Product: RingCentral Office
What is RingCentral Office?
RingCentral’s Office is a cloud-based IP/PBX service which has been at the forefront of the industry for well over a decade. The service is famed for its robust nature and rich feature set that can accommodate all the functions that any small medium or even enterprise business would require. Indeed RingCentral Office can scale from an SMB to a Call Center such is the abundance of call handling and management features available. In order to demonstrate how Office works in practice we will need to take a look at some of the basic features that underpin the service and provide the platform for enterprise class PBX communications.
RingCentral’s Office product has come a long way in the past couple of years by evolving from being predominantly a virtual IP PBX to a fully-fledged UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service) application. What that means in terms of the customer is that RingCentral have added and tightly coupled other communication technologies, such as IM, video conferencing, desktop sharing for remote presentation and training, and business SMS into their product. These new features work seamlessly across IP phones, desktop Softphone and even on employee’s own mobile phones. This effectively means that employees can access online meetings, video conference calls and collaborate with team members and partners wherever they may be and all communications go through the company’s RingCentral Office application.
Unlike many of the competitor services RingCentral provide a wide selection of International numbers in addition to the standard local, toll-free and vanity numbers typically offered. Having the option of supporting International numbers is becoming a necessity today for any internet facing business where customers are no longer resident locally but are globally dispersed. As a result RingCentral offers International numbers in over 70 countries. International numbers work in the same way as local numbers in that inbound numbers can be transferred seamlessly to a number or extension in the home region giving the impression and savings to the customer of a local call. In this way an SMB can set up a presence internationally as well as regionally by using international or local business numbers. In addition there is also a wide range of Toll-free numbers available but these like all toll-free numbers may not be free for callers out with the United States.
RingCentral’s flagship product the cloud-based IP/PBX service has grown in recent years to become a fully fledged Unified Communication as a Service platform (UCaaS). What this means is that RingCentral have expanded their Office service to incorporate many modern collaboration and integration tools as well as to support multi-channel communication protocols. This is just as important for small medium businesses as it for the larger small medium enterprises as companies of all sizes have to provide the means and methods of communications favored by their customers. In practice this has meant providing not just channels that support non-voice communications such as video, email and chat but to provide these channels as unified services so that each channel receives appropriate attention and none get overlooked. This has always been the challenge with multi-channel support and RingCentral has now incorporated this feature as a major selling point in the Office cloud service. Hence in this review we will cover many of the UCaaS features and how they perform in enhancing the business and the customer’s experience.
Implementing the RingCentral Office
The concern may be that UCaaS seems terribly complex and is going to be a nightmare to implement, but nothing is further from the truth. Implementing RingCentral Office is simply a case of connecting your IP phones, Desktops – if using Softphone – to your broadband internet connection and you are ready to go. Implementation, from the customer’s perspective really is that simple. Additionally, RingCentral have experts at hand to help you through the deployment and can supply you with IP phones, headsets, Softphone and mobile apps.
Administering RingCentral Office
If implementation is easy then so is administering the system as this is all done through a web portal, so you can add, edit or delete extensions from any internet connects on a tablet, laptop or even your phone. The administration portal is user friendly and designed for web-se with simple drop-down menus, checkboxes, and text fields. There are also handy tips available with each option. Furthermore, you can enable employees to administer their own extension, which relieves the admin burden considerably. Another handy feature is that you can set up user templates so that you can administer groups of users at one time, saving on repetitive manual tasks.
For larger companies with regional or international offices you can simplify the management and costs associated with long distant calls by managing each office as part of a global phone service. This has the added benefit of saving on international calls as all extension-to-extension calls come at no added costs. This alone can greatly aid in collaboration between offices as employees can communicate with employees in distant locations as if they were in the same building.
As you would expect from RingCentral’s pedigree in the IP/PBX field, the Office product comes with a feature-rich set of functions for businesses of all sizes. There are amongst many features too many to list here, features for Auto-receptionist – which answers and greets the caller with your own customized message. Multi-tier IVR, which plays a voice recorded menu to the caller, which works alongside advanced call transfer for passing an incoming call to a pre-configured extension, or a group of extensions. This can be used to call blast a group of extensions – ring simultaneously – or to ring a group in a listed order. This is a handy feature is you have several phones configured, as for example you could have the primary extension as your desk-phone, a secondary extension you mobile phone and a third your home landline. Office will ring each phone until it finds you so that you never miss a call.
RingCentral Office has two mobile apps available for download one for the Apple iPhone/iPad and the other for Android phones and tablets. Both devices once registered with RingCentral Office work as phone extension with full capabilities. For instance, you can make and receive calls using the business number, send faxes and texts, even join conference calls and check voicemail.
In addition having your mobile register with the company’s Office cloud application means you will always have direct access to the company directory and extensions. What’s more, you can make Wi-Fi calls using VoIP and not use any of your carrier minutes.
Third-party application integration
The unified communication tools that RingCentral provide with the Office product comprise of voice, video, email, chat and SMS as well as a comprehensive set of third-party software integration tools such as APIs for Outlook and CRM applications. In today’s business environment integration with CRM and Email platforms is becoming extremely important as so much information is being collected and presented to call agents in order to provide callers with the best possible experience. What this means is that a call agent will have on their screen, the callers details and call history so that they can be informed and knowledgeable of the callers query or account history. Furthermore, CRM integration is not the only type of third party APIs available as there is also support for financial packages so that agents can check on subscription status or perform account queries on behalf of the caller and they can do this seamlessly as the information is on the screen before them. Email integration is another great feature as it enables inbound calls to be recognized and the relevant contact details in Outlook opened as the call is answered allowing the agent to personally greet the caller using the caller’s name or title. When integrated with CRM and Financial packages the business agents will have all the relevant information on screen so do not have to flip between applications thereby the agents can greatly increase first call problem resolution rates and hence increase customer experience and satisfaction.
For increased productivity third-party integration is also a benefit as it allows agents to use cloud-based storage such as Dropbox or Box amongst others. In addition there is also internet fax which means agents can send or receive faxes from within third-party applications such as Outlook. Of course much of these benefits would not be convenient if there was not a desktop softphone application that can provide a common platform for the telephone, video and applications. Therefore RingCentral provides a desktop PC softphone application for call agents that unifies the experience and provides a single dashboard.
Office has introduced Glip as their integrated team workspace application for collaboration. Glip is available in all versions of Office from Standard to Enterprise. Glip is effective as it provides a workspace for all team communications so that emails, notes, files tasks and calendars are stored in a single shared workspace. In addition, Glip provides a single source for task management so that project teams can collaborate and all are on the same page.
Other collaboration tools that come with Office are audio/video conferencing, desktop sharing and integration with other popular applications. By integrating with major business applications such as Salesforce.com, Oracle, Zen desk, Desk, Dropbox, Outlook, Microsoft 365 and Google, then Office can share contacts and customer details. In a contact center, this is hugely advantageous as Office could pull up a customer’s call history when the agent answers the incoming call thereby having the customers, name and details before them without flicking back and fore through different applications.
Pricing & Plans
Office comes in three editions:
- Standard – $24.99 per user/month (Sometimes they change it to $19.99)
- Premium – $34.99 per user/month
- Enterprise – $44.99 per user/month
The main differentiators between the editions are that multipoint mobile a desktop video conferencing is limited to 4, 25 and 50 people sharing respectively.
Only Premium and Enterprise have the following features:
- Inbound Caller ID name, HD Voice, Automatic call recording, Multi-level auto attendant, Integration with Salesfore.com and Desk.com
- Only Enterprise as the voicemail to text feature as standard.
Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
One of the main concerns those considering cloud based telephony of UCaaS solutions tend to have is with regards service continuity.
What would happen to our business should the data center go down?
This is a very good question and in the case of RingCentral they have designed, their platform to scale to support hundreds of thousands of users and to handle 2X capacity so can handle unexpected spikes in activity.
With regards disaster recovery RingCentral have datacenters located on each coast to mitigate any local or regional disaster.
RingCentral has evolved into a fully-fledged UCaaS application that provides all the stability and reliability of a cloud service. In addition, Office now provides advanced modern communication channels all tightly integrated and seamlessly provided through one application interface. These new collaboration and communication tool take Office from being an IP/PBX to a real world UCaaS product, whilst still providing a feature rich IP/PBX service, which is suitable by price and capability for any size of company.
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