Microsoft Skype for Business
Integrates with Microsoft business products, low-cost person-to-person Skype calls within a company, calls to PSTN phone lines
Limitations: This services requires that you have an Office 365 account and requires an additional third-party service for supporting busy call centers.
Microsoft’s Skype for Business works with Office 365 to create a voice solution compatible with other Microsoft business applications. It is designed to work alongside other Microsoft business services and is not a stand-alone product. Cloud PBX services start at $8 per month as an add-on to Enterprise E1 or E3 services.
Enterprise E5 services include cloud PBX services (E1, E3 and E5 are enterprise-level Office 365 plans). Cloud PBX phone services are not offered with standard business or business essential services. Important note: You’ll want to consult with your Microsoft representative to ensure that you have implemented the proper services to support business voice.
It allows users to place calls directly from Office to anyone who uses Skype or to and from a standard business phone number using mobile phones, PCs, or desk phones and Microsoft’s PSTN Calling services. If you are looking for a call center solution, many third-party vendors provide services that work with Skype for Business, including Mitel, AVST and Clarity Connect to provide call center services. Skype on its own is more intended for regular business voice services than for contact centers. A wide variety of Polycom phones support Skype for business.
Utilizing Microsoft’s cloud PBX services, users can take advantage of many advanced calling features. Available features include call holding, call history reports, call transferring, caller ID, call waiting, call blocking, team calling and voicemail. Microsoft’s phone service can also integrate with MS calendars so that it will only accept calls during working hours.
It also supports unique ringtones and on-hold music. It integrates with other Office 365 services to provide UCaaS functions such as conferencing, file sharing, instant messaging, screen sharing, group video and audio calling, Yammer business social media, file storage and PowerPoint collaboration. Of course, it also integrates with Outlook contacts for instant calling and the active directory to help with deployment.
Best for those who utilize Office 365 services already and are looking to expand their Skype phone services. Currently not the best VoIP service for large calling centers.
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