2 into 1 GOES

2 into 1 GOES

VW Parkway

 

Formed in 1999 and with annual sales of around 4,500 new and used cars, VW Parkway is one of the most successful Volkswagen dealerships in the UK and prides itself on delivering excellent customer service. The company recently acquired a site in Leicester and with the additional dealership on board, 2006 looks set to be hugely profitable.

 

The Challenge

VW Parkway’s managing director Sean Booth knew that initially most of both dealerships’ business was driven through telephone calls as opposed to

actual visitors to the sites. As Sean explains “A phone enquiry is often a much hotter lead than someone who walks onto the site, so the telephone system we use is vitally important to the success of the business.” For this reason having an excellent telephone system which linked up both sites to give a seamless and centralised communication system was imperative.

Before VW Parkway bought their Leicester site the original telephone PBX had been adequate for the Derby site. Booth had already considered replacing it with a new system with increased functionality.

The key considerations following the acquisition of the new site were that management of the two sites should be centralised as well as administration and accounts. The two sites should also be able to support each other during busy periods such as lunchtimes, when the vast majority of their calls were received; this would require a system which could allow calls to be easily transferred between sites as well as tracking the route the caller had taken.

The system would also need to be able to cope with one site going down, in the event of emergency, by effortlessly transferring calls to the other site and thus maintaining excellent customer satisfaction.

A single telephone system which would grow with the business and involve little investment to scale the business up was the ideal. The challenge was then to find the right provider.

 

The Solution

After researching the market Booth decided to upgrade his old PBX system. He had already contracted Node4, the Pride Park based IP telephony provider, to supply his two dealerships with an SDSL internet connection so he contacted them about their Hosttalk product. Hosttalk is an IP based telephony service where telephone calls are transmitted over the data network (corporate LAN / WAN) as opposed to over a traditional branch line. This system is then ‘hosted’ by Node4 on their servers. Hosttalk uses Cisco Call Manager technology and extra features such as voice mail, voice recording and desktop integration can be added to enable the system to be tailored individually for each business customer.

Hosttalk also allows customers with multiple sites to make free calls between locations and to make normal calls at a reduced overall cost as users no longer need to rent any traditional telephone lines. Sites are connected together using QoS (quality of service) enabled broadband that guarantees call quality.

Once he was presented with what Node4 could offer, it was simply no contest, as Sean explained: “I received the quote and it included all new kit, a new data and wireless network, and it was future proof, which is the beauty of it. Also, the annual support costs for Derby and Leicester with Node4 are only a sixth that of the technology which we were using previously. With figures like that, it did not take a lot of working out”

 

Benefits

Since switching to Hosttalk, VW Parkway has saved £7,000 per month through reduced call costs, optimisation of staff resource and the centralisation of departments namely service bookings and reception. Return on investment is forecast within 12 months.

The two sites are independent but have one centralised communication system. This means that several functions such as reception and service bookings are now dealt with from one location, calls can then be transferred to the relevant site thus providing a seamless link from customer’s point of view

VW Parkway has also reduced complexity by centralising backup, disaster recover, and security management. The system is more resilient because the twin Internet connections and two switches – one at Derby and one at Leicester – are able to act as failover systems for each other so there is no chance of the telephony service being lost.

Elimination of all inter-branch call costs due to convergence of voice and data into one communications link. This means that VW Parkway now has no telephone lines at either of its locations, calls are free of charge between the two sites and calls out to the PSTN networks are no more expensive than they were when the old analogue system was in use.

VW Parkway has also reduced costs on calls to mobiles, because calls to mobiles can be directed through GSM gateways. GSM gateways hold sim cards and re-direct outbound calls via these so it is as if the call is going from a mobile to mobile instead of a landline to mobile.

 

Conclusion

“What we can do with the solution Node4 has implemented is limited only by our imagination”, Booth says. “The Node4 solution is very scalable, so it will grow with VW Parkway and it is very much an investment for the future.We have been very impressed with Node4’s know-how and the support services it has been able to provide and the system has made us significant cost savings, brought more benefits than anticipated. We have many more possibilities to exploit”.

 
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