A Worthwhile Excursion into Call Recording

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Elderhostel, a Boston-based travel organization, has a simple mission: provide exceptional learning opportunities to adults at a remarkable value. And the company’s delivered: In its 30-plus years of existence, more than four million adults have participated in programs across more than 90 countries. The key to that success is the customer experience, for which Elderhostel relies on 65 contact center agents managing 30,000 to 45,000 inbound and outbound calls per month.

However, in order to continue to differentiate on a quality customer experience, these agents needed to know what they were doing right, and what they could improve upon. This proved difficult with Elderhostel’s previous technology, according to Paula Burke, the company’s associate vice president of participant services. “There wasn’t a solution,” she says, matter-of-factly. “There were [just] RadioShack recorders, and we needed an appropriate offering to help us deliver the best service possible.” The RadioShack solution only had the bandwidth to record approximately three calls per agent before running out of capacity, according to information provided by Elderhostel.

Burke says the company knew it needed enterprise-quality call monitoring. After looking at several vendors, Elderhostel settled on CallCopy, a Columbus, Ohio–based provider of contact center solutions. Two components of its cc: Discover suite, cc: Voice and cc: Screen, met Elderhostel’s needs—but it took more than that to seal the deal. “We didn’t want a Cadillac, so CallCopy was a great value for a great product,” Burke says. “Also, the team impressed us. They were supportive, and their down-to-earth and professional demeanor together [influenced our decision].”

Burke explains that past experience in the contact center taught her implementations could be a challenge, but she was pleasantly surprised at how well this particular one went. “I was ready for lots of bumps in the road, especially with an implementation of this size, but it went extremely smoothly,” she says. “Everybody was just available and there.”

According to Patrick Hall, director of client services at CallCopy, the process took approximately five weeks, and the vendor provided an installer and trainer on site for three days, which he says is standard procedure. What wasn’t typical was Burke’s request that CallCopy build functionality to ensure her agents weren’t recorded during breaks and lunch hours if they decided to make personal calls. “That was something I was surprised about from an implementation side,” Hall says. “It was refreshing.”

Burke recalls how much that helped the effort to install the call-monitoring system in a positive way with the staff. “When you implement a system like this, it can be viewed as Big Brother,” she says. “We let everybody know [we] were doing it…to understand customers’ expectations because they were changing.”

With the deployment complete, Elderhostel can now record all of the contact center’s calls, a far cry from its RadioShack recorder heritage. The company can also selectively record agents’ screen activity. All of this enables individual and group training to really hone in on improvements, Burke says. “Now our agents come to us and ask if we can listen to a call with them to see what they could have done better,” she reports. “We listen to calls together, and that’s how we can deliver and understand our customers’ expectations.”

The new system helps employees as well. Elderhostel ranks its contact center agents from one to four, with four being the best score. Since implementing CallCopy’s offerings, the average rating has jumped from 3.17 to 3.49, a 10 percent increase. “That’s so key for us,” she says.

What was also important with this implementation was ensuring that the more-rigorous monitoring regime wouldn’t make agents want to sail away themselves. “One of the things we tried to do is work hard at maintaining our morale, and the good thing is, this certainly hasn’t done anything to make it a negative environment,” Burke says.


Thanks to CallCopy, Elderhostel has been able to:

  • record 100 percent of its inbound and outbound calls;
  • increase by 10 percent its employee-performance scores;
  • monitor trends that could affect customer travel plans; and
  • maintain morale among contact center agents.

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