Trace your VoIP costs down to the user in seconds

Posted on November 25, 2013

Let’s talk about those pesky little so and sos that are always eating away at your profitability, costs. Better yet, let’s talk about an easy change that can help make some of your costs go away. Knowing where your costs are coming from is the first step to reigning them in.

Allocating your phone bill can seem impossible.

With so many transactions going over your phone lines, tracking phone costs to the source can be a like digging through a hay stack full of needles for the one slightly blue needle.

There’s a long list of really great reasons to know where your phone bill is coming from. For starters, it can help get a picture of profit productivity and allocate charges across devisions with very fine detail. If one department or person is responsible for a disproportionate percentage of your phone bill, maybe there’s a way to refine the process or behaviors driving extra expenditure.

Sorting through individual phone calls manually can be prohibitively time consuming.

There is an easy way.

By identifying the originating extension, custom tags give you the ability to know who generated calls, or where inbound calls ended up, almost instantly. So your accounting department can get a handle on call specific cost centers simply by searching a call in your CDRs, and assign expenses without costing you hours and hours of productivity.

Trace your VoIP costs down to the user in seconds

Custom X-Tags are contained within the SIP call signaling data responsible for setting up your phone calls. It’s a special field transmitted by some SIP trunking service providers to aid carriers and partners in their billing process, and it just so happens to be a cost management tool for you.

For example, if you’re using a Cisco system, you can tag your calls with “bob” by adding the following line to your SIP Profile:

request INVITE sip-header add "X-Tag: bob"

In the case above, all calls from, or to, that extension would be tagged with “bob” for easy identification. Without the tag, the search process becomes time consuming and expensive.

You don’t need custom tags in the unlikely event your system is set up with individual Caller IDs, in that case you can search for phone charges by Caller ID. But if, like most organizations, your phone system uses a universal Caller ID, you could give your accounting department access to your PBX to dig through call records by extension. An additional mountain of data to filter they’d most likely quit over. Or there’s always looking up single transactions by date, time, and number, but first you need to execute a search to find the date, time, and number…

Custom tagging puts the information your accountants need to audit your telephone costs right in the billing information they already use. It’s easy. And free. So when you’re setting up your VoIP system, do yourself, your accountants, and your balance sheet a gigantic favor – make sure custom X-Tags are available on the system you build.

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