FASTSIGNS is a global business to business sign and graphic franchisor. Since 1985, FASTSIGNS has helped businesses and organizations with custom sign and graphics solutions. There are currently over 700 locations in 9 countries. Karrie Brock is the owner of the Toledo and Maumee, Ohio franchise locations and, has been in the sign manufacturing industry for 23 years.
When Karrie Brock, owner of two FASTSIGNS franchise locations, was referred to Aline Phone Systems, her business needed a more user-friendly system and better customer service. Aline has fulfilled these needs and, in the process, solved some lingering problems. Since the implementation of Aline, the business has added more value at an affordable cost.
The Challenges: Lack of understanding and support with the previous provider, and using two different phone solutions at each location.
Karrie Brock was lacking simplicity, reliable customer support, and a unified phone solution at her two FASTSIGNS locations. The previous provider was a local company, Buckeye Broadband. However, the problem was that the system was a challenge to use and the technical support was absent when they needed it. Karrie has this to say, “It was something we felt we never had control of. The training was intense and it was never easy for us to use the system. They had zero real tech support; it felt like we could never talk to someone and we didn’t understand the system”.
The other issue was that each center was using a different phone solution. While the Toledo location was using Buckeye Broadband, The Maumee location was using Google Voice. This made it impossible to transfer calls between centers and Google Voice was not a solution built to scale. Karrie stated, “Free services don’t always come with customer service. It was unrealistic to think that we would ever get any customer support or tech assistance using a free service”. She needed a solution.
The Solution: A Cloud-Based VoIP Phone System.
Karrie decided to contact other phone service providers for a solution but she never heard back from many of them. Thankfully, she was recommended to Aline through personal contact, and ever since she’s never looked back. Both centers implemented brand new phones from Yealink and Karrie adopted the communicator desktop and mobile apps.
The communicator desktop app allows calls to be transferred with the click of a mouse, see who’s on a call, access voicemail, and much more. The mobile app allows for the ability to send and receive business calls from anywhere without providing a personal cell phone number. The system has provided the ability to have individualized voicemail boxes for all employees. Additionally, changes to settings like inbound call routing and adding on-hold messages can be done from the Aline admin portal.
The Benefits: User-friendliness, Unified locations, Enhanced professional appearance, and more value for the same price.
Aline Phone Systems has provided superior customer support, bridged both centers under one system, enhanced professionalism, and is a cost-effective solution.
After both FASTSIGNS locations began using Aline, the simplicity of the system became clear. Karrie and her staff no longer have the frustration of working with a system they don’t understand. Specifically, one key challenge with their previous provider was the difficulty of uploading on hold messages into the account. Karrie elaborated on the navigation of this Buckeye vs Aline, “With Buckeye, it was a process and difficult to get to where you needed to upload. Yours is right there, click of a button, do it, done”.
Aline has increased the business’s flexibility. Ever since the adoption of the communicator desktop and mobile apps, Karrie can work from anywhere. For example. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked from the safety of her home. She said, “The communicator saved us during the COVID-19 business shutdowns. We were an essential business printing COVID signs and I could be in the comfort of my home, working on sales and communicate with my husband who was handling our printer and production at that point at the shop”. Plus, since the mobile app’s caller ID is always the business number, she no longer has to provide her cell phone number. Work contacts and personal contacts are separate.
When both locations were merged under one unified solution, communication has been streamlined and professionalism enhanced. For example, at times, inbound calls that come to one center need to be transferred to the other. “It’s much easier and provides a better customer experience than having to provide a phone number to the customer. I can simply hit an extension and it can go to Maumee” said Karrie. Also, communicating with an employee at another is as simple as hitting a button to dial the extension and every employee has their own extension and voicemail box- something they didn’t have before. FASTSIGNS operates in the business to business space, therefore a professional appearance is vital for customer success. Aline has delivered.
Eliminating two different phone systems and adding Aline not only provided many new tools and advantages, the affordability of the system is a pleasant surprise.
Also, the customer experience has been a major improvement. Aline’s customer support team is 100% US-based and headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. Anytime Karrie or her staff have questions or need assistance, the Aline staff is there to assist. Karrie added, “I don’t know why you wouldn’t switch. The customer service by far sells the program and the service. It’s seamless to transition. We didn’t have any downtime and no real learning curve to use the system”.