Remote working drove a dramatic increase in the adoption of business collaboration tools in 2020. But companies continue to struggle to find one-true-tool to fulfil their adapting needs, leading to a one-of-many approach that results in communication silos, complex processes, and escalating costs. The future of business needs a better solution.
At Callroute, we set out to transform the most popular business collaboration tool — Microsoft Teams — into a unified communications platform. To do this, we built a Direct Routing solution able to integrate real calling capabilities with Teams. But we didn’t want to just let you place a PSTN phone call, we wanted to build a solution with enough sophistication to replace your existing business phone system — and we wanted to make it simple to adopt.
This article addresses the main questions we receive from prospective customers. If you want to upgrade your collaboration capabilities, adding Callroute to Teams is the way to do it. Let’s get started.
Question 1: Is Callroute a Direct Routing solution?
The simple answer is yes. The longer answer is that we are a subcategory of Direct Routing — “Direct Routing with new PSTN provider”.
Direct Routing is the process of routing Teams to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to enable internal and external calls to and from standard phone numbers. Unfortunately, less than 5% of DAUs currently have this capability — likely, because of the complexity of integration.
Our approach to Direct Routing is central to how we have simplified the adoption process. As we will get to in Question 2, our Direct Routing integration and PSTN service allows us to streamline and accelerate integration. It also makes it possible for us to provide a number of additional benefits not delivered by traditional Direct Routing providers. These include:
- Flexible per-channel pricing: We charge per-channel rather than per-user, and allow you to scale the number of channels up or down on-demand.
- Guaranteed service quality: By delivering the entire package, we can provide customer service and support guarantees that cover the entirety of your calling solution.
- A free channel for life: In addition to flexible per-channel pricing, we provide the first channel for free — allowing you to experiment with the solution before ever making a payment.
Question 2: How is Callroute different from Microsoft Calling Plan?
Callroute provides more options, better control, and more sophisticated capabilities than Microsoft Calling Plan. It’s also easier to align usage with demand and simpler to get started.
Microsoft Calling Plan is a passable solution for users that simply want to add real calling capabilities to Teams. But if you’re looking to build a unified communications platform able to replace your existing business phone system, Calling Plan likely does not provide the capabilities you need. Rather than using an integrated PBX (Private Branch Exchange) to control and manage calls, Calling Plan relies on the control tools delivered by Microsoft Phone System. This delivers an outcome that does not have:
- Call recording: There are no standard call recording capabilities when using Calling Plan and Phone system.
- Call reporting and control: Phone System won’t provide standard individual reporting functions, including the ability to look at per-user use rates, costs or overages.
- Call queues: Queue length is limited to 200 people, and there are limited routing options.
- End-point flexibility: Using Calling Plan, you are limited to a select number of compatible devices.
With Callroute, you get all of this and more. We deliver a fully functional virtual PBX that enables you to execute all of the actions you’d expect from a traditional phone system — it’s simply a cloud-based solution that integrates with Teams.
Question 3: How is Callroute different to others in the Direct Routing market?
Most Direct Routing solutions are let down by slow integration times and inflexible pricing, with long-term contracts. At Callroute, we offer instant integration rather than up to 7 days, contract flexibility and cost-effective channel pricing. Combined with extensive research, we developed Callroute with advanced features that respond to business needs, capable of replacing entire phone systems. Check out the questions below for more information.
Question 4: How can Callroute offer such quick integration?
The chance to get started with Direct Routing in minutes is one of the key features that sets Callroute apart. By providing both Direct Routing and PSTN breakout in one simple solution, we effectively take the middleman out of your integration. This allows us to pre-configure a lot of the backend integration to accelerate the user experience.
Question 5: What is per-channel pricing?
The majority of calling options, Microsoft Calling Plan included, rely on per-user pricing that can soon see costs escalating, even if some users only require access once in a blue moon. On top of this, many third-party Direct Routing options involve fixed-term contracts at a set price, which you’ll struggle to escape from even if your business needs to change or evolve.
Per-user pricing and fixed contracts are not practical in the ever-changing modern market, and it’s something that our per-channel pricing helps you to overcome by ensuring that you pay per phone line, regardless of who has access.
With per-channel pricing, one channel supports multiple users depending on business demand. This means that you are not paying for all or inactive users like other providers, but rather for the capacity your business needs to support incoming and outgoing calls. This enables significant cost savings.
Auto-scaling is a critical component of what makes our per-channel pricing functional. If your set number of channels are engaged, and another channel is needed (either because of an inbound or outbound call) we will automatically add a channel to your plan, or provide you with an alert — whichever you choose.
This enables you to keep your basic per-channel plan as limited as possible, while still being assured that no one will ever hear a busy tone. You then are left in complete control to manually scale back down, or otherwise alter the number of channels in your plan — no matter how many users you have.
Auto-scaling benefits also make Callroute a fantastic option for the many teams who aren’t sure what short-term and long-term growth is going to look like. We’ve done away with limited fixed-term contracts in place of solutions that grow, or reduce, with your output.
Question 6: What if I go over my allotted minutes?
Our free channel Starter Plan is limited to 250 minutes. This means it is not possible to go over your allotted minutes. If you need extra, you can upgrade to the Business Plan.
The Business Plan offers unlimited minutes in line with our fair usage policy (see our terms and conditions for the full details). In the unlikely event that you exceed these levels, there are no additional fees, you just get charged at the standard rate.
Our analytics and reporting dashboards enable you to monitor your usage so you can make informed decisions before that is necessary.
Question 7: How do international calls work?
Because we take care of Direct Routing and PSTN, we offer inbuilt international calling. We also provide access to phone numbers from across the globe — allowing you to have a local presence anywhere in the world. Your team can enjoy this extended-reach benefit with affordable per-minute pricing on straightforward international rates.
This can be incredibly beneficial for both long-distance teams and businesses looking to expand. What’s more, you get to enjoy all of this while:
- Either picking your numbers or porting existing ones
- Avoiding complex fees
- Buying global numbers on-demand
- Always paying a consistent rate
Question 8: Will Callroute port numbers?
Number porting, or the process of moving your business number from one provider to another, is a complex but sometimes necessary task.
At Callroute, we can help you keep your phone numbers and buy new ones, all from one simple platform. What’s more, we’ll manage the process from start to finish so that you can carry on with business as usual. All we need from you is:
- Necessary telephone ranges and numbers
- Proof of your address
Get those fundamentals out of the way, and we’ll port your numbers within as little as ten working days. Even better, your dedicated number porting manager will build a quote tailored to your requirements.
Question 9: Do you offer a free trial?
Rather than offer a free trial, we’ve made the first channel free, and a channel, put simply, is a phone line. That means you can get started with real-calling in minutes, at no cost whatsoever! For small businesses, that one free channel might actually be enough to act as a functioning business phone system. Larger organisations have as long as they need to test if our solution is right for them. You are free to use the channel for as long as you like, and we are here to grow with you when and if you need to add more capacity.
Question 10: How do I get started?
You need to ensure you have the right Microsoft Licences to integrate with Callroute. To find out what you need, check out our simple guide to Microsoft prerequisites. For more information, check out our blog explaining Microsoft pricing.
Once you have the necessary licences in place, sign up using our self-serve portal to try Callroute free for life. We take care of all the technical components, and there is no commitment. Alternatively you can speak with one of our experts to guide you on the best solution for your business.
The future of business is unified communication with Teams
With remote working here to stay, unified communications are fundamental. Teams delivers most of the collaboration functionality you need out-of-the-box. Callroute adds the integrated calling you need to unify all of your communication channels in one place with long-term cost savings.
The addition of real-calling within Teams enables a future-proofed business solution. Thanks to our instant integrations and more, Callroute offers the best Direct Routing solution to make that happen.
Get started today with a free channel for life and start placing calls from Teams within minutes.