Partner Success Story: How UNIVERGE BLUE has been a welcomed change to DTC’s and their customers business

From the time DTC (Digital Telecommunications Corporation) was established in 1982, their commitment to providing solutions that help optimize business practices, drive workforce engagement, and create competitive advantages for customers has positioned DTC as market leader in the communications space.

Mike Maccani, General Manager of Digital Telecommunications recently sat down with us to explain his partnership with NEC and experience selling UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES.

The Challenge

As cloud and hosted solutions grew in popularity, DTC found it challenging to respond to customer’s needs with only an on-premises solution offering. DTC began exploring the market and after researching many options, they knew they needed a service provider who would let them own the customer relationship.

Before UNIVERGE BLUE, DTC tried other cloud providers, such as 8×8 and RingCentral, but these providers fell short when it came down to allowing DTC to maintain their own customer relationships and service their customers. Mike explains, “Right now, the big cloud companies are trying to gain as much cloud market share as possible, with aggressive sales teams and very competitive partner SPIFFs, they locked us in then wound up taking our customers who we worked really hard to build relationships with over the years.”

The Solution

The UNIVERGE BLUE partnership was a great fit for DTC because it allowed them to provide the great service levels that customers had come to associate DTC with, and a robust cloud-communications solution that customers loved. Mike shares, “Our customers trust us and the relationship we have built with them over the years. UNIVERGE BLUE is excellent because it’s reliable and dependable solutions meet our customers’ needs, and the partner program allows us to maintain our customer relationships, reinforcing DTC’s reputation of providing exceptional customer support.”

Cost-Effect and Simple Unified Communications

“We recommend UNIVERGE BLUE’s Cloud PBX [CONNECT] to all our customers. The whole experience of working with NEC is just easy. From the simplicity of quoting and ordering to deployment and system management through the administrative portal – everything is streamlined and simple. Plus, UNIVERGE BLUE has all the features our customers want at a very affordable price billed as an operational expense (OPEX).

Enterprise Level Contact Center Functionality

With UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE, DTC can provide SMB customers a call center solution with enterprise-level features that are not available with an on-premises solution. Mike explains why a recent customer chose UNIVERGE BLUE, “The customer chose UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE because of the enterprise-level features and flexibility to deploy ENGAGE in any location for agents, whether at home or an office environment.

Owning the Customer Relationship

Mike talks to the benefits of selling Cloud under the UNIVERGE BLUE Customer Ownership Model, “We’ve had great success operating under the customer ownership model. We love that we have full ownership of billing, bundling, adding services and support but don’t have to deal with any of the complex telecom taxation aspects since NEC handles all of that for us.” DTC provides the first level of technical support while NEC is always there is provide support if there is ever a need.

Sales and Marketing Enablement

“The UNIVERGE BLUE team itself is extremely valuable to us, they’re incredibly knowledgeable and understand our business. For most of our existence, we have been a tradition interconnect company who sells on-premises equipment. NEC understands this and helps us position UNIVERGE BLUE to our traditional and non-traditional customers,” Mike Shares.

Additionally, the UNIVERGE BLUE ROI Calculator has proven to be a great sales tool for DTC, in addition to the variety of marketing collateral and co-brandable campaigns NEC offers Channel Partners. Mike considers the ROI tool a critical element in discussing cloud with on-premises customers.

The Results

Having UNIVERGE BLUE as a reliable Cloud Voice partner has resulted in a steady stream of new Cloud PBX customers. Maccani explains, “We have never had service issues with UNIVERGE BLUE. Because of the simplicity of the system and overall ease of use, we spend less of our own resources. UNIVERGE BLUE also significantly reduces the upfront chunk of costs that customers need to spend on expensive on-prem PBX systems. It’s been a welcomed change to our business model, and a cost-savings that we’ve been able to pass onto our clients,” concluded Mike.

Mike explains the importance of technology providers introducing cloud to their customer base, “Whether it is with you, a technology partner, or a competitor, every customer will want to discuss cloud for their business. UNIVERGE BLUE allows us to start a dialogue with customers about their needs – staying on-premises, migrating immediately, or taking a phased approach to their migration – Regardless, DTC is a part of that conversation and will be ready to help them with their migration when the time comes.”

For more information on how you can become a UNIVERGE BLUE Channel Partner and begin realizing the unlimited benefits and high margins that come with being a cloud provider, visit https://www.univergeblue.com/partners today. For any questions about the program or to meet with a UNIVERGE BLUE Partner Program Representative, submit your information to us and we will get back to you shortly.

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Three Principals for Effective Hybrid Communications and Collaboration

Succeed with the New Hybrid Work Model

It’s been called everything from the “biggest shift to how we work in our generation” to “the new norm in 2021,” and many are sure it is here to stay. One thing is certain ― preparing for the new era is a business imperative.

One aspect of hybrid work is certain—the need for communication and collaboration tools that support continued productivity and business operations. Over 70% of executives expect to raise spending in this area, according to the PWC study. But along with the technology, you’ll need a vision for how your business’s hybrid work model supports communications and collaboration.

What is a Hybrid Work Model?

Let’s first define and examine the component parts of a hybrid work model—one that supports any and all combinations of worker types while ensuring no lapse in communication and collaboration either internally or with customers.

Your company’s breakdown of worker types will be different from that of companies in other industries, and the mix of worker types will constantly shift. Employees with shorter tenures may be required to start as in-office workers, while experienced veterans may find Work-From-Home (WFH) makes them more productive. As employees change roles, their work location may shift, and there is no doubt that worker types will evolve along with it.

Worker types could include:

  • In-Office Workers
  • Employees who choose to work at a remote location (such as coffee shop or library)
  • Work-From-Home Employees
  • Workers who are part time in the office and part time at home
  • Workers in Transit (working on the go)

The Keys to Hybrid Success

Designing a communications and collaboration solution for your hybrid work model shouldn’t be difficult, and won’t be if you keep three principals at the forefront: Flexibility, Business at the Center of All Communications, and Crazy Simple Communications and on-line meeting tools.

Flexibility

A hybrid work model requires your solution to stretch and expand, ebb and flow as the model takes shape and changes. Hybrid work isn’t a static concept—by nature it implies that where people work will change over time, so your communications solution has to embody elasticity.

Employees should be able to quickly and seamlessly collaborate with each other regardless of their physical location. Elastic communications technology doesn’t care about “where.” Location of either employee or customer is a nonissue. And it needs to be a central feature of your hybrid work model. Elastic communications and contact center solutions also support the unpredictability of a hybrid work model—when employees decide to move to a rural location where your business doesn’t have an office, customers and employees can still reach that employee without awareness of the move. A cloud-based contact center and unified communications allows your business to engage and support customers, no matter where agents or employees may be.

Keep Business At The Center

When your hybrid work model communications technology puts your business at the center of all communications and collaboration, customers reach you the same way they always have. Your business phone number doesn’t change, nor do your employees’ business phone numbers. Employees should never have to share personal phone numbers, because their business phone travels wherever they go. And all communications should be unified in the cloud such that you or your IT leader can measure, secure, and manage them regardless of location.

Management capabilities should let you add phone lines for unexpected growth or remove them when no longer needed. You should enjoy one console to manage permissions, set up hunt groups, set up auto attendants, and more, regardless of employee and customer locations.

Crazy Simple Communications & On-Line Meeting Tools

Let’s illustrate a bit further what we mean by “crazy simple,” at least for your communications and collaboration technology. One suite of tools should deliver all that you need—a business phone system with desktop and mobile applications, the ability to conduct virtual meetings with video, webinar, contact center solutions, security, chat capability, even secure and easy file storage and productivity applications. A central, single management platform and a service record that makes deployment easy. Uptime so good, so reliable, that the system rarely goes down. One system that delivers on whatever communications and collaboration need your employees may have, wherever they are.

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES – Designed for Hybrid Working

Flexible, business-centric, simple communications and collaboration technology is what NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE offers. A cloud-based unified communications and collaboration platform, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT enables users to be more productive and share ideas and content though a single system, regardless of location. CONNECT seamlessly integrates all your communication tools—desktop and mobile phones and computers voice; video conferencing, on-line webinars, and chat; secure file sharing, and contact center— into one easily manageable solution oriented around your hybrid work model and its employee’s needs and workstyles.

Are you ready for the world of hybrid work? Don’t waste time and money on servers, app install, and security patches. With NEC’s cloud-based business productivity suite, your business is your focus, not your IT. UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES can help define your hybrid work model and ensure your employees have the tools they need to work better, from wherever they might be.

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NEC UNIVERGE BLUE® ENGAGE: Everything a Modern Contact Center Should Be

Organizations have invested in cloud services to help employees stay engaged and efficient, while working remotely. Should you consider doing the same for your contact center operations?

Instead of a high-pressure, windowless room filled with frantic agents, NEC invites you to consider a highly customizable, cloud-based contact center solution: NEC UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE.

UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES platform renders UCaaS, Business Productivity Apps and CCaaS within a single pane of glass. UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE is the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) component, that improves your Customer Experience by enabling your agents to be better-balanced and more productive working in an office, remote or anywhere.

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE makes the move to the cloud easy, as it can co-exist with your existing telephony service (PBX / Cloud telephony services) and support a complete replacement of older, disparate and wired cost centers. Consolidating equipment and applications reduces the need for time-consuming annual updates / upgrades and cuts the cost of maintenance. NEC’s CCaaS saves as much as 20% compared to other cloud communication services.1

Read on to discover how NEC UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE provides a seamless Customer Experience for healthcare, government, hospitality and education organizations.

Healthcare

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE improves the patient experience by making communication more convenient and effective. Our best-in-class contact center:

  • Facilitates better schedule adherence with patients through automated communication channels
  • Increases team collaboration and productivity, ensuring anywhere, anytime access
  • Maintains high compliance standards across all communication and payment options
  • Leverages electronic health records to improve personalization and self-service

These options make it easier for patients to book or change appointments. Patients can quickly get in touch with the right doctor, renew prescriptions and stay engaged in care programs through secure communications channels like email, available at all times.

75% of consumers look forward to a consistent experience across multiple engagement channels–social media, mobile, online, in-person, or through the phone. 73% will likely change brands if they don’t get it. (Salesforce) 2

Government

Government organizations face stringent obstacles when evaluating cloud solutions that can provide superior service levels to the public. With NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE, government agencies, from small single offices to larger state or nation-wide service providers, solve common challenges such as:

  • Call volume spikes, by allowing for seamless scalability at any given time
  • Secure Access and flexibility between office and remote work with a fully cloud-based solution
  • Control costs with easy month-to-month billing
  • Meeting constituents’ demand for service with limited staff resources using call routing
  • Lack of disaster recovery and business continuity plans, with DR built right in

Skills-based routing and geo-routing help get callers to the right expert at the right time. SMS alerts can be sent automatically to help prioritize inquiries when staff bandwidth is limited. Disaster recovery and business continuity is built into the product, eliminating the need for another IT purchase.

33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. (American Express)3

Hospitality

Guest experience is the lifeblood of the hotel and hospitality industry. Exceptional customer service and loyalty is dependent on the interactions delivered.
UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE Contact Center offers:

  • Surveys and emails to measure guest satisfaction
  • Reporting library that integrates with the hotel CRM for enriched data visualization
  • IVRs offering confirmations, inquiries, check-ins, etc.
  • Call thresholds with distributed overflow
  • Streamlined reservation process with two-way communication and automated processes

Dynamic notifications can send reservation reminders, room ready notifications, and information about activities, special promotions, shopping, and restaurants to enjoy—greatly improving the guest experience.

34% of respondents surveyed stated that the most frustrating aspect of customer service is the Automated Telephone System (IVR) or inability to reach a live person for customer support. (Microsoft)4

Education

In the education vertical, students, alumni, donors, parents and staff need to interact across varying channels, with varying levels of urgency. Our CCaaS resolves these diverse interactions and communication requirements with:

  • Scalability, up or down, depending on seasonal fluctuations of staff and call volume
  • Ability to use wherever and whenever across dispersed departments and locations
  • Self-service options that are dependent on identification for accurate routing
  • Omni-channel and digital channel capabilities to address multiple communication preferences
  • Admissions, financial aid, housing and other planned or unplanned student body notifications
  • Alumni Campaigns (agent driven as well as fully automated configuration options)

When hundreds of thousands of individuals need to be connected, UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE is a proven solution for learning institutions across North America.

Want to Know More About NEC UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE?

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE eliminates the large, upfront capital required to purchase, operate and maintain the enhanced Customer Experience outcome you require to be competitive.

UNIVERGE BLUE Engage

NEC has affordable and simplified pricing, as we offer two (2) unique packaged options, delivering on the promise to bring enterprise cloud communications and business applications at a price point that is approximately 23% less than the competition.1 Our Client Onboarding Services transitions you to the cloud at a pace, that you’re comfortable with, allowing your full participation in the actual setup and configuration. UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE is also one of a few enterprise cloud solutions that provides a “single pane of glass” for managing the complete communication and workspace experience.
Contact centers are at the front line of the customer experience. Investing in cloud services for a more modern contact center meets customers and agents where they are, with more features and functionality than ever before. Contact an NEC solutions representative to learn more about UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE.

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References

1 NEC’s CCaaS saves as much as 23% compared to other cloud communication services, when comparing licensing and usage fees. The comparison jumps to 28% or higher, when factoring in implementation and onboarding, third party integrations (i.e. CRM, IVR), custom developed reports, Move, Adds and Changes (MAC’s) and continuing education.

2 State of the Connected Customer 4th Edition, Salesforce

3 American Express Customer Service Barometer

4 State of Global Customer Service Report, Microsoft

Partner Success Story: How Forerunner Technologies was able to increase their operational efficiency and deliver a better experience to customers with UNIVERGE BLUE

Founded in 1989, Forerunner Technologies Inc. is a leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services to business of all sizes and industries. Forerunner CEO, Paul Diesu and VP of Sales and Marketing, Rick Taylor have extensive experience in the telecommunications industry and helped build Forerunner’s reputation of providing tier-one customer service through personalized services and flexible solutions.

I recently sat down with Paul and Rick to discuss their partnership with NEC and selling UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES, here’s what they had to say:

The Challenge

“We take customer service very seriously. We have built the business around our reliability and providing a white glove experience to customers,” Paul explains.

Paul and Rick knew they needed to provide customers with a reliable, cloud-based UC offering, but feared that reselling another company’s cloud portfolio wouldn’t allow them to offer the white-glove service customers had become accustomed to. Forerunner white labeled another vendor’s cloud portfolio as their own but learned it would be near impossible to compete with the larger cloud companies that already had so much of the market share.

After attempting to white label another cloud solution, they tried reselling a cloud portfolio, but couldn’t find a solution to meet their customer’s needs. “Our customers needed more versatility in how, when, and where employees could communicate – our past offering could not meet their expectations.”

Forerunner continued to search for a cloud provider that could deliver a full suite of reliable, fully integrated, easy-to-use, and well-supported communications solutions, with a partner model more favorable to their business.

The Solution

Cost Effective and Feature Rich Unified Communications for Forerunner’s Customers
“When we were researching cloud providers, we knew we needed advanced unified communications (UCaaS) features at a reasonable price for our customers. That’s what we get with UNIVERGE BLUE,” Paul shares.
“By bundling all of the UCaaS features into one integrated application, customers no longer have to maintain relationships with different vendors to get all the features they need in a communications and contact center solution.” Rick adds, “In the past if a customer wanted file sharing, meeting transcriptions, auto attendants, and basic contact center functionality, they would have to use different solutions and vendors. Now, they come to us and we can provide them with all the features they want within one fully integrated solution, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT.”

Customer Ownership Model with Local Support
Forerunner spent years building relationships with their customers, they did not want to lose touch with customers by reselling a cloud product in which the OEM would have control over customer service and local support. Luckily, with UNIVERGE BLUE, Forerunner was able to choose a partner model that fit their business.

“NEC allows partners to sell under their own brand and offer the local support that our customers have become accustomed to and enjoy. The Customer Ownership model is unique in comparison to other UCaaS offerings and allows businesses to better control the end user experience while keeping costs in line,” Paul Diesu shares.

Easy Administration and Quoting
The user-friendly interface of the UNIVERGE BLUE partner portal has helped Forerunner service customers quicker and easier. Paul says “We can go in and easily port over numbers, make adjustments, provision the account, and deploy changes very easily. This is something that has allowed our technical staff to be more efficient in deploying services to customers.”

Advanced End-User Portals
“The UNIVERGE BLUE Admin Portals are extremely intuitive and easy to use.” Rick continues, “Even the most non-technical clients are able to leverage the portal to make changes to their system. With an on-premises system, even the smallest changes can become labor intensive and costly for IT.”

The Results

Increased Operational Efficiency
“One of the greatest things we’ve seen come out of UNIVERGE BLUE from an operational perspective is shorter implementation timelines and the ease of delivering services to customers,” Rick shares. “UNIVERGE BLUE has enabled us to focus on the core business, instead of having to deal with tricky implementations associated with on-premises hardware and other less intuitive cloud providers’ products.”

A Better Customer Experience
“No matter what a customer or prospect needs in a UCaaS or CCaaS solution, UNIVERGE BLUE offers all the features customers need and want,” Rick explains. “With on-premises systems, it’s difficult and costly for customers to adjust licenses as demand grows. Now, with UNIVERGE BLUE, they can retract or add licenses on an as needed basis – this has benefited our customers greatly.”

Cost Savings
“UNIVERGE BLUE reduces support costs for us because the services are turnkey and don’t require a lot of troubleshooting.” Paul continues, “UNIVERGE BLUE makes us a lot more profitable in terms of our service margins by freeing up more time. Since we have lower administrative costs, we can focus on supporting our end users and on our corporate strategy going forward.”

The tradition of providing clients with reliable and flexible solutions continue as Forerunner transitions into a cloud service technology partner with UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES.

For more information on how you can become a UNIVERGE BLUE Channel Partner and begin realizing the unlimited benefits and high-margins that come with being a cloud provider, visit https://www.univergeblue.com/partners today. For any questions about the program or to meet with a UNIVERGE BLUE Partner Program Representative, submit your information to us and we will get back to you shortly.

Contact Us Today

Please let us know if you have any questions about the program or to meet with a UNIVERGE BLUE Partner Program Representative. Fill out the form, and we will get back with you.

Customer Success Story – How migrating to UNIVERGE BLUE helped Epic Web Studios enable remote working, improve scalability, and grow their business.

Epic Web Studios is a full-service marketing agency headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania. A customer of NEC since 2010, Epic started out using the SV8100 platform but migrated to NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES after seeing the increasing need for more unified communications to support its growing workforce.

I recently met with David Hunter, President and CEO of Epic Web Studios to discuss how UNIVERGE BLUE was able to help his company enable remote work, improve scalability and grow its business.

Marc: Tell me about Epic Web Studios. How did you get started?

Epic Web Studios is a full-service marketing agency that does it all for clients, no matter the size. From Website Design and Development, Social Media, Digital Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), our goal is to help clients compete in today’s ever-changing marketplace through a viable digital marketing strategy.

Headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, Epic Web Studios started in 2009 as a small, single-client web-site development firm. Today, we are a full-service digital marketing firm with over five hundred clients in North America and more than sixteen full-time employees.

Marc: Wow! That is quite the achievement. In the past decade or so since you started the company, what has changed?

As time and technology progressed, the need for more unified communications features became increasingly apparent. Epic was growing rapidly and needed a system that could keep up. With more clients and the large shift towards remote working, we needed a flexible, cloud solution to allow us to communicate with clients, collaborate cross-functionally and be productive from anywhere, at any time.

Marc: You’re not alone. Now more than ever, businesses need the ability and flexibility to communicate and collaborate from wherever they may be. Can you share further insight into some of the challenges Epic Web Studios was facing?

With our on-premises system, our teams were restricted to only using voice and email to communicate. Unanswered calls were forwarded to one general voicemail, and emailing back-and-forth became inefficient as the primary mode of communication.

Our employees needed greater control over how calls could be made, forwarded, and received; they also needed more flexibility in their business communications and more variety in their communication methods.

In addition, we relied on various communication and collaboration tools, which was inefficient, costly, and difficult to manage. We needed a communications system that was fully-integrated and secure so that we could go from online meetings to instant messages to phone conversations and everything in between very easily and seamlessly.

In short, we needed a solution that would provide reliable, real-time communication with robust and fully-integrated features to support employee productivity. We also needed a solution that would enable employees to work from home, which would have been very difficult with our old on-premises communications system.

Marc: It sounds like you came to the right place. However, I know there are plenty of different vendors in the market. What made you ultimately choose UNIVERGE BLUE?

ROI CalculatorWith other options reviewed, costs were too high, functionality was missing, or the solution just didn’t meet Epic Web Studio’s needs. Luckily, NEC launched UNIVERGE BLUE as I was researching new platforms.

Ultimately, we chose UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT because the features were the strongest, the transition was going to be easy, and the price point was extremely competitive. We also chose UNIVERGE BLUE because of the local support that NEC provides with a large network of Channel Partners. Our technology partner was instrumental in getting our system set up and is always there to answer provide any support that we need. Most of the larger cloud companies and service providers do not offer this kind of local support.

As technology evolves, NEC is always on the cutting edge of new ways of working to make our communications more convenient and secure. This bevy of new features included with UNIVERGE BLUE offers us new opportunities to become even more efficient and productive with our business communications – all at a reasonable cost.

Another bonus was the ease of deployment. It was pretty much effortless. When we moved from our on-premises solution to UNIVERGE BLUE, we were up and running in a matter of hours. It was incredible.

Marc: Well, we are certainly happy to have Epic Web Studios as a part of the UNIVERGE BLUE family. Here’s my final question – what results have you seen since deployment?

For starters, our employees have been able to communicate with clients more effectively. We have seen a significant decrease in the number of back-and-forth emails thanks to UNIVERGE BLUE. Our clients call us directly and we can have one-click video-conferencing meetings with them. We have also seen a major increase in our productivity because of UNIVERGE BLUE.

As a result of both the streamlined communication and increased productivity, we have also been able to scale our business and grow our client base. Because we were able to provision more users very quickly, we’re able to take on more projects, and that has led to the growth of the company, which has been phenomenal recently thanks to UNIVERGE BLUE. I can’t recommend UNIVERGE BLUE enough!


For more information about UNIVERGE BLUE, NEC’s full portfolio of “As-A-Service” Solutions, visit www.univergeblue.com. For questions about the products or to meet with a UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD Representative, submit your information to us and we will get back to you shortly.

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