Today our blog was submitted by Andy Wolf, Telecom Manger at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR.
Phone calls and long distance have become so inexpensive these days, I often hear people say “Why use call accounting?” and “we can’t justify the expense of call accounting when the call cost is so cheap!” From my perspective, there are five BIG reasons. And I mean a Big-Five-Fingered-Open-Handed-Slap-to-the-forehead, “why didn’t I think of that”; number of reasons. Let’s have look:
- OVERALL ACCOUNTABILITY – If you don’t track usage, there will be no red flags for abuse. While the overall cost of phone calls has decreased over the years, the issue of employee productivity can still cost you far more. Do you want to pay someone to chat with their friends on the phone, instead of concentrating on their job? Not to mention their use of your company’s Toll-Free (ie inbound Collect! on your dime!) as a way of keeping in touch with their friends and family! There are a few cases where unbeknownst to the company, a phone hacker, employee, or even the night janitor; has forwarded a company phone to their questionable dealer friends in another country, and the calls have gone on for weeks at the company’s expense. Just a quick glance at the analytics every month helps you to spot trends and problems before they spiral out of control. Top 20 lists for Longest Call, Most Expensive Call, Most Frequent Call, Off Hours are all valuable information that takes just seconds to evaluate.
- MARKETING FOCUS – Call accounting can help you spot trends in interest from a specific region, assist in confirming successful targeted marketing campaigns, or help spot a support problem; all based on the number and length of calls both inbound and outbound, to/from area codes, cities, states, regions, or specific numbers. Without call accounting, none of this information is there – by using call accounting, this information is available instantly; at your fingertips in real time.
- OVER/UNDER TRUNKED – Monthly reports can assist in sizing your system correctly so money is not wasted on trunks that will never be used. You don’t want to have busy trunks and not be able to place or receive calls due to heavy volume. Tracking via call accounting is the only way to identify busy hour conditions and predict the requirements. Having one or two underutilized trunks is one thing; having completely unused T1/PRI’s that you are paying for every month is something quite different $$$.
- CALL LOGS – I can’t tell you how many times a user has called me in a panic because they either lost a note with a caller’s number on it, or just plain botched the number when they wrote it down. I know in one case of a small college, putting the employee back in touch with the caller resulted in the completion of a large estate donation. Would it have happened if the employee never returned the call; because they had lost the caller’s number? Maybe not!
- DEPARTMENTAL CHARGE-BACKS OR COST ALLOCATION – depending on your companies accounting practices, you might need to internally charge departments for their use of shared resources. Call Accounting makes it simple to take a several thousand dollar phone bill, and divide it equitably between the departments. Here is the kicker: Even if this is not an accounting requirement, it’s still a smart exercise! If a particular department has excessive costs for the use of a particular system, it might be time to re-evaluate the business processes or work flows. Knowledge allows managers to make informed decisions; if the bill simply gets paid without evaluating the “who and why” of the costs; managers can’t correct what could potentially be real flaws in workflow process! Department heads should know exactly how much it costs to run their department. Overhead costs that are simply paid for by the organization without cost allocations, will never allow the opportunity to make things more efficient. That’s the sad reality for those who don’t use call accounting.
As the technology moves from conventional PBX/TDM systems in to the wide world of VoIP, these realities don’t change. Call Accounting is still a very powerful tool in evaluating the costs of doing business, and making sure everyone in your organization is aware that these costs are being tracked, evaluated, and are being used to make smart, timely, and valuable business decisions.
Our Guest Blogger Andy Wolf is the Telecom Manger at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR. They have been a VXTracker customer since June, 2010. He has over 20 years of experience in Telecommunications and IT Operations Management and is a current member in good standing of both ACUTA and IAUG. He works full-time as a Telecom Manager so he can afford to keep farming. When not farming or working, he can be found fishing the Oregon Coastal Pacific Ocean for salmon and halibut.