The Pluss Organisation is one of the UK’s largest employment specialists that assist people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities and long term health conditions to find work. Pluss passionately believes that people with disabilities or long term health issues can have a rewarding, contributing role in society and serves the needs of these ones throughout its 32 sites in the UK. This includes two rapidly growing call centers which take on more than 2,000 calls a day.
Expanding with Alcatel was not an Option
With 650 employees spread across the UK, Pluss wanted to expand their operations but found that doing so with their proprietary Alcatel Omnipcx VoIP PBX would be too expensive. Pluss would have also needed to hire external Alcatel consultants for such an expansion, further increasing the costs.
“Alcatel only offer support to certified engineers and their online support is very limited. With its cost, our planned expansion would have been too expensive. Combined with the costs for outsourcing support, the Alcatel PBX was simply too expensive to expand.” said Martin Langmaid, Server and Network Architect, Pluss.
Unified Communications and Call Center Solution Needed
The cost of the expansion wasn’t the only hindrance. It was important that Pluss used a phone system that integrated Unified Communications as they offer flexible working – various sites and workers on the road or at home needed to be easily connected. All Pluss employees needed to be able to communicate with their supervisors from wherever they were.
With two busy call centers answering more than 2,000 calls a day, a robust call center solution was needed. The company wanted to monitor all calls for quality control purposes and assign call-backs, create call queuing systems and make use of administrative features such as listening in to calls.
As well as offering the required features, it was important that a new phone system was competitively priced and easy to deploy within all of Pluss’ offices. Above all, they wanted to be supported by the new PBX provider as the support they received from Alcatel was near non-existent.
3CX Phone System is the Right Candidate for the Job
3CX Phone System 10 was the perfect candidate for the job as it uses open standard low cost IP phones, meaning Pluss could spend less than £90 per new handset, including call licensing. Being a VoIP PBX meant that no additional phone wiring was necessary as 3CX Phone System sits on the network and is just another server application.
Scalability was another factor in Pluss selecting 3CX as they needed a phone system that would be easy to scale, even after their latest expansion. They didn’t want to be faced with any surprises such as hidden extra licence costs being added for every new phone, IVR and voicemail.
Pluss added 270 Yealink T22P and T26P IP Phones to their set-up at a cost similar to what it would have been for just 80 of the Alcatel handsets. They work with Beronet Berofix gateways for their 3 PRI and 2 BRI ISDN lines and 15 SIP trunks. As Yealink phones are supported by 3CX, they can be auto-provisioned, thus saving Pluss valuable time.
The IT department at Pluss was pleasantly surprised when they had provisioned 200 phones in only two days throughout their sites, including two main call centers, rather than the five days they had estimated. Pluss couriered handsets to its various locations over a phased rollout that meant all phones were quickly active, using SIP trunks for external connectivity. Their IT engineers visited each location over the following ten days where router configuration was required. Having worked with other PBX’s in the past, the IT team braced itself for a long-haul install that would take weeks before they could get it off the ground. With 3CX being installed incredibly efficiently, the IT team even had time to take care of other, non-related matters.
“3CX Phone System works right out of the box. Any configuration questions were easily answered by the massive and enthusiastic online community. There is a great deal of 3CX company and partner driven documentation and tutorials, which made extended configuration easy,” said Martin Langmaid.
The ability to run 3CX Phone System as a virtual machine allows Pluss to use High Availability and Fault Tolerance features of VMware to provide a resilient solution. One of the biggest benefits for Pluss is the ability to run a cloned copy of 3CX Phone System in a test environment, which they use for upgrade and new configuration test purposes. This testing area is isolated from the production environment and all changes are analyzed before rolling them out.
Pluss more Features
The Unified Communications features in 3CX MyPhone, the web-based interface for 3CX Phone System, together with real time agent/queue status and statistics from the 3CX Call Center Module, meant that Pluss could streamline their staff efficiency. They can now analyse which areas of the call center aren’t producing the levels required and design their call flow to provide a better customer experience.
The Listen In, Listen & Whisper and Barge In features allow the call center supervisors to better manage their staff in real time. Call center reporting makes identifying any issues a lot easier, and the supervisors can see which members of staff are performing or underperforming.
Call transfers and inter-department communications, as well as call flow rules that allow for call forwarding to homes and mobile numbers, have seen staff productivity and mobility rise by 40%. Pluss employees can make and receive calls from anywhere as though they are in the office. All they require is an internet connection and 3CX Phone System takes care of the rest. These employees can work comfortably in any environment and are making use of 3CXPhone for Windows, 3CX’s free softphone.
Any travelling Pluss employees make use of 3CXPhone for Android and 3CXPhone for iPhone. These apps connect with 3CX Phone System, allowing these staff members to take their extensions with them whilst they’re on the road, at home, in mobile training suites or at exhibitions.
Customer Driven Development
3CX Phone System was the right choice for Pluss as it provides ongoing savings and clever functionality. 3CX allows them to be more mobile, which assists them to better focus their time on assisting people with disabilities.
“The best bit is that 3CX proactively embraces feature recommendations from its customer base via ideascale so the product is continuously evolving to fulfill feature requirements as they arise. I have never seen product development done in this way before – anyone can make a suggestion and the ones with the highest demand are developed. Product development is therefore inclusive, proactive and customer requirement focused with laser guided accuracy.” – Martin Langmaid.
The rich feature set of 3CX, which include Unified Communications, meant that Pluss realised an instant increase in staff productivity, whilst improving their customer service levels by adding the 3CX Call Center Module. Due to 3CX’s easy to use web-based admin interface and its ability to run on Pluss’ existing Windows server, administration of the phone system is quick and effortless.
“We recommend 3CX Phone System to all businesses. You’re not just purchasing a state-of-the-art PBX, but are joining a community that provides support right when you need it.” – Pluss