A seasonal business, www.christmastreeforme.com sells the majority of its products in November through December each year, so adjusting its systems to handle big spikes in demand was essential. The retailer signed on with the OnSIP hosted IP PBX service from Junction Networks in March of 2008 and has not only reduced its phone bills by 60% but also provided needed flexibility to serve an increased flood of customers for its seasonal business.
The retailer’s previous phone provider required Christmas Tree for Me to commit to monthly charges even when the phones were barely used. “If we needed five users during the busy season we had to sign a contract for three years for those five users, even if we only needed the maximum five users for only 10 weeks,” explains Bill Quinn, the company’s president.
Junction does not charge per user, per phone or per extension. A typical package for a small company with approximately five users may include three auto attendants, three ring groups and five voice mail boxes. Junction also does not require companies to sign a contract or make a long-term commitment. Companies pay on a month-to-month basis and can discontinue the service at any time.
By switching from a traditional landline-based phone system to a pay-per-minute Web-based VOIP system, the Christmas Tree for Me company is spending 60% less on its annual phone bills. “I won’t be looking around for another phone service,” “and that is the first time I’ve ever made that statement.” Quinn, who founded Christmas Tree for Me in 2004, previously sold phone systems.
Savings by the Minute
Surprising to Quinn, Junction Networks’ pay-by-the-minute service has saved the retailer significantly, compared to previous services that charged a monthly rate plus overages. “It was very hard for me to adjust to an unknown cost per month, but when I did the math it was eye-opening,” notes Quinn. “Junction’s service was a great deal for us.”
In addition to paying by the minute, Junction’s service provides the ability for retailers to add or remove services as needed. For Christmas Tree for Me, call queuing is necessary only for the busy season. “We turn on call queuing on November 1 and turn it off in February,” says Quinn. “For us, that is probably the coolest service Junction provides.”
Ease of Implementation
With Junction’s Web-based system, retailers can easily add and remove users and their phones. “I simply go into the Web browser and create a user, and within about 15 minutes I can have a new phone set up anywhere in the world,” says Quinn. “With our previous provider, I had to create a ticket and wait for the provider to provision the new phone.”
The service offered by Junction Networks is consistent and reliable across geographic locations. Employees can receive voice mail via email and pick them up at their desktops or on smartphones. They also can forward their extension calls to their mobile phones. Three-way conference calling is included in the service. And Christmas Tree for Me also has enabled a click-to-call feature for communicating with customers from their hosted CRM application.
Quinn says it is most important to understand the billing and potential overage charges. “If a provider says they will charge you $50 per month per line for unlimited usage, you really need to read the contract and look for overage charges,” Quinn explains. “We had signed a contract that required a monthly payment, even if we were barely using the service, then we were charged an overage charge during our busy season. I was livid. Make sure you are not surprised by the charges.”