Popular Primary and Secondary Schools in Coventry Replace Outdated Phone System with Switchvox Cloud
Holy Cross Catholic Multi Academy Company (HCCMAC) is a family of seven popular and highly successful primary and secondary schools located in Coventry. Formed in September 2019, the organisation has 4,197 pupils and employs a total of 483 staff.
The joining together of multiple schools into one single entity, a mish-mash of legacy phone systems all falling short in varying ways, a new vision for a smarter and more cost-effective communication strategy: it was clear that Holy Cross Catholic Multi Academy Company needed to modernise. Prior to joining together in 2019, some of its five primary and two secondary schools had swapped analogue PSTN systems for cloud-powered VoIP calling, but performance was sketchy and provider service levels below par. Busy receptionists battled daily with the outdated limitations of lines and switchboards which, although perfectly functional, lacked cleverness and sophistication. For example, call holding and re-routing was, in some cases, multi-step and slow. Phones were hard-wired in fixed locations on desks and in offices, affording users zero mobility and meaning diverted calls often went unanswered. Head teachers and senior managers in particular – whose roles involved frequent movements around the school sites throughout the day – were often rendered ‘unavailable’ and instead were left messages to return calls once they were back at their desks. School IT staff knew modern telephony was capable of delivering so much more but, in some cases, lacked the kind of dynamic, collaborative relationship with their provider partner that is so key to a positive transformation. They knew their primary phone users and call handlers were keen to deliver a hugely-improved experience to parents, partners and others who called in needing to talk. And they knew they wanted to provide staff with an easy, light-touch ability to call out or connect internally with colleagues. Finally, they were keen to deliver on new group-wide strategies for consolidating suppliers and reducing costs wherever possible. Although a public sector organisation as opposed to a commercial enterprise, the company understood the value of a high-grade communication experience and how a smooth and frictionless user and caller experience creates the right impression among all those with whom it interacts. It also knew that its committed and optimistic participation in the transformational evolution of education provision required an approach to technology to match.
Solutions from Sangoma
Accredited Sangoma Integrator Partner Daconi worked closely with the Holy Cross Catholic Multi Academy Company team to fully understand the issues. Having identified the key pain points and – most importantly – their causes, Sangoma’s innovative Switchvox Cloud hosted communication platform stood out as the perfect solution. Replicating all of the group’s schools’ communication functionality on any connected device, anytime and anywhere via a single application, it instantly provided rich and powerful unified communication features such as voice calling, video, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), call redirect during school holidays, and full call management and analytics. Selected users got a personalised switchboard, visual voicemail, mobile and desktop softphone for calls and chat, call queueing, contact centre functionality, detailed call reporting, conference calling and auto-attendant capabilities; all included as standard. The schools’ staff all received comprehensive and easy-to-understand training on how to use the new system, its live switchboard features, and its call reporting functionality.
All of the system’s new functionality has improved the overall smoothness, reliability and effectiveness of the schools’ communication processes. However, it is the as-standard Switchvox Cloud mobile app that is really driving positive transformation. When mission-critical, non-teaching, management, technical or administrative support staff were once unavailable due to being away from their desk, elsewhere on the school site, or off-site completely, they now have the entire system and its feature-rich functionality replicated on their mobile device. Also, for those with appropriate roles, that same mobility and flexibility enables them to work from home. The company’s senior leaders have been empowered by a complete, at-a-glance overview of communication activity which, in turn, helps them in any workflow or call flow redesign; giving them the capability of improving the communication experience yet further going forward. Brilliantly, from a service and support perspective, every component of the system is designed, built and provided by Sangoma so, in the event of an issue, it is all guaranteed and there is just one party with which to liaise. Finally, and very importantly, the new system will save the company at least 20% on its telephony bills, with no more line rentals and significantly cheaper call charges. The company’s MAC ICT Communication and Compliance Manager Chris Connoll says: “We are really happy with the new system and cannot fault the service and support. We now have the simplicity of just one system to manage; the flexibility of the mobile app; and the ability to redirect calls effectively and efficiently. It has been a huge success.”