Real World Applications for a Real World Business

Software vendor CommSoft say they were the first in the channel to integrate call management and call recording in one package, as far back as 2004.

Director Bonnie Church: “We realised that it can be hard for customers to find a particularly call on a trunk side call recording system: which trunk did the call come in on for example? We took the initiative and supplied free call management reporting with every call recording solution. This means that customers can run a telephony report and play back the associated recording from the speaker icon in the report. We regularly replace other call recording solutions, where customers have spent days trying to find calls due to poor search features. The low end voice recorders frustrate customers, who have to wade through piles of archive DVDs: we deliver proper archiving and offer up to 60,000 hours of storage to our clients.

We have added an innovative new call recording product to our portfolio for 2009 – CommsOffice Voice, recording and reporting solution with a keen price tag for the SME user but as still fully featured as call recorders that are double the price and with a winning interface. To provide best value to customers, all of our voice recording solutions have an ‘all in’ price which includes a high spec server PC, all required hardware and unlimited client licences for search and playback at no extra cost. We win business because other suppliers start with a basic quote but then items like agent grading and scoring are extras, call management reporting would always be an extra, a PC server is extra, more than five client licences is extra and so on. Suddenly, the rival basic quote does not look that cheap.

We also add value in that our entire range is modular: purchase CommsOffice reporting and add our new PA Operator Console or add CTI Screen Pop as a module – all applications in our range work from one database and customers really appreciate that they only have to learn how to use one interface, common to all of the products that we supply. This saves on training time. The interface is MS Outlook in style, which makes our software familiar and easy to use – it is rare to visit a customer site and meet someone unfamiliar with Microsoft applications so this is a big selling point for CommSoft resellers. We are effectively a ‘one stop shop’ for communications management software solutions – one supplier, one invoice. Our products are available from all of the major distributors, so resellers can purchase the telephone system and the suite of applications for their customer from one place, on their terms. Plus, we are channel only and never try to under cut our own resellers by selling direct to their customers.

Our resellers find that all kinds of departments in a business benefit from implementation of Commsoft products: from the receptionist who loves the new Personal Assistant Operator Console software which provides single and multi-site operator call handling from any networked PC. Our Operator Console provides an alternative to traditional PBX consoles. Our feature-rich screen based display increases operator productivity, visibility and call-handling capabilities. The CommSoft Operator Console is scalable with the ability to monitor calls and extensions on either single or multiple sites. This software allows operators and users to efficiently manage calls rather than simply answer them. Importantly, we offer ‘Presence’ so that the operator can see and monitor the visual status of extensions including the telephone system ‘Absent Message” status. The Operator Console runs with or without CommsOffice, so once installed, additional functionality can be purchased and is enabled online by application of a licence upgrade.

Another key department to benefit from the implementation of a CommSoft applications is the Customer Service department. In challenging times, customer retention is of vital importance. Your customer’s customers expect the best service and what better demonstration, than having a customer service agent greet you personally and recall notes or details of your last conversation? The new Personal Assistant CTI screen pop module from CommSoft delivers that functionality. Our PA CTI application works with all CommsOffice products: the CTI client provides basic call control; dial, answer, transfer plus Screen Pop, ACD in/out of group and wrap-up, MS Outlook & MS Office integration and custom database or CRM software integration is available upon request.

The entire business benefits from CommsOffice reporting: managers can examine staff productivity, call volumes, abandoned calls which equate to lost business, outbound call activity versus targets and of course, we were innovators in the provision of true live call statistics and we bought wallboards and agent features into the small to medium contact centre for a fraction of the cost of traditional wallboard technology, which was prohibitively expensive for the SME in the past.

The ultimate product for any business to implement however is call recording. What better way to see who said what, when and how? A relevant question to ask any customer service manager is ‘How much do you have to give away in goods each month to keep customers happy?’. Any business that takes orders over the phone is subject to disputes over orders and unless they have call recording in place, they have to give away goods for the sake of ‘good customer service’ whilst taking the hit which few retail business can afford in the present climate. Other key return on investment arguments for call recording include compliance with industry regulations, for example meeting the FSA’s ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ targets by March 2009 or a recent example for one of our resellers: a three site client in the medical sector who stands to receive a £70,000 fine if they cannot produce all parts of all call recordings made to their patient help lines, including the recording of any internal transfers to nursing advisors.

It is always good practice to record all calls into and out of a business, for customer service, training purposes, dispute resolution or simply to protect the business and staff from abuse but what if the MD does not wish his or her calls to be recorded? We have the technology to exclude an extension from being recorded, even on a trunk side solution which has won us many sales at CommSoft as competitors cannot provide this feature. Another important CommSoft differentiator is the fact that our CommsOffice software reports through Auto Attendant where competitor’s products do not, many inferior products merely show that a call was handled by the Auto Attendant but they cannot show where a call went after the AA picked up and the details thereafter – which are important to customers. Add to that the fact that all of our products, including the entry level software can be run across multiple sites and you have a winning range of solutions that deliver all that your customer requires.

Whilst imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it always interests me to see that we release an innovative, integrated package and several months later, the others in our industry scramble to follow, even if it means a quick re badge of someone else’s technology in the rush, which leads to various GUIs throughout the range. All CommSoft applications are our own, designed, developed and produced in house with UK based support. We are the innovators at CommSoft beacuse we are in touch with customer needs – I guess this is because we have worked in the commercial world for many years: we approach new product development from a purely ‘real word’ perspective. We look to develop applications that we would want to use as managers in business rather than foist products designed by techies for techies onto bemused customers. Our interface can be understood and used by everyone in a business, from the receptionist to an IT Manager or an FD.

Plus, we are clear in our communications to resellers: it is no good blinding everyone with science. Sometimes I read adverts for new products and if I do not understand fundamentally and quickly what the product is, then how on earth is an end user from outside our industry supposed to? Keep it real world and simple, in my opinion and give customers the management information that they need to run their business. These days, telephone systems are all of a high standard and their feature sets are similar but applications are the thing that customers decide upon. They may have a mild preference regarding handsets but as long as the phone system does the job, the actual brand may not be top of their priority list.

In any system demo, the customer really lights up when we talk about management information and applications: they will make their decision based upon the best set of features for the money overall. So always quote call management and call recording as part of the overall system feature set and you will always be seen to be offering the best deal. It should really be, ‘Dear customer, tick the box if you do not want business analysis management information’. The resellers that embrace applications, actively quote them and sell them will be the ones that grow their business in these difficult times. I do not believe that anyone can survive purely upon selling telephone systems at the moment, without adding some value. And why not resell items that make you excellent margins, like call recording? We will do the demo for you, we can install and support it for you and you earn margin on all aspects? It is a ‘no brainer’ for you.