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Specsavers Exeter

swcomms replaces the obsolete telephone system at Specsavers’ Exeter branch to reduce ongoing costs and to improve customer service.

Specsavers is a partnership of nearly 2,000 locally-run businesses, committed to delivering high quality, affordable optical and hearing care. Each store is partowned and managed by its own directors, who are shareholders of their own businesses but are supported by key specialists in support offices providing a range of services, such as marketing, accounting, IT and wholesaling, among others.

swcomms had installed replacement telephone systems for branches in Plymouth and Paignton before making contact with the Exeter branch, which had an obsolete BT Nortel BCM phone system that was no longer supported. This left Specsavers in a vulnerable position as most of their communication with their customers is via the phone. If the phone system suffered a fault, there was no guarantee of a fix time or, indeed, a fix at all. Customers may end up taking their business elsewhere.

swcomms advised Specsavers to invest in a new Toshiba CIX100 digital telephone system that would be supported by our Toshiba-accredited engineering team. This immediately gave Specsavers the reliability they required. It also gave them increased functionality that created both cost savings and efficiency improvements that enhanced their customer service.

Answering every call 
Previously, Specsavers in Exeter had relied on an outsourced call answering service when their call volumes were too high for them to deal with. The Toshiba CIX100 solution includes an automated attendant that answers every call before directing them to the most appropriate department. This had become a more pressing need with the introduction of a hearing services department. So callers are invited to “Press 1 to book or change an appointment, press 2 for hearing inquiries, press 3 for contact lens enquiries and press 4 for glasses enquiries.” However, should one of these particular departments be unable to take the call, the phone system will automatically hunt around for an available extension thereby ensuring every call is answered. The uniform call distribution (UCD) feature facilitates this process, allowing staff to log in and out of the main calling group depending on staffing levels for that day.

Specsavers made sure they were measuring the effectiveness of this with a call logging solution that gauges busy times of day, answered calls, etc so they could timetable their staff even more efficiently. All together, these functions negated the need for a costly outsourced answering service. In addition, the Toshiba system enables staff to record calls on a manual basis whereby they press a button on their handset to activate a recording. These recordings can be used as a reminder of the content of a call or to be used as a training tool so new members of staff can learn how to professionally deal with telephone enquiries.

Cost savings
Further cost savings were found with the migration of Specsavers’ lines and minutes to swcomms’ telecoms service. We provided them with a blend of ISDN30, ISDN2 and PSTN lines with inclusive call bundles comprising 11,000 UK landline and 2,500 UK mobiles minutes. Specsavers benefit from the economies of scale that come from bulk buying their minutes and the knowledge that their bills should not exceed their planned for budget.

Specsavers’ complete solution from a single provider was further enhanced with WiFi access points throughout the building to give staff access to email and the internet on their laptops and mobile devices.

Despite the range of communications products and services provided, Specsavers had just one port of call for any queries. Following a successful installation, Specsavers now has a dedicated swcomms account manager supported by an in-house customer service department, service desk staff, trainers and engineers plus manufacturer backing to give the Exeter branch the reassurance it needs in maintaining its business critical form of communication with their customers.

Jonathan Baumber, retail director of Exeter’s Specsavers, said: “I have been very impressed with the whole team. Your willingness to adapt to our needs and 'just make it happen' with a smile, has made what I thought was going to be a difficult transition really simple. “The system has bedded in very well and it has opened our thinking to how telephony can further support the business and look after our customers. More work...but a nice problem to have! “I will certainly recommend swcomms to my colleagues in the region.”

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