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Phone Systems For Schools

A CASE STUDY: A primary, secondary or university has specific requirements that are different to a normal business or standard pbx solution.

We've compiled a case study that highlights these unique differences and the solutions provided to address them.

Current Situation Faced By The School:

The school was using a phone system that was 15 years old and offered them very limited functionality. Due to the limited functionality of the phone system, the maintenance staff carried mobile phones, as did senior administration staff. This was an expensive solution and was really starting to add up! To make communication matters even worse, the administration staff still took name and number messages for staff and left them in their pigeon holes rather than contacting the staff directly.

Communications were most stressed on monday mornings. he call traffic could be frantic and there was no backup to the staff. The entire school contacts were stored in Microsoft Outlook but could not be accessed by the phone system. They wanted to cut costs and project a more corporate/ professional image.

The Brief from the Principal:

To have a system that:

  • Allowed mobility without the expense
  • Dealt with calls better
  • Allowed them to SMS parents
  • Integrated with Microsoft Outlook contacts
  • Makes them sound more professional

The Solution implemented by the school:

The best fit, the client decided, was the iPECS UCP 100. It offered them all the functionality they wanted, and unified their communications in a way they didn't think was possible. They were very happy with how we addressed their issues and preemptively solved a lot of problems.

Contacting staff around the school grounds

We looked at cordless phones and DECT solutions however some maintenance staff were already on a fleet mobile plan because they were always on the move. Given the size of the property we decided a hybrid solution was best.

The mobile admin staff received Cordless phones. We connected four wireless DECT phones, strategically positioned, to give them great overall coverage. This allows them to communicate with staff around the property at no charge as well as receive transferred calls from parents and others.

We also gave them desk phones in their offices and programmed each of the cordless phones with the same extension. This way when colleagues ring through to a certain extension number it would ring both their desk phone and cordless phone. No matter where the staff member is they can now answer the call as if they are sat at their desk. This has saved so much time, money and frustration! This was easily done with the existing cabling in the school by daisy-chaining onto the network.

Although the school has multiple sites, the new phone system allows for seamless communication between the sites. Calls can easily be transferred to other sites as if the phone was in the same building.

Better call handling (juggling)

Here we installed an Auto Attendant that now acts as a backup for staff answering the phone. Rather than staff having to stop a call to answer another, or interrupt someone at the front desk, the Auto Attendant now answers after 6 rings and says "Thank you for calling ABC Senior School, your call is important and we will be with you in a moment". This ensures they never miss calls, and it sounds incredibly professional. Anyone trying to get through to the school on those busy monday mornings now knows that they are through to the right place and someone will be with them shortly, rather than constantly ringing out.

SMS Software

We installed SMS software and this allows them to cheaply and effectively contact parents to let them know students are not at school etc. SMS is much cheaper than a mobile call and has saved them time and money. The staff can also now send SMS to internal iPECS users and leave notes for any users offline.

Taking handwritten messages for staff - no more.

We installed Voicemail with a difference. Staff all have their own 4 digit pin numbers and they can use any phone in the school to retrieve their messages. This has saved time and money! Plus because most of the key administration staff, (not teachers), have smart phones with email access they can now receive any messages away from the office via their smartphones with sophisticated voicemail to email technology. No more lost messages!

After hours and before hours messaging

The Auto Attendant now also professionally answers after hours. The system can even answer multiple calls at once and callers leave messages that a nominated staff member listens to every morning. This has been perfect for absentee calls and can now be directed before and after hours with the assistance of Auto Attendant Options to direct them to the correct person quickly and efficiently.

Reducing expensive phone call costs

Adding the wireless phones cut unnecessary mobile calls as we enabled free calls between the fleet. To help cut more costs we also provided the client with fantastic call rates that came with:

  • No contracts
  • No flag falls
  • No Minimum charges

These rates slashed their existing bill by over 35% and helped towards offsetting the rental of their system! The school had good internet data so with the iPECS UCP 100 the customer also has moved to SIP. This brought so many productivity benefits to them using the new system, as they are able to transfer calls, see who is currently available, conference between handsets both internally and externally and more. As the school already had a good internet connection and bandwidth moving to SIP was not an issue.

Easy Self Administration

One of the greatest strengths of the award winning iPECS UCP 100 system is the fact that you can change most things yourself. This means you can be incredibly flexible when you need to be and it won't cost you a cent. The school now has the ability to make basic adds moves and changes themselves which has saved them any ongoing charges in regards to staff changes and phone privileges.

Sounding more professional

Here we installed Professional Messages On Hold - this capped off the solution and made their school sound incredibly professional. They now tell prospective and existing parents alike about upcoming events, what makes the school unique, important dates and so on. It leaves a fantastic first impression and parents don't mind waiting anymore.

Overall, the solution was implemented with a minimum of fuss and the staff and principal are very happy with the savings and benefits they have been able to achieve with their new iPECS solution. They also know that no matter how much they grow or what technology they want to implement the iPECS can grow and adapt to their every need.

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