Staying Alive in the Mail Order Business – Case Study

Staying Alive in the Mail Order Business; An Economical Method to Keep Track of Toll Free and Local Phone Line Response and Availability
Challenge: A mail order business needs an economical tool to insure that their phone system and call center personnel are adequately responding to customer calls.

Methodology: Select and implement a system that will monitor both local and 800 number phone response that is easy to set up and offers ‘hands off’ operation.

Result: Improved owner confidence in phone system availability and employee response, low cost, easy to implement with virtually no maintenance.

Executive Summary

Staying alive in the mail order business depends upon many factors including adequate staffing, systems availability, on-time shipping, etc. If any of those or other critical factors become out of balance, a mail order business may find itself fighting to stay afloat. This paper describes how one of those critical factors, the toll-free and local telephone number, can very economically be monitored and management alerted when problems arise. Utilizing the online service Phone Number Monitoring, a mail order business can effectively determine the health and responsiveness of their toll free phone system and take action to correct problems.

How do I know that the toll free phone number is working and someone is answering it?

One of the critical factors in operating a mail order business is to have a reliable phone system that gets answered promptly. Today’s sophisticated systems can provide a wide variety of call statistics allowing the user to evaluate the numbers of phone calls, employee performance etc., however, they will not notify you with an alert if your phone isn’t answered, is busy or not working. Not being able to identify an outage or overload condition can be very costly in the short term because of loss of sales and even more damaging in the long term if frustrated customers do not return.

An inexpensive, hands-off solution

A key enhancement to the business picture of a mail order company would the assurance that their phone system is operating properly, or in case of a phone system delay or failure, providing the company management with timely alerts. To attain this assurance inexpensively and with minimal ongoing effort creates an even brighter business picture. Phone Number Monitoring is a system that will automatically place periodic calls to toll free or any phone number at predetermined times. When calls are not answered with the correct predetermined response, the user can be notified by phone call, SMS (text) message or email. A complete log, search and reporting capability, and statistical presentation of all monitor calls is available to the Phone Number Monitoring user online. Phone Number Monitoring is easy to set up and use for one or one-hundred phone numbers. The user simply enters the phone number information, schedules the monitor calls and creates an alert group. Call schedules and alert groups can be used with more than one phone number.

The Phone Number Monitoring user may choose from several price options structured to meet a wide variety of user requirements. The price consists of a nominal monthly fee based on the number of phone numbers monitored and a call credit charge based on call destination. Monthly fees range from $9.99 for 1 – 5 phone numbers to a maximum of $39.99 for up to 30 phone numbers. The cost per monitor call credit ranges from $ .08 to $ .13 depending upon the number of credits purchased. Most call destinations, including the U.S. and Canada, are one credit.

Phone Number Monitoring as used by the Painted Pail

The Painted Pail is a small mail order specialty garden tool and accessory business. Their main products are hand decorated pails, watering cans, pots, garden tools, gloves and plant stands. In addition to a retail store front, they receive orders via phone, mail and email mainly from a catalog and the Painted Pail web site. Phones are staffed from 8:00 am to Midnight EST seven days a week except during busy times of the year when the operation goes around the clock. The ‘Pail’ is closed on major holidays. In addition to the normal statistics provided by the Pail’s phone system, the owner subscribes to Phone Number Monitoring for that added insurance against phone service interruptions and queue overloads. Phone Number Monitoring monitor calls are scheduled for both busy and less active hours of the day. Each employee is assigned a response code that they enter each time they receive a Phone Number Monitoring monitor call. This provides the owner with the assurance that the call was answered and the identity of the employee. When a call is not completed because of a busy, no answer, failed system or incorrect response, the owner is notified via phone call alert and SMS (text) message. He is then able to track down the cause and take action immediately if necessary.

The owner is also able to follow up online by logging in to his account and accessing the Phone Number Monitoring report page. The report page provides a record of the calls made and the results of the calls along with a search capability for:

  • Monitoring Plan Name
  • Date Ranges
  • Phone Number Called
  • Call Results

A print report and download capability are also available.


Mail order businesses large and small depend on consistent and reliable phone service, and prompt customer phone response. Phone Number Monitoring provides the means to easily monitor that service with scheduled monitor calls and when issues arise, timely alerts.