Office 365 has allowed Griffiths staff to work from anywhere
Founded in 1997, Griffiths Plumbing is a small; Auckland based business with five office staff and five plumbers on the road. They offer plumbing and property services to residential and commercial customers.
In 2010, Griffiths Plumbing was secretly filmed by TV3′s Target programme. They scored 9.5 out of 10 and the only reason that lost ½ a point was because they used a spare part in a previous job and had to get someone to drop one off for the current job.
Email is the most crucial communication tool for Griffiths as this is how most of their commercial job requests are received. Prior to Griffiths working with Olympic, all five office staff accessed one shared mailbox that was hosted with their ISP. They had to use POP to access this inbox. The issue with POP is that it doesn’t sync sent items so they had to copy (CC) themselves on every email sent so that everyone else could see an email had been responded to, and what the response was.
Accessing the email from multiple devices was also problematic, and only the boss had access to the email from home.
This messy way of using email meant that finding emails that had been sent to customers was difficult at best. A successful search largely depended on who had sent it and if they had remembered to cc themselves.
An Excel spreadsheet was used to store property records and maintenance schedules for various commercial customers. A special effort was made to prevent it from having multiple copies on various machines.
Like many small businesses, as an alternative to installing an expensive PABX system, Griffiths operate their incoming phone calls over a shared phone line with multiple phones plugged into the line. This required everyone to sit in the same vicinity so they could transfer calls by “asking” their colleague to take the call by picking up their phone.
Griffiths were using the name of their ISP as their email instead of a dedicated Griffiths Plumbing email address. This had implications on branding and resulted in a less professional image.
One of the staffs’ requests was to each have their own mailboxes. Staff didn’t want emails relating to account matters mixed in with the emails for job requests.
As a small business they didn’t have any dedicated IT staff. Griffiths needed help to bring some direction, best practices and stability to their systems.
The first step was to enable Griffith’s domain name for email and configure an address for each user which resulted in a more professional business image.
The main mailbox, info@, became a shared mailbox that everyone could access and because it was using Exchange – with built-in sync capabilities – there was no need to cc anymore as all emails were now searchable and easy to find. As well as that, staff could now access their email from home.
Kelli Matthews, Administration Manager says, “Microsoft Lync has been awesome.” Being situated in a two storey building, Lync has allowed Griffiths to use their office space downstairs. When they need to transfer a call they are able to see the status of other users and they can instant message them to pick up a call instead of shouting through the office or running up or down stairs.
From a remote support perspective, Griffiths are able to share their screens using Lync with our staff at Olympic and any questions can be dealt with immediately.
The commercial maintenance schedules have been imported into SharePoint. All staff now have visibility of what’s required and when.
Prior to Office 365 Griffiths couldn’t afford to buy an Office licence for every user , but getting it as part of an Office 365 subscription has turned it into a small fee each month. As an added bonus staff can install it at home as part of their five installs per user allocation.
They are now a completely “in the cloud business”, even their accounts and job scheduling systems are cloud based.
We went to Olympic and had a demo of Microsoft Office 365 that knocked our socks off. We could immediately see how we could use the product and how it was going to solve our problems.
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