To capitalise on new functionality, 1st Communications upgraded to the latest version of Act and Act e-marketing enabling compatibility, automation of tasks and improved marketing. The move allowed the company to bring marketing in-house, reducing the need to outsource, saving money and time.

In summary, an Act upgrade has enabled 1st Communications to:

  • Deliver effective in-house email and telemarketing campaigns from within Act
  • Organise and analyse customer and prospect information to sell and market more effectively, helping to increase sales revenue and customer retention
  • Track each contact from initial communication through to sale and after care
  • Track success and review performance to identify areas for improvement and new business opportunities
  • Facilitate communication between departments (everyone has access to customer details via Act Pro) to enhance sales and improve customer service
  • Prioritise and automate tasks to develop automated workflows for scheduling repetitive activities

The legacy challenge

Katharine Helin is one of the directors at 1st Communications. “The main reason we hung onto the old version of Act Pro was because it was working well as a database. We hadn’t had any problems with it. But it was getting quite old; it had reached its end of life six years earlier and, as a result, we’d missed out on a number of enhancements that were available with later versions of the software. It was also incompatible with other programmes like the latest version of Office.”

“Our marketing had come on in leaps and bounds, and we were aware that, by upgrading we’d be able to enhance our customer service and e-marketing significantly. So I spoke to Xperience Group about a possible upgrade and – after looking at a number of options – we decided to go ahead with the latest version of Act Pro.”

A smooth Act upgrade

“I’d be the first one to admit that I’m not an IT expert,” says Katharine. “But, once we’d made the decision to go with the latest version of Act Pro, Xperience couldn’t have been more helpful. They provided lots of guidance in the lead up to the upgrade and spent a whole day training our staff. They then took over the installation, even dealing with the other suppliers who were involved in the upgrade and generally making sure everything went smoothly. It was all very professional, they had everything under control and they made our marketing team feel very comfortable and confident with the new software.”

Improved customer experience

“When did we start to see benefits?” says Katharine. “Right away, really, mainly within our marketing because now we can do all kinds of things in-house that previously had to be outsourced to third-party companies - such as telemarketing and e-shots which can be carried out from within Act Pro. So we’re saving time and money, and we have more control over customer communications in general.”

“In fact the savings we’re making are easily offsetting the cost of the upgrade. In addition we’re delivering enhanced customer service which will enable us to grow the business. Plus we’ve definitely benefited from learning how to use Act! Pro properly – something we never really did with the old version. We’re saving time and generally becoming more efficient by being able to prioritise and automate more tasks, capture customer communications and track opportunities.”

“Act Pro has made my own life much easier. Everyone in our marketing team has access to the software whereas, before, things were left to me. Thanks to Xperience’s training, our people understand how the software works and can see the benefits, for example how Histories and Activities can better manage customer experiences.”

“When a customer phones us we can call-up their details instantly. Many of our customers are on maintenance contracts and we can access these at a click of a mouse whereas before we couldn’t do that. We also have alarms set for the renewal of maintenance contracts and for meetings, etc allowing us to manage calendars and activities efficiently.”

The future

“It’s now four or five months since we went live and everything is running smoothly. The switchover back in the summer was excellent with absolutely no downtime. I can’t praise Xperience enough, I really can’t. They’ve been very professional throughout. Now, as the New Year approaches, I’m confident I’ll be able to explore the latest version of Act Pro software in more detail and continue to shape it to the way we work. But for now we’re taking things steady and not overloading ourselves with too much information. Xperience are there if we need them, but for now we’re managing just fine!”

About 1st Communications

Founded in 1992 and based in Abbey Wood, South London, 1st Communications is one of the UK’s leading suppliers, installers and maintainers of Avaya and Ericsson/LG.