For mid-size offices and businesses with a large employee base, maintaining a smoothly operating phone bank is vitally important. Communications with clients and customers are the life-blood of any business, and an office’s phone network must be able to handle a large number of outgoing and incoming calls at any given time. As companies grow, and begin to expand their customer base, there comes a time when they will need to reconsider their current phone network. Primary Rate Interface (PRI) offers more reliable communication service, greater flexibility and an overhead cost that will appeal to mid-size businesses of all kinds.
What Is Primary Rate Interface?
Primary Rate Interface is a standardized telecommunication service that allows for the transmission of multiple voice and data signals on a standard T1 connection. At it’s simplest, it consists of 23 bearer channels (B channels) and 1 data channel (D channel). The 23 B channels can carry voice or data signals, both incoming and outgoing, while the D channel carries an overriding data signal that serves as the master control for the interface.
In layman’s terms, PRI is a high capacity telecommunication line that allows business to maintain up to 23 active phone lines through any given T1 connection. Further, with PRI, multiple T1 connections can be bundled allowing an office to expand their phone bank to meet the needs of a growing number of employees.
Is PRI Right For Your Office?
Offices with a large number of employees will find that choosing PRI for their telecommunication needs offers a wide range of benefits. First, and foremost, PRI offers a nearly unlimited amount of Direct Inward Dial numbers. DID’s are typically assigned in blocks of 20, giving a standard PRI circuit an unlimited capacity of phone numbers. This means it is no longer necessary for offices to rely on line pooling or extensions to maintain a large phone network. With PRI, each employee can be assigned their own dedicated phone line, with their own individual phone number. In addition, the added availability of active lines makes it possible to give each department, or each employee, a dedicated fax line (with the proper fax server technology). PRI’s ability to increase the number of active phone lines in an office allows businesses to provide a greater level of customer service for their customers.
PRI also offers services that management will find more than advantageous. With Primary Rate Interface, it is possible to track both incoming and outgoing calls in most any PBX or phone system. This allows management to keep a watchful eye on the number of calls being made by their sales staff, as well as the number of calls coming into their customer service department on a daily basis. This information can be vital in making staffing decisions, and in keeping track of which accounts have the most communications traffic.
PRI also allows businesses to take advantage of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) with most phone systems. By integrating their voice and data systems, offices can use the caller ID of an incoming call to route it directly to the caller’s assigned sales representative. The CTI technology then opens a pop-up window on the representative’s computer, providing information on the current status of the callers account. This not only gives a company’s sales representatives immediate access to their client’s account information, but the quick response time displays a level of professionalism that translates to customer loyalty.
Is PRI Cost Effective for Your Business
Many mid-sized businesses are choosing PRI, not only for the many features it offers, but for the savings. With analog phone service businesses must pay for each dedicated phone line they install. That includes taxes, service fees and any additional charges for special features like caller ID. That adds up fast, and for many growing businesses is a cost burden that they are not in a position to take on. With digital voice and data services using PRI, businesses can save as much as 30% over analog communication costs. Added options like fractional PRI circuits and high capacity voice compression can make the service even more affordable.
As your business grows, the time will come when you need to restructure your telecommunication service. When that time comes, Primary Rate Interface offers the flexibility and reliability businesses desire. Switching to PRI will bring your business all of the communication features you need, at a cost that beats analog services.