A company where I worked specialized in selling services over the internet. At the beginning of each day, the working shift sorted applications, called clients for more details, and processed the applications. During the day the operators answered incoming calls. From the very start, we used simple SIP-agent to process the calls.
The program was installed on the operator’s computer, allowing each operator to accept and make calls. However, this was tied to a certain number of inconveniences, the first being the individual installation and setup of the software for each operator. If any settings had to be changed, someone had to circle all the computers and manually update the settings on each. If an operator worked remotely, he had to be consulted about the installation and setup, which was very inconvenient.
The other inconvenience, more importantly, was the lack of integration with our web-system and database. Tasks such as allowing an operator to create a client card, keeping track of call statistics for each operator, and monitoring activity from the admin web interface all proved to be very hard to accomplish with a desktop softphone, even if plugins allowed relevant browser integration options.
Thus, we came up with the idea to unite all the internal work and calls into one system and one database. We worked long and hard on our CRM with an integrated dialer and call recorder. As a tool for making the calls, we considered a number of technologies and found out that there aren’t that many options available. There are several open source programs that we couldn’t get to work and some SAAS services which were unsuitable due to our internal security policy — to process calls through our server. As a result, after painstakingly testing various technologies, we decided to go with the following: Flashphoner Web Call Server 3.0
Why have we chosen Flashphoner? First of all, they have a clear configuration of the required package. We need 7 simultaneous calls so we took the package with 8 (if less or more is required, it will be less or more expensive), and we added the WebRTC Browser-SIP/GSM option — calls from WebRTC-compatible browsers. These were the minimum functions we required, since we recommend our operators to use the latest Chrome browser with WebRTC support, and there’s no need to pay extra for Flash-compatibility to work with IE, for example. This way, we’re paying only for what we need.
Furthermore, the package features a ready softphone module on JS, which is easy to redraw and add to the site. And, thirdly, a comprehensive connection-tariffing scheme, our very own SIP accounts with freecall.com, is used. If we wish, we can change them fast, in case the provider’s quality of SIP tariffs do not satisfy us.
Here’s how we configured it all.
1. We took the following VPS-server with CentOS.
2. First we set up Apache. We downloaded the package, unpacked, and installed it.
3. We entered the license number and restarted the server.
4. We tested the system, and everything ran smoothly. It calls mobile and SIP phones, puts calls on hold, and transfers them.
5. We transferred the softphone code to our site, redrew its design, and now it looks well.
The results we’ve achieved:
1) All calls are now made from the site and received on the site, where all activities are registered in the system.
2) It became possible to listen to recorded calls, which allows solving conflicts with clients and misunderstandings between co-workers. This is important for our distributed office.
3) The amount of processed calls has increased by 20%. It became clear that operators did not always pick up the phone when a client called in.
At present stage, it can be said that everything works as planned. The tech support helped solve most problems, and the stated functionality corresponds to what we had imagined during the decision making.
Among the disadvantages — high price must be mentioned and the incompatibility with Windows. By the way, setting it up under Linux was also a tedious task, and it seems that without the help of tech support, only an advanced user can handle it.
So far one thing is certain — if implemented properly, WebRTC is the technology of the future, which for us has become the present.