A Conversant hosted PBX has enabled Christchurch-based Power Electronics to deliver unified customer support across New Zealand and Australia.
With multiple locations across New Zealand and Australia, Power Electronics wanted a phone system that would enable seamless communications with its customers.
As New Zealand’s leading provider of variable speed drives and soft starters, Power Electronics has offices in Christchurch, Napier and Auckland, as well as Brisbane and Perth.
However, its old hardware-based PABX was not able to keep pace with the company’s growth, nor did it enable the level of customer support the company needed.
“Customer service and support is the most important thing for our business. We wanted a phone system where someone could ring up, push a button and get through to the right person,” says Power Electronics Managing Director David O'Donoghue.
With the old system there was no easy way to route incoming calls, so everyone was acting as a receptionist. This was not an effective use of their time, or an efficient way of ensuring customer calls reached the right destination, adds O'Donoghue.
The previous PABX, based in its Christchurch office, also did not allow easy integration between teams on different sides of the Tasman, and was not flexible enough.
“Every time we needed to change something, we had to get a specialist in and it would take about a week to get done,” says O'Donoghue.
“It was clear we needed to improve our phone system and that VoIP was the way the go.
Based on our research Conversant had the best name in the market.”
After a scoping exercise to work out what Power Electronics required, the company decided a Conversant cloud-hosted phone system stacked up.
“Conversant was very good – they worked out exactly what we needed and all the hardware came through pre-programmed. It was not a difficult process at all,” says O'Donoghue.
The Conversant hosted PABX now enables Power Electronics to effortlessly transfer calls between all of its offices, regardless of which side of the Tasman they’re on.
“We now have full integration between the New Zealand and Australian teams. Customers can go through directly to the specialist for their product no matter where they are based,” says O'Donoghue.
“This has allowed us to be more responsive to customers. If someone in one office is busy or away, the calls can go through to another location automatically. It’s seamless from a customer’s point of view and has made our customer communications easier.”
Flexibility for growth
The technology has been scalable enough to support the company’s growth of about 25% in the past year. “It has expanded with us as we’ve added more people and we’ve been able to cope with getting a lot more calls coming through.”
Power Electronics expects similar growth over the next year, as it has added new products to its portfolio and plans to take on more people too.
As a relatively smaller company, the Conversant system has given Power Electronics the ability to compete better against larger organisations says O'Donoghue. “It puts us in the league of bigger companies as we have technology that is equivalent to theirs.”
Cutting ties with the office
Having a cloud phone system has enabled the Power Electronics team to be more mobile and supports the company’s ambition to become less tied to the office.
“The Conversant system has made everything a lot more flexible. It lets us run the business from anywhere. We can easily have calls go to mobiles or different offices so customers get their calls answered no matter where our people are.”
Another issue the system has simplified is moving premises – an all too familiar problem for Christchurch-based companies affected by the earthquakes.
Due to shift into new premises in Christchurch by the end of 2015, Power Electronics now has one less concern – moving its PABX.
“Our original building is due to be demolished and rebuilt, so we are moving to new premises two and a half times larger. We’ll be able to just take everything with us and have the phones working again at the new site as soon we connect to the internet,” says O'Donoghue.
Being a technology company itself, ongoing management of the Conversant system has not been difficult for Power Electronics.
“The support from Conversant has been great – our people are tech savvy anyway which helps. Everything we’ve needed to do, we’ve been able to sort out with Conversant.”
The overall benefit of the system has been self-evident, says O'Donoghue. “It is certainly is more productive than the old PABX and has saved us money, although we haven’t worked out how much. It just works for us and we know is it is delivering benefits without having to do the numbers.”