Telecoms Systems Overhaul for Motor Group – Case Study

“We take around 50,000 calls a month across our three biggest sites, and we know we are now capturing a higher volume of calls, and dealing with them more efficiently. A more efficient communications structure enables us to run a more efficient – and therefore more profitable – business. With Channel’s help we are achieving exactly what we set out to do.”

Heritage Automotive is a privately owned motor group specialising in Audi, Volkswagen and Peugeot. The company prides itself on delivering excellent customer experiences and quality products – valuing customer service above all. Employing over 450 people, Heritage Automotive operates across four locations in Wiltshire, Somerset and Bristol, with nine franchise sites offering sales, after sales and body repair facilities.

Channel Communications has been Heritage Automotive’s telecoms partner since 2003, helping to steer the group through various telephony developments, including ongoing support and two major upgrades of their legacy systems.

The Challenge

As an ambitious company with numerous locations, Heritage Automotive needed a new business phone system that was flexible enough to keep up with the continuing growth of their business. Specific requirements of the project included:

  • Efficient call handling to all sites, departments and individual staff members.
  • A seamless, centralised system that could operate across all branches.
  • A high level of functionality and reliability.
  • Automatic call flow routing to smooth peak traffic times.
  • Smart voicemail management to improve call handling.
  • Key staff accessible whatever their location.
  • Windows Operated Console (WOC).

The Solution

Channel recommended Aastra’s IntelliGate system, which when evaluated against competitor products, delivered exibility, functionality and scalability, all adding up to the best market solution for the current and future needs of the business.

Consolidating all telephony requirements into one centrally-managed solution, the new system is based on the Aastra IntelliGate 2065 platform, providing a total of 200 desk phones and 100 cordless Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephony (DECT) handsets.

Installing a new, company-wide system across all nine sites was a big change for the business. Once the specification was agreed Channel created a phased roll-out project plan designed to minimise any disruption.

The installation was implemented out of hours. As staff left work for the day Channel engineers came on site, meaning staff returned to their desks to find the system fully installed and operational, with trainers standing by to guide them through its use.

The Results 

The new system delivers a wide range of benefits, and Channel Comms engineers programmed the system to ensure all sites work in the same way:

  • Staff can now answer incoming calls wherever they are  on any of the nine sites, with the option to transfer calls internally, to another once, to a mobile or to voicemail.
  • Call recipients can see individual numbers and return missed calls direct to the member of staff who called them, rather than the main switchboard.
  • Voicemail integration handles message management so staff can pick up voicemail either from their desk system or remotely via a dial-in option, reducing the potential for calls or messages to be missed. The system gives users the option of receiving automatically-generated alerts when a message has been left.
  • Call traffic flows smoothly between sites, routing callers to the site that has the capacity to respond. For example if a caller rings the Bristol number and all lines are busy, the call diverts to the Salisbury office, where staff can access the same back office systems as other branches – such as service bookings – and deal with the call equally efficiently and with no delay to the customer. This promotes faster and more efficient response to calls, giving staff across all locations the technology to handle calls, queries and bookings with the same degree of professionalism.
  • All calls between sites are now classed as internal, which also removes the need for staff to tie up external lines, and reduces costs. The Bristol site houses the core admin system and essential management information such as call logging, call patterns and response times.
  • Automatic call recording is activated across all locations, supporting training programmes and helping in the event of any customer dispute.
  • Call logging is fully activated, and although Heritage have the option to manage that internally if they chose, Channel carry out any necessary re-programming and forward reports giving Heritage the necessary real-time data to identify peak call times and plan resource requirements.
  • Home workers are supported through dial in VoIP capability, giving them full access to the work-based system.
  • Staff who are away from their desks stay in touch through twinning of cordless DECT handsets with desktop phones, providing maximum flexibility. When they leave their desks IntelliGate recognises the DECT handset has been removed from the charger, and automatically diverts calls from the desktop to the DECT handset. This keeps people contactable and gives them exactly the same functionality at their fingertips whether they are using their DECT handset or sitting at their desks or on another site.
  • Thanks to best of breed technology that supports superb reception and voice quality, callers are unaware of any changeover from desk to cordless handsets. Vibrate call alerts can also be programmed for discreet notification of call waiting.

Reliability was a core element in the decision to opt for the Aastra IntelliGate system. To safeguard business continuity, each site’s calls are routed through an ISDN link to optimise line usage. Should any of these suffer an interruption calls are re-routed via one of the other sites, ensuring no downtime or delay in dealing with customer calls. Support is handled via an escalation system that begins with remote dial in and progresses through to engineer call out.

The Feedback 

“Our relationship goes back several years and is based on our confidence in their ability to listen and understand our business. Thanks to their ongoing support and advice the Aastra IntelliGate system has quickly become an integral element of our business operations.”

“The Channel team appreciated the importance of our aims of increased business efficiency, and a smoother, more efficient call flow and they went all out to help us create a new group-wide unified communications structure. For instance, one of the bugbears of the previous system was its DECT handsets, which could often be problematic and potentially cost us business. Channel understood how crucial handset performance is to us, and the handsets they recommended are perfectly suited to our needs.”

“We are also impressed with the sheer flexibility and ease of programming settings, which was another factor in our decision. We can either manage that ourselves and change settings as frequently as we need to, or we can ask Channel to do it for us, and it all happens with no fuss. Our business is all about the customer and Channel understand that it’s details like that which all add up to delivering a great service that keeps our clients close.”

“We take around 50,000 calls a month across our three biggest sites, and we know we are now capturing a higher volume of calls, and dealing with them more efficiently. A more efficient communications structure enables us to run a more efficient – and therefore more profitable – business. With Channel’s help we are achieving exactly what we set out to do.”

Curtis Blyth – Brand Director 

Talk To The Experts

At Channel Comms, we understand that no two businesses are the same – so why would their telecoms requirements be? We have a range of phone systems and telecoms solutions specialist applications within all sectors to ensure that your telecoms and broadband can keep up with your business. For more information, call one of our team free today on 0800 856 6900 or email to discuss your individual requirements.