Summit County Public Health Finds Cost-Effective Flexibility with Switchvox
Summit County Public Health (SCPH) is a community health organization with two locations in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. SCPH provides environmental and community health education programs, clinical and medical advisory support services, as well as direct and coordinated school health services to well over half a million residents in Summit County, Ohio.
After consolidating with the city of Akron’s Health Department and the health services division of the City of Barberton, the number of employees at SCPH more than doubled to almost 300, while their four locations quickly multiplied into eleven facilities.
According to Cory Kendrick, IT and telecommunications manager for SCPH, each of the three individual entities had been operating their own separate legacy phone system. SCPH’s end-of-life Nortel system was grossly insufficient for their internal needs, while Akron and Barberton were both running analog PBXs.
“Not only were internal communications awkward and inefficient, but it became difficult to communicate effectively between multiple administrative facilities, satellite offices, and the countywide clinics,” Kendrick says.
Managing the larger workforce, expanded number of facilities, and keeping up with the organization’s growing services and programs meant the IT department was under growing pressure to find a solution.
“Even if the consolidation hadn’t happened, we already knew we were facing a problem with the phone system,” Kendrick admits. “When the consolidation happened, it brought the phone system issues to the forefront.”
Kendrick knew just where to go to formulate a plan. While employed with a smaller county agency a couple of years prior, Kendrick had worked with Tim May, the sales manager at N2Net in Cleveland, to install a Switchvox solution. This experience demonstrated to Kendrick that Switchvox could increase productivity and profitability at an attractive price by utilizing Voice over IP (VoIP) technology.
Without a firm budget, pricing a new telephony solution had its challenges. “One of the reasons the telecom project had been put off before was due to preliminary quotes from various providers for almost $300,000,” Kendrick explains. “After meeting to determine the agency’s specific requirements, N2Net recommended Switchvox for functionality, an alternative that offered significantly less upfront cost, with the potential for recurring savings. The Board of Health supported the decision to pursue the Switchvox alternative.”
The entire Switchvox solution would cost about 30% of the costs of other systems, including installation and setup at all eleven locations. If the significance of the savings sounded too good to be true, it got better when Kendrick also showed the Health Department an estimated 5% in additional savings resulting from the elimination of recurring costs and service contracts.
The Solution From Sangoma
May and his N2Net team usually install the Switchvox appliances they sell, but Kendrick and his network support specialist, Eddie Mink, were confident they could do the work themselves.
“We purchased two Switchvox appliances. We placed one at the Graham Road location in Stow, and the other at the Morley Health Center location in Akron. All the various programs and their locations came onboard in implementing the new system.”
One of the many benefits of Switchvox is that it requires very little, if any, advanced training.
“The Switchvox system is so user-friendly, I was able to customize an environment that was very similar to our old system so that if the user automatically dialed “nine” to get an outside line (out of habit), the call still went through rather than returning a busy tone or forcing them to hang up and try again,” says Kendrick.
“That was a much friendlier way of breaking old habits and helping employees quickly learn the advanced features of the Switchvox phone system.”
The advantages of the new phone system became clear as SCPH began integrating Switchvox into their business.
“You know, the system is just so easy to install and set up; everything went smoothly. We had Switchvox set up in the two main offices within the month and all the phones switched over in the main office in a couple of weeks,” Kendrick says.
Kendrick also reports favorable feedback from staff. In keeping with SCPH’s commitment to having every call answered by a live person, the receptionist is thrilled with how the auto attendant disperses incoming calls into call groups and queues assigned to certain departments. She no longer has to memorize a long list of extensions.
Other team members are also enjoying the capability for mobility that came with the system. “There is so much you can do with Switchvox and the UC platform in mobility that it is somewhat overwhelming. The IT department and I experiment with the functionality. Some are using the Switchvox app for the iPhone so they can get voicemail and email through their smartphone. A few of us are experimenting with tablets,” says Kendrick.
Kendrick sums up all the new benefits when he explains, “Customer service has improved greatly and we have a much higher rate of connected callers than we did before. We have reports we can run that help us with quality control, figuring out problems and showing us areas for improvement based on call behavior. We had no way of knowing when calls were dropped before, or how many times someone called, or how long they were left on hold. We can track all of that now, thanks to Switchvox.”