VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has been a constant topic for discussion amongst service providers, both small and large, and also consumers – both businesses & individuals.
Though multiple news items like Mint’s coverage here have suggested that the Telecom Policy act will be changing soon, it has still not been approved by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and as things stand, VoIP calls within India are illegal in the following ways:
1. No Call initiated over Internet can land on a physical mobile or landline handset within India.
2. No Call initiated on a mobile or landline handset phone can land on a computer over internet within India.
This still allows VoIP providers to help provide infrastructure to International Call Centers,and International facing clientele companies, but it is not possible to extend this scope yet for existing Indian businesses focusing on India as their primary market.
A few suggestions for companies looking to do tele-calling/support and sales with international customers:
1. If you are big on call volumes, look at outsourcing or finding a VoIP solution from some vendor. Avaya, CISCO etc. are for the bigger players and normally starts in Lakhs & Crores!
2. If you are Small – use Skype , it is the best initial tool to utilize to converse with some of your customers.
So the question this post will answer in few quick points is, what does a business or an entrepreneur focusing on Indian customers/consumers do to solve his/her problem in interacting with them over voice?
Here are a few suggestions:
If you have massive call volumes of greater than 20,000-50,000 calls a day the advice would be to try 2 things:
1. Get a PRI (Primary Rate Interface) or lease-line setup, with a call center software solution which works over PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Try the Avaya/CISCO setup and see if it works for you.
2. Outsource your call center to someone like an Epicenter who have special licenses to receive calls over VoIP (licenses that cost way beyond a small/medium businesses budget to buy).
If you have lower call volumes and are looking for a solution, you could utilize 2 types of services depending upon your needs:
3. Installing an EPABX solution and purchasing a PRI setup like above, but that mostly will come for a good incoming call management system, though not always providing you great integration with software’s nor data of the callers etc.
4. You could use a solution like ours – Exotel, we provide a cloud telephony platform which provides multiple services for a small business and we can set you up in 15 minutes after you create an account . Once done, you could use some of these features such as IVR, Call Recording & Data, API integration, SMS and Outbound Calling both manually and automatically via IVR.
For those with some questions (FAQ) around VoIP – read on, tried answering a few basic one’s we get all the time:
Q. Can I receive calls on my computer?
A. Yes, if the call originates from outside India and No, if the call originates in India.
Q. What is the best way to have noise reduction on the phone (mobile or landline) someone would use daily in a small call center environment?
A. Check out the photo of the people in the Zivame team in our case study and you will notice they have 3.5 MM headphone-cum-microphone headsets which they bought from the market. Stable and being used by lots of folks.
Q. Is the voice quality of PSTN better than VoIP?
A. It depends, and is debatable, but as of now if you are a business in India, you have no other alternative but to rely on some credible service provider. What we do at Exotel is to build mutliple redundancy within the system and product so that the quality is as good as it can be, and this is done via smart coding by the folks here . So, assume if your main line is down, and you are worried, that will affect your business, Exotel smartly switches you over to another line automatically
Q. Do I require Internet working full time for some of the alternative solutions to work?
A. Mostly No, we can answer for ourselves and Exotel calls continue going through over our multiple lines into your agents landline or mobile phone, and the calls will get recorded, data stored, just that he/she will not have a place to enter the details, apart from a pen or note book. But you can get the data back once your internet is up by checking the Exotel dashboards for call records and data.