At Avatel, Your Future is What You Make it

In no small measure, innovative thinking and risk taking are applauded at Avatel because it empowers our team to do great work.  Due to our internal structure as a private company, as our customers look to us to implement their telecommunication needs, we allow our employees to go beyond their expectations.  Our teams develop solution oriented technologies based on ideas, insights and passion, rather than shareholders’ demands.

OUR PEOPLE

At Avatel, one of our 2015 goals is to strengthen our business through our most valued assets – employees.  As our team’s talents grow, so does our company.  Our goal is to offer our talent the resources to explore every opportunity to grow.  This approach encourages career development and has the support of management.  At Avatel, your career and your future is what you make it.

WORK IS GREAT, BUT SO IS DOWNTIME

If you’ve followed our updates on Facebook, you know that we believe life isn’t just about work.  We are constantly planning and organizing activities that help to build team spirit.  Whether it’s a costume contest or driving to deliver donated items to a local charity, we ensure that the team makes the most of downtime.

WE MAKE LIFE EASIER

At Avatel, technology isn’t just for our customers.  We make full use of our technology to empower employees to stay on top of their work and personal lives.  For example, if an employee needs to run an errand, they simply transfer calls to their cell phone so that they can get on the road without missing a call.

Avatel is the place where passion can impact the day-to-day operations as well as our future.

 

Lonnie Ledford,

Avatel Project Manager and Brand Ambassador

 

 

Better Business with Avaya

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Today’s customers expect more from you every day.  In today’s competitive climate, it’s the customer who has choices when deciding on a new telephone vendor.  It’s imperative that we lead by example by informing our customer base how they can do better business with Avaya.  The newest edition of Avaya IP Office now delivers the most collaborative communication solution your business needs in order to meet and exceed customer demands for fast, efficient and coordinated service.

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The IP Office is Avaya’s flagship phone system.  It is a feature-rich solution capable of meeting the needs of small to medium sized organizations.  Launched in 2002, IP Office sales have grown steadily, with 360,000 IP Office systems deployed worldwide.  Further proof of Avaya’s commitment to developing their solution was the acquisition of Nortel in 2009, Sipera in 2011 and Radvision in 2012.  Investments in IP Office are future-proof thanks to Avaya’s focus and its scalability – one platform can cover 2 to 2,500 users; across a single site or up to 150.

With an Avaya IP Office in your company, you will:

  • Communicate like never before
  • Respond to customers immediately
  • Share information, anytime, anywhere, on any device
  • Enable auto attendants and record professional music-on-hold messaging

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You’ll also have the power of a unified communications platform that connects everyone – your people, your customers and your partners.  The IP Office is a phone system that’s incredibly sophisticated, yet remarkable simple to use.  Frankly, it lets you do more, with less, by driving profitable growth without increasing costs.

Isn’t it time to take your business communications suite to the next level?  The time is right to grow your future.  Begin the expansion by giving my friends at Avatel Technologies a call today.

Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager

The New Avaya Contact Center Solutions -The Growth Engines for the Midmarket

As the economy improves we’re seeing an increase of activity in domestic contact center growth. For three quarters in a row, the US Contact Center industry continues to grow. The sectors that will see the greatest growth are technology (44% growth), the public sector (29% growth) and healthcare (23% growth). These numbers suggest that companies spanning different industries are realizing the importance of providing top notch customer support and expanding their contact centers to better meet their customer’s needs.

A huge part of this growth is due to contact centers re-emerging as important instruments to create value for customers and shareholders in the Midmarket. Midmarket organizations are in a unique position. Customer expectations have risen dramatically, requiring companies to develop a far broader set of capabilities for their customer interactions.

To be successful today, midsize businesses must be capable of responding swiftly, efficiently and accurately to their customers no matter which channel of interaction, or combination of channels their customers choose.

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When we talk to midmarket businesses with contact center needs, the same things come up time and time again. They want to be assured of the ease of installation of the new contact center, they want to be assured that the new contact center will be reliable; they want better reporting than they currently have, and they want a reasonable price.

So with that in mind, how can midmarket businesses get the “just right” contact center?

The answer is to actually seek solutions that genuinely address the midmarket. It sounds simple, but many businesses do not do this. Unfortunately, most contact center technology is aimed at the large contact center operations, meaning the midmarket is largely ignored. The reality is that the “just right” solution does exist. Reasonable installations, reliability, and better reporting, all within budget, are possible for the midmarket.

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Avaya fills the gap in purpose-built midmarket contact center communications and collaboration solutions to enable both mid and large enterprises to equally address the needs of their most strategic assets: their customers.

As a trusted Avaya Partner, Avatel Technologies understands that midsize companies are often challenged to provide multichannel customer care with technologies typically built for larger enterprises. The new Avaya Contact Center solutions, offer the same robust functionality of its traditional contact center offerings but at a more affordable price point and with faster deployment times.

The new Avaya IP Office Contact Center (IPOCC) and the Avaya Contact Center Select (ACCS) offer sophisticated, multichannel contact center capabilities with the simplicity needed by a midsize organization. The new Avaya Contact Centers are true end-to-end solutions for businesses that want to differentiate their services from the competition, achieve better customer segmentation, and increase the value of each customer relationship – which can translate into more satisfied customers and a more profitable business.

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The Avaya IP Office Contact Center (IPOCC) and the Avaya Contact Center Select (ACCS) solutions that are both optimized for the midmarket and work with the Avaya IP Office Platform.

The new Avaya Contact Centers provide:

  • Flexible media distribution – optimizes business processes by distributing contacts to employees based on your pre-defined processes
  • Integrated multi-channel customer contact solution for voice, e-mail, and web chat – provides optimal accessibility on all communication channels – customers are free to choose which channel they prefer in order to do business with you
  • Customer prioritization – defines and prioritizes customers based on your business strategies
  • Skills-based routing – routes all customer inquiries to the employee who is best qualified to handle them, based on media type, expertise, and past experience with a particular customer or situation

With the IP Office Contact Center and Contact Center Select, businesses can integrate voice, e-mail, and web chat channels, and proactively manage the entire customer interaction lifecycle. Your business can begin at its own pace with one channel such as voice, for example, and add other channels such as e-mail as your objectives evolve.

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The IP Office Contact Center (IPOCC) offers multichannel capabilities for 5-100 agents and the Avaya Contact Center Select (ACCS) offers blended multichannel capabilities and provides scalability to 250 agents.

IPOCC ACCS
Supporting the midmarket business Key for the midmarket business
Typically for companies where 10% to 20% of employees are contact center agents Typically for companies where 30%+ of employees are contact center agents
Some IT communications knowledge is required, but the end customer will most likely rely on a trusted Avaya Partner like Avatel Technologies Will be typically managed by CIOs and tech savvy experts most likely familiar with contact center solutions and database integration with the help from a trusted partner like Avatel Technologies
Simplicity Feature richness
Voice centric with multichannel: voice, email, web chat Blended multichannel: voice, email, web chat, text, fax
English only G-14 languages

The implementation of a functional multi-channel contact center is a long-term, sustainable investment in the current and future growth of your company. However in the past, high implementation and maintenance costs excluded midsize businesses from taking advantage of next-generation contact center technology.

Smaller budgets and limited IT resources have challenged their ability to find true, multichannel contact center solutions that fit their needs for affordability and low-risk integration, as well as ease of deployment and management. The Avaya  Contact Center solutions immediately changes that old paradigm and provides midsize businesses with Avaya’s expertise in customer experience management in a solution that is flexible, easy to use, maintain and administer.

Although many midsize businesses realize that they must make the call center a part of their growth strategy, most are unsure of how to make that happen. The path to growing your midmarket business starts here. Contact an Avatel Midmarket Contact Center Specialist at 866-835-2661.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

 

A Great Workplace Culture Can be Preserved as You Grow

I read an article recently that said; While treating your employees like family seems like the formula for a great place to work, it may in fact be counterproductive and keeping you from reaching the next level of growth.

I couldn’t disagree more!

Businesses that fail to grow successfully are a result of lack of trust and/or an inability to work together. Leaders who can successfully build a family environment in the workplace will not only achieve more in the short term, but will build a foundation for growth through trust, loyalty, determination and perseverance.

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Something that I believe gets overlooked in todays high-pressured, productivity-focused economy is the human element. Of course, we all have products and services for sale and a profit to make, but let us not forget that our culture must be nurtured so we do not abandon the very values and traditions that made us who we are.

Taking a family approach means establishing a foundation of trust and a cultural promise to unite as one; to perform with purpose and the healthier whole in mind. At Avatel, we believe that our family-oriented culture has transformed our organization into a caring group of family members, in a supportive environment, all working for a common good.

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We believe that our culture is the underlying soul and guiding force within Avatel. As our company grows, we must retain our shared values and our family-like culture that helped make us successful in the first place. Avatel has always been known for having a fun, family-oriented culture. It’s imperative that we keep our culture alive to maintain our fun, creative and passionate work environment.

As we expand beyond our core team, we must also share our culture with our new team members if we want to see it continued. A team work environment where camaraderie means having each other’s back and not judging one another. We must maintain our workplace culture that celebrates opportunities, transparency, and the opinions of all to enrich conversations and diversity of thought.

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I am incredibly proud to be associated with a company where employees are engaged, passionate, and dedicated to customer excellence. We believe that our family-like atmosphere allows for more productivity, creates warmth in the office, and enhances our overall service.

As we bring on new team members, the culture that they experience and learn can be consciously shaped by us all. Culture is completely scalable and we have total control over it.

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If you don’t agree that a great workplace culture can be preserved as you grow, remember that companies like Southwest Airlines, The Container Store, and Whole Foods have managed to do it with thousands of employees.

When I think about my company’s culture, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Our work culture is something that’s truly special, and we believe it is one of the reasons that our team members have nominated us as one of the Tampa Bay Business Journals “Best Places to Work” for 9 years.

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I think as business owners and leaders, we can all benefit from knowing and embracing our uniqueness and use it as an asset to help our businesses grow. Being named to the “Best Place to Work” list for the 9th year is obviously something that we are very proud of. As we continue to grow and attract top notch talent, we will strive to keep the family atmosphere that has made us successful for many years.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

The Agility Factor

“Few small-to-medium sized companies in the telecommunications industry show consistently superior profitability relative to their peers, and they all have one thing in common: a highly developed capacity to adapt their business to change.” -Thomas Williams

Economic outlooks, indicators and forecasts are usually exercises in futility, much like meteorologists predicting a weekly weather report.  As a true skeptic of economic development models, I need convincing data that is not just another speculative forecast based on algorithms and guesswork.

During a recent company meeting at Avatel Technologies, we were introduced to this year’s theme:  “The Year for Growth”.  The data was presented with detailed clarity.  The new vision, as I perceive it, is one of productive action requiring infrastructure, resources, processes and know-how.  The presentation injected me with a renewed optimism for the year and beyond.

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As someone who values the efforts of American entrepreneurism, I know that every successful business must have a vision for growth and the capacity to see both the needs that must be met and the possibilities for the future.  Business leaders must break off limitations, confinements, restrictions and small thinking.  They must cultivate a culture that embraces growth.  They must see the vision set before them and make a decision to go up and meet the challenges.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP said, “an organization with high performing culture is unafraid of change.”  Said Wood, “Strengthening Avatel’s ability to change and adapt is imperative to our success.”  I couldn’t agree with her more.  Successful people adapt.  That’s what makes them consistently successful.  As we learn to adapt, and as those around us adapt, positive new possibilities emerge and take root.

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At Avatel, we’ll never reach the next level unless we take it there and rise to the challenge.  This is an exciting time to be at Avatel, as we “Think Big” and pull the trigger!  Now, as leaders, we must commit the organization to a new course of action, mobilize resources and implement changes.

Niccolo Machiavelli’s insight is as relevant today as it was in the 15th century: “Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”

As I see it, we must see the ability to change and adapt as the key to long-term success.  We must not fear or avoid change; we must embrace it because our ability to manage change well, is our primary advantage.

Guest Blogger – Lonnie Ledford

Avatel Project Manager and Brand Ambassador

What Does Your Brand Say About Your Level of Customer Service?

From a social media perspective, building a brand and distinguishing yourself from the competition is a critical challenge.  Executing a level of superior customer service is key.  It’s an achievable resource in the success of your online image.  Although this seems obvious, your perpetual presence with online social platforms can lose prioritization when other issues begin affecting operations.

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The following reminders that are often obvious but frequently forgotten:

  • Positive social media comments, referrals, satisfied customers and repeat customers are the best and least expensive marketing a business can have. There is no substitute for a satisfied customer!
  • In contrast, online complaints, poor response time, bad service and dissatisfied customers can often offset the best marketing efforts.
  • You can help yourself by selling quality products and backing the sale with memorable service.
  • In an age of instant communications, your response time can make the difference in providing excellent customer service, higher sales and greater profitability. It’s ignorant and wasteful to not promptly respond to customer requests.

At Avatel, we understand that providing superior customer service is more a function of a company’s values than specific corporate policies.  The following are good reminders you can use to improve your level of customer service:

  • Go above and beyond your customers’ expectations. Listen to your customers and go that extra mile. Remember: listen to understand instead of listening to reply.
  • Do you care about your customer? Are you excited when a customer has a great experience and are you frustrated when something goes wrong regardless of the cause? Good. You must give a damn in order to create the memory of a superior customer service experience.
  • Empower your team by trusting in them. This requires hiring and training good people, giving them the authority they need to do their jobs well and understanding they will, at times, make mistakes.
  • Lastly, using “please”, “thank you”, “how are you” and “I’m sorry” are frequently the least expensive and most productive customer service efforts.

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Remember, you only have one chance to make a good and lasting first impression!

 

Guest Blogger, Lonnie Ledford

Avatel Project Manager and Brand Ambassador

Technology from Avaya Powers the NORAD Santa Tracker Hotline

The NORAD Santa tracker powered by technology from Avaya Government Solutions, helps to connect kids with Santa’s helpers on Christmas Eve.

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avaya power of we engage

The NORAD Tracks Santa hotline is part of a sophisticated program to help Santa and his cargo make a safe and successful journey around the globe.  Experts from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) carefully monitor his travels and ensure his safety using data gathered from radar, satellites, jet pilots and even high-tech Santa Cams positioned in strategic locations worldwide.  As a result, curious children of all ages – naughty or nice – can get an insider’s view of his progress as he streaks through the night sky.

Each year, over 1,250 volunteer’s answer calls and emails from kids inquiring about Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve. Avaya Customer Engagement Solutions will route each caller to a volunteer who is poised to provide pressing details about Santa and his trip — from the dimensions of his sleigh to his climbing speed as he navigates the night sky.

“Children give new meaning to the idea of ‘precious customers.’ We know, though, that Santa is up to the task — especially with NORAD watching to make certain he has a safe journey. Children everywhere can sleep soundly, knowing the most capable people and the best technology are helping Santa on his way.” ~ William Laurie, VP, Department of Defense Programs, Avaya Government Solutions

Visit www.noradsanta.org or call 1 (877) HI-NORAD to track Santa on Christmas Eve. The Avatel family encourages you – our customers, friends and partners – to join us in our effort to make the most important connections a reality this season.

Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager

 

Avatel Celebrates Customer Service Week 2014

We are so excited that Customer Service week is right around the corner. Customer Service Week is a big deal at Avatel. This is our 4th year participating with other customer service professionals world-wide. We join them in celebrating our achievements and in recommitting ourselves to service excellence. Avatel will celebrate Customer Service Week in style, by incorporating fun activities, and other creative twists that will make it a week to remember.

CSW 2014 time to celebrate

Large and small companies in all industries participate in the annual celebration of customer service week. The first week of October honors those who serve customers every day with dedication and professionalism. This is a week for recognizing and rewarding those who serve customers across all industries and professions.

When a company celebrates customer service week it reinforces the significance the business puts on providing a quality experience for the customer. Customer Service Week is a week-long opportunity to raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice.

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Excellent customer service is created by layering moments of differentiation on top of consistent performance. Every activity of our service department is directed toward one over-reaching goal: serving our customers, understanding our customers’ needs, concerns and expectations, and ensuring that they are met in a timely, professional and relationship building manner. Our customers are the heart of our business, and our customer service team members are the ones who keep that heart beating!

Customer service excellence is a competitive weapon that can easily differentiate one company from another. As an Avaya Partner, we are aware that technology and innovation are excellent attractors for customers. However, to stay competitive we need other elements that differentiate us from competition. We believe that excellent customer service can make the difference. Effective customer interactions are hard to replicate and can produce lasting competitive advantage.

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Achieving consistently high levels of customer satisfaction is one of the best ways for Avatel to compete effectively, grow our customer base and increase profit. Customer satisfaction is essential to the survival of our businesses and is a key performance indicator within our business.

I am proud to say that Avatel was awarded the prestigious “Partner in Customer Excellence” designation in 2013 from Avaya. This certification identifies and rewards Avaya channel partners who achieve significantly higher scores in their customer satisfaction surveys. This special designation honors both Avatel’s high level of customer satisfaction and is truly a reflection of our entire corporate focus on customer service.

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Avatel is proud to celebrate Customer Service Week, October 6th through the 10th. This year’s theme is “Say YES to Excellence”. Avatel supports the challenge by saying “YES to Excellence” in everything we do to support our customers every day.

Why should we “Say YES to excellence”? Excellence is the product of a conscious effort of hard work, diligence, perseverance, and consistency to stand out on an act, which when seen can be respected, admired, and can be emulated by others. The purpose of saying YES to excellence is to encourage behaviors that create an environment which fosters exemplary customer service and teamwork among our team members.

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Even though we officially only celebrate for just one week, Avatel is focused year-round on improving the customer experiences we provide. Our continuous improvement culture at Avatel supports empowered employees and motivates them to perform better. In a continuous improvement environment, the never-ending pursuit to improve can be seen easily by those both internal and external to the organization. Feedback and suggestions from every level are respected and encouraged by all. Members are rewarded and recognized for going above and beyond what is required.

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Customer Service Excellence is about managing, meeting and exceeding expectations. Achieving Customer Service Excellence is a continuous process that is energetically pursued by all Avatel team members..

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

Avaya Supports A Cooperative Channel Strategy

In most modern theories of business, competition is seen as one of the key forces that keep firms lean and drives innovation. However, some people see business entirely as competition. They think doing business is waging war and assume they can’t win unless somebody else loses. The traditional business model pits company against company in a highly competitive contest for customers and market share.

In reality, business is both cooperation and competition. Competitive businesses that also cooperate are said to be in co-opetition. Co-opetition, which might also be called strategic partnering, offers the opportunity for competing companies to create win-win scenarios that increase survival, profitability, and competitive edge.

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As an Avaya Channel Partner, Avatel is very aware that the Telecommunications industry is very competitive; however in a channel sales environment we should really be more cooperative than competitive within our own channel. A good channel strategy is when channel partners spend more time fighting the real competition than they do fighting each other.  The latter case will only produce dissatisfaction with customers and channel partners.  And, ultimately it leads to pricing/margin erosion and share erosion.

To a certain extent, channel conflict is unavoidable when there’s more than one sales force marketing a product. But it can (and should) be mitigated as much as possible. Channel conflict costs partners profitability as they undercut one another on price. It can also reduce morale within the channel. There will always be some overlap in channels, but this should be minimized and managed effectively.

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Some companies in our industry try to stifle peer-to-peer communication, but Avaya embraces it. Avaya understands that a cooperative channel strategy produces more informed, more effective, and more brand-loyal channel partners. As the level of information shared by many people increases, so does ROI. I believe this level of cooperation and collaboration is unprecedented in our industry. Progressive manufacturers like Avaya achieve significant market share and greater customer satisfaction as a result of these cooperative efforts.

I think we are all aware that the collaborative power of the many trumps the efforts of one, as illustrated by the Avaya corporate branding initiative – “The Power of We”. Collaboration is the process by which individuals work together in an organized fashion to share ideas and solve problems.

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Being a member of the Avaya Partner Advisory Council has been great privilege for Avatel. We appreciate the opportunity to be an advocate for Avaya’s channel partner community and to help shape Avaya’s channel strategy. By sharing experiences and leading with one voice we aim to gain product and service improvements for our customers. Jointly we define our go-to-market strategy, and over time we have established an ecosystem that benefits all Avaya partners. We all believe that future capacity for change will come through a collective intelligence.

At Avatel, we believe in cooperative teams and partnerships within the Avaya Channel Partner community. Not only can two companies interact within a co-opetitive environment, but several partnerships are possible. The combined strengths of Avaya and partners like Avatel produce greater value for our mutual customers. Avaya enables partners like Avatel to capture “The Power of We”, to drive creativity, generate ideas and accelerate smarter decisions.

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As a nationwide Avaya Partner, Avatel teams with other Avaya Partners across the country for service and support. We have long term relationships with like-minded Avaya partners that share strong ethical principles and the same standards that we have in customer service and customer satisfaction.

There is no substitute for experience, and with almost 20 years in the business we have developed long term relationships with the best of the best out there. Channel partner-to- Channel partner collaboration streamlines service and support, and provides a means to broaden market opportunities and create competitive differentiation. It allows channel partners to work with and collaborate with other partners that offer a complementary blend of technology, services and industry expertise.

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We believe that a cooperative strategy allows partners to mesh their complementary strengths and provide a single seamless solution to customers. Avaya Channel Partners who collaborate with each other have grown deeper customer relationships and delivered more value to customers.

Avaya Channel Partners like Avatel get it. We understand that combining forces with complementary partners makes us all successful. Through cooperation and collaboration, we have embraced the philosophy of strategic alliances and the result is improvement in quality, productivity and profitability.

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As a long term member of the Avaya Partner Advisory Council, we are continuously helping each other rather than competing w/ each other, and the types of friendships that are formed here are deep and lasting. Rather than the “every man for himself” environment, we work in a “one for all and all for one” environment, being of service to each other and supporting each other. Having experienced both myself, I’d choose the co-operative model over the competitive one any day… it’s really a lot more fun.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

 

 

 

 

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. National Preparedness Month aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies.  Avatel Technologies would like to remind you that your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another.  Take the time to think about how you will communicate in different situations.

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FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS For example, you can complete a contact card for each adult family member. Have them keep these cards handy in a wallet, purse or briefcase or in your smartphone or tablet.  Remember to also complete contact cards for each child in your family.  Place the cards in their backpacks or book bags.  And, check with your children’s day care or school.  Many facilities designed for children include identification planning as part of their emergency plans.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION TIPS Avatel suggests identifying a contact such as a friend or relative who lives out-of-state for household members to notify they are safe. If may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.

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ICE Be certain that every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone.  If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know.  Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.

Teach family members how to use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.

CELLULAR ALERT SERVICES Remember to subscribe to cellular alert services. Many communities now have systems that will send instant text alerts or emails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc.

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Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager