It’s a common misconception that Quality Assessment (QA) programs and call monitoring require state-of-the-art software, expensive monitoring equipment and specialized phone systems. These things may make the task of capturing calls easier and more efficient (though, sometimes they actually add complications, headaches, delays and unnecessary additional expense). The process of capturing calls for QA analysis can be done by a business of any size for relatively low cost using low tech gadgetry found at your basic Radio Shack. In fact, to this day our group employs such low-tech solutions with some clients because they’re simple, inexpensive and they work. The bottom line is that call monitoring can be affordable and do-able for small businesses with limited means.
First, you need a recording device. It must have a "mic" jack so you can plug a phone patch chord into it. I strongly recommend that you get a recorder that can be plugged in to an outlet (some are battery only). I’d also recommend a digital-voice recorder with voice activation. Depending on the size of memory you choose, you can record 12 hours or more of calls. The voice activation will allow you to set it so that it only records when someone is actually talking on the extension. Many recorders come with software for downloading, listening and editing the recordings which can be easily stored and retrieved on any computer.
Next, you’ll need a phone patch chord that will allow you to plug the phone into your voice recorder. Take your recorder to Radio Shack or a similar electronics store. There are a couple of different types of patch chords so you’ll need to get one with will work with the mic jack on your recorder. Generally, the phone patch works like this: you unplug the handset/headset from the base phone unit then plug it into the patch. There are two chords coming out of the patch. One plugs into the base phone unit (where the handset/headset was) and the other plugs into the "mic" jack on your recorder. You’re set.
Of course, there are several variations on this set up and you can get as expensive and high-tech as you possibly want. The point of this point is simply this: call monitoring for Quality Assessment is within the means of virtually any business no matter how small.
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