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As it attempted to reconfigure after discovering during lockdown that the shortfalls of its legacy comms system were actually affecting business in the longer term, London Heathrow Airport-based international freight forwarding and logistics company Sandford Freight UK has revealed how it turned to cloud-hosted unified collaboration and communications (UCaaS) technology to meet demands for flexible and cost-effective comms.
Established in 1998, Sandford Freight has expanded rapidly and currently serves a global customer base, being recognised for delivering a professional and personal service with operations including air, sea and road freight. With a constant requirement to be immediately available to customers and suppliers, telecoms sit at the heart of Sandford Freight UK’s day-to-day operations. Also, in a competitive industry driven by service levels, guaranteed on-time deliveries and cost-effectiveness, the ability to communicate effectively is essential.
In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the UK into the first of several lockdowns, Sandford Freight UK was required to implement remote working for its employees, and its existing system was unable to support this new way of working. Also, the company was challenged by an out-of-date call bundle that didn’t support the volume of international calls made by the business as part of its everyday operations.
“When we were required to move to remote working for most of our staff, our old system just didn’t have the flexibility to support us,” said general manager Daniel Walker. “We could only forward calls to one number, so our managing director had to handle all our call traffic. We weren’t able to use an auto-attendant, and because we couldn’t use mobile applications or have employees take calls from their desktops, the business really struggled to continue smoothly.
“Managing out-of-hours calls is just a normal part of our industry, it’s pretty 24/7. Once lockdown was over, we realised many of the shortfalls of our system were actually affecting our business in the longer term, so we set out to find something more flexible.”
After consultation, Sandford Freight UK opted for a TelcoSwitch CallSwitch cloud-hosted UCaaS system to meet the company’s demands for a flexible and cost-effective communications solution that could deliver productivity to a distributed workforce and support out-of-hours call traffic when needed.
As part of the service, Sandford received premium Yealink desk phones for each of its 20 employees as part of its subscription, along with free access to proprietary CallSwitch Communicator mobile and desktop applications, and WebRTC browser access. The business also opted to add an advanced conference unit to its package for the company’s boardroom.
A bespoke call package was provided, with enough international minutes supporting the frequent calls to overseas locations made by employees, and custom auto-attendant messaging allowing for more intelligent inbound call routing to improve customer service.
“It was time for us to really overhaul the system we had in place, so it was important we found a supplier who could consult us around our requirements,” said Walker. “The CallSwitch pre-sales engineers took the time to understand our business and really sold us on the benefits of the CallSwitch platform.”
Since implementing the new system, Sandford says it has seen many productivity and cost-saving benefits that have helped to support its growth aspirations, while enabling it to meet the high levels of service its customers expect. With mobile and desktop access for employees, the business is said to be able to offer more flexibility around ways of working, with customer calls easily made and received from home when required, either in or out of office hours.
The international call bundles have also helped to reduce costs, with many of Sandford’s frequently dialled overseas destinations included for free. With free calls between extensions, the company also benefits from no costs for internal calls, and even benefits from the CallSwitch internal chat service.
“CallSwitch has improved our ability to communicate with customers, and internally,” added Walker. “All our staff now have the Communicator app on their mobiles and computers, and it’s so easy for them to make calls normally wherever they are. It’s much more efficient. The system has been more reliable than our previous one. We’ve not really had any issues, but the one time we’ve had to raise a ticket, it was solved quickly without us having to chase.”