Ringio is a business-oriented virtual PBX phone system that incorporates customer relationship management and collaboration tools. It’s aimed at consultants and small retailers, but it should appeal to many other types of web workers.
The developers call Ringio a “new approach for call collaboration.” Borrowing from call center technology, when a call comes in, users are presented with a real-time popup showing data about the caller, so that one can decide whether to take the call, redirect the caller to voicemail, or to another team member. The information presented goes far beyond caller ID, however, and includes details such as who the caller last spoke to, what previous calls were missed, and notes about the caller from colleagues. The desktop app uses an Adobe AIR interface, which I generally don’t like, but Ringio’s app is quite attractive.
Ringio includes several team collaboration tools, including a shared corporate address book, the ability to easily share contact information and call history among team members. Ringio also includes systems for showing the availability of team members, share call-handling responsibilities, and send instant messages between team members.
Ringio also offers an Android application (which I haven’t tried) that allows users to hold, transfer, redirect and deflect calls while on the road. The app offers access to calls, voicemails, contacts, notes and other team members, and it synchronizes in real time with the desktop app. iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and mobile web apps are on the way.
Administrators can customize Ringio through a web app that allows creation of sophisticated call routing. If desired, one can get rid of the “phone tree” and substitute something like “I see you talked to Charlie when you called us last; would you like to speak with him again?” I suspect that some of my customers would find this creepy; others would appreciate the time savings.
Ringio has some other nice features. It can be used together with an existing PBX system and, next month, it will be possible to terminate calls on VoIP systems using URIs (the phone equivalent of an email address). It also seamlessly syncs with Google Contacts (something that Ribbit Mobile — the closest competitor to Ringio that I’ve seen — still can’t do), and with Zoho CRM, Salesforce.com, Highrise, and SugarCRM. Ringio also offers features that are pretty standard among VoIP phone systems, including voicemail; call rejection and blocking; a “Find Me” redirect system; Caller ID that always shows your office number, even when on the road; availability of local and toll-free numbers; and number porting.
Pricing starts at $99 per month for four users, plus $25 per month for each additional user. The basic plan includes a pool of 2,000 incoming and outgoing minutes; with each additional user, the company pool increases by 500 minutes. Additional minutes are billed at 5 cents each. A free trial is available.
Have you used Ringio? Let us know your thoughts on the service.
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