Financial Services Company Switches to 8x8 to Make Customer Service a Priority
In 2007 when Neil Jesani founded BeamaLife, an online life insurance and financial planning firm, he did not intend to become an expert in voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems.
But as a hands-on CEO with 30 employees in his Piscataway, New Jersey, office, he has
learned the ins and outs of various VoIP solutions while running BeamaLife’s online business.That knowledge came in handy in December 2011 when BeamaLife was preparing to move to a new office. Although the move had been planned for months, at the last minute Jesani’s Internet provider informed him that his new office would not have high-speed Internet access for four to six weeks. To keep BeamaLife going, Jesani quickly arranged for low-bandwidth Internet to be installed. The stop-gap measure had just one major flaw: BeamaLife’s existing VoIP softphones would not function at low bandwidth.
To solve his phone problem, Jesani decided to swap out his existing VoIP system for a different one. The vendor he selected touted itself as the "#1 cloud business phone system." Initially, it looked as though he had made the right decision.
"With the new system, our softphones became functional again," said Jesani. "The pricing was competitive, and the company provided 24 x 7 support."
But once his employees settled into their new office and high-speed Internet was finally installed, problems emerged that made Jesani question his selection.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
The first issue Jesani and his team noticed was that the ring groups did not work correctly. "Callers waited in long queues and then got sent to voicemail or dropped instead of being transferred to the right person," he said. "Our business depends on answering every call. We avoid voicemail as much as possible, and disconnecting callers is not acceptable."
Second, extension dialing did not work properly. "Employees could make and receive external calls," said Jesani, "but some of them could not transfer calls from one internal extension to another. Calls were getting dropped all the time."
Third, it turned out the new phone system was not truly cloud based. "To get the softphones to work, we had to download our provider’s app to specific machines. From then on, the software was tied to those machines, making them function as if they were hard phones. My employees had none of the flexibility and mobility that cloud solutions are supposed to provide."
And finally, BeamaLife’s new phone system crashed a number of times. "Obviously no phone system is perfect," said Jesani, "but we had three or four outages just in the first few months of service. That made me question our provider’s long-term reliability."
Switching to 8x8 Yields Dividends
By spring 2012, the pain level and risk factors were too high for Jesani. He started looking for a replacement system and contacted 8x8. While 8x8’s baseline pricing was slightly lower than his current system’s pricing, it was 8x8’s advanced business features, included with the “Pro” version of 8x8’s solution, that finally sold him.
Collaboration with Colleagues
“The chatting and status update features are great,” said Jesani. “Now we can easily see when someone’s available and when they’re busy, which helps my people work together much more productively.”
Online Meetings and Social Integration
Jesani is also a fan of 8x8’s Virtual Meeting solution and social media integration. “Virtual Meeting makes it so easy to set up and manage online meetings,” he said. “And with social media integration, I can tap right into our Twitter and Facebook accounts.”
Auto Attendant Flexibility
The flexibility of 8x8’s hosted VoIP solution has enabled Jesani to customize some standard features for his business as well. “We use two auto attendants: one for our 800 numbers and one for our main office line. There are fewer prompts and options for our 800 numbers so we can keep those calls short. Our main line auto attendant has a complete menu of options for callers to route themselves.”
Toll-Free Numbers Track Advertising Leads
Because 8x8’s pricing is so cost-effective, Jesani uses 50–60 toll-free numbers in the U.S. to track how effective his advertising and website links are. “We advertise all over,” he explained, “so if we’re running ads on both CNN and CNBC, we use a different toll-free number for each network. I even use different toll-free numbers on different parts of the BeamaLife website. That way, we can track where our advertising leads come from, and make informed decisions about where to invest our advertising dollars.”
8x8: the Right Decision, the Right Solution
Looking back on his experience with 8x8, Jesani is confident that this time he made the right decision.
“We set up our 8x8 system in about a week, and ran it side-by-side with our existing phone system,” he said. “We waited for a consensus to develop on which one to use, and 8x8 was clearly the winner. All our phones and ring groups now work properly, and we haven’t had any issues since making the switch.”
But perhaps more importantly, Jesani has confidence in 8x8’s hosted VoIP solution itself. “Unlike our previous provider’s system, 8x8’s solution is truly cloud based,” he explained. “We don’t have to download any software or worry about being too far from our phones. With 8x8, we can use our phones anywhere.” 8x8’s reliability makes Jesani feel confident about the future as well.
Asked whether he’s glad BeamaLife switched to 8x8 hosted VoIP, he responded: “Absolutely! We made the right decision in choosing 8x8. It’s an investment that not only keeps our customers connected to us, but enhances our ability to serve them.