Message Taking Systems and Software

With the rapid changes in computer technology and advances in software, it is quite possible that your call center doesn’t have the latest and greatest technology at its disposal. This is perhaps most pronounced when in comes to message taking systems and software which have seen many significant and noteworthy developments since we last focused on this topic in March of 2005.

Your call center may be in that fortunate group where a software upgrade is all that is required to bring your system capabilities and client offerings up to date. For others, a complete system replacement will be in order. Determining the appropriate timing for a major upgrade of this magnitude is challenging to ascertain as there are no universal guidelines or absolute rules. Among such considerations are the age and reliability of your current system, whether or not it has been paid off and fully depreciated, how much you have set aside for this purpose (you are building up a technology fund, right?), and timing the purchase – or lease — for optimal tax ramifications.

Today’s powerful timesaving functions and features of the leading systems can shave several seconds off each call. Multiplying that by thousands of calls per agent per month results in significant time savings and labor cost reductions. This alone may be enough to cost-justify an upgrade or replacement.

Another benefit to consider is increased accuracy, reduced errors, decreased stress, and greater job satisfaction for your agents. Additionally, you should consider the added features and services that you can provide to your clients and their callers. These serve to improve client retention, facilitate client acquisition, and increase revenue from offering enhanced services

Today’s leading systems are computerized and paperless. Call centers relying on manual call processing or paper-based message taking are past time to upgrade and risk becoming a non-player in the marketplace.

Whatever your circumstances or the reason for considering upgrading or replacement, this vendor listing and overview is the place to start.

Alston Tascom’s Evolution system is a comprehensive, end-to-end communication center and messaging solution built on four primary concepts to serve the message-taking needs of call centers:

  • Open architecture: The entire Evolution system is designed on standard Windows operating systems commercially available nationwide.
  • Open databases: Every detail of the system (user, client, and message information) is stored in Open Database Compliant (ODBC) tables.
  • Off-the-shelf hardware: All system hardware components are readily available from commercial channels; there is no proprietary hardware.
  • Available as a hosted system: Costs are reduced because Alston Tascom pays for the infrastructure, with call centers saving the cost of equipment.

Alston Tascom’s Evolution system is a powerful, unified communication center system, combining an Integrated Voice Response (IVR) unit with all of the functions required in a contact center or telemessaging service. It also includes unified voicemail, agent logging, ACD functionality, digital and analog telephony, online monitoring, account scripting, and two-way SMS and email.

For more information, contact Alston Tascom, Inc at 866-282-7266.

Amtelco’s Intelligent Series (IS) Messaging, an advanced messaging solution, is a core component of the Infinity system. Infinity Intelligent Messaging can reduce training time, virtually eliminate messaging errors, and improve customer satisfaction. Intelligent Messaging reduces errors by guiding the agent through the flow of the message and automatically validating the information entered into each field of the message. This includes ensuring that phone numbers are entered correctly, names are automatically capitalized, credit card numbers are validated, city and state are filled in based on postal code, and spelling errors are identified. Agents simply follow the steps presented by the message scripts. Each client’s messaging solutions can be completely customized as to the information taken and the manner in which the resulting message is dispatched.

Scripts can branch according to the type of call, the time of day, the day of week, and other factors. Scripts can look up and insert previously collected information, such as account numbers, addresses, and phone numbers, without agent involvement. Scripts can dynamically link to other modules, such as Amtelco’s Intelligent On-Call Scheduling, Intelligent Directories, and custom client fields, to automatically retrieve or update the information in the other modules.

For more information, contact Gary Kerner at 800-356-9148 or,

nCall supports call center agents through the whole process of answering a call, taking a message, getting that message to the client, and collecting relevant information for billing and management reporting purposes. nCall’s flexible design enables call centers to tailor the service provided to each client’s needs. The following features are accessed via intuitive, user-friendly screens:

  • Key Company Information, including time specific greetings, configurable notes, contact details, and employee information.
  • Customer-Specific Call Actions that define what action is taken when a call is received – patch through, relayed, or message taken.
  • Automatic Message Delivery — if a message has been taken, this can be automatically sent to the customer using their preferred method (email, fax, or SMS) and at their preferred time interval (immediately, daily, weekly, or monthly).
  • Billing and Data Analysis with alternative billing scheme options.
  • Web Interface — an optional, able-to-be-branded Web portal is available to enable your customers to access their messages and change their details via the Web.

nCall integrates with the majority of telephone systems to automatically pop client records and enable operators to control calls from within nCall.

Find out more about nCall at 617-273 2304 or

Professional Teledata’s Pinnacle system combines advanced technologies with innovative operational applications to maximize efficiencies and profitability. Messages are captured as database elements to enhance decision-making and automate processing. Integrated with eOn digital switch products, PInnacle is a turnkey call center solution with open architecture for accessible data and reporting.

PInnacle message taking is simplified by the proven scripting technology of the PI-2000 system. Fully integrated into PInnacle system, PI-2000 controls call flow, reduces decision-making errors, standardizes formatting, and is easy to learn.

Dispatch and patching procedures can be automated with manual override options for an error-free transfer of information to appropriate clients. PInnacle’s dispatch contact locator is controlled by message inputs (“Is this an emergency?”) and external variables (such as time of day or on-call individual) to determine the correct notification sequence and timing.

The industry backgrounds of the development team are evident in PInnacle’s design, which utilizes internal design concepts such as single-point-of-focus, extensive use of color, and elimination of abbreviations, resulting in dramatic reductions in training time, increased agent satisfaction, and maximized overall productivity.

PInnacle is a software-based solution.  Call switching is accomplished via a digital switch from Eon Corporation.

For more information, call 800-344-9944 or email

Startel‘s Call Management Center (CMC) offers intelligent form routing that provides advanced scripting capabilities and enables a call center to script a call flow, helping guide agents through the call process. CMC provides flexibility to enable agents to accommodate callers whose communication doesn’t follow the order of the script while applying the form’s logic. Available in both the message slip and IntelliForm, intelligent form routing can be combined with intelligent dispatching, enabling scripting to define the specific information that is to be delivered based upon call flow.

With the enhancements available in Startel’s CMC platform, call centers will be able to reduce agent error while processing calls more efficiently. This results in reduced overhead and increased customer retention.

Startel’s Call Processing System (CPS) provides many of the CMC features for smaller call centers looking for advanced features that fit within their budget, offering them the ability to easily handle complex accounts while reducing the agent stress in meeting these clients’ advanced requirements.

Startel’s CMC platform has both a CTI interface as well as an interface for Startel’s 5700 Digital Switch for those that would like to utilize an ACD platform.

For more information, call Startel at 800-782-7835.

Szeto Technologies‘ turnkey Call Linx TAS system allows for scripted or form-based message taking. Scripted message taking integrates client greetings, instructions, message recipients, on-call personnel, and delivery procedures in the script, eliminating separate information lookups. Services and call-processing functions are deployed from the script and within the same window. The conversational path is conditional on the caller’s response, and collected information can be remembered to auto-fill subsequent entries. When the information collection is complete, it is delivered in a message form.

Traditional form-based message taking accommodates the call variations through multiple forms, the choice of which is conditional on the caller’s response and at the agent’s discretion. The form rules determine the disposition of a message and present the appropriate closing phrase. One-Touch call termination guides the message through the proper dispatching actions. Whether the message requires an immediate or scheduled delivery or is sent to a supervisor for review, it is transparent to the agent.

Call Linx TAS operates on the license-free Linux operating system. Its internal call center switch, VMS4500, offers voicemail, music-on-hold, announcements, multiple greetings, and call-forward-to-one-number. Its integrated Web-based voice logger is accessible from all agent stations, whether remote or local.

Contact Szeto at 877-697-9368 or

TASterix is an Asterisk based telephony and message taking platform.  Asterisk is a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solution. Agent screens provide a powerful and user friendly feature set that can be implemented with simplicity and efficiency.  Taking a message is the simple part, but what happens prior to and following the message is ultimately what counts. TASterix offers:

  • Color-coded accounts for immediate visual identification
  • Color-coded dispatching with a supervisor/trainee view
  • Unlimited customizable message templates (per account )
  • Scripting with time-sensitivity to increase agent accuracy and productivity
  • Deactivate employees based upon date and time due to vacations or meetings
  • Copy and move messages between accounts with a point and click
  • Multiple oncall schedules per account
  • Quality check point review: call recordings are attached to messages for time efficiency and immediate review
  • Agent mistake tracking
  • Customer complaint tracking

For more information, call 866-292-1947.

Telescan, the first vendor to be certified under the new ATSI Industry Standards Certification program, provides a full range of messaging solutions with more options and flexibility. Telescan will build a system to fit individual call centers whether employing two agents or two hundred.

Certified by ATSI are Telescan’s patented Prism switch and Telescan’s Data Manager. Prism, the core of Telescan’s Spectrum Messaging system, enables the user to interface with any telephony protocol and output to any protocol on an account-by-account basis. Telescan’s Spectrum messaging system allows for fast call response and offers telemessaging businesses a full range of messaging solutions including:

  • Two-way Internet and wireless communications
  • Integrated scripting with an intuitive, user-friendly, point-and-click interface
  • Prism DSP, a fully digital switch, offering full-featured ACD and routing capabilities
  • Hypertext navigator
  • Customized account screens, message templates, and conditionals
  • Integrated on-call, SMS, Alert MD, video monitoring, voice logging with screen logging, and quality assurance software

For more information, contact Patty Anderson, sales manager, at 800-770-7662, 314-616-2445.

[From Connection Magazine Jul/Aug 2007]

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