WHY YOU SHOULD USE 3CX IN YOUR OFFICE
We recently completed a phone system upgrade for one of our clients’, Club Beenleigh as they were looking for a phone solution that was simple and would come with ongoing support.
Their existing phone system was an old one and had already been upgraded to a VoIP capable system to avoid having issues when the copper lines would inevitability get disconnected. This, however resulted in frequent call dropouts, and lots of unnecessary phone lines not being disconnected.
The time had come to upgrade their phone system and QCNS were approached for a quotation along with two other possible providers. Since it’s almost a requirement that all sites switch to some kind of VoIP, we decided to go down the cloud phone system route. We used the 3CX phone system software which runs on a standard computer or server. However instead of buying a standard server we simply rented server space at Amazon’s AWS on a monthly basis. This can be done on any of the big cloud server providers such as Google, Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure.
Theoretically we do not ever need to upgrade ever again. The cloud server is scalable and can be upsized quickly if we need more storage space, more computer power, or more memory. We can simply scale up the server to suit resource demands.
We have been fielding a lot of questions regarding fitting and delivering phone systems lately, so in order to make it easier for you, we thought we would compile a list of FAQ regarding converting to a system such as 3CX.
- How does it sound?
It sounds great! The key here though is to have a good Internet connection.
There are three main ways of achieving this. Either have a fast Internet connection or apply some quality of service (QoS) which allows the voice data to be prioritised over Internet data.
Alternatively, you may use a separate and dedicated Internet connection to allow for uninterrupted phone calls. These Connections can come with minimal bandwidth (not much is required for voice) but have a committed information rate which means that they are guaranteed to receive a certain amount of bandwidth that will allow X amount of phone calls depending on your needs
- Can I have music on hold, or event advertising?
The answer is yes and there are several ways to achieve this.
You may record your own message on one of the extensions. Alternatively, in the situation where you are subscribed to a music on hold supplier, they will supply you with an audio file, professionally recorded and lists all your events and news. This is simply uploaded to the phone system as the music on hold.
On top of that you can have multiple songs available, so long as they are royalty free, or you hold the appropriate ARPA licence.
- Is it possible to have a system where the caller can dial “Dial 1 for reception, 2 for accounts 3 for the manager” etc?
Absolutely, we call this the digital receptionist. It can be configured in any which way you like and allows nine options. Other options are available too such as dial through to the extension, or leave a message for call-back, should the caller not want to wait in a queue.
- Does it have office hours or a night-time feature?
Yes, it does. Your choices are to have this automatically come in at a set time, for example 8am to 5pm is designated as office hours and 5:00 PM to 8:00 AM would be night hours. You can apply different call routing, for example ring for 30 seconds then go to voicemail or just simply present a voicemail that will email the message to an email address.
- What happens if the phone system fails?
What we do here is we set up a fail over plan. If the line to the phone system is down, it can be re-routed to a secondary number which can be any number of your choosing. It may be a mobile phone number or different landline number. When the sip trunk comes back up, calls return to their normal route to the phone server.
- What if I would like to add more extensions later?
3CX is licenced in simultaneous phone calls. You can have as many extensions as you like. However, depending on the licence that you buy you are limited to the number of simultaneous calls. A typical licence would include 8 or 16 simultaneous calls. We find this to be sufficient. However, 3CX is an enterprise capable system and will scale up to thousands of calls simultaneously.
- Can I answer phone calls outside the office?
Yes, you can. 3CX connects to the following devices: – Desk phone set and cordless handset. On top of that you may also download an app for your smart device such as your Android or iPhone. You may also install an application into windows and through the use of a headset with microphone you can make phone calls from your computer. If your extension rings all your extension devices will ring simultaneously.
- What if I don’t want to be called outside of the office?
3CX has a status system, and you may set your status depending on your availability. For example: – available, away, on holidays, on lunch, etc.
- Can I receive calls if I’m overseas?
Absolutely. As long as you have a device with the 3CX app, and an internet connection, it will connect to 3CX phone system. The call quality will depend on the internet quality. I have used it myself with good results. Please advise if you want this feature, for security reasons we only allow access from certain countries.
- What are the ongoing costs?
Typically, the ongoing costs are as follows:
Hosting for the phone system hardware. We can achieve this from Amazon Web Services for around $15 per month.
Phone system maintenance. This allows us to inform updates and general routing changes as needed on a monthly basis.
The three 3CX pro edition with eight simultaneous calls costs $600 per year. And on top of that, depending on your call plan. The base packs start at $6 a month and goes up to around $50 per month plus phone calls. The more you pay in your base pack, the cheaper the phone calls get. For example, they will come down from $0.12 to 9 cents for local and national calls, and from $0.26 down to $0.17 a minute for calls to mobile phones.
- Will I be able to retain my phone numbers that I currently have now?
Of course. You will be given a temporary phone number and we divert your old phone numbers to it. Then we go about “porting” the number from the old losing carrier, to the new VoIP carrier. This takes usually take anywhere from 2 days to 12 weeks. However, during that time, you may use your new phone system as normal. The only change being is that during this period of porting, your outbound number and caller ID may show differently during this time.
- Am I able to see demonstration of 3CX?
The answer is yes. We utilise this phone system ourselves here at QCNS and can give you live demonstrations of our own phone system in action. 3CX is a proper PBX system, and as such, can and is capable of most of the features that you would expect from a PBX phone system. Items such as transferring calls, digital reception, music on hold, voicemail to email, and more are all available.
Please give us a call if you have any questions or if you would like a demonstration.