Top Tips for Recruitment Companies upgrading to IP Telephony

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1 Top Tips for Recruitment Companies upgrading to IP Telephony

2 With the UK employment market on the way back up, many recruitment agencies are looking at how modern communications technology can help them compete even more effectively - attracting employers and good candidates whilst also enhancing the productivity of their consultants. Because technology has advanced so much during recent recessionary times, modern communications systems are light years away from what their historical counterparts could offer back in With the right telephony system in place, recruitment agencies can now get answers to burning questions such as: Just how productive are my recruitment consultants? Could they operate even faster and more efficiently, given the right telephony tools? Can I get visibility of our telephony activity with accurate and timely call logging and reporting on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? Can we save money on our telephony but at the same time increase our overall productivity through new features? Specific challenges Costs Telephony systems that were installed several years ago generally cost more to manage and maintain. The upkeep of an outdated phone system is a drain on money and other resources. Call rates can be high, maintenance charges an ongoing burden and upgrades an unwanted and expensive necessity. Cost is often the primary reason why recruitment companies consider switching to a more modern set up they are just too inefficient and expensive to keep going, especially when there is a viable alternative such as VoIP, whether hosted in the cloud, or onsite. Having made a decision to consider changing, IT managers face several challenges. To begin with, the case must be made to explore other options and this begins with an assessment of the current cost and issues versus the switch to an alternative. Depending on the technical skills and business acumen of the recruitment agency, this might either be conducted internally or by employing an external expert. If the assessment reveals that VoIP would be a preferable option, the IT manager must then understand and define the organisation s needs so the system can support the objectives of the business. Again, depending on the level of expertise internally, this may be conducted internally or externally in partnership with the help of an expert. The next step is the design, configuration and installation of a suitable VoIP system and this will typically entail finding a provider that has expertise in IP communications and the capability to deliver the right set up. Other decisions also need to be taken, such as whether a maintenance contract is required.

3 Once in place, the cost benefits of a VoIP system can soon be realised. The key cost advantages of hosted telephony include cheaper calls, lower maintenance charges and there is no need to buy, install and configure a physical PBX onsite. Calls between sites are also free. Where recruitment agencies operate across several sites with significant levels of internal communication, this can be a major cost saving. Moves and changes Another challenge facing IT managers is that many older telephony systems have a technical inflexibility about them which means the recruitment company must rely heavily on their telecoms provider to conduct moves and changes. Not only can this take more time to perform, it can also cost money if the provider charges for the time and resource. Total reliance on a provider for moves and changes has become an unnecessary and outdated way of running a telephony set up. Ideally a company should have the option to ask for changes (if they would prefer) or do it themselves. Either way, moves or changes need not be a lengthy and costly process because VoIP can be extremely flexible and easy to use. Furthermore, VoIP requires minimal IT support and administering the system is easy so there is no need for heavy operational back up that costs more money. Cloud computing has had a major impact on the delivery of modern IT infrastructure services and this has been facilitated by the availability of affordable access circuits enabling companies to connect at high speed to the Internet. Cloud vendors provide their software as a service, removing many of the issues associated with traditional infrastructures. This means that businesses can manage their technical operations without needing specialist skills in-house. The same is true of telephony because the cloud removes many of the traditional logistical requirements and challenges associated with building and managing a telecoms infrastructure. The major differences between modern telephony and what recruitment agencies might have invested in previously are cost, flexibility and a host of new features that provide greater transparency and control. Peak periods Peak periods can test the system of a recruitment business to its limit and in some instances they completely break. If, for example, a large number of applicants are contacting an agency at the same time, calls may not be answered promptly or may be routed incorrectly or inefficiently. This can result in miscommunication, over-communication and generally a drain on resources at times when they are most needed for other purposes. If the telephony system is not doing what it should be doing, this can lead to further issues, such as tarnishing the reputation and brand of the recruitment agency. A modern VoIP set up can play a vitally important role in the ebb and flow of the communications ecosystem, especially during busy periods. Configured correctly, Hosted telephony provides a high level of flexibility so that, for example, calls are answered promptly or routed more efficiently and effectively. This is because it is easy to move,

4 add and change extensions and dial plans easily and quickly through a web interface. And the recruitment company can make these changes if they choose rather than relying on a network provider. Recruitment agencies are increasing efficiencies A hosted telephony system requires no capital outlay and that means minimal up front expenditure as there is no need to invest in an expensive onsite telephony system. And because hosted systems can scale up or down, on demand, recruitment agencies no longer need to build in capacity overhead for growth, or try to predict what their business needs will be in the future to protect their investment. If fewer extensions are needed, costs automatically come down. If an agency is growing and requires more extensions to accommodate more consultants, the system can be scaled up as required. Easy, flexible and reliable Unlike traditional systems, hosted telephony is very easy to set up. Extensions and fully featured systems can be deployed rapidly reducing lead times and detailed planning requirements. Furthermore, a hosted deployment is far less likely to suffer implementation issues as the system is already built and ready. The flexibility offered by hosted telephony also means that businesses can adapt to changing circumstances. For example, if something happens to the office, like a flood or power failure that would otherwise incapacitate a traditional system, consultants can continue to operate because hosted telephony is not dependent on a physical PBX and location. Integrate, log, report and save time With modern telephony systems, feature richness often comes as standard and a good hosted system will offer all the features of on premise systems, and access to these features will be at a far lower cost. Such features provide recruitment agencies with a plethora of communications tools that they can use to good effect. Call logging for transparency and data control - Timely and accurate call logging and reporting can provide an agency with complete visibility on each of its consultant s telephony activity on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This is possible through an easy to use management portal that may be accessed from any location. Cross platform integration to increase consultants productivity - By easily integrating telephony with other desktop applications and systems, such as CRM, an agency can have a better view of its candidates and prospects rather than using a static database. Click to Dial - Furthermore, consultants spend far less time entering phone numbers - they can click to dial numbers straight from their desktop to reach candidates faster.

5 Call recording to save time - Hosted call recording also relieves the need for note taking and inputting information because calls may be securely recorded and instantly retrievable from corresponding support tickets. These are just a handful of the features that can enable a recruitment agency to become even more productive and competitive in a rosier looking employment market. Time to employ modern telephony? According to the latest statistics issued by the ONS (Office for National Statistics), the number of people out of work fell by 161,000 to 2.16 million, bringing unemployment down to 6.6%. In contrast, the number of people in work rose by a record 345,000, to 30.5 million, most of which are in full-time employment. The total number of people out of work is now at its lowest level for more than five years. These welcome trends are set to continue as September and October are expected to be the next busy period for UK recruitment agencies. The time could be right to review exactly what new communications technologies are available to help them to gain share, empower their consultants and improve the performance of their business.

6 Top Tips for Recruitment Companies looking into new IP telephony 1. Reduce costs To reduce costs and keep them low, go for non-proprietary telephony options such as open source Asterisk or consider hosting a complete contact centre in the cloud with Hosted IP Telephony. 2. Obtain references Benefit from the experiences of others before you press ahead. By getting references from other companies that may have had similar telephony challenges and requirements, you can learn what worked well and what didn t. Such references are great for sharing best practice, saving you more time and money. 3. Take control and stay agile Ensure that you choose a telephony provider that can offer you the greatest degree of control over your system. This means that you can make your own changes with your dial plan and call distribution setup. 4. Make sure the provider can offer professional support Choose an IP communications provider that can offer professional support when you need to expand or make site moves. 5. Be prepared Map the communications ecosystem so you can plan for your requirements ahead of time. The way that employers, applicants and agencies interact is no longer linear; during busy periods such as September and October for example - you may have requirements for more complex IVR menus and call distribution. 6. Future proof IT and communications technologies are usually at the heart of successful businesses. Future proofing has never been more important. Because it is collaborative, open source technology offers more scope for future proofing and it is advisable to choose a trusted open source provider with relevant and up to date accreditation with Asterisk and Kamailio. 7. Chose a provider that enables integration with other systems Ensure that you can integrate your new phone system with your CRM and other technology such as click to dial applications from your desktop can save time and increase your recruitment agent s productivity. To learn more about Foehn, please call or us at or visit

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