Hello Asterisk Community,
I just installed a Switchvox AA360 in a Colo that is connected by an MPLS link that is split into an Internet “port” and a private network “port”, (if port is the correct term in the MPLS world, it’s been a long time since I made my living in telecom).
I have one office that is served over the MPLS private network with several voice extensions and one very small office that is served over a pinned up Adtran VPN between there and the colo.
I would really like to try running a remote receptionist overseas. A big knock against our industry is the lack of live answer , (clients and customers hate IVR’s in our industry).
I tried engaging Ruby Receptionist and they do an incredible job of cheerfully answering the phone, (really cheerfully, like extreme bi-polar on an up day, taking amphetamines), but they had zero visibility into our office as to the presence/status of team members nor any way to communicate out of band using chat, (like HUD in Trixbox or Switchboard in Switchvox). They would put the caller on hold, ring the blast group, ask for the correct party, ask if the party wanted to take the call, then either transfer the call or dial the DID back again and let it ring until it hit the VM picked up. They were expensive too. Nothing wrong with them, they just weren’t a match for us.
So, that brings me to the idea of engaging a remote agent or two for a full time gig answering our phones politely and professionally, directing voice traffic and performing administrative tasks; in general, a VA but with a very heavy emphasis on phone answering. The problem is that I am very sensitive about voice quality and latency. There are some outsourcing service providers in our industry that do a good job technically, but the voice quality is pretty bad with loads of latency, (caught myself saying “over” at the end of sentences during one call).
It IS the wild, wild Internet, and my understanding is that most of these folks that I would be engaging generally have a single broadband connection. In other words, I know that I am not in control of these calls, end to end.
That said, are there carriers/SIP/IAX providers where I might improve my odds of having a more consistent, better experience based on the physical location of my colo, (Sacramento, CA) or the likely location of my Virtual Assistant(s), (Manila/Cebu), or if there is a way to assess the peering arrangements with my carrier in the US with SIP/IAX providers in the PI?
Any advantage with purchasing a trunk or two from an international provider with a strong presence in the PI, (Airespring seems to talk a lot about their presence in the PI in their marketing, but I’m in sales too and I know that doesn’t necessarily mean anything).
Finally, (as if that weren’t enough), does anyone have a favorite, multi-line soft phone that works great with Switchvox? I really want to get back to live answering every call I can but I need to keep my personnel costs as low as possible. If I can get acceptable call quality between the PI and the US, I might be able to afford to.
Thanks all for your help. Take care.