During major crunch periods like the holiday season, many businesses — retailers in particular — experience an unusually high volume of calls. Facilitating peak capacity is rarely necessary at any other time of the year, but SIP trunking can be a helpful option to accommodate seasonal demand without continuously over-resourcing a business phone system. With that in mind, here is SIP trunking explained: what it is, how it works, and how retailers stand to benefit from it.
SIP Trunking Explained
So what is Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking? Some may think of SIP trunking as the backbone of modern business phone systems. SIP trunking can link legacy phone systems and unified communications systems to the cloud, replacing the traditional PRI trunks that were used until recently.
With this technology, businesses can easily update legacy phone systems to access cloud-hosted voice, video, data, text, and other unified communications. SIP trunking offers on-demand scalability and flexibility, helping businesses better manage expenses while smoothly navigating peak periods. These are all benefits that retailers can especially appreciate when grappling with a major uptick in phone calls during the holiday season.
The Retailer's Challenge in Handling Peak Calling Periods
It used to be that if you wanted to plan for a spike in calls, you had to purchase and install additional permanent phone lines well in advance, even if your needs were seasonal or temporary. For example, if a store consistently received up to 12 calls at a specific time of day, say at 2 p.m., the business would need 12 standing phone lines available to accommodate each incoming call. If it didn't have enough capacity, then some callers might receive a busy signal or simply be unable to connect.
If the retailer purchased those 12 phone lines, its store would be able to handle all the incoming calls, but the vast majority of those lines might go unused outside of that limited peak period. If there were multiple store locations, the retailer would have to over-resource each of them to solve the problem, greatly diminishing ROI. Thankfully, SIP trunking's peak provisioning feature provides retailers a better way to handle such capacity planning requirements during the holiday season and beyond.
SIP's Solution: Peak Provisioning and Centralized Trunking
When a retailer centralizes its SIP trunks, it can plan for peak capacity across all of its store locations. Since each store will likely have its own unique peak calling period, the peak capacity needed for all the stores will probably be lower than if the retailer had to individually resource each location.
Even if every store within a retailer's network appears to be deluged with calls at the same time of day, those peak periods might not actually occurr simultaneously once time zone differences are accounted for. A modern business phone system that has centralized SIP trunking can take advantage of the time zone differences between various store locations, distributing its peak capacity across multiple time zones as needed. That means significantly less overall capacity may be required, which allows the retailer to seamlessly accommodate peak calling for all of its locations in a more efficient and cost-effective way.
Rather than having to invest in a brand new phone system and commit to a substantial capital investment, a business can instead add upgraded functionality to its existing phone system using SIP trunks.
Now, rather than having to individually plan for and over-resource capacity for each store, a retailer can maximize its telecommunications investment in all its stores at once and achieve a far better ROI than it could have just a short while ago.
SIP Trunking's Attractive Cost Savings
As you might imagine, SIP trunking offers retailers attractive cost savings. Companies only pay for the calling capacity they actually need, instead of committing to the substantial monthly cost of a traditional PRI circuit, which requires purchasing 23 channels at a time. It's also flexible, able to be used with legacy phone systems and today's unified communications systems. This means retailers can leverage the benefits of SIP trunking right away. Rather than having to invest in a brand new phone system and commit to a substantial capital investment, a business can instead add upgraded functionality to its existing phone system using SIP trunks.
Retailers are always looking for ways to better serve their customers, especially during peak periods including the holiday season. With the peak provisioning that centralized SIP trunking provides, they can make sure that all their incoming calls connect without a hitch, any time of day, at every store, all while saving money and avoiding costly system upgrades. That's a bit of good news that should give retailers extra holiday cheer both through the season and well into the new year.
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