City Automobiles drives business gains with VoIP

Monday, 05 July, 2010

City Automobiles has watched customer call volumes increase and its business grow following the implementation of a next-generation Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Office telephony system. The VoIP solution ensures customer calls reach the automotive group’s sales and service staff first time and has reduced its call and line rental costs.

City Automobiles is a prestige automotive dealer based in Richmond, Victoria, minutes from the Melbourne CBD. The company has an impeccable motoring pedigree having been operated by three generations of the Pascoe family since it was first established as Jay’s Motors in 1940.

In 2000, the Pascoes joined forces with Mitchell Porritt Motors to become City Automobiles. As well as being a specialist late-model Mercedes Benz dealer, City Automobiles also holds the Renault Franchise for Melbourne and is the official dealer for Elfin Sports Cars in Victoria and Tasmania.

As a busy automotive dealer managing both sales and servicing of prestige vehicles, City Automobiles receives a high volume of customer calls and sales enquiries each day.

Each of its three Richmond sites staffed and operated its own ageing PABX system and transferred calls to other showrooms or service centres as required. This was a cumbersome process that incurred call costs and resulted in delays in answering customer enquiries.

In addition, the existing phone systems did not offer voicemail so the group was concerned it may have lost valuable sales leads when calls went unanswered.

City Automobiles recognised that significant customer service benefits and cost advantages could be gained by moving to a VoIP telephony system that would seamlessly connect all three sites.

Telecommunications distributor IPL Communications worked with City Automobiles to design a VoIP system to meet the automotive group’s specific needs.

After considering a range of options, City Automotives selected an Alcatel-Lucent OmniOCX Office system that could be installed across all of the sites. The Alcatel-Lucent multisite system is specifically designed for SMEs who don’t have in-house IT resources. In addition to being easy to use, the system offers flexibility, reliability and a great range of functionality including voicemail, automated attendant, queue management and call forwarding.

IPL channel partner Techlan Communications was engaged to install the two Alcatel-Lucent servers and 34 handsets across the three sites and train City Automobiles employees in its use. The implementation took advantage of recently installed underground voice and data cabling between the Church Street sites.

Given the importance of ensuring City Automobiles continued to receive customer calls whilst the new voice system was installed, one of the existing PABX systems remained operational throughout the implementation and calls were diverted to that phone number as required.

Installation of cabling and equipment was completed in a matter of days, and once the new telephony infrastructure was in place at all three sites, the changeover to the Alcatel-Lucent VoIP system was almost instantaneous.

According to Mitchell Porritt, Director, City Automobiles, efficiency gains have been the key benefit of the VoIP system.

“The Alcatel-Lucent VoIP system has enhanced our customer service by delivering calls to the right area, first time. As well as improving our communications with customers, it makes it easy for employees across the three sites to communicate and reduces our call costs and line requirements. We are very happy with the system and the service we have received from IPL and Techlan.

“Phone communications are integral to our business and we have become so used to great features like the automated attendant, voicemail, call forwarding and paging that we can’t imagine how we ever did without them,” Porritt said.

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