Appliance retailer adds new contact centre

New IP-PABX integrates VoIP, TDM, and GSM calling

National direct retailer of kitchen and laundry appliances Kleenmaid will deploy an integrated IP-PBX and contact centre to support its expansion into a new head office.

The new infrastructure, located on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, uses IP technology and provides an upgrade path to VoIP for existing TDM equipment.

Kleenmaid is anticipating the network will improve customer service through simpler and more direct connections between customers and the 36 national franchised retail outlets.

The network will be installed and maintained by Kleenmaid and Nortel business partner Commander this month.

Kleenmaid's IT manager, David Ingram-Johnson, said the existing PABX has reached the end of its life, so the company took the opportunity of moving to a new head office to implement a new communications platform.

"In doing so we wanted to lay the foundations for our future communication requirements, not only at head office but also at our retail outlets," Ingram-Johnson said. "That meant moving to IP, with a solution that bundles all the functionality we need today, and allows us to activate new features as we grow without having to pay a premium for hardware upgrades."

The new system will also improve management's access to calls and contact centre statistics, and integrate call functionality with mobile devices and PCs.

Nortel and Commander were chosen to provide an IP solution with Nortel Ethernet routing switches, a Nortel PABX, Nortel IP handsets and Nortel Contact Centre 6 for Kleenmaid's multimedia contact centre requirements.

Commander will also provide VPN services and an upgrade path for migrating Kleenmaid's retail outlets to IP telephony.

Ingram-Johnson said the Nortel PBX gives the flexibility to "slipstream" analog fax lines into the IP infrastructure, and to activate GSM call functionality so staff can make a GSM call from their IP handsets or desktops and take advantage of mobile group call rates.

"In the future we'll be able to activate even more functionality, like call telephony integration between desktops and handsets so calls can be made from any device, and integrated call features like voicemail on the desktop and e-mail from the handset," said Ingram-Johnson. "Also, once we equip our stores with IP-PBXs, staff will be able to travel anywhere in the country and retain their own extension numbers and voicemail boxes."

Ingram-Johnson said the company is taking the move to VoIP "one step at a time", and this solution allows it to do that "at a pace that suits our business, not the other way round".

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