Nassau OOGP Vision Group Sees Clear Revenue Growth After Hunter Communications Customizes Call Center with Their Fiber Powered Voice Services
Customer: Nassau OOGP Vision Group
Industry: Medical Equipment & Supply Wholesalers
Products & Services: Distributes vision care products, including soft contact lenses, lens care, ocular pharmaceuticals and more.
Organization Size: 130 employees in Grants Pass, Oregon; and warehouses nationally
Location: Main office in Grants Pass, with distribution throughout the U.S.
Hunter Products & Services: 1GB Internet, Colocation Services, Hosted VOIP, ACD/Call Recording, Max UC.
NASSAU OOGP Vision Group is the fastest growing authorized contact lens distributor in the United States. Located in Grants Pass, Oregon, the optical supplies company is a one-stop-solution for optometrists, ophthalmologists and consumers for vision care products from the leading optical manufacturers around the world.
However several years ago, growth stalled. The customer contact center didn’t have the technology needed to handle its customers.
The Challenge: Customers couldn’t connect with the call center
It was becoming increasingly difficult for doctor’s offices and patients to call, e-mail, fax or connect with the call center online. OOGP was “woefully under-teched,” says Kevin Potts, Director of IT at Nassau OOGP Vision Group, who has been in IT for more than 25 years, including Fortune 500 companies, and joined OOGP in 2014.
OOGP had a single T1 line that 110 computer workstations in the building shared for internet bandwidth. At the time, the IT department had just rolled out Windows 8.1, with the Live Tiles app that displayed live data updates such as weather or a newsfeed. According to Potts, “With more than 100 stations in the building, those little tiles used up my entire T1 bandwidth. There was no bandwidth left to download a driver, install a piece of software or anything. I had to go around and manually turn the tiles off.”
The need for more bandwidth was critical. Potts reached out to another provider, but they could only provide another T1, which was not sufficient. Next, they had the local cable company put in a 100 MB pipe. “I thought the world was perfect until I found out that I had to reset their router twice a day because their service kept failing on me.”
Potts had a friend in IT who suggested contacting a local fiber company called Hunter. “I called Hunter and the rest is history,” says Potts. “I’ll be a customer for life.”
Hunter provides customized 1GB fiber optic internet and VoIP telephone services that include, Customized Auto Attendant’s, MLHG’s with ACD/Queueing, Call Recording, Polycom phones, and Max UC Softphone clients for remote agents.
Before Hunter, OOGP was limited to a total of 12 people in the customer service department because of the dial-up landline solution and antiquated PBX. They didn’t have an automated call distribution system, or ACD.
“When Hunter brought in the phone system, it was like we jumped into the 21st century,” says Potts. OOGP’s first phase was to get rid of all the landlines and move to a PRI – or Primary Rate Interface – digital phone service that provided much clearer call quality and fewer busy signals. “Essentially we had 24 lines available so we were able to grow our customer service department physically on site,” says Potts. “We went from 12 to 38.”
Potts was familiar with the system from a previous experience at a Fortune 500 company. “Not only did they provide us with voice technology, but they also could provide a Hosted Polycom phone system in the second phase, with ACD, Queueing of Calls, Call Recording, and ACD reporting. I said, oh yes, please! I was really excited because Polycom is known for their great conference feature phone. We rolled over to those phones and the Hosted VOIP service back in 2015 and we’ve never had a problem. I can’t think of one single issue.”
Dependable broadband internet
As for reliability, the only time OOGP has ever had a notable outage with Hunter service was during an unusually severe storm several years back. “A massive oak tree that was about 6 ft. around (and the biggest tree I’ve ever seen) fell over and took down telephone poles in downtown Grants Pass, along with our internet service. And when our website is down we lose 70% of our sales. Our Hunter phone technician brought over a microwave antenna right away and pointed it over to Hunter’s central office and got us up wirelessly,” says Potts. “That Hunter antenna is still mounted on our roof to this day.”
Quick solutions during COVID-19 pandemic
“We would be out of business right now if it wasn’t for Hunter,” says Potts. When employees suddenly were forced to work from home during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Potts thought he’d have to send everyone home with their actual desk phone. He contacted Hunter. “My technician, Mike, said that Hunter was developing new softphones solutions and all our employees would need is an Ethernet connection at their home. He asked if we wanted to beta test it. I’m like – YES!”
The entire customer service department went home with laptops and softphones to receive calls and log into their specific Customer Support Queue’s. According to Potts, the solution was such a success that they began hiring people to take customer service calls for both New Jersey and OOGP in Grants Pass. “Without those two features — having the Gig fiber backbone here, plus the softphone technology of VoIP — we would have lost all of our customers and been out of business.”
The entire customer service department at OOGP now works from home, which the employees love. And OOGP uses the extra space from their customer service area to expand their warehouse because they’re ramping back up. They’re bringing in new product lines for doctor’s offices, which they couldn’t do before, and now they’re also able to offer next day shipping.
“There was a learning curve, don’t get me wrong,” says Potts. “The world has never gone through a pandemic like this and it was hard for all of us, trying to figure out how to make things work. As far as warehouse workers, we had to lay off everyone when pandemic hit. Now, we’re getting people back to work.”
About Hunter’s customer service
“The biggest part of why I’m a lifer with Hunter is that I consider my sales representative, Doug, and my technician, Mike, as my friends. That’s made a huge difference,” says Potts. If there’s an issue, say an agent can’t get their softphone to work, he simply places a call. “Mike, can you look at this real quick? And he drops whatever he’s doing and fixes it for me.”
At one point OOGP had a high bill because of the 800 line. “The finance department at Hunter called it to our attention,” says Potts. “They ended up blocking off minutes and worked with us on our build to save us money.”
The personalized customer service is what makes a difference, according to Potts. “What’s great is that I don’t have to wait in line; I can call my Hunter team directly. You can’t get that with a huge conglomerate like a Verizon or a Century Link where you never talk to the same person twice and they don’t know your individual needs.”
“Hunter has a great product, but it’s the customer service that’s made me a lifer with them.”
—Kevin Potts, Director of IT at Nassau OOGP Vision Group