Customer Spotlight - Reef & Rainforest
About Reef & Rainforest
Julie Clarke is the Chief of Operations at Reef & Rainforest, a dive and adventure travel agency located in Portland, Oregon. The company’s travel agents work remotely across locations in the U.S. and abroad, and Reef and Rainforest’s customers are active, traveling scuba divers.
A year and a half ago, Julie selected Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions) as Reef & Rainforest’s new phone system because they were moving toward a cloud-based operating model, and also because their old provider simply wasn’t able to provide the level of service and call quality that the company needed to grow. Charged with selecting a cost-effective, reliable, and scalable phone system, Julie compared several providers before choosing Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions).
Reef & Rainforest used to be located in Sausalito, California. The company had been with AT&T on a traditional, analog phone contract, but the service outside of the main downtown area was undesirable and didn’t provide the quality or scalability that the fast-growing company needed to be competitive. As Chief of Operations, Julie was tasked with moving Reef & Rainforest into a more flexible, cloud-based operations model and compared both analog and VoIP providers as the company’s new phone vendor.
Like many business VoIP customers, Julie was not familiar with VoIP or its differentiators during her initial buying process, and chose Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions) primarily because of its low cost. Her three primary requirements for a phone vendor were quality service, versatility, and cost, and Julie notes that she also selected Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions) because of the positive experience she had with her sales representative.
Switching to Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions)
When customers get started with VoIP, they typically come from using an analog phone system and are accustomed to having to hire a technician to do all installation and maintenance work. Vonage Business Solutions knowledgeable customer support team guided Julie through the set-up process and was available throughout the entire installation for assistance, troubleshooting, and advice.
“The installation team was really impressive. When I got into this, I didn’t know what Voice over IP was, I had never been the administrator of a phone system, or anything like that. I was a complete newbie, they took me through every step, and we had a good relationship.”
After implementing Vocalocity’s (now Vonage Business Solutions) business phone system in the office, Reef & Rainforest’s company workflow changed entirely. They had previously not been set up to be remote at all, and the new cloud-based phone system allowed employees to be mobile while still staying completely connected.
“This is a travel agency, and our best employees travel. They’re free spirits and they like the ability to forward their phones to their cell phones. The other benefit is that we can now hire quality employees – no matter where they are. We were previously limited to people who lived in Portland and work in our office which is a huge limit.”
Reef & Rainforest’s industry is very specific, and they hire agents who are well-versed in traveling to the destinations to have the best scuba diving. They have employees in San Francisco and in Portland, and the company is now able to go all the way out to other cities like Chicago to find new agents. They even had one agent who decided he wanted to move to Brazil for the summer, so Reef & Rainforest works with him in South America. The agent uses Vocalocity’s (now Vonage Business Solutions) service with the softphone on his laptop, and customers never know the difference.
The Bottom Line
Since switching from their old, analog provider to Vocalocity’s (now Vonage Business Solutions) hosted VoIP phone system, Reef & Rainforest has experienced a drastic drop in monthly phone bills with a boost in efficiency and mobile capabilities. “Since using Vocalocity [Vonage Business Solutions], we probably save at least a few hundred dollars a month. Vocalocity [Vonage Business Solutions] is just a great price.”
Even though Reef & Rainforest’s headquarters in is downtown Portland, Oregon, they’re now able to support a mobile workforce in the United States and abroad by forwarding voicemails as email, routing calls, changing roles, and monitoring the dashboard to support customers in a call queue – all by using VoIP technology.
In conjunction with the company’s other cloud-based business tools, this hosted technology has been a catalyst for growth. For Julie, the company’s big recent milestone was moving and setting everything up in the cloud, and being able a higher-caliber employee.
“I feel like I’m the ‘man behind the curtain’ – I feel like I know what’s going on in the company. For example, if someone is calling and needs to speak with an agent, I can glance at the dashboard and see how long they’ve been on hold.”
And even though Julie wasn’t familiar with all that VoIP had to offer in her initial buying process, she’s now deeply knowledgeable about how the phone system works, and leverages Vocalocity’s (now Vonage Business Solutions) features as they’re available, such as the recent Mobile App for iPhone and Android.
“We have such a small office here at the headquarters that if one person is out, it changes the course of operations for the whole day. We have to reroute the phones and redo our roles for the entire day, but I can just log into the Mobile App from my iPhone and reroute all the calls to make sure everything is covered. It’s instant, it’s seamless, and nobody even knows.”
- Call Groups – Even though Reef & Rainforest has a large presence, they are a small company, and if one person is out of the office, Julie is able to quickly change call groups to handle changes in workflow at a moment’s notice.
- Mobile Application – In addition to being able to change settings on vacation, Julie notes that the Mobile App helps you stay connected even when you least expect to be unavailable. If something happened to where they needed to be out of the building, or if there was a transit issue, she knows that she could route calls to employees’ call phones and keep the company running.
- Dashboard – Julie enjoys having unprecedented visibility into call activity in real-time, as well as the ability to completely administer her company’s account from an online portal.
To learn more about Reef & Rainforest’s dive and adventure travel services, visit www.reefrainforest.com