Can you Change the Customer Experience with Technology?

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit the YMCA of Greater Louisville to gain insight into how they used technology to solve a common business problem. After speaking with customers and employees in the branches, I noticed just how much the organization cares about serving its members and visitors. And I was even more impressed with how they handle customer interactions. You can check out the results of our visit in the video case study.

One of the first things I noticed was how quiet the lobby was. Not one phone ringing. Instead, members were having direct face-to-face conversations with Y team members at each desk, and receiving their undivided attention.

Since the YMCA of Greater Louisville has centralized all incoming calls to customer service via UNIVERGE® 3C and Contact Center solutions from NEC, the front-line staff at Branch locations can focus on providing a great customer experience. This gave on-site employees the necessary time and the freedom to address every concern in person, while the customer was in the branch. Part of the YMCA’s mission is to ensure customer satisfaction via uninterrupted, one-on-one interaction, either in person or by phone.

So often, as we get caught up in the technology and not the people that it serves, we lose the intended purpose of the technology. But this was not the case for the YMCA of Greater Louisville. This organization found the right balance to meet their customer needs.

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YMCA’s VP of IT (Ryan Kingery) and CEO (Steve Tarver) had encountered a problem that is not unique to any retail outlet or public organization serving its community: WAIT TIMES! At the core of the YMCA mission is the ability to serve its community and members, but the challenge they faced was the increasing wait times in their branches, which necessarily led to less in-person customer interaction due to long lines and busy phones.
Think of this scenario: if you have kiddos, you know that swim camp, t-ball registration or even your own “ME” time at the indoor pool cannot be done without registration. And the quicker you can get your registration(s) complete, the quicker you move on to being a satisfied customer, which is what we all want. The solution the YMCA put in place did just that–and it improved the quality of the real-time, one-on-one interactions between employees and clients.

Happy Customer = Better Customer Experience = Revenue Growth

Whether it’s about internal accounting clients at your company utilizing core IT- supported services, or a customer whose satisfaction is crucial to the continuing revenue growth of your company, a pleasing customer experience is the ultimate goal.

So, after this experience with the YMCA, I am wondering how many IT professionals are running across similar business problems that negatively impact a customer experience within your own organizations. What are you doing to change that experience?

You can watch the video below to see how the YMCA was able to achieve its mission.

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UCaaS/Hybrid RFP & Review IP Telephony and Unified Communications System

There are significant differences in offerings from the major vendors in terms of architecture, functionality and total cost of ownership. IT organizations are encouraged to work with their business units to understand their unique requirements and to articulate these in an RFP or other formal procurement vehicle.



UCaaS / Hybrid RFP: What Can Cloud Providers Deliver?

Are you looking to move your communications infrastructure to the cloud?

Download today the IP Telephony and Unified Communications System (Cloud and Hybrid Solutions), a free whitepaper / eBook from independent consultant David Stein of Stein Technology Consulting Group that offers the unique chance to examine cloud and hybrid cloud solutions based on actual vendor RFP proposals.

In this free eBook  you will get:

  • An unbiased evaluation of 7 proposed cloud and hybrid cloud solutions
  • Insight into the merits of 5 leading communications vendors
  • A explanation of vendor differentiators

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Download and share this information rich eBook with your decision makers so they can also understand NEC’s leadership position in cloud and hybrid cloud migration, the value of a cloud-based UNIVERGE® Blue solution that is backed by NEC’s more than 117 years of expertise as a leading technologies and services provider.

Free Ebook: UCaaS RFP 2016

Free Ebook:

UCaaS/Hybrid RFP & Review IP Telephony and Unified Communications System

There are significant differences in offerings from the major vendors in terms of architecture, functionality and total cost of ownership. IT organizations are encouraged to work with their business units to understand their unique requirements and to articulate these in an RFP or other formal procurement vehicle.



At Advantage 2016— We Discovered the Power of the Smart Enterprise

More than 400 attendees from the NEC community – top channel partners, consultants, analysts, sponsors, and staff from North America and South America, all met this last month in Ponte Vedra, Florida,near Jacksonville, to “Discover the Power of the Smart Enterprise.” This was the overarching theme of NEC’s 2016 Advantage Executive Conference (Advantage).

Advantage is a highly anticipated annual 3-day conference event where NEC’s key players, dealers, sponsors, vendors, guests and top industry consultants get together to learn and share their interest in business enterprise technology.  Hands-on demonstrations of the latest product and service developments are available, along with opportunities to participate in informational and inspiring sessions led by the “best of the best” in the industry.

NEC’s Smart Enterprise

This year, the spotlight was on Smart Enterprise communications and IT Infrastructures, with a range of sessions focusing on current workforce environment trends, the latest in NEC unified communications solutions, the stability of NEC’s high availability servers, Contact Center challenges being met, and presentations on the importance of real relationships with our customers and why Smart Enterprise solutions make sense for them.

NEC’s Smart Enterprise is best described as a platform of solutions focused on improving safety, security and operational efficiency for our customers.  In the UC and IT space, it’s a broad set of technologies, products and solutions that are truly empowering for our enterprise customers. Smart Enterprise provides an IT communications infrastructure and application layer that allows a more predictive business that customers can also operate at a lower cost, and so empowers them to be more competitive.

Smart Enterprise solutions help our customers solve their real-world business issues, and will streamline and even innovate business processes. Basically, Smart Enterprise delivers a stable and reliable ICT solution, freeing our customers to focus on their productivity and on meeting and exceeding their business goals.

And the Winner Is…

Advantage is a multi-purpose event for learning, experiencing, sharing, socializing, and recognizing extraordinary partners, so always climaxes with NEC’s Sales and Marketing Leadership Awards, presented to the Top Ten Channel Partners.  This recognition is not only for outstanding business performance, but also their relationship and involvement level within their local communities. The Awards are an important part of NEC’s “Orchestrating a Brighter World” mission, honoring successful partners who have achieved a high level of customer satisfaction and are making a notable difference in the lives of those around them.

Once more, we’d like to applaud this year’s NEC SML Award honorees:

  • Advanced Communication Solutions (ACS)
  • Arrow SI
  • Business Communications Systems, Inc.
  • Epitome Networks
  • Forerunner Technologies
  • Hawaiian Telcom
  • nDataStor
  • NetServe365
  • Okanagan Telephone Company
  • Positive Business Solutions, Inc. (PBSI)
  • Scharfstein, South America

 

In Conclusion

NEC’s 2016 Advantage Executive Conference was an uplifting time of learning, fun, and inspiration, an opportunity to concentrate on the latest technology for business communication, workforce productivity, and reliable business continuity, with a successful blending of education on customer needs and NEC solutions, great social interaction, and receiving the positive messaging of NEC’s Smart Enterprise.

Essentially, the message is that Smart Enterprise brings together and orchestrates the best, specifically tailored solutions, to meet our customer’s individual business needs, and, ultimately, to help brighten their world. And that’s the real NEC mission.

If you want to hear more on the conference, many of the consultants and analysts who were in attendance – including Dave Michels, Jon Arnold, Steve Leaden, and more – gathered for a UC Strategies podcast

Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Requires a Highly Available Lifeline

Why should we care about an airport phone system? In the world of Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF), the crash phone system is the most primary lifeline for mobilizing its First Responders to an emergency situation.

A crash phone system is used only in case of emergency alerts, for the deployment of response teams to a potential safety threat, or to an actionable emergency firefighting scene. The crash phone system is the critical first step in real-life situations where the key concern is survivability.

The Need for Speed

The Atlantic City International Airport crash phone was located in the control tower and accessed only by air traffic control personnel, operating on an old copper wire system. Rainy days sometimes affected the copper connections, and the sound could be scratchy and unclear.

To fully understand the importance of the crash phone system to an airport, you should first know that the FAA has a very tough “3-minute rule” for response time when they inspect every commercial airport in the USA. This means that one second after the crash call, the airport’s crash vehicles (carrying at least 3,000 gallons of water each) have less than 3 minutes to arrive at the target—that’s midway on their longest runway—suited up, ready for business , with water turrets visibly deployed!

The consequences of failure can get serious for airport operations. An airport can be fined by the FAA (recently as high as 3.5 million dollars) for non-compliance to federal safety regulations, and it can even lose its commercial certification and all future commercial revenue.
Since the FAA Technology Center is actually housed at the Atlantic City International Airport, this particular airport’s training and levels of compliance are especially scrutinized.

ARFF training maneuvers are a necessary and continuous part of airport life– not just for FAA inspections, but for the team’s daily emergency readiness. With this much at stake, a crash phone call—even during a training run, can never be unclear or unavailable.

“What is the nature of the emergency?” “Where is the aircraft?” “Number of souls on board?”

With so much depending on that phone call, it has to be reliable and crystal clear, every time.

#FAA has a very tough “3-minute rule” for response time when they inspect every commercial airport Click To Tweet

 

NEC’s Solution

Addressing these concerns, the Atlantic City International Airport had determined that its outdated, crash phone system was becoming increasingly unreliable, and they required more network flexibility, preferably with redundancy and back up deployment measures.

NEC’s Smart Enterprise solution, the Airport Emergency System, transformed this customer’s critical communications crash phone system with the simple installation of a high availability UNIVERGE  solution, moving it from weather-affected, trouble-prone and often “dirty” sounding copper wiring, onto their fiber optics network. Now the alert can be originated from multiple locations, putting the tower into immediate conversations with fire stations, airport operations, and other response personnel, and instantly bridges 2 to 32 stations together into a conference call. Their new system meets FAA requirements, is dependable (24/7), easy to use, and also cost efficient and easy to maintain, which had not been so with the old system.

 

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The Back-Up Plan

The South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) operates in a situation common for many airports. Strategically located within reach of surrounding municipalities, Atlantic City’s airport firefighters are responsible for both aircraft rescue/firefighting and responding to fire emergency alarms in the nearby communities.  ARFF teams are trained to handle aircraft, property and structural firefighting, and even EMT calls—however, since the old crash phone system only allowed initiation from the control tower, it was accessed only by busy air traffic controllers. NEC’s solution provided Airport Operations with secondary initiator access to the crash phone system, as an emergency back-up to the tower. Multiple initiators in a back-up plan ensures fast, dependable mobilization–to municipal fire scenes as well, when seconds also matter.

Expanding the Network

Lastly, but certainly not least, the new system is scalable. Additional phone lines within the old system required a major effort and the “pulling of copper”. Today, NEC’s cost effective solution allows extensions to be easily added to the crash phone system, to expand communications within the network with minimal effort and expense.

For this Smart Enterprise airport customer, NEC’s answer was actually a low cost IP communication system that is a simple, out-of-the-box, “off the shelf” solution. The NEC Airport Emergency System on a high availability UNIVERGE platform was simple to install and easy to use and maintain, yet extremely reliable and flexible. This basic communications platform met FAA requirements, and continues to allow fully engaged coordination of airport emergency teams for response that is faster and better informed.

After all, NEC’s mission is all about bringing together the very best available Smart Enterprise solutions for our customers, to orchestrate a brighter world – and a safer one.

To learn more, check out this third party white paper about Airport Crash Phone Systems.

NEC’s Collaborative Solutions: Highlighting Interop 2016

Connect. Communicate. Collaborate. These three tenets of our organization were proudly on display as NEC showcased its Smart Enterprise solutions at Interop 2016, the 30th anniversary of the conference.

The Interop conference was founded to focus on network interoperability and openness. Initially, the show just emphasized IP networks, but throughout the years it has broadened its scope to technology collaboration in today’s cloud computing era.

All the NEC solutions on display were well integrated with this year’s Interop theme – that behind every successful innovation is effective communication and collaboration.

One of the highlights of our booth was NEC’s partnership with Dell to demonstrate our strengths in campus networking.

Campus networks include many diverse and challenging requirements, such as technology integration, provisioning, and security policy enforcement. By their nature, campus networks are frequently multi-tenant, meaning the networks must be virtualized so various users can ensure their distinct policy enforcement. Layered switch fabrics, ever-changing connectivity requirements, wired and wireless connectivity, and complex regulatory environments make campus networks difficult to manage.

NEC’s ProgrammableFlow Controller overcomes these obstacles. This solution enables network owners to control and manage their network centrally, bringing the same benefits of server virtualization.

NEC’s ProgrammableFlow Controller with @Dell S3100 switches will optimize campus network ops #SDN Click To Tweet

Together with Dell, we demonstrated how to deliver the performance, security, and agility campus networks demand in a cost-effective, easy-to-manage way. Deploying NEC’s ProgrammableFlow Controller with Dell S3100 switches will optimize campus network operations and reduce management overhead, boost scalability, and deliver secure and reliable connectivity.

Also showcased in the booth was NEC’s global open networking partner program, SDN Partner Space. With NEC and Netcracker SDN/NFV expertise behind it, SDN Partner Space enables network and IT vendors to enter the SDN/NFV market and redefine the rules imposed by traditional flat networks, while also benefitting from new business opportunities.

Joining SDN Partner Space can help transform the traditional business by including new applications and services that are only available in virtualized network environment. Moreover, SDN Partner Space enables in-house virtual network functions to be compatible with other SDN/NFV solutions so they can be cross-sold to businesses in any market.

Visitors to our booth were also able to see our high-availability data center on display. Large data computing tasks and the evolving requirements of the Internet of Things requires intelligent fault tolerant solutions to power a Smart Enterprise. Whether on premises or off premises, NEC’s infrastructure solutions provide the necessary foundation to meet these demands.

Interop 2016 was a great opportunity to share ideas, connect with the world’s IT community, and illustrate NEC’s commitment to orchestrating a brighter world.