Having the right telephony system is mission-critical to most businesses, though in the case of Accent Blinds, a blind business with eight shop fronts and 10 sites nationally, where customer requests for quotes and installations are its bread and butter, that maxim applies doubly.
Accent Blinds CEO Ken Dawes, said the beginning of 2005 was one of the worst periods the home renovations industry had experienced in the last 10 years and to actually justify the investment in a new communications system was a huge decision.
It was therefore essential that Accent found a workable, efficient system that could not only save on call costs, but handle and direct the volume of calls it was receiving daily to the appropriate people, whilst also providing valuable customer feedback.
Dawes said the decision to upgrade the company’s telephony system to an IP-based model was not taken lightly, and was only arrived at after the company had struggled with its traditional PABX system for over a year.
“Our previous systems always had mysterious things happen to them. Customers would be kept on hold for an eternity, logs of calls were banking up until customers would either give up themselves or inadvertently be hanged up on.
“To put it bluntly, our customer service levels were not only damaging our reputation but affecting our bottom line,” Dawes said. “Instead of responding to customer enquiries, my customer service team was spending most of each day trying to ascertain how customer calls were disappearing or dropping out and why waiting times for calls were so excessive. It therefore became apparent to us that we needed to fix the problem, and fix it quickly.”
Dawes said the company had actually been given a demonstration of an IP-based telephony system around 18 months prior to their decision to go ahead with one.
“At that time, we decided it was ridiculously expensive so we decided to upgrade our existing Samsung legacy system, something which proved a false economy, after being promised that it would work,” he said. This involved the upgrade of software and the purchase of new servers. “We basically did everything to overhaul our existing infrastructure, but it finally became apparent to us that there were fundamental deficiencies with our call management systems.”
Roughly 18 months after their initial demonstration, Accent decided to have another look at an Avaya-based IP system.
Up until that point, Dawes said that he and his company had little knowledge of VoIP and its possibilities and an existing relationship with Accent’s IT manager and Sydney VoIP integrator Planet Communications led to another demonstration.
Planet, in conjunction with national IP equipment distributor and integrator IPL Communications, then put together a package which Dawes said was simply irresistible.
“They had released a SME version of an Avaya system which was cheaper, with far more features that we could specifically adapt to our business, making it a truly compelling proposition.”
Accentuating VoIP’s positives
By Alan Hartstein on Aug 31, 2006 1:58PM
This article appeared in the 21 August 2006 issue of CRN magazine.
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