Call Recording Services

Call Recording – An Essential Tool For Business

As specialist providers of the full range of telecoms and data/IT services to UK based businesses large and small, we at Southern Voice & Data have seen a marked increase in the demand for call recording solutions. This trend appears to be right across the industry and has become one of the hot topics among telephony professionals.

Why Bother Recording Phone Calls?

At a basic level it provides evidence of who said what and provides a permanent record of discussions that take place either with customers or work colleagues. How many times have you wished you had taken more detailed notes about a customer’s requirements and then wasted hours preparing the wrong quotation? If you had recorded the call, this can be referred to so you get the specification correct and both time and money are saved.

However in the modern business environment, call recording can be far more important than that.

Training

Recording phone calls can be a valuable management tool to improve the quality of staff performance, not only in call centres and help desks but in every department of the business. The ability to choose random conversations, rather than those that the manager is directly aware of, ensures that every staff member can be measured against quality indexes and appropriate training procedures instituted so that they are achieved.

When call recording is used as part of clearly defined training plan, staff will perform their jobs better and more customers will be retained.

Regulatory Compliance

It is not just the financial sector that has to prove compliance in their dealings with customers although these businesses are particularly affected by it, even down to independent financial or pension advisors. Rules and regulations abound, especially if you are taking card payments over the phone – which applies to nearly every business these days – and the need to prove compliance exists, even for those working remotely or using a mobile.

Preventing Disputes

It is a fact of modern commercial life that the majority of business is done over the phone and the potential for disagreement and dispute of what was offered and agreed comes as part of the package.

We know from talking to our customers that if they have installed call recording as a feature of their telephone system, they are far less prone to having disputes and being forced to give in to demands to keep the customer happy. Often it is a case of a customer believing that something was offered when it was not and being able to send them an email of a transcript of the recording will jog their memory.

This saving can far outweigh the cost of the feature and if the worst happens, then the recording can be used as evidence in any litigation.

At Southern Voice and Data our preferred call recording solution is iCall Suite from Ericsson-LG. This is a complete communications management package that does far more than record phone conversations as it has a comprehensive range of features that provides all the business tools you need for your telephone system. Review the capabilities of iCall Suite.

For small to medium sized businesses, we also provide iPECS IP Call Recording (IPCR), again from Ericsson-LG. This is a server based application that provides an all-in-one solution to monitoring and recording telephone activity with the ability to record up to 200 calls simultaneously. Review the features of iPECS IP Call Recording (IPCR).

No matter what business you are in or how big the organisation, call recording is no longer a luxury for those outside the large call centre environment or companies regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Today it can bring real savings, improve efficiency and increase profits for almost any company.

Communications Solutions for Schools

Improving Parent – School Communications

At Southern Voice & Data we have worked with a hugely varied range of clients from both the commercial and public sectors. One of our principal objectives is to improve both the internal and external communication capabilities of the client, whether this is through upgrading their telephone systems or introducing more efficient data handling and distribution networks.

In no sector is this more important that education. The ability for a school to effectively communicate with the parents of students has been shown to considerably enhance this relationship for the benefit of all concerned.

We have partnered with Oak Telecom to offer the Parent Connect software application to the education sector. This powerful ‘total communication’ tool integrates a school’s telephone system with school administration software to bring parent communication right up to date and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of internal administrative staff.

It offers a significant range of benefits that ensure a smooth administrative operation whilst offering the opportunity to reduce overall communication costs.

By accessing the schools administrative database, Parent Connect can identify who is calling and display this information to the call handler, thus providing them with essential information in a timely manner. Previewing of calls also allows them to be prioritised which is particularly useful at busy times.

Parent Connect will also display the caller history and concise information about all students linked to that caller. This includes who has dealt with previous calls making it quick and easy to transfer it to the correct person.

The system also keeps a log of all telephone calls in and out which simplifies the checking of bills and eliminating unauthorised usage.

However it is when it comes to contacting a parent that the system comes into its own. Not only will it display a record of all previous communications and the reason for the contact, but will show all possible contact details in priority order. This can save a huge amount of time trying to contact the right person about any issue.

Although voice contact is by far the most preferred, by schools and parents, this system provides both SMS and email messaging capability which can significantly reduce overall operating costs – especially if a reminder has to be sent to a whole class or group.

Phil Horwood of Southern Voice & Data commented, “We have worked closely with the education sector for many years and we are very excited about the capabilities of Parent Connect as a total communications solution for schools and colleges.”

For comprehensive details of this time and cost saving application please download the Parent Connect brochure.

Network Security – A Threat Faced By All Businesses

Having your IT network security compromised could have a huge cost impact on your business. Taking some simple steps now could save a lot of time, money and stress in the future.

No matter how large or small your organisation, it will probably depend on a computer network to operate efficiently. This might link staff based in a single office, those working at other locations or those who work off site at home or on the road. With such a dependence on this IT network it is hardly surprising that network security has become one of the key issues of the modern world.

 

It is not just the threat of confidential or sensitive data being accessed by unauthorised and possibly malicious outsiders, but also the considerable expense of the time lost repairing the damage.

 

Office based servers have, and will continue to provide business IT networks to companies, with on-premise systems still accounting for the majority of preferred network infrastructures. If we are to continue to embrace the traditional means of hosting our systems we do need to be aware of threats, both internal and external and how we go about protecting our networks.

 

And as technology changes, so do the threats that we are being presented with. Firewall technology has historically been relatively simple, though taking into consideration the advancements in cyber-crime over the past decade, software and hardware has gradually evolved and the inspection engines that support our network security have been developed.

 

These days the protection that can be applied to our networks should ideally be scalable, so as we and our networks grow, so do the security solutions that are implemented.

 

At Southern Voice and Data our preferred solution to network security requirements is SonicWALL. This clever device can offer a multitude of functions and can be adapted to any network offering intrusion prevention, application intelligence, VPN in addition to a number of other security features that will best protect your network.

 

Key Features of SonicWALL

  • All traffic is scanned prior to entering your network without affecting your network’s performance
  • Equipped to deal with multiple intrusions via IPS (intrusion protection service) with integral advanced anti-evasion capabilities
  • Offers a secure mobile access solution, enabling collaboration between your workforce whilst also protecting your systems against unauthorised access and malware attacks
  • Manages inbound and outbound threats at high speed, continually rejecting inbound advances from a hostile source, regardless of how many times the malware may mutate and re-engage
  • Automatically manages multiple threats without the need for you to apply valuable resources to the process
  • Reporting function provides a complete breakdown of all potential attacks
  • Provides application traffic analytics so that an organisation can be aware of where peaks in network activity may be affecting performance
  • Privileges for users, groups and even devices can be managed to ensure that the network can continue to operate efficiently

 

Prevention is always better than cure and installing network security before there is any breach is always preferable to the time and expense taken to rectify any damage.

On Hold Marketing – The Not So Silent Salesman

Telephone communication is at the very heart of today’s business world but the amount of calls that are put on hold is truly staggering. Estimates and statistics vary depending on who you ask, but figures we at Southern Voice and Data have found, indicate that 7 out of every 10 business calls are put on hold at some point.

 

Not only that but the average hold time is around 40 seconds and that nearly 20% of callers surveyed admitted that they had purchased additional products as a result of information they had heard while on hold.

 

As telephony specialists we look at every aspect of a client’s telephone activity to ensure that they get the best return on their communications investment. We understand that it is inevitable that a percentage of the calls your business receives will have to be put on hold for one reason or another.

 

What we also understand is that what was previously thought of as ‘dead’ time, can actually be used as a very powerful sales and marketing opportunity. Here are some other statistics for you to ponder.

  • Over 90% of marketing budgets are spent encouraging customers to call and yet less than 10% is spent on handling the call once it has been received.
  • Nearly 70% of customers are lost as a result of indifferent or negative phone treatment.
  • Nearly 90% of callers in one survey indicated that they preferred to hear product information whilst they were on hold as this meant they were not just ‘wasting time’

 

For these very compelling reasons, Southern Voice and Data has become a leading supplier of audio marketing services, providing professionally written and produced messages for hundreds of businesses across the UK.

 

Don’t leave your customers hanging on the phone, use the time to promote your business. Experience has proven that not only will your customers believe that you care about their business, but it is highly likely that this will increase as a result.

 

See our On Hold Solutions page for more details.

Leasing

Many companies decide to keep their phone system long past it’s sell by date, soldiering on inefficiently, missing business, offering poor phone customer service and communication because they perceive a replacement to be too expensive. Southern Voice & Data can show you a number of ways to keep the cost of a new system down to a minimum with various ways of reducing regular phone costs. But business should seriously consider leasing as an alternative to paying cash for their new phone system. Here we look at some of the benefits of leasing:

  • Many companies choose to lease capital equipment such as a phone system rather than buying outright.
  • When investing in a new phone system, many companies prioritise cost over the best long term investment as a result of cash flow. Cheapest is rarely the best long term option and so a lease rental enables companies to have the best long term solution now.
  • Zero or minimal financial outlay with payments spread over 1 to 7 years (3 and 5 being most popular and our recommended periods)
  • Without the need to have the budget readily available, companies can have the products and technology they need now without waiting for budgets to become available.
  • Monthly or quarterly payments are inflation proof
  • Although you do pay interest on lease rental payments, but this can be offset once you take into consideration tax relief and the other benefits.

In addition, Southern Voice & Data will give you the option to own the system outright once the lease has expired, whereas many of our competitors including BT do not offer this, forcing customers to take out a new lease for new equipment when the existing system was sufficient for their needs. Or worse still, continue to pay the lease payments on the existing system meaning that customers effectively continue to pay indefinitely for equipment they will never own.