Beaverbrooks is enjoying cost-savings, productivity gains, greater staff efficiency and improved customer service, following the roll out of a managed communications solution from Vodat International.
In 2009 Beaverbrooks celebrated its 90th anniversary and its been a long journey from its first store in Belfast which brothers Issac, Maurice and Harry Adlestone opened in 1919 right up to its brand new store that opened in Cardiff at the end of 2009.
Beaverbrooks is still owned by direct descendants of its founders and over the years it has grown into an award winning retailer, with 66 branches nationwide, a transactional website and more than 800 staff. The strong sense of 'family' that runs throughout the company means all staff can share in the success.
The jeweller achieved first place in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For 2009 and were awarded the top Three Star Status in the Best Companies Accreditation Scheme in 2007, 2008 and 2009, highlighting further the companys best practice amongst its workforce.
Beaverbrooks wanted to reduce the volume of admin that store staff had to complete on a day-to-day basis to help the business continue to develop and improve its customer service experience. Beaverbrooks realised it needed broadband technology in place to help improve the companys overall performance. The company also wanted to reduce costs, while delivering an even better customer service experience to shoppers.
Patrick Walker, Head of IT at Beaverbrooks, explains, We wanted to remove much of the admin that staff had to complete within the store environment. For example, with our jewellery range we dont carry all our wedding rings in all sizes in all stores. So when staff wanted to order rings in specific sizes they had to complete a lot of paperwork. We needed to streamline these processes and improve the efficiency of the business so we could meet our customers needs quicker. There were also lots of paper processes in place for ensuring staff were up to date with health and safety issues. We have big plans for the role the intranet can play within our business so we needed to partner with someone who could help us achieve these goals and support us as we look to take our business to the next level.
Beaverbrooks spoke to a number of businesses before it decided that Vodat was the right company to partner with. Walker added, We spoke to a wide range of organisations, however once we spoke to Vodat we felt that not only did they have the technology to meet our demands but they understood retail. Also, the culture of Vodats business was very similar to the culture of our own, which made for a strong working relationship.
Walker continued, Beaverbrooks is passionate about customer service and by selecting Vodat International for IP telephony, it is able to offer its customers a higher level of service. Its important that when customers are calling in they are directed to the right place and calls are managed more efficiently.
The company is reporting substantial business benefits after upgrading its network solution, in terms of customer service, stock taking and access to data.
The investment includes the addition of 3G as back up and Wireless access points across Beaverbrooks 66 stores, making the sales process more personal. Walker said, Following the introduction of Vodats technology, staff will be able to complete a sale with the customer instead of having to guide them to another part of the store. It will also enable the business to have even more resilience with Vodats PCI Compliant EFT processing service that is currently being implemented.
The new system is also enabling Beaverbrooks Area, Display, and Training Managers to get better access to its Head Office systems when in store. Walker said, They can now easily connect to our wireless network giving them full and quick access to all our systems. Our auditing team and store teams are also benefiting as they can now utilise the wireless network to carry out store stock takes more efficiently by utilising wireless stocktaking guns.
The introduction of VOIP has also seen the business dramatically reduce the cost of phone calls, while the technology also allows the management team to log in via the intranet to gain important information in real-time.
There are other ways in which the technology has supported the in-store experience. Previously music in the store was played through a stereo system so the same background music was played day in and day out. Walker explained, We can now send regular updated music playlists out to the store over the broadband connection, which provides better ambience within the store environment.
He continued, In the future, it is our intention to connect hand held point of sale terminals to our main POS using Vodats wireless network so we can deliver the ultimate in customer service. We also want to ensure our systems, which rely on 'real time' connectivity to our Head Office and Credit Card Acquirer, are always available, so we have invested in Vodats 3G system to provide backup to our existing Vodat MPLS broadband network. We also plan to use the technology to support online training for staff. This investment will ultimately help support the long term development of the business, allowing staff to carry out their roles effectively and deliver great customer service.