Charlie Mac and Associates

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The Future is Calling ☎️

Do you remember the grungy dens that were public payphones? Before the days of mobile phones, I’d have to push my way past McDonalds wrappers so I could call Mum to let her know I was going to be late for dinner. My uni friends talked of all sorts of scams to get free phone calls – from playing DTMF tones from your Walkman to tricky key sequences. Looking back, these payphones gave us a kind of freedom we never knew we had.

Phones come in many shapes and forms these days. I am fascinated by the seemingly complex array of guff in the telephony space. All you need is a handset and a way of connecting that handset to the PSTN. In addition, a phone system must increase your options for the future. Teams Phone has potential, especially if you are looking at Microsoft Teams as being the central place for all work. Microsoft offer a few options for connecting Teams to the PSTN: Calling Plans (not available for Aus numbers), Carrier Connect and Direct Routing. In my simple world, Carrier Connect is easier to setup (not necessarily faster) and manage. Direct Routing requires some PowerShell but gives you more flexibility and choice (eg to choose your own carrier). All require Teams Phone licensing (about $11 retail or $4.40 charity per person per month).

We’ve gone the Direct Routing path for ourselves and our clients, mainly so we can start with basic Teams Phone functions (call queues, auto attendants, etc). and move to more complex PBX and Call Centre functions later (we use 3CX for this, but there are plenty of others). If old skool handsets are your thing, then a solution like 3CX gives you a greater range to choose from, along with advanced call / skill based routing, call recording, detailed reporting, and web based chat (sites built on WordPress, Drupal and others are supported).

Getting stuck in time can be fun – for a while. And then the horror sets in. Like Marty McFly at the Diner trying to call the Doc to find a way home. No answer. Choosing the right path in your Teams Phone journey will get you Back to the Future!

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