Formed in 2000, Red Commerce has grown rapidly to become Europe’s leading specialist in recruiting professionals who have experience in SAP software. Its blue chip client base includes, major end users, consultancies and SAP. The company prides itself on its ability to serve the whole of Europe using geographically focused and highly trained recruitment consultants who speak the local language of their markets. The company is headquartered in London where it employs over 85 professionals and has offices in Cologne, Germany and Penzance, Cornwall.
The Company previously used a traditional TDM-based PBX (Siemens HiPath). However as the business grew the limitations of the system became more apparent, the biggest problems being its rigidity and its inability to expand to meet the new demands of the business. IT manager at Red Commerce, Ben Carter explains the problem, "As a straight-forward telephone system our incumbent solution was fantastic, we had no real complaints. As the size of our operation increased though, we needed a communications solution that could integrate directly into our existing and future business processes and expand exponentially as new users came on-board without the continual need to add new hardware".
Carter continues, "For example in order to maximise the efficiency of our consultants' time we developed a sophisticated database of all our call records so that we could analyse the areas of our business that were most lucrative. For this to work the telephone system needed to export CDRs (call detail records) in real time to our CRM system - unfortunately this was beyond the capabilities of our existing PBX. In addition, the system required new hardware each time we wanted to add new users and very quickly we reached its capacity – it was at this point we realised we needed to upgrade!"
The company then wrote a detailed specification of what was required and undertook a thorough investigation of the products and technology that were available on the market. Carter describes the procurement process, "We looked at everything that was available including some impressive offerings from both Cisco and Avaya. However in every case a high level of product development was required to meet our needs, the one exception was the solution proposed by Atia Solutions, a 'pure' software based IP PBX from Swyx".
According to Carter there were several key attributes that set Swyx apart from the competition:
- The ability to dial directly from the screen which, overtime, would dramatically improve productivity as more calls could be made per day.
- Integration with existing CRM system was straightforward - files could be exported directly without complex development
- Call recording, which is vital for training and call processing, was included as part of the solution package
- 'Silent Monitoring' capability for training and quality management
- The Swyx software licence model would enable the Company to expand without any concerns regarding hardware limitations
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) could be set up between all their offices for seamless call transfers and free calls
- Conference calling between offices was very simple to set up and use
- 'Virtual roaming' allowed sales consultants to be constantly ‘available’ regardless of their location
What also impressed Red Commerce was Atia's willingness to customise the solution to meet the exact requirements of their business, Carter explains, "We really liked the fact that call recording was included in the standard package, however we needed to take this feature one stage further and add a 'silent monitoring' function. This would enable our seasoned sales consultants to listen in and coach our less experienced agents, live on a call. We also wanted the facility to search recorded calls by individual consultant. This was achieved via a web-interface using a simple consultant designated number rather than search a complete database based on the time of the call. None of the competition could offer these features, however Atia developed and delivered them within the proposed price. To provide some comparison, one of the leading competitors was only able to provide 70% of the functionality delivered by Swyx/Atia at more than twice the entire system cost!"
"The Swyx system will easily pay for itself within 12 months"
The Swyx system was installed in two phases, firstly the back-office was implemented and then, after this was successfully running the main call centre went live. Carter describes the impact the Swyx system has had on Red Commerce's operation, “The staff arrived on the Monday morning and were trained in batches of 3-4 at a time, and then they were 'let loose' on the system. The impact was immediate, even on the very first day we noticed that productivity (number of calls made) shot up. Our staff loved the system, they no longer had to go through the cumbersome process of dialling numbers, the seamless integration with our CRM allowed, a simple, ‘point 'n' click' and they were away. One of the best indications of improved productivity in our company is higher phone bills; the higher the bill, the more successful we have been in reaching our target client base. However, this is not perceived negatively, the improved productivity means that the Swyx system will easily pay for itself within 12 months."
He continues, "Other features such as the 'skins' are also very useful, as they allow us to organise our staff into industry sectors. This means that it’s easy for you to see, using the on-screen 'presence' information, who is available within a team, ensuring that calls go through to the right people, even if the team changes personnel on a regular basis. Incoming calls can be routed dependent on their CLI ('calling line identification') so customers calling in can be answered by their account team on a personal basis e.g. "Hi Dave thanks for calling what can I do for you."
Carter believes that he is only scratching the surface of what can be achieved using the Swyx system and has plans to expand its operation in Germany and at other locations, "The beauty of the Swyx is that it is a piece of technology that can be customised and expanded to meet the needs of the business. This sets it apart from its competition, where typically it is the other way around, you have to make your operation fit with the limitations of the product supplied. We are looking at a number of future developments that will further enhance our business. Our relationship with Atia is excellent and they are prepared to listen to our requirements and build them into their development plans. The Swyx solution will be the bedrock of our communications platform for the foreseeable future."