Learning from the numbers

What’s in a number? We’ve written in the past about the importance of choosing the right mix of local, national or international telephone numbers to best suit your customer base. But there are other numbers associated with your business telephony system which, if understood, can also help to make an impact on your business outcomes.

How many calls, both inbound and outbound, flow through your company switchboard every day? Which department makes and receives the most calls? Is there a daily or weekly pattern to the calls and if so are peaks and troughs specific to one department or seen across the whole organisation?

It might be easy to assume that customer facing departments such as customer services or marketing receive the most calls. And indeed, some of your people may comment that their work patterns are being interrupted by multiple telephone calls. But unless you stop and take a look at the statistics then all you are working on is assumption and hearsay.

That’s where call reporting really comes into its own. Having the ability to drill down into the numbers will not only help you to understand telephone flow through your organisation, it can also help you to plan to make the most effective use of your resources.

For example, an appreciation of the number of overseas calls made may act as a prompt to move towards VoIP calling; moving calls onto the internet in order to save cost. On the other hand, you may just decide to block certain extensions from being able to make overseas or premium rate calls or perhaps pin protect those calls in order to ensure that prior sanction has been given. Looking at the other side of overseas calls, if telephone call records indicate that there is a growing client base in a particular country or region then there might be a case for offering an international number to further encourage those clients to call.

Call reporting can also help with areas such as customer service. Might there be a case for dedicating extra members of the team to answering customer calls at times of peak flow? Or perhaps given the number of calls seen you might wish to opt for further investigation in order to see if answers to frequently asked questions could be highlighted on the website or made available via a customer information line.

Then there are the calls which regularly come into the business from certain customers or suppliers. Does the frequency of these calls indicate a problem or are they simply part of the normal pattern of business? If the latter, it might make sense to program the company switchboard to identify these calls based on the originator telephone number and automatically transfer them to their normal contact point within the organisation. This will not only save resources in transferring calls, it will also indicate to customers or suppliers that you value contact with them.

As with all statistics, it is important only to measure those areas which could make a genuine difference to the organisation. However, neglecting call records could mean that a vital source of information is being missed; one which could help to optimise resources whilst furthering relationships with customers and suppliers.

Written by Alison