For the majority of businesses operating today, a robust phone system is integral to their success. It’s how they make sales, resolve queries and build relationships with their customers.
With the advent of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), they have the freedom to operate a successful telephony operation, wherever an internet connection exists.
Most VoIP systems are fully managed by a provider – but with more businesses wanting autonomy over their phone systems, 3CX’s popularity has grown.
Their software allows users a service stacked with features - including the choice to self-host their phone systems; whether in a private cloud or within their on-site network.
VoIP allows users to make phone or video calls using a broadband connection. It acts as a modern alternative to PSTN landline connections, which often tethered business phone systems to the location where the connection was housed.
It also allows calls to be made and received from any VoIP enabled devices, whether that’s a SIP desk phone, a computer or a mobile phone.
VoIP services, though typically hosted by a provider, can be self-hosted when incorporating software like 3CX. This method allows users to manage their phone system in-house or host it in the cloud, rather than the - at times limiting option - of being managed elsewhere.
VoIP acts as a digital replacement for the traditional landline. Instead of sound travelling down a copper wire, VoIP turns sound into raw data packets, which can be transmitted anywhere using a broadband connection.
Where VoIP allows you to make phone calls using the internet, 3CX is a phone software system which uses VoIP to do so. Users can make and receive multiple calls at any one time, while also being able to route calls with ease.
These systems are often used in call centre environments, allowing businesses to talk to multiple customers at once. Popular with companies on a budget, 3CX software provides useful features like video calling and live chat, while remaining a low-cost model to operate.
3CX uses SIP signalling and SIP trunks to connect your central phone system server (PBX) to the internet. To use 3CX with your current system, you’ll need to purchase your SIP trunk(s) from one of the recommended 3CX providers.
Once your server is connected to a SIP trunk, any devices linked to it can be used as part of your phone system. You don’t have to be in the office to use it either – anywhere with a broadband connection will do.
‘The Big Switch Off’ refers to BT Openreach’s discontinuing and eventual shut down of traditional PSTN and ISDN landlines. As of September 2023, UK providers will no longer offer landlines to consumers or businesses, with a full shutdown of these lines coming in early 2025.
VoIP is already playing a huge part in the transition, with telecom providers offering solutions like BT’s Digital Voice as a consumer option. These services offer the benefits of a landline, without tethering users to an analogue phone line.
For businesses, it’s reassuring to know that 3CX phone systems have been developed with the switch off in mind. Their cloud based or on-site services are affordable and simple to install, offering businesses a smooth transition from analogue to a fully digital option.
For some businesses, there are advantages to having a fully managed, cloud-based VoIP solution. It frees up their IT resources for other things, and delivers robust security managed by the provider.
Others may prefer more control over their phone systems, while keeping cost down. For these businesses - opting for 3CX is beneficial for a number of reasons.
Remote working has allowed businesses to thrive in difficult times. It has also encouraged companies to seek greater flexibility from their telephony operation.
Unlike fully managed VoIP products such as Ringcentral or Gamma Horizon, 3CX software can be installed anywhere - whether that’s on-site, in a private cloud or in 3CX’s hosted environment.
It allows companies to be mindful of employee needs, offering office based, remote or hybrid working where required. Better still, 3CX connected devices can be used in transit, making working or taking calls on the go simple.
3CX is also compatible with most SIP phones, so there’s no need for additional hardware costs that fully managed services may require.
If you’re wondering about the safety of your network with 3CX, here’s the good news. 3CX utilises some of the most advanced security technologies available, which is regularly updated to ensure your data isn’t compromised.
When compared to other leading providers of fully managed VoIP services, it largely depends on your business needs.
For example, healthcare and financial organisations are suited to both fully managed and CX systems because of the encryption and detailed audit trails available. This level of protection is beneficial to businesses who regularly handle confidential data.
However, for technology companies looking for greater control over their security protocols or those with multiple locations (we’ll discuss this later), 3CX accommodates both comfortably.
3CX performs advanced vulnerability checks and penetration tests on each release of their systems. This transparent approach to testing leaves nothing to chance, demonstrating their dedication to safeguarding customers.
In doing this, they work with leading names in network security. These include threat intelligence experts Reversing Labs and Mandiant, while securing their own network with leading cloud-protection from Crowdstrike.
For businesses with more than one location, 3CX software can be connected across multiple sites. This is made possible by installing a Sessions Border Controller (SBC) within the network of each site.
The SBC ensures that any VoIP data entering or leaving a location’s network is secure - reassuring businesses that it won’t be lost or compromised.
As of 2023, 3CX have also announced updated security measures intended to prevent malicious threats to their software and network.
This includes reinforcing the layers of network security, addressing vulnerabilities with their security features and putting together an expert network and security taskforce.
With seven in ten UK businesses looking to cut costs, small-to-mid sized companies simply cannot afford expensive telephony systems. For businesses like these, 3CX offers an affordable, yet dynamic option.
3CX’s affordability comes from their own running costs. Their use of SIP trunks, mean they don’t pay extra for additional systems like other fully managed services. It also means they are able to charge users much less per extension, allowing them to keep their prices down.
An extension is a 4-digit phone number that can be assigned to a specific target - whether that’s an individual, a team or an entire department. They allow callers to reach a specific destination directly, rather than going through a series of options or departments.
It’s common for fully managed VoIP providers to offer packages with a monthly or annual cost per extension. This often leaves smaller to mid-level companies priced out.
Opting for 3CX means businesses only pay for a software licence and however many SIP trunks are needed. Users wishing to use a cloud-based model may also be charged an affordable hosting fee.
Some fully managed VoIP providers use proprietary technology which requires a hefty licence fee and specialist knowledge. This cost is then added to their product’s, often causing a substantial price increase.
3CX cuts costs by using SIP trunks as the backbone of its operation. SIP trunks are what are known as an ‘open standard’.
This means that unlike proprietary technology (think Apple or Microsoft products), they can be used and adapted by the public - costing little or nothing to licence. This is also reflected in their pricing, allowing them to charge much less.
Like most fully managed VoIP services, 3CX can be integrated with the systems, apps and CRM’s you currently use.
3CX’s API (Application Programming Interface) allows seamless connection, acting as a bridge for different systems to communicate and share information.
The API also offers a level of customization that most other providers can’t. This allows businesses more control over how 3CX works alongside their current programs.
CRMs (Customer Relationship Management), ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planner) and communication tools are often key to running a successful business. This makes integrating them with your phone system essential.
3CX systems are designed to accommodate a larger selection of CRM’s than other providers, allowing deep integration with popular systems like Salesforce and Hubspot. This makes tasks such as logging calls and syncing contacts much easier.
Their software also supports a range of communication tools, including licensed models like Microsoft Teams.
3CX’s biggest strength when it comes to integration is the breadth and depth of what it can integrate with.
Its API’s compatibility with a host of CRMs, ERPs and communication tools, makes it more attractive to companies already using these tools - saving them money shopping for compatible alternatives.
When investing in technology, it’s important to understand its capability to grow alongside your business.
3CX offers a flexible, easily scalable software that makes it easy for companies to adapt it to their current operation model.
The beauty of 3CX is that you can choose how it’s deployed:
As well as its integration with essential CRMS, ERP’s and comms tools, 3CX’s app (available for IOS, Android, Windows and PWA Web) allows you to add new users easily.
All you need is an internet connection, and you’ll have access to all of 3CX’s features, including video conferencing, online chat and mobile apps. This makes working remotely or on the go easier than ever.
You’ll also have instant access to technical support, meaning employees don’t need to wait in queues to have their issues resolved.
3CX offers a simple desktop set up, quick deployment and user-friendly features. This relaxed yet guided approach allows for a stress-free user journey.
Installation is simple. Once you’ve chosen the 3CX licence that suits you, all you need is the internet and your SIP trunk connection. You’ll then be walked through a simple installation in your web browser.
Once installed your software will either be stored as part of your on-site network, or in a private cloud (both Google and Amazon offer these services.)
Anytime you need to make changes to your system, 3CX’s handy web-based interface allows you to add extensions and make changes if needed.
For accessibility, a clean, easy to follow user interface makes all the difference. After all, if you’re trying to set up something that involves multiple phones or works across more than one location - it needs to be straightforward.
With their phone apps available for IOS, Android and Windows, 3CX makes it easy for remote workers to access a full range of features, without hiding key settings or cluttering the interface.
Their web client echoes this simplicity, whether you need to find a contact, host a video conference or locate call information. Both are intuitive, with a clean design and minimal distracting or unneeded add-ons.
That’s right. 3FX offers the opportunity for businesses to use their software free, forever! This means smaller businesses or companies looking to test drive the software can do so, with no time constraints, no cost and free hosting.
3CX is a UC (unified communication software) that offers everything a modern business needs for a successful telephony operation.
Where other fully managed options require you to purchase equipment, proprietary systems or additional extensions, 3CX offers it all at a fair price.
3CX allows users to respond to customers faster than ever with their free live chat feature.
For websites, 3CX’s WordPress plug-in integrates live chat onto any WordPress website, with the option of voice or video calls if a customer requires it.
This feature is also compatible with WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger and text message too. It means agents can make and receive calls from anywhere with broadband, cutting down on missed or abandoned calls.
3CX’s unique features allow for deeper collaboration. As well as monitoring call queues, managers can view login history and use call and chat reports to ensure targets are met.
Another standout feature is ‘Listen and Whisper. This allows employees or managers to guide new staff through their calls, with a ‘Barge in’ option if they need to take over the call. Options like this help build customer trust, and ensure that less experienced staff are supported.
For call centres wanting to make sure customers get what they need, as soon as possible, skill-based routing is a powerful feature. It all but guarantees that your callers are speaking to someone with the expertise they require.
It works by putting your call agents into groups with relevant skills. If a call agent with the relevant skill isn’t available, callers are then routed to an agent with similar expertise.
Choosing to integrate your 3CX system with a CRM offers plenty of benefits. One of these is the ‘Know your caller’ feature which brings up customer details as soon as they call. As well as allowing call agents to be prepared, it lets businesses nurture customer relationships and develop trust.
Knowing which option is the most suitable comes down to the needs of your business.
Larger businesses that prefer to keep their eyes on the bigger picture, may be better suited to a fully managed VoIP solution. These services cover set up, updates and security, allowing them to focus their attention on key areas and retain IT resources.
For small to mid-sized businesses however, 3CX is a perfect fit. It allows users to be hands-on with their phone system, depending on their choice of cloud-based or onsite hosting.
It’s also a budget friendly choice that includes the security, flexibility and functionality of a fully managed service, without the added cost of extensions or proprietary apps.
If you're looking for user-friendly telephony software packed with useful features, contact T2K today. Our experts are happy to help you discover the benefits of 3CX for your business.