• August 1, 2005
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Headsets Get Set

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Parents know that kids outgrow their clothes very quickly. Think of catalog and Internet vendor Headsets.com as the child; Mike Faith, president and CEO, is the parent. And the company's analog phone system was the clothing that didn't fit anymore. "For Headsets.com, customer service is not a function or a department, it's an attitude," Faith says. So when his company, named the third-fastest growing company in town by the San Francisco Business Times, began to suffer from call backlog, something had to be done before customer relations suffered. "It was clear," Faith says, "that we'd outgrown the capacity, features, and functionality" of the old system, which handled a total of 12 incoming or outgoing lines. Headsets.com sought a new phone system to tie together the company's three locations and keep an eye on call capacity. The team selected Avaya Office IP--Small Office Edition, and purchased two VoIP boxes, each of which handles twice the lines of the analog system. "We also bought a duplicate system, just in case," Faith says. "We can switch over in about a minute. We haven't needed to, but it's great peace of mind; if our phones are down for an hour, that's twenty thousand dollars in lost business." The Avaya system's call center features have added to productivity, as well. "We've added a wall board, which lets us track call center work flow in real time," Faith says. "We used to open every day at 7:00 a.m., but too many customers were getting our recording. We changed to 6:00 a.m., and can serve them more efficiently now." This, along with improved call handling, has boosted revenue from $7 million two years ago to $30 million today, with each employee generating $800,000 of it. Faith notes that the improved office communication provided by Avaya makes his three locations feel more like one big office.
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