had access to previously, so these need to be carefully considered. In this blog, we will highlight some key areas that need to be addressed when setting up a new telephone system from scratch.
Extension numbering is key
The very first thing on the to-do list of planning a new telephone system is to set up your numbering plan. This is the extension number that each of your users will be assigned. The key USP of 3CX is that it provides unlimited extensions. This enables businesses to ensure every single staff member has their own extension all the way from exec level to temporary workers fulfilling a contract.
3CX supports numbering plans from 2 digit (e.g. 20,21,22) up to 5 digit (e.g. 20000,20001,20022). To a certain extent, this is up to the preference of the administrator, but a smaller business would generally choose 2 or 3 digit plans, while multinational enterprises would opt for 4 or 5 digit plans to allow enough extensions for all the users.
One factor to consider at this point is that 3CX has ‘system extensions’ that are set by default, so they will need to be excluded in a ‘range’ of user extensions.
These are as follows (based on a 3 digit plan):
- 700 – Conference Bridge
- 777 – PIN protect IVR
- 888 – Fax FXS/ATA
- 999 – Voicemail
Besides this, there will be a variety of ‘virtual extensions’ created for ring groups, call queues, and digital receptionists. These could be all grouped together into a single range, for example, 800-899. So you could reserve 800-820 for ring groups, 821-840 for call queues, and 841-860 for digital receptionists.
Should you have an IVR or not?
Digital receptionists or IVR can create a multiple-layer system so that callers can navigate their way to the correct department. As with many elements, this again is up to the preference of the business and how it operates. Some companies detest them, preferring the call answered immediately by an agent. Others find them invaluable in making sure that staff are not used to just field calls which need to be transferred to the appropriate department. Just remember, every level requires an extension number, so you need to factor this into the numbering plan.
Ring group or call queue. What’s the difference?
Ring groups offer a group of extensions to all ring at the same time or in a prioritized hunt fashion. They do not offer any advanced functionality and extensions cannot log in or out of receiving a ring group call. They are the ideal choice if a very simple ringing strategy is needed.
Call queues, on the other hand, offer many functionalities that can elevate even the smallest of businesses to present an enterprise image to their customers. Call queues include the following functionality:
- 13 different polling strategies
- Specific music on hold and intro prompts
- Queue position announcements
- Callbacks & agent wrap-up time
- SLA timers which can be reported on
- Specific queue recording
On top of this, 3CX reports offer many insights into queue performance to provide information that business decisions can be based on.
Your omnichannel PBX, made simple.
3CX is a great choice of phone system as it doesn’t just come with all the usual calling features that are expected these days. It is a fully-fledged omnichannel communications platform. When planning your deployment, don’t forget to implement some or all of the following:
- MS365 integration
- Live Chat for your website
- Facebook Messenger support
- Business SMS sending and receiving
If in doubt, draw it out
One of the best tips if you are struggling with visualizing how your configuration should work is to draw it. Something like this:
Once it is down in writing, you can then amend it as necessary until you are happy with it, before spending a long time building config that could be wrong.
More advanced call flow required?
If your application has more complex requirements, then the Call Flow Designer is perfect for you. With the CFD, you can trigger many different actions ranging from sending an email, text to speech, CRM lookups, and customer surveys.