The reluctance of small firms to change their technology providers has been well documented, particularly when it comes to their communication needs. A Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) survey highlighted the paradox when it revealed that an increasing number of SMEs recognised substantial savings could be made by switching operators but were reluctant to move mission-critical services to a new supplier.
Reluctant, but also apathetic, according to Pure Telecom director Paul Connell (pictured): “Telecoms is not a core function for a lot of businesses but it is a vital necessity — it’s very important for them that it works. As a result it is only when someone has time to look at it that he or she thinks about switching.”
The Carpet Showrooms took the time and invited Pure Telecom to carry out a communications audit of its business. Operations manager Nicola Jordan was fed up with the customer service she was getting from her existing provider and had a strong hunch there were savings to be made.
As well as a head office in Bray, the flooring retailer has Dublin branches in Arnotts Department Store, Stillorgan, Dundrum and Dun Laoghaire, employing just under 50 people. Its telecommunications service is a vital cog in its day-to-day operations.
“Some 30pc of our total telecom overheads consist of international calls, so cutting those hefty charges was a priority,” says Jordan. “We make a lot of calls to India, Pakistan to order our handmade rugs and carpets and calls to Belgium and France are also made on a daily basis. Pure Telecom was able to offer preferential rates on all of these destinations, resulting in significant savings.”
What helped seal the deal was the increasing availability of carrier pre-select (CPS) lines, introduced by the regulator to facilitate more competition. Using CPS customers can change provider without having to invest in additional equipment or add on cumbersome prefixes to their phone numbers. They can also pay for the service through a single bill. Invisible to its customers, CPS enables a new generation of telcos to automatically route its customer calls through the most appropriate and cost-effective carrier for the time and type of call.
The Pure Telecom audit of The Carpet Showrooms also made it clear that its existing dial-up internet service was way past its sell-by date. Regular email contact between branches, customers and suppliers — sometimes involving very large picture files — made the move over to broadband inevitable. Pure Telecom networked all of the firm’s computers to its ADSL broadband service with a 2Mbps access speed.
Was it worth the switch? Very much so according to Jordan. The company cut its telecommunications costs by 35pc and the savings keep on coming. “Early this year our line-rental charges were put through Pure Telecom’s system. Once this was in place they were able to inform us that a total of 10 lines had not being used in a whole year,” says Jordan. “By disposing of these lines our bills were further reduced by more than €500 per month and by having one bill for all of our telecom’s we could keep a tab on costs.”
By Ian Campbell