If you’re a business using Microsoft Team, or you’re looking into using Teams, you should learn about Direct Routing. Direct Routing is a service that enhances the capabilities of Microsoft Teams, helping your business accrue numerous benefits while also improving users and customer experience and making the work of senior management much better.
What Is Direct Routing?
In simple terms, Direct Routing allows Microsoft Teams to make and receive external calls within the platform.
Teams does not come with any built-in capabilities for making and receiving PSTN calls. To add this capability to your Teams platform, you need a calling solution and a Microsoft Phone System license (which is available with some Office 365 and Microsoft 365).
Generally, you have two Calling solutions to choose from:
- Direct Routing providers – Think of the provider as delivering SIP Trunks on your Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft’s Calling Plans
Benefits Of Adding Calls to Microsoft Teams
Naturally, there are numerous benefits to adding the calling capability to your Teams platform. Moreover, there are unique benefits of using Direct Routing to incorporate Calling to Teams. Below is a list of the benefits you get with these two scenarios.
#1. Improved Productivity
Improved productivity is an obvious benefit of adding calling capability. Incorporating the ability to make and receive calls straight from your Microsoft Teams transforms your platform into a unified communications platform and tool. The Calling capability allows your employees to communicate and/or collaborate with your partners and your customers.
Consequently, your team wastes no time switching between tools. Everything they need can be found on one platform. For instance, when your employees work on a group project, every team member can respond to shared files, messages and make and receive calls on the Teams platform.
#2. More Flexible Working
Adding calling capabilities to your Teams platform also comes with exceptional flexibility. For instance, your team of employees will not be tied to a particular on-site PBX. In the same light, businesses do not have to invest and issue company mobile phones to make and receive internal and external calls. Adding Calling capabilities turns the Teams platform they already use into a cloud telephony solution, accessible on any device with the Teams app.
As such, employees can use various devices to make external calls regardless of their location – whether they work at the office or remotely in the field, or at home.
#3. Better Customer Experience
The improvements in user experience amongst your workers will translate to your customers. Your employees will respond to customers’ queries much more efficiently and effectively when they can receive external calls on any device from anywhere and without switching between apps.
For instance, if your employees, partners, and/or customers interact via Teams by sharing files and using chat, extending the features of the platform to include Calling will enhance the overall experience and make interactions seamless.
Benefits Of Incorporating Direct Routing for MSFT Teams
Undoubtedly, adding Calling to your Teams platform comes with enormous benefits. That said, you should choose between Direct Routing and Microsoft Calling Plans. Direct Routing, in many ways, is the better option. Here is a list of benefits your business gets from Direct Routing.
#1. Cost Savings
Direct Routing has a price advantage compared to Microsoft Calling Plans. Furthermore, the Calling Plans Microsoft offers are restrictive; they allocate per user per month on an individual basis. This means that when an employee has to make many calls and finishes his/her monthly allotment, you’ll be forced to top up for that individual.
Direct Routing is a tad different. While the calling plans are structured on a per user per month basis, the minutes are pooled for all your users. As such, when one team member makes a lot of calls (say, a project manager) and another team member (for example, your data entry personnel) does not make calls throughout the month, they balance out, and you do not have to top up.
#2. Tailored Services
The Calling Plans that Microsoft offers will give your Teams platform a PBX-like functionality. However, it doesn’t come with any personalized calling features. Direct Routing offers far better customization. For instance, you can incorporate a call management feature into Teams for your contact center team to use. Other features you can get with Direct Routing are the SIP Trunk features, including SIP-enabled phones, number porting, and international numbers.
#3. High Reliability/Availability
Direct Routing uses Session Border Controllers (SBCs) and SIP trunk platforms to link the PSTN to Teams. With this in mind, all you have to do is to select a provider known to provide 100% uptime SIP Trunking services, and you can rest assured of high reliability and availability.
Reliability is essential for businesses operating their Calling feature 24/7, and any downtime can be detrimental to their operations.
#4. Expert support
An experienced Direct Routing provider will handle every aspect of their service delivery and give step-by-step account management. Typically, they will handle hosting, deploy the solution and PSTN access, monitor the systems, and provide ongoing support and billing.
In a nutshell, when you choose an experienced service provider, their experts will handle everything. For instance, Direct Routing service providers will help your business incorporate Calling into Microsoft Teams, whether you want a fully functioning Microsoft Teams or you are migrating from Skype for Business or your own PBX. They will work with your personnel and business phone system to set up your platform.
How To Get The Best From Your Direct Routing for MS Teams
As discussed above, Microsoft Teams Direct Routing can yield a lot of positives for your business. However, you can only accrue these benefits when you choose the right provider. And although the Direct Routing market is awash with many services providers, they are not created equal.
Some providers specialize in and offer Session Border Controllers only, and your business might need SIP Trunking platforms as well (necessary for connecting to the PSTN).
Other providers work collaboratively with other software and services providers to deliver solutions. Such as a setup can be unreliable as when things go wrong, the operational complexity makes customer support much slower and cumbersome.
You should choose the best provider if you want to accrue the benefits of using Direct Routing to add the Calling feature to your Teams ecosystem.