“Rarely am I able to introduce ROI on day one…I am amazed at how something as basic as a phone system has so dramatically transformed our business.” – Dom Pernai, President, Cornerstone Solutions
Challenge: Undo the Mess that Carrier Created
Since 1985, Cornerstone Solutions has provided technology solutions to construction and real estate industries using a variety of tools designed to save its customers time and money. The software reseller employs 15 people who serve more than 1,000 customers in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.
For years, Cornerstone Solutions used analog phones with a major US carrier. When the carrier offered to transition the company to its new VoIP platform, Cornerstone Solutions was on board. It hoped the new technology would provide it with mobility capabilities as well as more robust features. The carrier assured them it would be an “easy” transition. However, within days of the implementation, Dom Pernai, president of Cornerstone Solutions, said that “ineptitude”, “laughable”, and “disaster” were more accurate descriptions of his experience.
“The VoIP never worked the way they said it would,” Pernai explains. “They couldn’t get even the basic services to work, such as voicemail to email transcription, extension dialing or call forwarding to cell phones. Even worse, they started billing us immediately even though it took them a year to get the system functioning. Our sales person told us to ignore the bills until he fixed the issues, but we had a collection agency routinely hassling us.”
The inability to read voicemails in an email resulted in missed opportunities and delayed communications, since many of the Cornerstone Solution employees were traveling and finding it difficult to find time to listen to voicemails. Pernai was exhausted from spending so much of his time with the carrier and the collection agency rather than managing the company. He knew something had to be done. He complained to one of his trusted IT support partners who instantly recommended M5 Networks. They told Pernai about how M5 allowed them to keep their business operating on their desk phones when Chicago was hit with a blizzard that shut down Cornerstone Solutions for nearly two days. Pernai realized that with M5, he could have a truly remote workforce. He called M5 the same day.
Solution: M5 Delivers Robust, Reliable Solution at a Fraction of the Cost
Pernai concedes he was nervous to initiate another transition because of his experience with the major carrier, but during his first call with an M5 account manager, he knew he was in good hands. “Stephen Cook easily and eloquently mapped out how the M5 system would work and helped us implement it flawlessly. I have never encountered better customer service than I did with Stephen,” he says. “It was a nightmare trying to get the carrier to release our phone numbers but Stephen stayed with them, and us, every step of the way without ever losing his patience. He was, and continues to be, phenomenal.”
Because the phones simply plug into an internet router, getting the phones up and running took only minutes. If an employee needs to work from home, they bring their phone home with them and plug it into their home internet router. They can also choose to route incoming calls to their cell phones without the caller seeing their personal cell number. Not only does this capability enable the employees to work from virtually anywhere there is an internet connection, but they can transfer calls to each other despite their locations.
Pernai is especially pleased with the ability for employees to receive transcribed emails from voicemails, something that failed with the previous carrier. Other functions include the user-friendly web portal to customize preferences, such as configuring the number of rings an office/home office phone will ring before it goes to a cell phone. “I was in Hong Kong once and was able to work from my hotel using my soft phone without customers realizing I was out of the office,” says Pernai. “That kind of connectivity opens up a whole world of opportunities.”
The connectivity of which Pernai speaks also permits his employees to more easily communicate. For instance, one employee who works from a home office has poor cell coverage in her house. Mottled phone conversations of the past are now clear using the M5 phone plugged into her internet router. Employees can also use 4-digit extension dialing.
Results: Immediate ROI, True Mobility and Reliability
“Rarely am I able to introduce ROI on day one,” admits Pernai. “But because of M5, our employees can work from home, enabling us to downsize our office space and reduce office expense overhead by two-thirds. Additionally, our phone expense has dropped 50 percent each month compared with what we were spending with our old carrier.”
Cornerstone Solutions has yet to call for M5 support because the system has never failed. No matter where an employee is located, the quality and reliability of the phones remains constant. “With a more dispersed workforce, we can provide better geographical coverage,” says Pernai. “I am amazed at how something as basic as a phone system has so dramatically transformed our business.”