Wiltshire Citizens Advice benefits from a cloud-hosted telephone system to cost-effectively and efficiently link four of their branches.
Wiltshire Citizens Advice is a registered charity and a member of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux - the UK’s largest advice charity. Wiltshire Citizens Advice is run with the support of nearly 200 unpaid volunteers and 50 paid staff covering nine branches across the county.
Replacement cloud-hosted telephone system
We visited Wiltshire Citizens Advice when we uncovered a need for a replacement cloud-hosted telephone system that could meet the needs of four of their nine branches. The organisation had been using a cloud-hosted telephone system but it was not working well enough for them. Voice quality was often poor and they were relying on support from a very small communications company which meant any issues took a long time to resolve - unsuitable for a charity that offers advice over the phone. They wanted a more reliable and cost-effective solution that they could manage in-house.
One of our senior account managers demonstrated our leading-edge Gamma Horizon cloud-hosted solution which comes with an easy-to-use web-based management tool to administer moves, adds and changes, set up directories, voicemail accounts and much more. He also demonstrated how end users can use PC-based software to identify dialled, received, missed or engaged calls while benefitting from prompt dialling and caller name display. The Horizon platform offers 99.98% uptime, security provided by a dedicated voice firewall and cost-effective business continuity in the event of a disaster. The latter is achieved by permitting the re-routing of inbound calls to any number of designated devices, such as home phones or mobiles. The Horizon solution is also always up-to-date with software automatically updated from the cloud.
We allayed any fears they may have had about voice quality As their previous voice connections were supplied by a third party which affected the voice quality. Our assured voice connections are also provided by Gamma so our Horizon customers benefit from an all-encompassing service that is built for purpose.
Can handle up to 30 simultaneous calls
Our solution serves 79 end users across four sites in Chippenham, Devizes, Salisbury and Trowbridge, and can handle up to 30 simultaneous calls to negate any callers being met with an engaged tone. Calls can be handled using the user-friendly, colour-screen VVX410 handsets or via PCs using Integrator software. This software includes Outlook integration which permits screen-popping of caller information and click-to-dial functionality, while caller line identity presentation is also included to support call handling best practice.
We integrated call recording with the solution to record both inbound and outbound calls for audit purposes. This allows secure online access to file storage and retrieval of call details. Wiltshire Citizens Advice can record some calls, all calls or record calls on demand.
Fixed monthly telecoms spend
One of the most appealing aspects of the solution was the free calls to UK landlines and mobiles. For a charity, having a fixed monthly telecoms spend is very useful for budgeting purposes. We also included 24/7 fraud management to protect Wiltshire Citizens from incurring significant charges from unauthorised calls made by hackers. This is achieved by setting a pre-defined call spend threshold, which if exceeded, will, firstly, result in alert via email or SMS and then, secondly, blocking of all outbound calls other than emergency numbers.
swcomms assigned a dedicated project manager to the deployment of the solution to ensure the organisation did not experience any lengthy downtime during the migration process. Following deployment, the organisation is now looked after by a dedicated account manager who is a single point of contact for all aspects of the Horizon solution providing reactive and proactive account management to ensure optimum system performance and ongoing customer satisfaction.
Jacqui Wright, Wiltshire Citizens Advice’s business support manager for IT, said: “Having had some experience of using a cloud-hosted telephony system for a few years, we had a good grasp on what we needed. Wiltshire Citizens Advice is part of the National Citizens Advice Adviceline which is a Monday to Friday telephone advice service which receives a large amount of calls on a daily basis. It is therefore imperative that our telephone service provides us with a good quality line and minimal disruption. We were impressed with the Horizon platform and its reliability statistics and this is what swayed us to take up the service.
"The migration process was incredibly smooth and as each office went online we instantly saw the benefits of the Horizon platform. None of it could have been done without the swcomms project manager though; he was incredibly professional throughout the entire process. He never seemed to tire of the endless questions and responded to every phone call or email.
“One of our greatest bug bears with our previous system was the restrictiveness of making changes or creating new hunt groups etc. Having access to the master control panel enables us to make changes as we see fit now without having to go through a third party where in the past, we might have had to wait several days for a requested change to be implemented.
"As users have access to their own online portal, they are no longer permanently tied to their desks and can work anywhere in our county without missing a call.
"The after sales service has been a vast improvement too. Since we have been using swcomms, we have reported two faults which have been resolved within hours rather than days and it is comforting to know that even once the fault has been resolved, the technical team continue to monitor and report back should the need arise. All in all, this has been a good experience for Wiltshire Citizens Advice and I have every confidence in swcomms and the Gamma Horizon platform.”