If you go back just two decades, we see how vastly different things were, when compared to telephone rates today. In the greater Buffalo area, most businesses were served by NYNEX (which became Bell Atlantic, and now Verizon). In 1995, the FCC reports that the average revenue attained by NYNEX was just under $70.00 per phone line (see chart below). Today, with competition, bundled usage plans, most carriers earn $ 40.00 or less per month. Much of the expense twenty years ago was assuredly in usage, whereas today we leverage IP networks for much traffic, and the result is little or no additional cost for local and long distance usage. Back then, you paid an average of 2.5 cents for a local minute, and today you pay 1 cent or less.
Call Accounting Systems were popular means to capture traffic, and enable reporting. These systems attached to one’s phone system, and generated details on inbound and outbound calls, to measure usage by employee, to view how much time people spent on the telephone, to allocate costs by department, and so forth. The driver was to monitor expenses to one’s best ability. Call Accounting systems were, and are great tools to gather and report on usage.
Back in the day, reports were generated, circulated, and meetings held in some companies to discuss findings. Businesses with call centers were particularly focused on usage as callers held in queue were essentially ringing up expenses by the minute. Toll free lines had costs of up to 10-15 cents/minute just 20 years ago, so these expenses added up quickly. Today, toll free costs are a fraction of these costs, so while such traffic is still important, and still measured, the financial impacts tend not to be quite as impactful.
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