Music Distribution company improves sales processes, minimises risk and reduces costs with Agenda IT

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Headstock Distribution was founded in 1997 and is the UK & Eire distribution division of the long-established Laney Electronics Company. Laney was founded by Lyndon Laney in 1967. He started by building amplifiers for emerging local musicians such as Tony Lommi of Black Sabbath and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and now the company has a global reputation and its products are used by musicians all over the world.

Based in the West Midlands, Headstock specialises in guitar, percussion and professional audio products. Its current portfolio includes globally iconic brands, such as; Laney, Ibanez, Tama, Zildjian, HH and Ritter.

The problem

The company’s existing telephony platform was reaching its end of life and this provided an opportunity for the organisation to review its overall communications requirements.

Operations Director at Headstock, Scott McKenzie explains, “From this location we support the word-wide sales and support of Laney and other leading brands, and over 35% of our business interactions are via the phone. Our previous old-fashioned telephony system was built on a proprietary platform and as such, it was becoming a liability as it was very expensive to operate, becoming more and more difficult to support and represented a single point of failure to the business.”

He continues, “Furthermore, we wanted a system that could offer us a more intelligent and flexible approach to our operation, for example we wanted to make our existing customer order information automatically available to our sales representatives on inbound calls, offer remote home working to key employees, whilst at the same time mitigate the risk associated with a proprietary hardware failure.”

The key requirements were:

  • A solution that could be flexed to meet its on-going business requirements, without the need to invest in rigid proprietary hardware products
  • An opportunity to add more intelligence to the sales and support operation
  • Reduced operating costs
  • A fully integrated system that offered support for remote working with ‘rich presence’
  • A telephony solution that could utilise its existing server environment

The solution

A fully supported UC solution that was flexible, affordable, easy to use and completely configurable

After a thorough review of the market and potential suppliers, the company finally selected SwyxWare supplied by Swyx Partner and unified communications specialist Agenda IT.

Scott McKenzie explains why, “Our selection came down to two products; SwyxWare Vs Cisco. Whilst Cisco is the better known brand we ultimately selected Swyx because it was easier to use and configure to our business requirements. It was also more flexible, and offered far greater value for money over the lifetime of the solution as many of the features it provided were included in the initial offering and did not need to be added as an expensive ‘bolt-on’.”

“However, when selecting a new solution, although we had a budget, price was not the key criteria. Ideally we wanted to select a company that would offer us more than just a product, we wanted to partner with an organisation who would understand exactly what we wanted and had excellent support and technical skills to back this up. Agenda IT ticked all these boxes.”

The Results

A more flexible, efficient business operation with much lower operating costs

According to Scott McKenzie the SwyxWare solution has been a great success.  Below are the key areas where the company has benefitted most:

Support for remote and homeworking for key staff

The company can now offer a remote-working option to its key staff members and sales team. Using Swyx they can log directly into the company’s phone system from any location and the ‘rich presence’ feature enables reception and other staff to know if they are available for calls or busy.

Scott says, “This feature is fantastic and it has replaced Skype for our overseas sales representatives and therefore makes us look far more professional. For example we have a sales employee in Australia and when he logs in he immediately becomes part of our local operation, we can transfer calls to him as if he was in the office, and of course all the calls are free.”

More integrated & personalised service for customers

Using Swyx’s customised skin “Using a customised skin (on-screen softphone), intelligent call routing and Swyx’s Web Extensions functionality, Headstock has integrated the Swyx system with a customer specific webpage that ‘pops up’ details of the individual accounts including their back order history.  “When a call comes in, all the relevant web-based information on the customer can be viewed within the Swyx soft phone client.  This has vastly improved the efficiency of the sales team as they have all the information they need to process an order at their fingertips.” Says Scott.

In addition, Swyx integrates each user’s voice messaging with their email. This enables each user to ‘pick-up’ their messages, regardless of their location, resulting in a faster response to important enquiries.

More assured business continuity 

As it is server-based, the Swyx solution does not rely on a proprietary hardware platform.  “We have configured the system to work as a ‘virtual machine’. This means that if a serious problem does occur e.g. a hardware failure, they can be up and running again in minutes, rather than hours or days with the previous system.”

Savings on operational telephony costs

“In addition to the savings we make on international calls, we have also implemented the SwyxMobile app on to our mobile phones.” This app turns a standard smart phone into an extension of the Swyx PBX, enabling all the features available in office, including rich presence, and integrated voicemail to be available on mobile devices.

“It is still early days, so there many more features of the system that we will plan to take advantage of in the future” says Scott. In parallel, the company is currently looking at plans to complement their existing ISDN with SIP connections to improve their business continuity and further reduce costs.

Final Word 

Scott McKenzie sums up the service that he received from Agenda IT so far, “The service provided by Agenda IT has been excellent. I have been continually impressed by their levels of service, support and knowledge and unlike many suppliers they made a major effort to fully understand our business requirements and customise a solution that has exactly met our business needs.”

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