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IP Call Recording: A Burgeoning Business Asset for SMBs

April 30, 2007
By Stefania Viscusi - Assignment Desk Editor

Today IP call recording is quickly becoming a standard business application and is offering a lot more potential than the cumbersome recording systems of years past. What’s more, a sea change is occurring in how businesses are approaching the value of call recording.

I recently spoke with Andy Mercker, Director of Marketing at Telrex (News - Alert), a leading provider of IP recording and monitoring software for small and medium businesses. 
“The value proposition is evolving from one of simply ‘protecting your business’ to now include ‘growing your business’,” states Mercker. “As call recording becomes more widely deployed, we are seeing businesses starting to view voice as an asset that can be leveraged in new ways.” 
Through the acceptance of IP telephony across all types of businesses, IP is making call recording accessible to small and mid-sized business by taking away the hassle factor of deploying the technology. Because of VoIP, call recording technology has undergone a complete makeover.
“In the past, deploying call recording meant an expensive truck roll, phone guys setting up lines taps, installing telephony boards on the PBX, and deploying dedicated recording equipment,” explained Mercker, “Now with IP telephony, an IT person installs software on a standard server and configures the network to send VoIP packets to that server.” With many of the physical requirements removed, deploying IP call recording is dramatically easier for businesses of all sizes.  Looking into this further, Mercker discussed trends now emerging.
 "Traditionally call recording has been deployed as an effective way to protect the business; such as regulatory compliance, transaction recording, and dispute resolution, reducing errors, quality monitoring and security."
"Businesses have found IP call recording to offer a cost-effective measure of protection."
With the advent of IP, call recordings are now stored as standard data files, and are easy to access and work with as compared to legacy technologies. Mercker states that now forward-thinking businesses of all sizes are looking for new ways to make use of these call recordings. Through ongoing customer surveys, Telrex gauges usage and trends in call recording. 
"Our most recent survey showed that while businesses continue to adopt call recording for regulatory compliance, dispute resolution and security,” says Mercker, “a growing number are using call recording for employee training.” Mercker notes that businesses which have bought into the idea of making call recordings are now asking the questions about how best to use these recordings and what they can do with them to leverage this asset. 
“These businesses are finding call recording to be an important element of employee training in order to achieve growth and reduce costs,” observes Mercker. “Listening back to important calls sheds light on how all types of employees can provide better service, increase sales, and turn around dissatisfied customers.”
One of the challenges businesses need to be aware of is that the process of sorting through hundreds or thousands of hours of recordings can present a real barrier to effective evaluation and training. As a result, tools to locate and work with calls or groups of calls for use in training are becoming a key component of the overall call recording solution.
“What businesses require are the tools that enable a manager to easily pull up a set of call recordings and match these up with a customized performance standard. Then managers can effectively coach employees to identify where they are performing well, and where they need to improve,” said Mercker. “Our customers tell us that call recording, and using these recordings effectively, can provide a basis for better, more useful training and lead to more significant performance increases as compared to traditional ways of training employees without call recording.” 
Mercker continued, “Call recording is a lot more than just call recording these days. Our goal has been to take what’s complex and expensive, and make it easy and affordable for SMB. IP has made it possible for us to achieve this with call recording. Now it’s about delivering easy and affordable tools that enable our customers to get more value from call recordings as a business asset.” 
In addition to call recording software, Telrex also offers CallRex Agent Evaluation as part of the CallRex software suite. Agent Evaluation pulls in selected call recordings and matches them up to customer-defined performance standards. This is a tool for managers to conduct objective and focused evaluations.
“We find that employees greatly appreciate the objective nature of the Agent Evaluation software, and managers greatly appreciate having an easy-to-use coaching tool that points them to the specific items employees need to focus on,” stated Mercker.
Many businesses have a team or teams of employees who spend a significant amount of time on the phone with customers or clients, regardless of whether the operation is defined as a formal call center. 

“IP telephony is enabling more businesses to deploy small call centers, and it’s precisely these types of businesses that gain value from the objective evaluation of call recordings for training purposes,” commented Mercker. “Additionally, in a call center, whether formal or informal, labor can represent 60 percent of the costs of running the operation. Employee turnover and new hire training is expensive, and keeping good employees motivated and productive can become a real challenge in many environments. Enabling managers to use call recordings to become more objective and provide better coaching can go a long way to addressing many of these business issues.”
As IP technology and call recording continue to grow in acceptance, the asset that results from call recording is becoming an important element of growing a business.  We’ll keep our eye on Telrex as they appear well positioned for this emerging trend.
Stefania Viscusi is an established writer and avid reader. To see more of her articles, please visit Stefania Viscusi’s columnist page.

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