with fax appeal

23 Jun 2003

Before email became widely available as a commercial application, the fax was king when it came to high-tech communications. Despite rumours of its demise, the fax is still alive and kicking and playing a vital role in businesses, as the example of one Dublin car dealership shows.

EP Mooney is a well-established name on the Dublin car retail scene, being the city’s oldest Nissan dealer. The company was founded in 1971 and moved to its present Longmile Road location in 1974. It’s a private and wholly-owned Irish company. At this stage, it employs around 100 people.

The company markets itself with a strong customer care ethos and feels that much of its business has resulted from this. With this in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that the company has around 60 people sitting behind computers and a strong communications infrastructure is in place to deal with clients and associated organisations such as banks and insurance companies.

In order to manage its dealings with the various parties EP Mooney is involved with, the company employs the ACT! contact management solution, a strong and detailed database package that can track calls and correspondence.

According to Dearbhla Havelin, IT manager at EP Mooney, the fax still plays a key role in the company’s communications. The nature of the business requires the generation and acceptance of a wide variety of paper-based documents. “We’d use it a lot for invoicing, ordering, insurance company forms and corresponding with the banks regarding car financing,” she says.

Before implementing its current solution, the company relied upon the traditional fax machine. “It involved trekking back and forth to a fax machine and often queuing up to use it,” she remarks.

Around three years ago, EP Mooney decided that it wanted to integrate a fax capability into its PC network. The company chose Zetafax.

According to Havelin, the company was looking for something which would integrate well with Microsoft Office and, more importantly, with its ACT! contact management system. “We wanted a system that would make faxing as quick and straightforward as printing a document or sending an email,” she says.

Because Zetafax is integrated with MS Office, staff at EP Mooney can write letters to customers using Word and, if appropriate, they can then fax them straight from the PC with the click of a ‘send’ button. Furthermore, by integrating Zetafax with its ACT! customer contact management system, they can now fax NCT and service reminders, vehicle and part quotes, purchase orders, invoices and other key information in a short space of time.

This contact management integration also means that the company now has centralised repository of customer-related communications, which eases administration considerably. All customer communication information is stored in a central, electronic location and is easily accessible and searchable for reference at any time.

Aside from the obvious time-saving implications, the company reckons that it’s saved money as well. EP Mooney has reduced paper consumption by approximately 70pc because they no longer have to print out documents in order to fax them.

According to Havelin, traceability is another benefit of the new solution. “We send out on average of 20 to 30 faxes on a daily basis. With Zetafax, we can now track which documents were sent to customers and when they were sent. This way we know what information customers are looking for and what they’ve received so far,” she says.

Implementing the solution was relatively straightforward, according to Havelin. “We set one PC up as a fax server with an outgoing modem. We then purchased licenses for each PC and installed it on them,” she says. Over time, the company has increased its usage of the system. Havelin started out by purchasing 20 licenses and has upped the total over time to a situation where they now have 40.

For those who thought faxes were on the way, the example of EP Mooney shows they still have an application. Many businesses today still rely on paper-based documents. However, as this company has shown, a reliance on faxing doesn’t have to translate into a pile of paperwork.

By Dick O’Brien