Voice logging solutions

01 October 2010 FAnews

Existing and new legislation enforce increasingly stringent recordkeeping compliance requirements on professionals, particularly in the financial services industry, making voice logging a business imperative.

The requirements to keep accurate records of all transactions and full records of all customer interactions, embodied in legislation such as the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS), the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) and the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA), to name but a few, ensure that manual solutions – such as 'write-ups' or retrospective reports of personal and telephonic interactions - are no longer sufficient.

For example, the FAIS Act requires authorised financial service providers to implement procedures and systems to not only store recorded verbal and written communications in an appropriate format, but also to ensure these records are easily accessible for inspection – which means retrievable within seven days - and readily reducible to written or printed form.

Considering the sheer volume of business transactions concluded via fixed lines and mobile phones in today’s modern business world, any company whose employees receive or provide information telephonic ally, receive or provide verbal permission, instructions and undertakings that constitute binding agreements, or give any telephonic advice or opinions which may have legal or financial implications, cannot operate without voice recordings that meet the compliance requirements.

Numerous benefits

Today’s state-of-the-art voice recording technology offers financial advisors a streamlined solution to compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements. Voice records are logged for all conversations – whether on a fixed or mobile line – and, while stored off-site, remain easily accessible. This means the compliance and liability risk faced by the financial practice is significantly reduced since an indisputable record is available for confirmation of accuracy of information provided or received, providing legally tenderable evidence in cases of fraud, claim repudiations or disputes.

Selecting the right option

A number of voice recording solutions are available, and financial advisors will have to do their homework to find the right solution for their specific needs. FAnews spoke to a number of voice recording solution providers to get the process started.

Ecko Technologies (Pty) Ltd

Company overview: Based in new offices in Olivedale, with an impressive technology infrastructure, Ecko Voice Logging has proudly developed telephone call-recording systems for the South African voice logging market since 2005. Ecko develops its own products and has extended its technology base to include trunk and extension-side solutions for Analog, PRI and ISDN technology systems. A range of new products is being released 1 October, with more refinement and ease-of-deployment.

Client profile: Clients range from individual users to national call centres.

Product offering: A large variety of logger systems from single user to multiple PRI servers, all available through cash sale or rental schemes. We specialize in Synway-based recorders.

National reach: Yes

Mobile/landline recording: Both

Support outsourced: No – Ecko does its own support. The bulk of support is performed remotely through state of the art desktop monitoring systems.

Callout fees: Solution and service level agreement (SLA) dependent.

Integration with policy/admin management systems: The software has its own contact management system. To ensure portability the new prodoct range is sql-based, which is accessible to developers and other software products.

Records saved into client’s dedicated voice logging folder: Yes

Conversations can be e-mailed directly from the voice logging programme: Product dependent in existing products. New range yes.

Facility to add additional comments to client file after conversation: Product dependent.

Records stored on / retrieved from local hard drive: Yes

In- and outbound calls date- and time-stamped, operator identified and duration recorded: Yes

Competitive advantage: - Software locally produced, supported and continuously improved.
- The most dedicated support team in the trade.
- Web reporting is platform agnostic, also allowing Apple Mac users and Unix-based users to view calls.
- Six years experience in voice-logging.

Majuda Corporation

Company overview: Majuda Corporation is a premier developer of voice logging and quality management solutions, enabling organisations of all sizes to leverage voice logging as a secure and regulatory compliant tool to mitigate risk and liability exposure. Majuba’s solutions, knowledge and expertise, developed over 10+ years of industry experience, enhances call centre effectiveness and agent performance. Unrivaled pricing, the ability to integrate systems efficiently and commitment to customer service and support, set Majuda apart.

Client profile: Originally developed for enterprise clients, various editions of Majuda Voice Suite cater for small and medium-sized business. Majuda Voice Suite is deployed at numerous top financial institutions in southern Africa and internationally.

Product offering: Majuda Voice Suite is an enterprise level, premise based call recording and quality management solution. The primary functionality is to record all voice interactions on digital, analog or VoIP communication lines. Recorded transactions are encrypted using a 256-bit AES encryption and stored in a secured SQL Express database in Majuda’s proprietary file format. The Majuda Voice Suite comprises CallTracker and QualityTracker.

• Majuda CallTracker securely records, stores and plays calls to minimise exposure to disputes, mitigate risk of liability suits and reputation damage, improve compliance with internal policy and governmental regulations, and minimise legal risks and costs.

• Majuda QualityTracker offers a complete agent evaluation and reporting module to leverage quality control and gain insight into client experiences, develop best practices and procedures, create effective training programmes, improve customer service levels and increase customer retention.

National reach:National and international.

Mobile/landline recording: Digital (PRI/BRI) and analog land lines; SIP Trunks; digital, analog and IP extensions; CB radio; cellphones routed through a centralised PBX systems.

Support outsourced: No. Majuda has a team of knowledgeable, skilled and efficient service technicians. All solutions include MajudaAlert – a remote monitoring service tracking system variables such as available hard drive space, database health, services, current call volume vs expected call volume, etc.

Callout fees: No. Customisable SLA agreements cover all support issues and response times ranging from four hours can be selected.

Integration with policy/admin management systems: Majuda integrates with the most commonly used back office. CRM, ERP and management systems, with an advanced collection of API’s for easy integration with most third party applications.

Records saved into clients’logging folder: To offer regulatory compliant solutions, all dedicated voice calls recorded are immediately encrypted and stored in a secure SQL database. Recordings are accessible through a web interface, based on Majuda’s eight granular security profiles.

Conversations can be e-mailed directly from the voice logging programme: Yes. Unencrypted recordings can be emailed and downloaded through the web interface.

Facility to add additional comments to client file after conversation: Yes. Users can add notes referring to a specific point in time or take notes as they relate to a period of time. Notes are searchable for easy record retrieval.

Records stored on/retrieved from local hard drive: Yes. All call records are stored on Majuda’s premise- based server. Dynamic archiving allows for any archived/backed up calls to remain searchable.

In- and outbound calls date- and time-stamped, operator identified and duration recorded: Yes. All recorded calls are stamped with start and end date and time, agent name, extension, user email, caller ID (incoming and outgoing), call duration, desktop screen shots, notes and oscillogram.

Competitive advantage: - Certified and compliant tested integrations with most telephony platforms.
- Web-based, out-of-the-box solutions with centralised access and administration.
- Enterprise level agent evaluation, quality control and reporting.
- Continued development using Microsoft Silverlight, the latest and best-of-breed development technologies. Majuda is the only call recording company in the world currently deploying this technology.
- MajudaAlert allows Majuda to remotely monitor and proactively support voice installations, 24/7. MajudaAlert monitors a multitude of variables on your voice installation and reports back to regional support servers.
- No hidden professional service costs.
- No forklift upgrades.
- Single system supports digital, analog
- Easy-to-use interface
- Advanced database procedures capable of searching, returning, sorting or grouping 1 million calls in less than 1 second.
- World-class personalised service and support.

The Voice Logging Company

Company overview: With two branches in Gauteng and the opening of branches in Durban and Cape Town imminent, The Voice Logging Company has provided landline and cellphone voice logging primarily to the financial services industry for the last five years.

Client profile: Majority of clients are financial advisors. Products and service suitable for all sizes and types of business.

Product offering: RECALL-A-CALL voice logging system. Once-off installation fee of R250 per installation. Choice between month-to-month contract and outright purchase. Monthly rental for landlines and cellphones starts at R95 per extension logged. Rental reduces to R85 pm per logger for 10 or more loggers. (Prices exclude VAT)

National reach:Footprint concentrated in Gauteng, but due to advanced technology, ease of use and stability of the product, clients are serviced in every city and many towns throughout South Africa. We are able to provide a virtual demonstration of our voice logging from our office in Gauteng to your office anywhere in South Africa via the internet. It will feel as though we are standing right next to you in your office doing a live demonstration, and will save both time and money.

Mobile/landline recording: Both

Support outsourced: No. Own inhouse, expert voice logging technicians employed.

Callout fees: Product carries a lifelong guarantee. No callout fee or charges for repairs or replacements on faulty equipment or installations. Callout fee for other issues is currently R250, regardless of task or time spent.

Integration with policy/admin management systems: Seamless integration with most policy management programmes, if management system is folder-based.

Records saved into clients’ dedicated voice logging folder: Yes. Popup screen and pull down menu allow operator to click on the client’s name and the recording is automatically saved to the client’s personal folder.

Conversations can be e-mailed directly from the voice logging programme: Yes. No special programme is required to listen to the recording - any media player can be used.

Facility to add additional comments to client file after conversation: Yes. Quick and easy.

Records stored on/retrieved from local hard drive: Yes. Any configuration can be accomodated – recordings can be stored on a local hard drive, or a server, or both. Recordings are compressed requiring only 5MB of disc space per hour of recording. Backup copies are strongly recommended for FAIS compliance.

In- and outbound calls date- and time-stamped, operator identified and duration recorded: Yes. Number dialled out also recorded depending on product.

Competitive advantage: - Stable, simple automatic operation, easy to use.
- Very affordable, flexible month-to-month contracts.
- Life-long guarantee with superb after-sales support.
- Easy to search for specific call recordings.
- Designed to satisfy FAIS record keeping and Record of Advice requirements.
- Quality control of staff calls.
- Reduction in telephone accounts.

OmniLOG Voice Solutions (Pty) Ltd

Company overview: Omnilog Voice Solutions is a market leader in Multi-Service Voicelogging Servers and Service Delivery Platforms (SDPs) for interactive telephone and office recording solutions. Since 1992, our products are used worldwide to generate revenue, to minimise or eliminate disputes, and to ensure scalability and flexibility. Omnilog products are Proudly South African and network independent, making them ideal next-generation platforms for Primary Rate (E1), Basic Rate (BRI) ISDN, analogue trunks and extensions, two-way radios, VOIP recording, and digital extensions on various PABX systems and converged networks.

Client profile: From SMEs to large blue-chip enterprises such as international banks, financial services and insurance companies, call centres and emergency response providers including Spotlight Interactive, Telkom, ICASA and approximately 4 000 clients locally and abroad.

Product offering: Various contracts available: from month-to-month rentals to 1 - 5 year rental contracts with maintenance and support. Prices range from R100 to R300 per month per phone, depending on the system and support requirements. Free software updates and enhancements and limited or unlimited hardware warranties are included in certain contracts.

National reach: National and international.

Mobile/landline recording: Land lines, extensions, VoIP, E1, BRI, cellphones, boardroom and office conversations, 2-way radios.

Support outsourced: No. Well-trained support teams based countrywide. Client sites monitored remotely daily from internal Support Centre.

Callout fees: No. Service level agreements and support contracts available - call-out fees charged on merit.

Integration with policy/admin management systems: Fully integrated with SpotLight and various other policy/admin management systems.

Records saved into clients’ dedicated voice logging folder: Voice logged conversations saved centrally into one folder, but through integration can be saved into dedicated client folder.

Conversations can be e-mailed directly from the voice logging programme: Yes

Facility to add additional comments to client file after conversation: Yes

Records stored on / retrieved from local hard drive: Yes. For security reasons, saved to a central location by default.

In- and outbound calls date- and time-stamped, operator identified and duration recorded: Yes. All in- and outbound calls date- and time-stamped. Call duration, caller-ID, extension, dialled number, username and and call cost logged.

Competitive advantage: - Software developed locally by OmniLog – can be customised and immediate support available.
- Offers value-added modules not found elsewhere.
- Recording of conversations outside the office with products such as OmniLog USB Video and Sound Pen recorder, OmniLog USB Memory stick recorder, mobile phone recorder and more.
- Products are all integrated into the OmniLog Telephone and Office recording solution for safe storage and easy retrieval.
- Exceptional products and superior support and response times.

8 things to consider when purchasing a call-recording solution

1. Security and compliance

- Encryption of call recordings is the best proof that recordings have not been tampered with.
- System-level security is crucial to set different levels of access for different people.
- Look for a system that provides a secure call history and captured secure audit trails.
- Compliance to regulatory guidelines to protect consumers’ information is essential.

2. System infrastructure and architecture

- To ensure reliability, the underlying infrastructure, such as enterprise-level servers that offer the required levels of security and stability, is crucial.
- The recording cards used do make a difference. Most recording cards passively tap into phone lines coming into your office and record the date and time of the call, the extension and other pertinent information. Beware of cheaper recording cards - they often lack important functionality.
- Support contracts that can help you get back on line in the event of a disruption, are critical.
- The use of Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) will increase in the feature. Select a vendor that supports both VoIP and more traditional phone technologies, such as time-division multiplexing.

3. Advantages of Web delivery

- Web-based software offer benefits such as low training costs and installation and support from a centralised location.
- Fixing a problem with a Web-delivered application doesn’t require a site visit – the system administrator can fix it even if located thousands of miles away.

4. Proactive site monitoring

- Call recording systems operate in the background and can go down without anyone noticing - making remote site monitoring essential.
- Proactive site monitoring minimises the number of lost recordings and leeds to proactive support.

5. Scalability and multitenancy

- A call-recording system should be able to scale to accommodate future growth.
- Look for a solution that can tap into a central system but can also record calls from satellite locations.

6. Archiving

- Look for a vendor who will help you formulate an archiving strategy - whether burning the files to a disk or putting them on a network attached storage device.
- An archiving solution should allow you to quickly retrieve calls using reference data, even years later.
- Consider the benefits of “active archiving,” which allows you to search and play files in the archived location, instead of having to retrieve calls from the archived site and loading them onto your active system before being able to include them in searches and to listen to them.

7. Agent evaluation and quality monitoring

- To manage the quality of customer service, a call recording system should give a manager flexible options to review calls, including listening to calls handled by a particular agent, or of the whole team; listening to, say, every fith call; sorting calls by country of origin, by product, or any other variable; and displaying periodic screen captures during playback.
- The best call recording systems incorporate the agent evaluation and quality monitoring functions into the software, including onscreen evaluation questions, with summarised results that enable comparison against a peer group or a predetermined goal.
- The integration of the evalution agents who are ready for promotion or identifies agents who aren't performing at an acceptable level and need additional training.

8. Licensing and total cost of ownership

- Typically, call recordings companies offer one of two pricing models: a per extension/agent model and a per port/channel pricing model - ensure you understand the differences and how it will affect your cost in future.
- Carefully consider your long-term growth plans to determine which pricing model will serve you best in the long run.
- Ascertain whether there will be a charge every time an administrator, supervisor, or user accesses the call recording system.

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