Avvo Eliminates Costly Downtime by Switching from Mitel and Integra to 8x8
Leading online legal marketplace Avvo depends on outbound sales calls to grow its award-winning business. After a previous service provider left Avvo without phone service for two days, the company migrated to 8x8 cloud communications to avoid this kind of costly downtime in the future. Not only does Avvo now have highly reliable phones, its sales reps have access to features like 8x8 Click2Pop, which enables them to dial quickly and accurately right from their web browsers.
Seattle-based Avvo (short for “avvocato,” which means lawyer in Italian) was founded in 2007 as an online platform to help consumers navigate the cost and complexities of the legal system. Avvo offers on-demand, affordable legal advice through Avvo Advisor, which provides access to an Avvo-rated, experienced lawyer.
Consumers can also use Avvo’s Q&A forum to get their legal questions answered for free by more than 185,000 participating lawyers, or search more than 6.2 million previously asked questions and answers.
Avvo’s lawyer directory provides Avvo-rated profiles, client reviews, and peer endorsements for 97% of all lawyers in the U.S. to help consumers find an attorney with the right skills to represent them.
Lawyers can use marketing tools and services such as Avvo JD App and Avvo Ignite, a cloud-based marketing platform designed specifically for attorneys, to grow their businesses.
In February 2015, the American Bar Association (ABA) honored Avvo Advisor with Meritorious Recognition in its annual competition for the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access. This award honors programs and projects dedicated to matching the unmet legal needs of the middle class and those of moderate incomes with lawyers who provide affordable legal information, services and representation.
Dropped Calls and Downtime Cause Lost Revenue
Avvo has hundreds of employees dedicated to outbound sales, so the company’s phone system is essential to revenue. However, Avvo’s old Mitel PBX and Integra Telecom service could not provide reliable phone service. Calls were frequently dropped, and the entire phone system sometimes went down for days.
“We constantly had to reboot our PBX and contact our service provider,” recalls Avvo Lead Help Desk Specialist Vivian Ta. “The support we got was terrible. At one point, we were without phones for two days, and our business lost a lot of money.”
In 2013, Josh King, vice president, business development, and general counsel at Avvo decided it was time to replace the company’s outdated and unreliable phone system. Through word of mouth, King learned about 8x8’s industry-leading cloud solutions. He contacted 8x8 to arrange a trial and received a number of test phones to evaluate. The trial was successful, and by March 2013, Avvo began its 8x8 deployment.
Ta, then the company’s only IT tech, attended weekly meetings with 8x8 to plan and prepare for the actual rollout. Her efforts paid off: when the time finally came, there were no hiccups. The initial deployment included 100 phones which were activated in just a single day!
“8x8 worked closely with us to ensure everything went smoothly,” says Ta. “Although I had a couple of assistants help me swap out the phones, I was able to do all the prep work for the deployment myself.”
Web Dialing Speeds Outbound Sales Campaigns
Since moving its communications to the 8x8 cloud, Avvo has benefited from many advanced phone features, including conference bridges, email notification of voicemail, and the 8x8 mobile app for iOS and Android. But the feature that has had the most positive impact on employee productivity is 8x8 Click2Pop.
Included free with 8x8 phone service, Click2Pop is a browser-based plug-in that enhances the handling of inbound and outbound calls. When a call comes in, the plug-in automatically searches the web for the phone number or Caller ID. If a matching page is found, the page is popped up on the user’s screen to provide additional information on the caller.
Click2Pop also enables Avvo sales reps to call directly from any web page instead of manually dialing. Phone numbers are automatically highlighted in blue in the user’s browser. With one click, the call is connected, saving valuable time and eliminating accidental misdials.
“Click2Pop saves us a lot of time during outbound sales campaigns,” says Ta. “And our sales reps love the convenience of dialing phone numbers just by clicking on them when they’re prospecting.”
Analytics Provide Real-Time Performance Data
Another 8x8 tool that facilitates Avvo’s sales campaigns is Virtual Office Analytics. Unlike standard reporting tools that need time to aggregate data, Virtual Office Analytics provides outbound call data in real time. Supervisors can immediately see what sales reps are doing and whether they are meeting their call quotas.
Call Monitoring Tools Enable Employee Coaching and QA
Avvo uses 8x8 Barge-Monitor-Whisper, an add-on service that enables supervisors to monitor employees’ phone conversations with customers and prospects. While silently monitoring calls, supervisors can privately speak or “whisper” to the employee without the customer hearing.
“The Whisper feature allows the supervisor to coach the rep on what to say to a customer during a call,” says Ta. “It’s very helpful for getting new reps up to speed, and it’s an ongoing tool we use for quality assurance.”
Elite Touch Customer Success Manager Provides a Single Point of Contact
In the two years since Avvo deployed its first 100 8x8 extensions, the company has added more than 200 employees and phone lines, moved into two separate buildings, and is now planning to bring its entire staff back to one location in downtown Seattle. Through all these expansions and changes, Ta has worked with an 8x8 customer success manager who serves as a single point of contact for Avvo.
“Having one point of contact is great because I don’t have to explain who we are and what our situation is every time I call,” says Ta. “Our customer success manager knows our account very well, so all I have to do is explain what we need and it gets done.”
Ta believes this familiarity and efficiency will be extremely beneficial over the next year as Avvo continues to grow its sales team.
“We expect to have 500 employees by the end of 2016, and most of them will be sales reps,” she explains. “With 8x8 cloud communications and our customer success manager, bringing these new hires on board at our new downtown location will not be an issue.”
Executive Customer Forum Allows a Unique Opportunity for Feedback
8x8 invited Ta and a number of other customers to participate in a Executive Customer Forum at 8x8’s San Jose, California, headquarters. According to Ta, this was an “amazing event” where she and other attendees got to preview new features and give candid feedback to 8x8 executives about other changes they would like to see.
“We could be totally honest with the 8x8 executives, and they didn’t get defensive or offended,” says Ta. “They asked us to tell them what they needed to know about the platform, and then they listened to our suggestions. Not many companies do that.”
Ta has already been invited to the next 8x8 Executive Customer Forum. Does she plan to attend?
“Oh, yes!” says Ta, laughing. “I wouldn’t miss it. It’s a unique opportunity to give feedback with no filter. And it’s very rewarding to see 8x8 take our recommendations and build them into the latest versions of the product. This is no PR stunt: 8x8 is all action when it comes to delivering the best possible cloud solutions for customers.” 8x8 worked closely with us to ensure everything went smoothly.