As one of my last posts about issues with hosting provider got great response and We got a lot of good advice and offers I decided to ask for advice another problem we have as we’re growing our company – organizing good phone communications.
Our goals are rather simple though the fact we’re globally distributed may put us a bit aside from typical small business needs.
Normal Phone Line We’re looking to get normal business phone line which would be routed to me and Vadim withing our normal business hours and voicemail outside of them. The same line could offer extensions to reach other team members plus. Plus we’d like to get direct numbers for me and Vadim at least so people do not have to pass through choice system each time. And Yes… Voicemail should be sent by email so it is easy to read it. We would like to keep using normal phones for this kind of service, while being able to use software or hardware VOIP calls for dial out. Phone conferencing features would be good to have to add people to the line.
Emergency Phone Line Providing Emergency Support to our clients we need to put better systems in place. Gurrently we give away few land lines and mobile numbers to reach us and it works well but does not look professional and neither scales as we get more people. We would like instead to get On Call schedule so calls are automatically routed to this person land and mobile numbers and if he does not replies in time followed escalation procedure to get at least anyone to the phone. The alternative is of course to use external on call center and make them to take the callers number reach someone and make him to call back, but I do not like this. From my personal experience if I have an issue I want to get to someone who can help rather than promise for someone to call back.
Of course both lines should be multi-line ie “never busy” and phone numbers should be ours so we can switch solutions while keeping phone numbers.
We considered two ways to implement it. First one is to use Asterisk or some derivatives as TrixBox. This way is flexible and geeky while I do not think we want to get into all aspects to get it usable as business critical solution.
The other one is to use a hosted service so we do not need to support solution ourselves and can simplify setup. However this means this someone should be good both in providing great service quality – uptime, call quality for international calls, support and flexible enough to accomodate our needs.
Any advice you could give us on this topic ?