ACHIEVING real cost savings and improving staff efficiencies through the implementation of communications technology can be as simple as updating the phone system.
Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP), or IP Telephony, is the ability to send voice information in digital form rather than the traditional circuit-committed protocols. A major advantage of VoIP telephony is that it avoids the tolls charged by an ordinary telephone service.
Just how new telephony systems can impact on a business’s hip pocket are evident in recent cost savings achieved by Plan B Financial Services.
The company recently implemented a Cisco AVVID (Architecture for voice, video and integrated data) Converged Network that has reduced its phone bill by more than $30,000 a year. The system also has allowed the company to monitor and handle in-bound calls more effectively.
The decision to buy an IP telephony system was made by Plan B Financial Services IT manager Bernadine Dove, who, faced with buying a new PABX system, went shopping for products that would offer greater flexibility and cut costs.
“We had a normal PABX system, which had grown to capacity,” Ms Dove said.
“In each separate building [two offices in Perth and offices in Sydney and Melbourne] you have to have separate PABX systems.
“We wanted a system that was easy to manage and that used our existing database. We didn’t want to have to create a separate database and have to manage it.”
Implementing a second PABX system would also mean shutting down the office, she said. With the new telephony system, however, the office continued working as normal.
“At one stage we had two phones on one desk and switched over when it was ready; it was seamless,” Ms Dove said.
The in-house managed scalable solution, delivered by Alphawest, has not only reduced phone costs but also has increased staff satisfaction and efficiencies.
“Under the old PABX system we were being charged for approximately 1500 calls per week between staff in our two Perth offices,” Ms Dove said.
“The cost of cabling offices has now halved, as we only have to install one cable in-stead of two, and staff relocation has become easier and cheaper.”
Staff at Plan B Financial Services can now simply pick up their phone and take it with them when they are relocating; they simply plug it in at their new desk and continue with the same extension number.
“There is no limit to the number of people we can add. It is a scalable solution,” Ms Dove said.
“If we want to add our branches on to the system all we have to do is install a router at the branch and they will be connected to the office.
“Staff particularly like the fact that they can type some-one’s name into the system and double click and then call them hands free.”
Other staff and management benefits include the ability to monitor how long callers had been waiting and how many calls had been lost.
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