A few years ago I want to help a friend of mine with some technical work dealing with his phone system. When I opened up his closet to check out his telephone system it was this dusty box where wires ran into. A typical scenario for many small-medium sized businesses. A phone system is basically used to talk and that’s about it.
Smarter companies are turning to managed phone providers to do more than “talk” with their phone systems.
Crunch Fitness has 28 gyms around the country and recently switched from their legacy phone system to a manged phone system from M5 Networks (You can meet M5 at the Third Annual Small Business Summit 2008 in NYC).
Crunch Fitness’s NYC corporate headquarters currently uses M5’s Voice as a Service (VaaS) to accommodate its 130 employees and plans to eventually implement M5 in all of their 28 club locations. In particular, M5’s scalable and flexible solution was a major factor in attracting the organization to M5. “When we moved our corporate office, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to update our PBX phone systems and invest in a new technology,” said Shane Edmonds, CTO for Crunch Fitness.
Crunch Fitness has big plans to use M5’s service as a competitive tool. This includes:
- Using online application tools, such as M5 Phone Assistant, to integrate with Microsoft Outlook to allow one touch dialing from contacts
- Using M5Scribe to translate voicemail to email
- Down the road, Crunch hopes to integrate its proprietary CRM application, iCrunch, with M5 to better track sales and marketing processes
M5‘s Voice as a Service (VaaS) includes three major components: Active Service Management, or proactive, transparent service from deployment through ongoing management and maintenance; Embedded Continuity, or “baked-in” business continuity that goes far beyond simple redundancy; and On-Demand Solutions, which provide actionable business breakthroughs for marketing, call center, staffing and client service functions.
Whether you go with M5 or another provider, one of your top priorities this year should be to analyze your phone system and determine if you should consider replacing it with a managed phone system that turns voice into a service – much more than a metal box in a closet. With voice as a service, your communications are integrated, streamlined and your ability to serve customers is enhanced.
If you want to grow your business in 2008, investing in technology is a must. The important part of this investment is deciding what, how and when to invest in the right technology for your business.