Users - The Heart of Phonebooth

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One question I have been asked recently is, "What is a User?" I think most people understand that a User is a person in their company who uses the system. However, further confusion is rooted in the fact that Users are required for many other things. In this post, I want to discuss what a User is and how it is used for Phonebooth.

When we built Phonebooth, one of our key goals and guidelines was and has always been to keep it simple. We looked at the industry and saw our competitors offer a plethora of different types of extensions, users, seats, plans and account options. All of these with overlapping functionality and an extremely wide variation of pricing from $20 to $60 per month, per account or seat. We chose to err on the side of minimalistic simplicity and just have one entity called Users.

What is a User?

A User is the heart of the Phonebooth system. It is the endpoint to which all calls are ultimately routed. It is also the only entity that we currently costs our customers money to use. Our customers are free to route inbound calls however they want, but in the end the call will terminate at a User.

What can a User do?

A User is the only entity in the system that can:

  • have voicemail.
  • forward calls off-site (Find Me Follow Me).
  • be a member of a Group.
  • make outbound calls.
  • be assigned an IP phone.

What is a User for?

It is for your people - A User can be a person who needs to be able to make and to receive calls using an IP-phone, have voice-mail and be able to forward calls to outside phone numbers (i.e. mobile phone or home phone). 

It is how you forward calls - If you need to forward a call off-site, you will need a User. An example of this would be if you wanted to offer an option in the auto-attendant that would forward a call to an outside number. To do this, you would create a User with the Find Me Follow me set to ring the outside number. 

It is your Voice-mail - If you need a general voice-mail or a voice-mail that may be forwarded to an email distribution list, you will need to anchor it with a User. Why? Because Users are the only entity in the system with voice-mail.

How much does a User cost?

$20 per month each.

Does a User require a dedicated phone number?

In most cases, no. The only situations where a dedicated number is required is when the User works in multiple locations or when the User works at a home office or other remote location. Both of these situations require a dedicated phone number for 911 safety reasons.

Summary

Users are not just for people anymore. You may find that you have more Users than actual people working at your company.

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