Distributor catches calls with VoIP

National automotive parts distributor Ingram has practically eliminated missed calls to its branch offices by rolling out a voice over IP network.

Tino Anastasi, Ingram’s IT systems manager, said beating the problem of missed calls was the main business driver for the implementation.

“At this stage it’s difficult to put an ROI on the VoIP rollout; however, we know we were missing hundreds of calls a month,” Anastasi said.

“Now, if a phone call is not answered in 20 seconds it will travel over frame relay and hunt groups in our Adelaide call centre. If the call is not able to taken in Adelaide it will then go back to the branch; it is virtually impossible for us to miss it.”

Ingram has 16 branches through Australia and New Zealand and has replaced four PABX systems with Avaya IP Office communications devices. The company is now installing a fifth device to add IP telephony to it branch offices in Adelaide, Perth, Newcastle, and the Sydney suburbs of Smithfield and Alexandria.

“We have budgeted to VoIP-enable all our sites within 12 months,” Anastasi said. “With VoIP we now have messaging, call routing, conferencing and the integrated monitoring software allows us to see who’s on the phone at any one time. Being able to make inter-branch calls at no cost is also a key benefit.”

The IP Office installation service was conducted by CTI who, according to Anastasi, were “telling Telstra how to do their job”.

“We investigated using Cisco equipment but it was very expensive,” Anastasi said. Roy Wakim, convergence solutions manger, Avaya Australia, said enterprises have the opportunity to evolve into IP telephony.

“We are able to bring traditional telephony features to VoIP and maintain 100 per cent feature transparency,” Wakim said. “With IP telephony, multi-layer policy control of calls is possible along with enablement of applications to the phone.”

Ingram is exploiting the application integration abilities of IP telephony with its customer relationship management system.

“When a customer calls, their details are automatically retrieved from the database and displayed on the representative’s screen,” Anastasi said. “We looked at a few CRM packages but they were around $900 per seat so we went with ACT at $250 per seat.”

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