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VoIP The Voice Of Choice

By Mark Blankenau, Telenational Marketing


Telenational Marketing made the VoIP choice nearly two years ago and it has proven to be one of our best business decisions. Telenational, located in Omaha, Nebraska, is a Direct Response Center offering 24/7 Call Handling Services for standard or custom DR medium-sized campaigns and test projects. The addition of VoIP has made a positive influence on our profit margin. It certainly gave us the opportunity to remain competitive while offering quality teleservices to our clients.

Communications and labor are two of the primary costs for any Call Center. In a continuous effort to control and minimize these expenses, we researched any option that we felt would decrease expenses and increase profits. The typical local solutions such as constant renegotiations with long distance vendors and relocating facilities to areas of higher unemployment did not appear to offer any long-term effect. Moving or adding offices anywhere else in the U.S.A. was a budget nightmare. Staffing issues continued to create the need for an increase of benefits and incentives but did not effectively control the cost of employee turnover. All solutions resulted in a constant drain of profits and the cost had to be passed on to our clients.

It was at this point Telenational Marketing began its research for business alternatives. Realizing the high-quality labor market that exists in the Philippines, the next step was to tap into this labor pool of well-educated and reliable workforce.

Like many new ventures, our initial attempt in setting up operations in the Philippines was a failure. There were a few minor issues we overlooked and a couple of major issues. The first was the dial-up cost was prohibitive for keeping the line connected even when an operator was not on a call. The other issue was that our first partner had no American teleservice expertise. We ultimately had to sever the relationship.

The challenge of tapping the Philippine labor market hinged upon finding a redundant fail-safe method of connecting to Telenationals U.S. operations and the Philippines. The solution was VoIP. It not only allowed connectivity and the ability to retain U.S. call handling projects, but gave Telenational the ability to develop, train, and monitor from our Omaha office.

Our present U.S. partner was operating in the Philippines at a local level and had the technical ability and teleservice expertise we required. PRI circuits were set up between the switches on each side and the Cisco routers. Then VoIP dialing patterns were set up to allow dialing from our switch through the Cisco routers and to the Cisco router in the Philippines and to their switch. The voice quality vastly improved at 16K compression; at 32K compression the quality was even better.

As we continued to develop the processes and systems, we found that not only was there a lower labor cost but there was a higher educational level of employees. Most operators have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree or equivalent, speak fluent English, and are trainable and anxious to work. Each new operator receives a minimum of two weeks of call handling training plus an additional two weeks of Americanisms to assure understanding and accuracy of the information given by the customer. Operators learn the system and are given knowledge and details of each product or service, with role playing as an integral part of the training. All this is accomplished prior to activation of any account, thus assuring understanding, accuracy, and continuity of the program.

Flexibility has also been one of the keys of success. All administrative functions are performed from our Omaha office including Operations, Accounting, IT/Programming, Sales and Client Services. We design the screens and script, train, monitor, and define acceptable levels of performance for all campaigns. Our partner also implemented their own control systems and the combination offers a dual quality control effort.

VoIP allowed Telenational Marketing to remain competitive in todays global market. It has proven to be so successful that we urge you to consider this option for similar communication changes in your organization. IT

Mark Blankenau is President of Telenational Marketing. For more information, please visit


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