When it comes to squeezing more costs out of hard-wired telephony systems, collection managers have few options. The technology has matured to a point that there is no room left for cost-cutting innovations, sources tell Collections & Credit Risk magazine.

Short of telephony carriers engaging in a price war, rare with competition keeping prices down, the fat has been trimmed out of operating costs for hardwired systems. Granted, automated voice response units and predictive dialers can help agents work more efficiently, but they are expensive and have a return on investment of several years. Besides, most call centers installed these technologies years ago.

As a result, collection managers have little choice but to embrace new telephony technologies if they are intent on lowering the costs associated with their phone system. Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) technology fills the bill. VoIP-based phone systems were about half the price of a T1-based system two years ago and have dropped further since, according to VoIP experts. Just as enticing is that the technology can operate in a hybrid environment in which it connects to a hard-wired telephony system for calls placed outside the local network.

The advantage of VoIP over traditional T1 phone lines is that it enables the call center to integrate all inbound and outbound communications into its network of databases and computer servers via a local area network. That means inbound and outbound calls can be linked with customer relationship management (CRM), voice mail, e-mail, and customer account databases, thereby eliminating the barriers that create information silos.

For more about this topic, watch for the August issue of Collections & Credit Risk.

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