Case Study

Unified Communications System Solves Phantom Calling And Quality Issues At Small Pet Hospital

Source: Business Solutions Magazine
Unified Communications System

By Brian Ferguson, Product Marketing Manager, Switchvox

Businesses with multiple locations, call centers, complex call requirements, and extensive feature customizations often require a more sophisticated and expensive business communications system.  But what about the average, single-location small business with less than 10 employees and relatively simple call requirements? They also deserve the same access to advanced unified communications (UC) features, with the versatility and affordability of a leading-edge VoIP business solution.

The problem arises when lesser systems, claiming to be more efficient and economical for small businesses under 20 employees, have too many limitations and technical deficiencies to handle the job of even the smallest business.

The Pet Hospital of Madison in Madison, AL, encountered this issue. After a series of frustrating circumstances with its previous phone system, it escalated to the point that Dr. Angelique Lawrence, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine for the Pet Hospital of Madison, asked her office manager, “Why can’t we just get a plain old telephone?”

While constructing a new, state-of-the-art building for its veterinary practice, the Pet Hospital of Madison contracted with Gigaparts, a full-service PC store and reseller for business communications solutions. The pet hospital wanted to invest in a VoIP telecommunications infrastructure that expanded its current data network to include voice. According to Office Manager Ruth Freeman, the system it chose worked great while occupying temporary office space just a couple of miles up the street from its new building. However, once it moved into the new facility, the glitches with the new phone system began.

“It gave us nothing but problems,” Freeman says. “We had terrible connections and the call quality was awful. Customers couldn’t hear us. It dropped calls, and customers complained that on their end, the phone just rang and rang and rang with no one picking up. Another problem was that when you hung up a call, it would not disconnect, and it would send through phantom calls. Those calls would proceed to ring on every phone throughout the building without the ability to answer it or disconnect it.”

Small businesses are always told how important a good location is from a sales and marketing standpoint, but it’s not often realized how location may influence connectivity issues. It seemed the Pet Hospital of Madison’s new location, just two miles from the temporary location, was known as a terrible ISP zone widely affected by frequent outages.

“I spoke to our previous phone system provider’s top management several times, and they had Gigaparts jumping through hoops saying it was lag time or this and that,” Freeman says. “Gigaparts was here for two straight days but could not solve the mystery.”

That was when Gigaparts representative Chris Brewer, who was already not satisfied with this previous phone system program prior to the problems at the Pet Hospital, decided Digium’s Switchvox UC system was a better solution. Gigaparts was a recently-approved reseller for Digium, and Brewer had just completed training on Switchvox. It was the perfect opportunity for them to see Switchvox in action.

Gigaparts installed a Digium Switchvox 80, the smallest but best choice for small businesses needing a full-featured, server-class PBX for up to 30 users. Built on a UC platform that is just as powerful as any enterprise-level system, Switchvox is provisioned with a graphical user interface that let Gigaparts configure multiple users and set up the entire system quickly.

“Gigaparts brought in the Digium IP phones and set it up so that I could play with it over a couple of days,” Freeman says. “It was important to Gigaparts that we use it first to test for call quality, since that had been a major setback with the previous phone system. The first call I made was to my daughter, who said the difference in call quality was like daylight and dark.”

Pet Hospital of Madison purchased nine Digium IP phone sets, and Freeman says they are very pleased with the many convenient features they offer.

“I like that you don’t have thousands of pages of unnecessary papers from the fax machine,” she says. “When another vet sends over pet records, there was a lot of paper wasted before you got to the information the doctor needs. With Switchvox, a fax comes in as a digital file, and I can go directly to the information I need and discard the rest.”

“I also like the mobility features and the fact that if we are closed for a holiday or a weekend, all I have to do is hit the ‘notifications’ button, and Switchvox sends me notifications, and I can tap into the system and check my voicemail and email,” she continues. “When we are closed, the system also re-routes emergency calls to our 24-hour veterinary referral hospital in Decatur.”

Ultimately, Switchvox put an end to the call chasing and poor call quality, which for any small business focused on customer service is a significant detriment to customer relations, as well as delivered advanced features to help the pet hospital better be more efficient and productive.

Brian Ferguson is the Product Marketing Manager for Switchvox, offered as an on-premises system or a cloud-based solution. Since becoming part of the Digium team in 2010, Brian has worked in multiple sales and marketing roles supporting Diguim’s reseller channel and helping SMB customers use Digium solutions to solve their business telephony challenges. With an additional 10 years of sales management experience in a retail environment, Brian has extensive experience working with a diverse range of technical products and brings a unique perspective in helping problem solve for customers. He graduated with honors with a BS in Business Management from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He enjoys numerous, short walks on the beach (as opposed to long ones) and loves to travel.