Making The Right Connections

Making The Right Connections
Mike Allison

Mayflower founder and Chairman Mike Allison is still very much ‘hands on’ and wishes he had more time to talk to customers, as he explains to Comms Business Magazine.

Formed in 1987, Billericay based Mayflower plc initially sold STC telex machines before moving on to fax and then telephone systems – another STC product, the SDX40 – via distributor Universal Telecom (UTL).

Today the company sells products that can trace their routes back to those days, the Avaya INDeX and the IP Office. Their portfolio is completed by Audionet call recording systems from Weston Digital Technologies and AI call management software from Oak Telecom together with FCT’a (fixed cellular terminals) from Wavelink Communications.

The Avaya products are sourced via distributor Crane. “We have a long association

with Crane and before them UTL. One of our project manager, Graham Hammond is ex-Crane so it all hangs together nicely,” says Allison who adds that the hardest day to day challenge he faces is finding the time to spend in front of his customers. “Staff here don’t work for Mayflower and nor do they work for Mike Allison – they work for our customers and without whom there would not be a business.”

“Training…it is a big issue to keep staff up to speed with accreditations these days, as we do for Avaya products. In fact we are going through their latest accreditation scheme right now.

Crane is very supportive of our business and our account manager, Jo Dubber is a regular visitor to Billericay. Jo handles all our pre-sales support and is quick to manage any technical issues that we may have to escalate. In fact via Crane we went to the Avaya conference in Rio De Janeiro earlier this year. We have also just launched our new web site (www.mayflowerplc.com) which has been co-funded by Crane from joint marketing funds.”

 
One for Service

Allison believes that looking after his customer base is the key to the health of his business. “We are driven by service which is why when anyone calling Mayflower is answered by our auto attendant it’s ‘press one for service’. We have also introduced 0800 numbers for our customers as opposed to a creeping trend I have noticed amongst other resellers to deploy 0870 or, even worse, 0871 numbers. The majority of our business comes from existing clients and referrals so I don’t see why they should pay for the privilege of calling us to give us their business.

 
Convergence?

The early adopters are in the market and we are selling a number of networked IP Office systems and see Mayflower selling more in to that space as time progresses. We are working closely with Gamma Telecom to deliver voice over IP and are watching the market for hosted IP telephony solutions.

I went to a presentation in London recently of Gamma’s hosted solution which is based around the Marconi soft switch with telephony on the desktop provided by Mitel handsets. Once the channel package is fully defined and available we intend to incorporate this application in to our portfolio.

We are all moving towards the 21 st Century Network, as BT has called their modernisation program, and the channel needs to be aware of the new opportunities that will come in to play. Our early ‘toe in the water’ will, I am sure, stand us in good stead and bring us the experience that will win business in the future.

 
Top of the World

A high profile sponsored walk in the Himalayas region of Nepal by Marion Allison has raised more than £40,000 for St Luke’s Hospice in Basildon, Essex.

Marion was one of a group of 28 people ranging from 22 to 70 years of age all raising funds for the hospice.

St Luke’s Hospice provides palliative care for the terminally ill. “It’s a lovely place and there some wonderful people working there.” Says Marion, a reflexologist who also works voluntarily at the Hospice.

“The first two nights were spent in a hotel in Kathmandu but thereafter, once we had begun the trek, we camped out each night.”

“A lot of people ask me how far we traveled but it was very difficult to tell because of the terrain. I prefer to think of it in terms of time spent walking – on the longest day we walked for over eleven hours at a height of up to 11,000 feet! The hardest part was the physical strain on the body, particularly our knees. It was a lot more demanding that we had imagined.”

A glutton for punishment, Marion is already planning her next fundraising event for the Hospice – a trek through Vietnam scheduled for November 2006, whilst Mike Allison is in training for a week long bike ride in Reykjavik, Iceland scheduled for July 2006, again in aid of St Luke’s Hospice. For more information on the Hospice see stlukeshospice.com.

 
www.mayflowerplc.com
 

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