ARC deploys VoIP call recording system

Getting people to pay their bills can be a tricky business. That’s why the Accounts Recovery Corp. (ARC) in Victoria must ensure its agents are well-trained to handle debt collection in a professional and sensitive way.

ARC recently implemented a call recording application so it could listen in on its employees’ phone calls with clients and keep track of interactions with difficult debtors. But there’s a catch: ARC is running a voice-over-IP (VoIP) system from 3Com Corp. and wanted a way to easily record packet-based phone calls.

“We’re constantly training our people and we have to adhere to different laws in every province; they are similar but each province has its own debt collection act,” explained Joe Polard, general manager of ARC in Victoria. “There are certain things that we just can’t say. Both creditors and debtors have rights and you have to make sure you’re clear about what you say so they don’t feel misled.”

So ARC turned to CallRex, a VoIP call recording and monitoring technology from Kirkland, Wash.-based Telrex. Although the software is centrally administered from its head office in Vancouver, ARC can use it to monitor and record phone conversations at its branches in Vancouver, Burlington, Ont., Montreal and Moncton, N.B.

CallRex is a purely software-based call recording application that can be either programmed to record and monitor calls or do it on an ad-hoc basis. Calls can be flagged with additional information so users can search them using criteria such as date, time, user name, inbound number, caller ID or the call’s flagged name. In addition, calls can be searched and then played back either on the phone or through computer speakers.

Polard said the CallRex system monitors 150 agents, a number that will have increased to 300 by Feb. 15. ARC beta-tested CallRex by performing a 30-day trial in its Victoria office. Polard was impressed. That purely software-based nature is what appealed to him. He said with a traditional analogue call recording system, ARC couldn’t store and retrieve data as easily and take advantages of some of CallRex’s other features, like flagging. In addition, analogue systems would require the cumbersome hardware needed to tap into each individual phone line.

CallRex is compatible only with Microsoft Corp.’s Windows platforms. It supports Windows Server 2000, Server 2003, 2000 Professional and XP Professional. As part of the installation process Telrex will also install the desktop edition of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2000 SP3, which stores the data generated from CallRex in wav files, compressing them from 15KB to 1KB, said Robert Kapela, president and product manager of Telrex in Kirkland, Wash.

Travis Davies, network administrator for ARC in Victoria said the compression rate is so good that he can store a month’s worth of recordings on one DVD. ARC records 100 per cent of its phone calls — between 30,000 and 40,000 each day.

ARC runs CallRex on XP Professional, Davies said. He added the company doesn’t need to run it on a server because they only use two processors. He said CallRex takes about a day to set up but took a little longer at ARC’s satellite locations because there are no IT staff and he had to walk laypeople through the set up.

Davies also said that ARC is saving money with CallRex because the application takes advantage of off-peak broadcasting. Instead of recording data and sending it from a satellite location to the head office right away, it will wait until after business hours. This saved ARC from having to upgrade its data lines.

Kapela said CallRex is geared toward small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) since this sector tends to have the greatest number of VoIP implementations. However, he said, CallRex does scale well because to increase the number of users, a customer simply has to add more processors.

CallRex supports the following VoIP platforms: 3Com Corp.’s NBX 100/750, Mitel Networks Inc.’s ICP 3100/3300, Avaya Inc.’s IP Office 402/403/406, Nortel Networks’ BCM, Shoreline Shorewave from GlobalTech Communications Inc., and Cisco’s Call Manager.

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