T-Systems: Cloud-based PABX – the critical business differentiator

In a time when customer service delivery reigns supreme, many organisations are faced with multiple obstacles in getting their standards and interaction back to pre-COVID-19 levels. Communication and more specifically telephony systems have also been critical.

Many organisations feature on-premise voice and telephony such as Private Automatic Branch Exchange (PABX) systems and have not been able to replicate contact numbers to their mobile staff working from home (WFH) or otherwise remotely. This has led to a critical breakdown in communication with customers.

But surely PABX systems provide the necessary call forwarding functionalities? Whilst many PABXs are mature, sophisticated systems that feature advanced options such as integration with business apps, it’s still mostly bound by the physical on-premises limitations.

And whilst PABX systems do offer call forwarding, it’s limited and costly. It doesn’t support group call forwarding which means the call will only go through to the said employee and other team members are therefore excluded.

This is where the customer experience (CX) is in peril, as it’s up to one employee to handle a specific number’s calls and secondly, if a call is dropped it becomes tricky to re-establish the call when caller identification is missing.

The reality is if companies’ first contact with customers isn’t swift and professional, it will impact their bottom line. There are few industries where customers aren’t spoilt for choice which means they will move on to the next competitor – loyalty is a fickle friend.

Enter the cloud

A cloud based PABX system offers an immediate solution to companies’ customer interaction and supports challenges. It is a high-availability platform that provides critical system failover and Internet based communication.

Access to voice service is enabled through online connectivity which means you can operate your voice communication from a variety of platforms from anywhere, connect to the Internet and gain access to the PABX’s features.

A cloud based PABX system provides all the services you’ve come to expect from traditional PABX such as out of message replies, business apps integration and advanced collaboration functionality.

Similarly, the contact centre also lives in the cloud which means when customers call, they are directed seamlessly in the background to the right employee, perfectly emulating an on-premise contact centre.

The number that a customer calls does not reside on premise, it’s in the cloud. Therefore, if you dial the call centre it gets diverted to the relevant contact agent, whether they are working from home or anywhere remotely.

Additionally, active agents can be allocated, according to their shifts, and depending on the number of calls they process, paid accordingly. Also, the cloud-based call centre, like its physical counterpart, offers a myriad of backend integration options.

The migration

One of the main concerns when considering a cloud based PABX system is losing telephone numbers. The good news is all the numbers, whether from one or multiple service providers, can be migrated to the new system.

Your chosen system integrator will start by porting your numbers and only – once successful – decommission the on-premise system. Most SIs also provide a fully managed service such as statistical analysis, billing information and other as part of their cloud based PABX solution.

Ultimately, moving over from an on-premise to cloud-based PABX system makes a lot of sense in a time when a significant portion of the workforce is still working from home, and will continue to do so in future.

Lastly, cloud-based voice is future-proof and will evolve as the organisation continues to adopt new technologies, business efficiency and customer service delivery.

By Hein Witte, Specialised Sales Executive for Telecommunication Services at T-Systems South Africa

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