COMPLETE 3CX PHONE SYSTEM GUIDE
The pandemic seems to have put IP (Internet Protocol) Telephony on speed dial. Organisations have been switching in their droves from outdated digital phone exchanges to newer internet-based platforms, like the 3CX Phone System. Find out more in our user’s guide.
3CX Phone System Guide
Software-based phone solutions offer enhanced functionality, opening up all kinds of extra communications possibilities in lockdown and beyond. They comprehensively out-perform their analogue counterparts. Meanwhile the biggest shake-up in telecoms since the 1980s will see BT’s older ISDN lines phased out in 2025. Legacy, hardware-based telephone systems will become obsolete.
Does your organisation still have a traditional PBX telephone system? At some point you will want to fast-forward to an internet-based phone solution instead. The advanced features of the 3CX Phone System make it an attractive proposition for organisations of all sizes. Winner of many awards, it has a long list of all-inclusive, cost-saving benefits. Enterprises in all sectors are deploying it to regain control over their telephony.
Why are so many organisations switching to 3CX? What are its advantages over traditional phone systems, and how do you set it up?
What is 3CX?
3CX is a software-based IP phone system that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. Through SIP trunks, it enables Voice, Video, Data and Messaging to be sent over an internet connection. It’s an open-standards platform. You have the freedom to make your own choices on everything from numbers to hosting solution.
With more than 250,000 installations, 3CX is fast becoming one of the world’s favourite telecoms platforms. Scalable, affordable and simple to run, it embraces voice, video, messaging and chat, thereby providing organisations of any size with an all-inclusive, unified communications solution.
What are the differences between 3CX and traditional phone systems?
On a traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange), calls are made over standard telephone lines. These connect to the PSTN from phones or fax machines. The Phone System is often a physical box on a wall or in a data centre. This hardware needs regular maintenance and costly software upgrades.
By contrast, software-based IP phone systems combine internet connectivity with different technologies. Voice calls, video, data and messages are conveyed across the Cloud rather than through physical analogue or digital lines. An IP PBX has no limits for outside lines, nor the number of internal extensions and devices which can be connected. Affording all the advantages of new technology, these far outweigh the capability of older-style telephone systems.
What are the benefits of 3CX?
Unified Communications (UC) made easy
The scope of the 3CX software makes it much more than just a phone system. As well as voice, it enables video, messaging and chat, plus synchronisation with many popular business CRMs. With the integrated softphone and smartphone clients, users automatically get access to all these advanced, unified communications features. Everything runs from a single platform so you don’t need to learn separate programmes to use them. Phone calls, emails, live chat and video meetings are shared across the same UC interface. This speeds up communications efficiency and opens up all sorts of possibilities for remote working.
- Fully Unified Communications platform
- Voice, Video, Emails & Chat across the same interface
- Dial-in to 3CX webmeeting by phone
- Better communication and opportunities for remote working
Built for remote working
As a cloud-based system, 3CX can be accessed wherever an internet connection exists. That makes it the perfect phone system for home working. With the client software supplied, telephony goes wherever you do, enabling you to use the company phone system even when you are away from the office.
Ideal for remote working, this makes it possible for staff to take or make calls from anywhere. They can also arrange video meetings, message suppliers and chat with colleagues in different branches or locations. You can use 3CX on any device, such as a mobile or laptop, by downloading the Softphone app. Privacy and professionalism is guaranteed. Personal details are hidden to make it appear as though you are calling from the trusted company number. And if you are busy, you can update your status so everyone can see you are not available to take calls.
- Access your phone system from anywhere
- Set your presence and view that of colleagues
- WebClient for remote working on any device
- Softphone app keeps staff personal details private
Reduces telephony costs
Most traditional phone systems required monthly maintenance contracts, with occasional hefty repair bills. With 3CX there are none because it is a software-based phone system, deployed in the cloud.
The 3CX pricing model saves money elsewhere too. There is no per extension licensing. Unlike traditional systems, charges are based on simultaneous calls so adding extra users won’t increase your costs. If the number of simultaneous calls does go up, we have the tools to monitor this and quickly move you up to the next level if required.
These calls are free for UK landlines and mobiles with reduced rates for international connections. This has proved to be budget-saving phone solution for the likes of schools, universities, charities and hotels. These all have high employee numbers – all potential phone users – but with relatively small individual call volume.
- Slash call charges
- Fair pricing model with no per extension call charges
- Low or free UK calls and reduced international rates
- Scalable phone solution grows with your business
Simple to set up
It’s very straightforward to set up and integrate 3CX. Once you have the relevant licence for your organisation, all you need is a browser with an internet connection and a SIP Trunk. Your provider, such as Clarion, can set the system up for you, or you can plug in an IP phone or Gateway, and connect with prominent SIP trunks within minutes with pre-configured templates.
On installation you can manage the entire system from the intuitive Management Console. This interface gives you total control over all functions. From here you can deploy IP phone firmware, automate software updates and build lists of contacts, extensions and DDIs.
- Needs only an internet connection, SIP trunk and licence
- Pre-configured templates integrate easily with SIPs
- Intuitive management console, with automatic system updates
- Full control over phones and calls with multi-configuration options
Security and back-up
When it comes to VoIP security, 3CX provides the peace of mind that IT and Telecoms managers need. All traffic is encrypted via a Session Border Controller (SBC) to protect your phone network from attacks. This is a free piece of software that we will provide that resides on-site. Built-in disaster recovery means that if your system goes down, all your phone data and configurations are safe. A secure SSL login takes you to an automated failover for instant back-up and restore.
- Advance security protocols, including traffic encryption via 3CX SBC
- A+ rating for VoIP security from SSL lab
- Built-in disaster recovery
- Automatic failover for instant back-up
Flexible and scalable
The 3CX phone system is a flexible, scalable platform. Choose whether your installation is managed on your premises or hosted separately in the Cloud. If you decide to deploy on-premise you can do so on an existing server, MiniPC or Raspberry Pi using Linux or Windows. You don’t need any expensive hardware to set up 3CX.
Alternatively, you can deploy 3CX separately in the Cloud. For best results, we recommend outsourcing to a managed solution, which we can arrange as an authorised 3CX hosting provider. Whatever you choose, you will have access to all the latest automated system updates, the scope to rapidly scale up your new phone system as your business expands, and the freedom to move your PBX to another server using built-in back-up and restore.
- Provision either on-premise or in the Cloud
- Deploy on Windows or Linux, Mini PC, Raspberry Pi
- No expensive hardware required
- Swift deployment, portability and scalability
3CX Phone System Guide: features at a glance
3CX Web Client
At the heart of the system, the Web Client is an intuitive control dashboard which sits on your browser. From here you can manage and personalise any of the communication possibilities included with your software licence. Log in and organise your contacts, make calls, record a voicemail greeting, set your presence, initiate conferences and chat with colleagues. You can also use the Web Client to select where and how you take calls – either direct from the browser (with Windows or Chrome extension), on an IP phone, or on a smartphone.
3CX Call Features
3CX is the phone system which has it all. It comes with all the everyday call centre features you’d expect, like Call Queuing, Group Ringing, Automatic Call Distribution and IVR. But with 3CX you always get more. The Call Flow Designer (CFD) presents you with a visual gateway so you can decide how and when you handle calls. Customise everything from standard phone functionality (press 1 for Customer Service, 2 for Accounts etc) through to more bespoke options, such as routing calls based on incoming number or time of day. Make such decisions by looking at the advanced Call Centre reporting. This gives you near unlimited data to help you monitor all your call statistics. All of this is simple to manage and understand, with no programming skills necessary.
The 3CX softphone is a free Windows or IoS app, which simulate all the features of a desk phone for employees who are not based in the office. Staff retain all the advanced features from the office phone system no matter where they are. Downloaded onto a PC, laptop or mobile, it enables staff to make and take calls over their internet connection, rather than a more expensive landline. Integrated WebRTC technology helps minimise the bandwidth usage. Perfect for remote working, the softphone app has helped organisations maintain their communications, and proved a connectivity lifeline for countless workers forced to work from home because of COVID-19.
3CX Video conferencing
The integrated 3CX video conferencing solution enables businesses to arrange virtual meetings, internally or externally. Presentations, webinars, document collaboration, even interviews can all be conducted over the VoIP connection. Maintain all the advantages of face-to-face contact but without anyone needing to be in the same office. In just one click, and for no extra cost, you can set up a conference call for up to 250 participants, connecting from any location.
3CX Live Chat
Many organisations use a live chat widget on their web site as a means to handle customer requests quickly, to provide support in real time, or capture casual leads for future targeting. In many cases live chat is a paid-for option but with 3CX it comes free. Go to the Management Console to configure and co-ordinate design to match your corporate branding, then embed it onto your web site, through a plug-in or CSS code.
3CX CRM integration
Most businesses depend heavily on a CRM for customer contact details, order processing and support history. You can integrate 3CX with popular CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot and Microsoft Dynamics. Inbound calls are matched to the caller ID and automatically logged into your CRM call records. Outbound calls go direct from your CRM package, saving you time in finding contact details and numbers. All contact details are managed from a central interface, where you can generate insightful reports on call duration, response times and number frequency.
3CX Phone System Guide: set up
To set up 3CX, you first need an operating licence. There are three licence options: Standard, Pro and Enterprise. As a Platinum Partner for 3CX, with more than 20 years telecoms experience, Clarion can advise on what is the best option for your organisation.
After choosing your licence, you will need a SIP Trunk to connect 3CX to the traditional phone network. The SIP Trunk runs over a standard internet connection and is the virtual link you need between 3CX and your VoIP service provider.
Is 3CX free?
Through the 3CX partner portal, we have access to the very latest promotions, including free exclusive offers on selected packages.
Who uses 3CX?
The 3CX phone platform is used by organisations of all sizes. There’s no limit on expansion because it’s a fully scalable phone platform – it grows as you do. That’s why it is used by organisations as diverse in size as multinationals American Express and Mitsubishi, public sector bodies like local government, hospitals and schools, a number of independent charities, law firms and hotels, plus smaller businesses and individual freelancers working from home.
Why change to 3CX now?
Most organisations that move to IP phone systems like 3CX never look back. In the past, when the main forms of communication comprised mostly of voice calls then the older analogue systems were fine. They could handle phone conversations perfectly well, but nothing more. Now, as voice is joined by audio, messaging and other forms of data communication, older phone exchanges have had their day. These traditional phone lines are being replaced with high-speed fibre. The process to turn off the existing PSTN and ISDN copper-based network has already begun. BT says this will be phased out completely by 2025. If you are still using ISDN lines then you’ll need to move to another solution.
In anticipation of the change many organisations have already upgraded to VoIP phone systems. With its many advanced features, and extraordinary flexibility, 3CX eliminates the cost and management headaches of outdated traditional systems, and future-proofs your phones against change.
- A state-of-the-art IP phone system
- Affordable pricing saves you money
- An open standards platform for extra control
- Easy to set up and deploy
- Easy to manage
- A full remote UC working solution
- Full of advanced features for better customer experience
- Flexible, scalable and secure
- A tried and tested phone system with many awards
- Choice of supported phones
Clarion – a 3CX Platinum Partner
If you are looking to upgrade your phone system, we can show you how easy 3CX deployment is, and answer any queries you may have. If you wish we’ll be happy to audit your current system and suggest the most suitable licence for your organisation. You can depend on our expertise to show how to set up 3CX, how to install or update the phone software, or download the app.
As an official licensing partner, we provide the latest system news and developments, and provide ongoing training according to your requirements. We will also guide you through any technical-sounding issues, including how to set up a SIP gateway, provide recommendations for 3CX hosted PBX pricing and advice on 3CX ports. Ask us too for information on supported handsets, such as those from Yealink, Fanvil and Snom.
Call us on 0222 333 6633 or email us now if you’d look more information, or wish to book a webinar with us.