As the holidays are upon us, we thought it would be fun to talk to customers who get really busy during the holiday season. Seasonal businesses need nimble, highly scalable phone services to handle the drastic changes in their call volume during the year.
Christmas Tree For Me, LLC, specializes in artificial Christmas décor: Christmas trees, wreaths and garland, lights—the works. The seasonal company receives approximately 30% of all orders over the phone. Christmas Tree For Me has used OnSIP since 2007 and found it a reliable phone system for their high-volume calling needs. Founder Bill Quinn talks about his OnSIP experience.
The Quest for a Manageable VoIP Service
At first, Christmas Tree For Me used Vonage. After two years they needed a more sophisticated business-class solution to scale with their rapid growth. In 2006 and 2007, they tried another VoIP service that has since gone out of business.
According to Bill, the main challenge with this model was that everything was proprietary and locked down. Every change, no matter how minor, had to go through the VoIP provider, never by Bill’s own employees. This made it very cumbersome to make changes and consequently raised the cost of the service.
“The fantastic thing about OnSIP is the self-service aspect. With prior service providers, we had to create a support ticket for ANY change that needed to be made,” says Bill.
OnSIP: Open, Intuitive, and Helpful
What the company needed was the ability to manage the system administration themselves according to their seasonal needs, and the ability to escalate really technical matters to someone with more knowledge in the VoIP domain.
OnSIP’s intuitive admin portal makes it incredibly easy to set up a new account, add users, set up ACDs and ring groups, and add other apps that improve productivity. OnSIP service also includes a knowledgeable support staff.
“From the beginning, OnSIP has provided the kind of support we need. The people in the support group are superb. They explain details in a way the layperson can understand and are extraordinarily understanding, even when they know the issue is not with their service but with someone else’s hardware.”
Scalability and Capacity Planning
“Our holiday season is intense. We go from very few calls in the second quarter of every year to calls every few minutes in December. With OnSIP, we have the ability to set up call handling anywhere in the world with any device.”
With OnSIP’s VoIP solutions, Christmas Tree For Me is able to scale up their phone service to meet high demand and then rapidly scale back in the off-season. The cost savings are significant, as they pay only for phones calls that they make, not per line. Also, adding and removing extensions is hassle-free and costs nothing!
“As a comparison, in November we had 4,400 minutes of inbound/outbound, in February we had 875 minutes of inbound/outbound,” says Bill. They regularly use two extensions with voicemail, but during peak retail season they add two to three more extensions. For their desktop phone, they use the Aastra 480i, and for softphones, they use CounterPath eyeBeam and CounterPath Bria for iPhone.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) & Voicemail to Email Features
Christmas Tree For Me employees use automatic call distribution (ACD) from October through January. “The key difference between OnSIP ACD and others we have used is the fact that we do not have to pay for ACD from February through September. We simply shut that feature off when we do not need it,” Quinn says.
Like most other small businesses, voicemail to email that can be listened to on any mobile device or computer is a favorite feature at this company. The ability to use OnSIP with Bria on iPhones has given the company a significant advantage in that they no longer have to contract additional people during the busy season to answer desk phones—staff can now answer their softphone from any location.
Here are costs as reported by the company:
- Yearly fee for the prior provider was $4,156.56
- Fee for the last 12 months with OnSIP was $1285.33 (including usage charges of $805.93)
- The cost is 70% lower despite an order volume that was 25% higher than the previous year