Telecoms Upgrade Stages Excellent Performance At The Lowry

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A telecoms upgrade has staged an energy saving and service enhancing production at The Lowry, Salford’s prestigious arts venue.

The performing and visual arts centre called in Bury-based Pennine Telecom to replace the ageing system it installed nearly a decade ago with a state-of-the-art IP (Internet Protocol) system. This has proven just the ticket by introducing skills-based call routing for box office staff and putting on a green performance.

Explains The Lowry’s Facilities Manager, John Toomer: “The old Avaya INDeX system was good and supported by an Interactive Voice Response platform which recognised voice and keypad prompts.” But as the system was reaching its end of life and with new IP solutions offering economic and functional benefits an upgrade was inevitable.

Pennine handled this in two phases. First it enhanced The Lowry’s existing Local Area Network to incorporate Power over Ethernet and Quality of Service technology which is vital in ensuring the integrity of delay-sensitive applications, such as telephone calls. The solution also streamlined the network by removing the need for numerous LAN hubs whilst new network switches enabled devices to be powered down when not in use. These green switches can cut energy consumption by up to 60%, an important consideration for the charity running The Lowry which Toomer notes is “always looking at ways to reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint.”

Phase two saw the INDeX system replaced with the scalable, feature-rich Avaya Communication Manager (ACM), an IP-based application which is supporting a call management solution to serve The Lowry’s 20 box office agents. Vitally funded by three years interest free finance, the ACM has delivered immediate benefits such as skills based routing. “Calls are routed to people who have greater knowledge of particular shows or events,” says Toomer. Given the impressively diverse Lowry programme this is clearly an excellent customer service tool and one which can add value to a revenue-generating ticket brokerage, the expansion of which the ACM’s remote working capabilities is also set to support.

“We have a subsidiary called Quay Tickets handling ticketing for a lot of big events like the Manchester International Festival and the revenue it generates supports what we do as a charity here. With our growth plans for Quay Tickets, the fact that our premises may not be big enough to take additional staff is no longer an issue as we can easily set up homeworking on the new system.”

Installation of the new system maintained a long standing relationship forged between The Lowry and Pennine Telecom. Toomer’s reason for the venue’s loyalty is simple and succinct: “It’s down to the service. Pennine have always given us good service”

Andrew Roberts, Managing Director of Pennine Telecom is particularly proud of the reputation the business has built over the years. He explains that “by delivering a responsive, reliable and high level of customer service to our customers it is not surprising that we experience such high levels of customer loyalty. Some of our customers have been with us for over 30 years, that’s something our competitors can only aspire to.”