The company pride themselves on offering customers an awesome experience at all their bars, with a focus on outstanding service and an unbeatable atmosphere. Front Row Hospitality is also the group behind some of Auckland’s most iconic bars such as De Fontein, De Post and The Paddington.
Front Row Hospitality Director Greg Stride says that, although functional, the company’s phone systems, were starting to reveal pain points for the business. It was time for a unified communications system.
“As most companies find while involved in the business and continually looking after the patrons needs and wants, you tend to forget about your own company’s internal issues that need to evolve with the business. IT and phone systems was the first area to feel that neglect,” Greg Stride says.
“Front Row didn’t regard the importance of having a phone system to manage all our pubs. Instead each pub was just operating individually to keep the business going. No thought was given to the potential future problems we would face – we thought we’d deal with that when we have time!” – Greg Stride
Fast forward a decade and those ‘potential future problems’ were starting to show. Front Row Hospitality’s phone system had stability issues at one and traditional copper issues at another of its pubs. Overall the phone system was well overdue for an upgrade, as were the handsets throughout the pubs. Management of the phones was inadequate, and customer service quality control was not being managed from a phone perspective.
“Overall, although our system worked, we could see that there were things we needed to fix urgently, such as providing a better customer experience when our patrons called one of our pubs. But we were unsure about the cost benefits and the risks involved. We also spent time evaluating whether the process of upgrading our phone systems was indeed warranted or worth the potential pain,” Greg Stride recalls.
Partnering with CircleNet put those concerns to rest with the implementation of a unified communications system. This gave Front Row Hospitality an organised approach to redesigning the phones which managed risks, while rolling out changes designed to deliver maximum benefits to the business.
“CircleNet’s strategic planning process was employed to fully review Front Row Hospitality’s phone system and overall business situation, before making recommendations for a solution exactly tailored to the company’s needs,” says Greg Stride.
The CircleNet team, helmed by Darren Wong and Michael Blackman, set about transforming Front Row Hospitality’s phone system, commencing with a top to bottom re-design of the company’s phone system infrastructure. Discussion on the wants of each individual pub were had and eventually a test environment was developed for the managers and directors to go through and trial. After some tweaking, Front Row Hospitality was happy to go live. Voice scripts were recorded, hardware was ordered and the deployment date was set.
“The cutover to CircleNet went through without a hitch. This is a testament to their planning processes and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome” – Greg Stride
Front Row Hospitality now have a cloud unified communications system that supports each bar from a single platform, migrating off copper lines and on to VoIP. This means Front Row Hospitality is now able to tailor fit the system for each pub. Utilising CircleNet’s unified communications system also provides the managers more functionality to ensure their customer service remains outstanding by being able to listen in on past calls to ensure their staff are following protocol. There is also the option to save past call examples to assist in resolving a complaint and being able to generate accurate reporting to identify what the customers are calling for.
“We were very careful in our selection of a new phone systems provider. We wanted a partner capable of advising us at a strategic level, but also with a proven track record of high quality day-to-day support. CircleNet has delivered.” – Greg Stride