What is a Virtual Switchboard, and How Does It Work?

A virtual switchboard is a modern tool for businesses looking to streamline and automate their customer communications. 

A virtual switchboard can help you run your business more efficiently. It can be used to automate the management and routing of calls without fuss – in fact, as it runs off the internet, you won’t even need to add any extra hardware to your existing phone system to carry this automation out.

It goes without saying that evolving technology continues to enhance the way we communicate with our customers and other businesses – and the voice over internet protocol (or VoIP) system that helps virtual switchboards route calls is no exception. Because digital technology is always changing, it is crucial to stay up to date with the latest software to stay ahead. 

So, how does a virtual switchboard work, and how can it make communication more efficient? Let’s find out. 

What is a virtual switchboard, and why are modern businesses using it?

A virtual switchboard is a system that automatically routes calls through an internet connection using a software-based call system. This means that the switchboard is managed entirely through an internet browser and doesn’t require any additional hardware or infrastructure.

When a call comes through, the caller is automatically taken to a virtual switchboard where the call will be transferred to the most appropriate department or individual. This is all done automatically, so there’s no need for human intervention. Virtual switchboards also come with a number of added features, like call recording and analytics, which can help you fine-tune your business’s customer support strategy.

Why should you consider using a virtual switchboard for your business?

Virtual switchboards are an increasingly adopted feature of businesses looking to improve their customer service delivery. Powered by voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology – basically a multimedia system that allows telephone calls to be handled via the internet – these handy switchboards offer businesses a string of benefits, including:

  • Easy expansion: Virtual switchboard users can easily update their contact centre by adding callers and giving them different access levels. This makes it easy to add new employees to your system.
  • Easy access: Virtual switchboards are incredibly useful tools for businesses that have multiple locations. This is because they allow businesses to easily connect with each other via the internet without having to worry about setting up a physical device at each location. 
  • Reduced costs: Virtual switchboards allow businesses to reduce costs and increase efficiency because they don’t have to pay for dedicated equipment at each site.
  • Enhanced reliability: Traditional telephone systems are notoriously unreliable because they’re subject to outages caused by bad weather or other factors beyond your control, such as issues with the broadband provider. 
  • Email transcription capabilities: Virtual switchboards have a voicemail to email function, which means you don’t have to check your voicemail every time someone calls and leaves a message (you can also send the recording to whoever needs to know about it).

How does a virtual switchboard work, and how easy is it to set up?

As opposed to the traditional phone, a virtual switchboard can be set up in a matter of minutes – it can take around a month for a traditional phone line to be installed. 

Many modern businesses use a virtual office model. This is a growing mode of working that enables employees to work from anywhere in a systematic way. Virtual switchboards are an essential component of the virtual office. They offer the same functions as a physical switchboard, but with the benefit of being able to connect different employees wherever they may be. These days, it’s easy to set up your own fail-safe virtual switchboard; all you need is the right team behind you and you can get started.

Setting up a virtual switchboard

  1. Once you have selected a system that best suits your business needs, ensure you have a safe, secure and reliable internet connection. This is the first and most important step to ensuring all calls are fluid and clear. 
  2. To get your system up and running, it’s essential that you first select your phone number. It can be useful to choose sequences that are memorable – an example of this could be 5555 or 4321.
  3. You can set up the menu for the switchboard with your preferences. For example, if you want all incoming calls to go directly to an operator who can take messages from callers, then you can set it up this way. If you prefer to have callers choose from a number of options before being connected, then you can also set it up like this.
  4. Add extensions (users). For every employee that should have a designated landline number, create an extension for them. You can choose from the following methods when it comes to taking calls:
  5. Configure any features that are available on your phone system. This will ensure that all rerouted calls are dealt with in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

Once you have customised your switchboard in a way that best suits your business and average call volume, you’re good to go! 

How is the virtual switchboard transforming the customer service experience? 

Businesses should take an in-depth look at their phone systems. Despite advances in digital communication, 65% of customers prefer to call a business over using any other method. The phone remains a much-loved traditional channel for customers to reach out to companies, and businesses should pay particular attention to improving their technology – whether it’s accommodating call volumes or handling diversions and high demand. By utilising a virtual switchboard and modern VoiP systems, your customer service will be dramatically improved. 

Centralisation of calls

A virtual switchboard functions as a centralised call control tool. It organises all active calls in your web browser, allowing customer service calls and goals to finally come together. It provides a single interface for agents to run their calls through, allowing for complete control over the call experience. 

Out of office customisation

When you’re away from the office and cannot take phone calls, it’s important to let your clients know why you’re not able to answer the phone when they call. In the case of absences like annual leave, you can use a virtual switchboard app that allows your business’s staff to record a personalised message informing your clients of an alternative contact number or email address, or even that you are not available at all.

Automatic routing to the correct department

When your customers call your business, the last thing they want is to be put on hold for a long time. Worst case – a series of agents transfer them from one person to another until they finally get through to the right person – now, a lot more cranky than when they’d first dialled. Of course, this experience is frustrating for anyone, especially if you have to repeat the same information over and over again.

The virtual switchboard makes calling a business less complicated. Customers can select which department or agent they want to speak to instead of being transferred around. For example, if they need help, select option one. If they want to make a complaint, select option two. If you want to place an order, select option three.

Directing your calls to our telephone answering service – How alldayPA manage calls efficiently

Here at alldayPA’s outsourced call centre, we ensure your customers will be met with the utmost professionalism. We embrace the capabilities of modern technology to handle calls and make your business run smoothly.

Our dedicated team of agents are trained to ensure customer satisfaction is maintained using software such as a virtual switchboard – which means that callers will always have their needs met. And when you work with alldayPA, you’ll get calls directed straight to your mobile via our exclusive Virtual Office App. This innovative software, combined with our expertise in call handling, makes us experts in customer service.

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today to transform how your business delivers customer service and handles calls.