Call management systems can be used by firms that depend heavily on their telemarketing, telesales or telephone customer services in such a way as to make a significant reduction in lost calls and phone bills and generally to increase the efficiency of their telephone operations: the problem for Birmingham-based Callscan Ltd, which supplies the RAII range of call management systems, is that quite a few of its potential customers don’t know what call management systems can actually do for them. From a marketing perspective, call management systems are suitable for firms that require more information than a simple call-logger can provide, but aren’t ready to invest in a large automatic call distribution system. For use over any private branch exchange, the Callscan RAII range has scanners that measure voltage changes over a number of telephone lines to monitor whether a specific telephone is being used, is ringing or is inactive. This information is then collated and displayed numerically or graphically on screen in real time, showing the number of lines free of calls, the number of lost calls, the average call duration at each telephone, the average time taken to answer calls and other statistics. The idea is that a supervisor can then use this information to coordinate the company’s telephone operation, either by immediately freeing more telephones at peak times, or by making long-term changes such as highlighting employees whose telephones are being used inefficiently or simply by employing more telephone staff. Basic systems cost around UKP10,000 but Callscan claims that payback can in some cases be as soon as a few days. In the past, Callscan has designed and reconfigured individual systems for each of its clients: now, with over 600 customers including British Gas, British Telecom, IBM and American Express, it has decided to offer systems with software that the users can customise to their own requirements, so that, for example, they can get information on the number of calls answered within a time parameter set by them to reflect the particular purpose of their telephone operation. In addition, the systems can be quickly reconfigured as personnel move about. The new Callscan RAII systems will be sold directly by Callscan and resold through switch manufacturers; the cost of an average system will be around UKP12,000. Callscan has also launched the C2 call management system specifically for use with the Northern Telecom Meridian SL/1 switch, and one for British Telecom’s Pentara key-and-lamp phone call system, which, while having a decreasing market, is still used by an estimated 60,000 businesses. The Meridian system will come in at UKP1,500, with the system designed for the Pentara costing UKP7,500. Callscan hopes to market both products through British Telecom, and is currently in talks with the firm. The problem at the moment is that British Telecom, despite being a Callscan customer, is still not entirely au fait with the concept of real time call management.