Call logs are records of conversations kept as a way to track follow-up calls to prospects, document customer issues, and serve as a historical reference point for future conversations or kept for compliance purposes. Call logs can also be used as a performance measurement device to manage the efficiency of your company or call center.
How Call Logs Work
Call logs work by creating records that contain data pertaining to inbound and outbound calls, such as the time of the call, phone number, and the date, time, and call duration. The notes captured from the call then help nurture leads by identifying what issues were resolved or need resolution, and act as a record of any follow-up needed with colleagues, customers, or clients.
There are two types of call logs in a business environment: manual and automatic. Manual call logs can be as simple as jotting details onto a notepad after each call or typing notes into customer relationship management (CRM) software. Most VoIP business phone systems include automatic call logs with their service plans that automatically capture and organize relevant call details that are easy to search and retrieve.
While manual call logs are a common option, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Paper-based logs are difficult to search, can get lost easily, and present storage challenges such as how to file them securely. At a minimum, businesses that use paper-based manual call logs should always use a template to ensure each worker uniformly records the same call information.
Automatic call logs, a common feature of business VoIP phone systems, are a better option to make sure call data is systematically and thoroughly captured. Workers don’t have to remember to write anything down, the data is securely stored, and managers can easily run reports or analyze metrics. Automatic call logs are the way to go when you want to make sure essential call data doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Who Call Logs Are Right For & Benefits
Call logs are right for virtually any business that makes and receives calls because they provide historical data and valuable metrics for making future decisions. Solopreneurs and small businesses can use them for record-keeping and reference purposes, and larger companies can use call logs to analyze worker productivity and understand calling trends.
Call logs are beneficial for:
- Independent contractors and consultants: Solo business owners can use call logs to better connect with clients by tracking who they’ve spoken with and providing insight into any missed calls from people who didn’t leave a message.
- Sales and service staff: Call logs assist sales and service staff by providing detailed records of calls, customer issues, complaints, and resolutions that are accessible by all team members in order to provide a smoother customer experience.
- Small business owners: Small businesses can use call logs to resolve customer disputes and track worker productivity to identify gaps in customer service.
- Call centers: Call logs assist call centers by providing valuable metrics that can be used to forecast peak calling hours for staffing purposes and ensure calls are being routed efficiently to agents.
- Healthcare, legal, and financial offices: Physicians, lawyers, and money managers can use call logs as part of any regulatory or compliance standards they must adhere to, like HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley.
Call logs can help solopreneurs, small businesses, and call centers gather and organize phone call data for record-keeping, reporting, and analytics. Nextiva, which ranks as our best business phone system, includes logging tools for viewing and exporting call log data. Visit Nextiva’s website for details on how to view a free demo of the system.
Call Log Costs
Manual call logging can be inexpensive by using a pen and a notepad or sheet of paper. Workers can also type call notes into CRM software for automatic record-keeping and storage. While some CRM software is free, they often restrict the number of users or have other limitations. The best CRM software costs anywhere from a few dollars to $60 per user, per month.
Automatic call logging is a feature of most VoIP business phone systems like Nextiva and RingCentral, which rank highly on our list of best VoIP providers. VoIP phone systems prices range from about $12 to $90 per user, per month. However, they are comprehensive phone service packages that include a myriad of different features in addition to call logging, such as unlimited domestic calling, SMS, and conference calling.
Call Log Providers
There are a variety of VoIP providers that offer automatic call logging, so it can be a challenge to choose one that matches the needs of your company’s goals. We’ve done a lot of the research on VoIP services for you and put together a guide to help you select the right small business phone system with call logging for your organization.
Here’s where to find three of the top-rated call logging providers:
Nextiva, which ranks as our best business phone system and best VoIP provider, features enhanced call logs that allow admins to view recent inbound, outgoing, and missed calls in addition to standard data like call date, time, and duration. Pricing runs from $19.95 to $27.95 per user, per month. Nextiva is a great choice for companies wanting a complete business phone system package that includes call logs.
All plans include unlimited domestic calling, a free phone number, voicemail-to-email, music on hold, and unlimited virtual faxing, making the basic tier right for businesses wanting a complete VoIP phone service solution with call logs.
Higher tiers add a mobile app with team collaboration tools, a conference bridge for calls with up to nine participants, and professionally recorded greetings. Nextiva’s upper tiers are right for business owners who work from the road and distributed teams who work remotely. Click here for a free demo.
RingCentral is a VoIP business phone service with a call logging system that tracks incoming and outgoing calls, the name of the caller through caller ID, the extension dialed, and the time, date, and duration of the call. Pricing ranges from $29.99 to $59.99 per user, per month. RingCentral is right for growing companies that want a VoIP phone system with call logs that can scale as the business expands.
All plans also include unlimited domestic calling, a free phone number, unlimited SMS, video and audio meetings, and call routing tools like call forwarding and answering rules. The lowest tier supports up to 10 users, making it a good fit for very small teams or solopreneurs.
Higher tiers add features like unlimited internet faxing, automatic call recording, and a multilevel auto-attendant that greets and routes calls. Also included are integration with Zendesk and Salesforce, as well as call service reports, making RingCentral’s upper service plans best for sales and support teams that want to monitor call center performance. Check out RingCentral’s website for details and to sign up for a free trial.
Vonage is a VoIP business phone system with call logging tools that track a variety of data, including inbound and outbound calls, the time, date, and duration of a call, answered or missed calls, and total calls. Pricing ranges from $19.99 to $39.99 per user, per month. Vonage is right for businesses and sales teams wanting online communication and collaboration tools.
All plans also include unlimited calling, voicemail-to-email transcription, music on hold, team messaging, and a mobile app that links your business phone number to your mobile device. The basic tier is right for solo business owners and teams that don’t rely on desk phones.
Upper-level service plans tiers add integration with business platforms like G Suite and Office 365 and a multilevel auto-attendant. They also offer 15 hours per month of on-demand call recording, visual voicemail, and onboarding support. The higher service plans are best for organizations that want to equip workers with additional business tools or need assistance setting up their business phone system. Visit Vonage’s website for a free trial.
Freshcaller is a VoIP business phone service with a built-in call center system. Call log features include metrics on the agent who handled the call, ringing time, wait time, answering speed, talk time, and hold time. Pricing ranges from free to $49 per user, per month, plus per-minute call rates that start at 0.016 cents. Freshcaller is a good option for small business owners wanting a VoIP system with call logs and a built-in call center system.
All plans feature ringtone customization, basic call queues, custom greetings, caller ID, and an auto-attendant. The free tier is a good choice for solo business owners and freelancers who don’t want to incur monthly phone service billing and prefer a pay-as-you-go plan.
Upper-tier plans include voicemail, advanced call queues, call recording, conference calling, and call monitoring. These plans are a good match for businesses needing a call center system with features that help teams and agents manage calls quickly and efficiently. The company offers a 14-day free trial that includes the features of all service plans. Visit Freshcaller to learn more.
Vistaprint is an online printing service that produces custom-made business and marketing materials. Business owners can use the service to print and bind paper call logs into tear-off notepads in quantities of up to 200 at a time. Pricing starts at $7.50 per 50-sheet notepad and decreases when buying in bulk. Vistaprint is the right choice for businesses that want neatly organized manual logs.
To print call log pads, select the Notepad option located in Vistaprint’s Invitations & Stationery section. Then upload a PDF of your preferred call log layout and choose either a cardboard or magnetic back before completing your order. First-time Vistaprint customers can use promo code FIRSTORDER for 20% off their order and free shipping on orders over $50. Visit Vistaprint’s website for details.
Call Log Templates & Key Elements
Manual call logs can be configured in a number of ways to address the unique needs of individual businesses, though are best when set up with a template. This is because call log templates ensure all workers are recording the same information and nothing is accidentally overlooked. However, automatic call logs are also an available feature offered by VoIP providers.
No matter what format they take, here are some common details call logs capture:
Elements of Manual Call Logs
Manual call log template fields are easily customizable to a business’ unique needs, and the list of metrics they can track is almost limitless. A good manual call log includes:
- Employee name
- Duration of call
- Name of the person dialed
- Whether the call was answered or a message was left
- Issue resolution notes
- Follow-up notes
- Billable hours
Manual call log templates can capture further details about each call, such as the reason for and result of the call, and note preliminary information at the beginning of a customer relationship. Additional elements can be added to gather even more information, like whether the call was transferred to someone else for resolution and whether follow-up is required.
Elements of Automatic Call Logs
Automatic call logs collect the date, time, and length of incoming calls. Using caller ID, they log the phone number and name of the caller if it’s available. Inbound call logs can track if the call was answered or sent to voicemail. Some VoIP business phone systems also note the sound quality of the connection and whether the call was recorded.
Automatic call logs also collect the date, time, duration, and dialed number of outbound calls. Some VoIP phone systems even provide details on the per-minute cost of calls not included in an unlimited calling service plans (think international numbers).
How to Use Call Logs & Call Log Templates
Call logs are documented records of inbound and outbound calls. Information can be tracked automatically using the features a VoIP business phone system or manually on paper. Call logs help businesses track worker productivity, resolve customer issues, and meet compliance laws. Let’s take a look at the different types of call logs and best practices for using them
Paper-based Call Logs
Paper-based call logs are an inexpensive way to track call data without investing in additional software or a VoIP phone system. A small notepad or bound notebook kept by the phone is all you need. It’s helpful to determine ahead of time what type of information you plan to collect and note it consistently for each call, which is why call log templates are so beneficial.
For a more professional look, a printing service like Vistaprint can assemble and bind paper call logs into a notebook that can be given to each employee to keep on their desk or in their work bag. However, keep in mind that paper call logs, either those printed with a template or created manually, will need a place to be stored once the notepad or book is full.
It’s also advantageous to note the date range on each notebook and develop a filing system to keep them neatly arranged in case the call logs need to be referenced in the future. Therefore, when using paper-based call logs, be sure to designate a space to store completed call logs for future reference.
Filing by employee name may work for some businesses, while others may prefer to file them by date. Call log templates have an edge here over other paper systems in that each sheet is organized the same way, making it easier to cull data from large quantities of templates.
Automatic Call Logs
Automatic calls logs embedded into a VoIP business phone system are an effortless way to track call data. It works behind the scenes to automatically collect information as workers make and receive calls. Managers can run all manner of reports to quickly gain insight into call activity such as sorting by date range, extension, inbound only, duration of call, and more.
Automatic call logs don’t require physical storage space and are at less risk of loss due to theft, misplacement, or intentional damage. With most automatic systems, access can be limited to individual employees or granted to all workers company-wide.
Automatic call logs built into VoIP business phone service run quietly in the background, allowing business owners to “set it and forget it.” When setting up your automatic call logs for the first time, check to see if the system runs reports automatically. If so, choose the information you want tracked and set the reports to be delivered to your email box at the intervals you prefer.
Nextiva, which ranks as our best VoIP provider, offers robust call logs that allow businesses to track and export a variety of call data such as talk time, number of missed or answered calls, and total number of calls. Nextiva also offers unlimited domestic calling, call management tools, and free phone numbers. Head to Nextiva’s website for a free demo today.
Pros & Cons of Call Logs
Call logs have a lot of benefits and advantages, but they aren’t a foolproof system. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether call logs right for your business.
Pros of Call Logs
- Call logs could save you money: Call analytics provide historical data that business owners can use to forecast slow daily or seasonal call times and avoid unnecessary overstaffing.
- Call logs may make you money: Conversely, those same analytics can help managers with staff scheduling by predicting busy call times to make sure there are enough agents available to answer the phone.
- Call logs can solve customer disputes: Capturing call data may prove useful when resolving customer disputes that involve phone communication.
- Call logs help with compliance: Call logs can help doctors, lawyers, bankers, and other professionals stay compliant with regulatory agencies like Sarbanes-Oxley.
- Automatic call logs are effortless: Organizations with VoIP business phone systems likely already have this feature as part of their service plan. It runs silently in the background and business owners need only run reports when the need arises.
Cons of Call Logs
- Automatic call logs costs money: Using a call logging system bundled into VoIP phone systems means paying for phone service you may not want or need.
- Automatic call logs can’t capture notes: Although VoIP-based call tracking collects a great deal of automatic data, not all VoIP phone systems offer a way for sales agents to make additional notes about calls.
- Manual call logs are time-consuming: Paper-based call logs take time to fill out and decrease worker productivity.
- Manual call logs require a filing system: Handwritten call logs need a filing system all workers must commit to adhering to in order to keep them from becoming unwieldy. They also require secure storage, which is a drawback for businesses with limited space.
- Manual call logs aren’t easily searchable: Paper-based logging systems don’t easily lend themselves to being searchable, nor is it easy to generate reports and gather analytics.
- Manual call logs require enforcement: Paper-based call logs require consistent managerial enforcement and a company-wide commitment to using them on every call. Otherwise, they are likely to be abandoned by staff.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are call logs private?
That depends on the type of call log system and how the data is stored. Paper- and template-based call logs left sitting on a desk or in a work bag are vulnerable to being mishandled. Automatic call logs typically require admins to grant access to others in order to be viewed, and are therefore much more private.
How can call logs help my sales team?
Call logs help sales managers track a team’s phone-based productivity to identify what’s working and what needs improvement. They also provide historical data that managers can use to make staffing decisions to avoid having too many agents during predictable slow periods or not enough agents during busy times.
Do I need call logs as a solo business owner?
Yes! Solopreneurs must keep a lot of plates spinning and it’s easy to have important phone calls slip off the radar. A regular review of call logs ensures you’ve made all your planned calls, addressed any issues that came up during inbound calls, and generally serves as a way to jog your memory in case you’ve forgotten something that came up during a call.
Call logs are a great way to collect details on inbound and outgoing calls to use for record-keeping, resolving customer issues, and making staffing decisions. Most VoIP phone systems include the feature with their service, but paper-based call log templates are a good alternative if you aren’t shopping for phone service.