Any business that has used a Telecom Management System, or “Call Accounting” as it used to be referred to, knows that it was very useful in the costing of phone calls. Instantly knowing the cost of a call or when calls were being made to certain phone numbers, like 411 or international locations, helped Telecom Managers spot problem areas, eliminate waste and reduce their costs.
Nowadays, with the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks, the cost of a particular phone call may not be important. After all, most businesses using some kind of a VoIP phone service are paying a flat rate. The cost of an individual phone call doesn’t matter. Still, Telecom Management Systems can help you allocate network costs back to employees or departments and some businesses use Telecom Management Systems to bill their clients for phone costs, but if that’s all you are using Telecom Management for, you are missing out on a wealth of information that could help you run your business more efficiently and increase your revenues.
Sound far fetched? Well, I like to think that Telecom Management Systems provide businesses with a real-time, ground-level view of communications going on within their organizations. Why is this important? I believe that the way your employees communicate (with each other, with customers and with partners) can speak volumes about the success, or lack thereof, of your business.
Here’s an example. Say you have a Telesales team in your company and their objective is to call prospects, qualify new leads and close sales. While your Sales Manager might listen in on a few calls each day to see how the Sales Associates are doing, the Sales Manager doesn’t really have any idea of how many calls each Sales Associate is making (other than what the Sales Associates self report), how long they are on the phone with potential customers and what locations, or territories, they are calling.
That’s where a robust Telecom Management System can help. The Sales Manager can easily pull a report showing all call records for every Sales Associate. Now, the Sales Manager has the information they need to manage their team more effectively and increase sales. For instance, maybe the target for prospecting is 50 calls for each Sales Associate every day. But the Telecom Management reports show that one of the Sales Associates is consistently at 20 calls each day. That is a problem that needs to be addressed. Maybe it’s a training issue or maybe that Sales Associate doesn’t have enough phone numbers to dial. Whatever the problem, a good Telecom Management System can help pinpoint the issue!
Another use for Telecom Management that I like to point out to my customers is “White Collar” productivity. In any organization, there are employees that need to be on the phone in order to do their jobs and employees that have other responsibilities and should not be on the phone. As in our previous example, Sales Associates should be on the phone a great deal of the time and probably have quotas for talk time, while Software Engineers have very little need to be on the phone.
A simple report from your Telecom Management System will show you the number of calls, talk time and numbers called for every employee in your organization. You’ll quickly spot employees talking on the phone with family or friends and be able to focus them back on the business task at hand. In severe cases, Telecom Management Systems can help support your Human Resources Department in case action must be taken against an employee who is not following the rules. His or her call records can build a strong evidential case for penalties or even dismissal.
Finally, I want to point out the importance of Telecom Management Systems to the life’s blood of any organization – the Customer! Many of you reading this article have large call centers fed by toll-free numbers where customers contact you to place orders or report problems. In the case of formal call centers, there are already excellent software packages on the market to help track, in excruciating detail, every phone interaction with your customers. But what about your “informal” customer contact centers? Your Billing Department? The phone at the Reception Desk? Your Accounting Department? One of your stores? They all receive customer calls every day. What happens to those calls? Who is tracking them? What happens if a customer calls one of those phone numbers and is put on hold for 10 minutes? Does the customer continue to wait or, do they hang up the phone and call your competition?
Again, having a Telecom Management System in place can help you monitor these informal customer contact centers and identify issues before they become major problems that cost you sales. Any reputable Telecom Management System will be able to tell you how long customers are waiting to have their call answered, how many callers are giving up and abandoning, how long your employees are on the phone with customers and, if a call needs to be transferred to another department, whether or not that transferred call is ever answered. All of this information can help businesses improve the Customer Experience they offer and, in the end, increase their sales.
So, in closing, the good news is that there are a number of Telecom Management Systems on the market today that are both effective and economical at providing valuable information about how employees are communicating. More good news is that, in almost every case, these systems will reduce your telecom spend (The mere fact that employees know their calls are being monitored usually has an immediate impact on fraudulent calling!). In fact, the savings you experience often are sufficient to pay for the entire Telecom Management System. Even more good news is that while these Telecom Management Systems help you reduce telecom spend, they also provide critical insight into your organization and how your employees communicate on a daily basis. As I’ve discussed, this information will help your business improve employee productivity, keep your Sales Team on track and help keep your customers happy.