Companies can achieve significant improvements in their customer service by implementing voice over IP products, the National Ethernet Forum heard on Thursday.
Alex Black, strategy director of Omnetica, told the audience in London that firms who embraced converged communications could look forward to easier management of their IT infrastructure and increased efficiency from their workforce, as well as happier customers.
Black gave the example of a customer who might be shuttled between several people on a helpdesk, in an attempt to find one who can answer the query. "With a basic telephone system, the customer will spend five minutes explaining their problem to someone, only to be told that they're talking to the wrong person and then put through to someone else, when they have to start the explanation all over again." Black pointed out that such a rigmarole can cause the "red mist to descend" upon the unlucky caller, who is unlikely to feel a warm glow of satisfaction towards the company in question.
With VoIP installed on the company network, though, the experience can be much better as calls can easily be recorded and circulated to other members of staff.
"Halfway through the call, if the employee realises they're not the right person to address the issue they don't have to interrupt. Instead, they can just pass on the recording of the call to the appropriate person, adding their own comments, and ask them to deal with it," Black said.
Thus organised the Forum to promote its National Ethernet products. These, Thus says, are much better than standard wide area network (WAN) services because they allow firms to connect separate premises together at the same speed as their local area networks (LANs).
"Ethernet already powers most company LANs, but for the majority of these companies when this traffic enters the leased line WAN to travel to another office it can slow to less than 10 percent of the LAN speed," Thus said, when it launched its National Ethernet range late last year.
"National Ethernet removes this bandwidth bottleneck and opens the door to improved performance, greater usability and new ways of working whilst at the same time simplifying the overall network architecture that a company has to manage," Thus added.
Several companies have already signed up for Thus's National Ethernet range, including the Scottish Executive, Imperial College and fund management firm Baillie Gifford.
Nigel Stevens, product director for Thus, told the forum audience that National Ethernet is a key part of the company's push to become the UK's leading alternative telecommunications service provider.
"We want to be the telco that people call when they don't want to call BT," said Stevens.