Katie Evans , Managing Editor, International Research
On-Net Agents, Trunks On-Demand Transform Telecom for Top Retailer
Farmingdale, New York (September 16, 2009) – Nectar Services Corp., a provider of managed VoIP communications services and a wholly owned subsidiary of Juma Technology Corp. (OTC: JUMT), today highlighted the remote agent solution and on-demand telecommunications capabilities delivered to 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® (NASDAQ: FLWS), the world`s largest florist and gift shop.
The prominent online and phone-order retailer is benefitting from tremendous cost savings on their telecom expenses by employing Nectar’s Enterprise Session Management (nectar/ESM) solution.
“The Nectar/ESM solution has allowed us to begin consolidating our voice and data networks while providing the on-demand flexibility to handle our seasonal needs,” said Steve Bozzo, Chief Information Officer for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.
With drastic peaks in call volume and an army of Home Agents, 1-800-FLOWERS was paying costly fees to enable Remote Home Agents, such as Internet access and long-distance toll charges. The retailer also paid year-round for the additional telephone circuits that were only utilized during the height of their sales cycle: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the December holidays.
Nectar’s Enterprise Session Management (nectar/ESM) solution allows 1-800-FLOWERS to pay only for the call capacity that they need, when they need it. During those dramatic spikes in call activity, the retailer now uses Nectar to add more call capacity and handle the increased volume. When the heavy call volume subsides, 1-800-FLOWERS simply reduces capacity back to normal levels; drastically reducing telecom spending with Nectar’s pay-as-you-go model.
1-800-FLOWERS is also reaping cost savings via Nectar’s remote home agent solution. The home agents now link to the 1-800-FLOWERS global contact center via a secured Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connection using a custom built configuration. With home agents connected to the 1-800-FLOWERS network via Nectar, the company is now able to eliminate the significant toll charges that were traditionally associated with their home-based workers.
“We continuously hear about the cost efficiencies of home-based workers, but in the Avaya-Citrix environment of 1-800-FLOWERS, and so many call centers, the home-based agents were accruing additional toll charges for every call they handled. Paying those extra per-call fees drove the company’s phone bills through the roof and really made the model cost-prohibitive,” said Joseph Fuccillo, Chief Technology Officer for Nectar.
“With Nectar, we made the home agent model work for 1-800-FLOWERS by eliminating those long-distance toll charges. By greatly reducing the cost for U.S. based home-agents, we’ve put the domestic model nearly on par with overseas rates, which enables 1-800-FLOWERS to continue employing workers right here in the states,” continued Fuccillo.
Fuccillo noted that 1-800-FLOWERS was able to change the company’s business strategy for home-based workers and re-design a new program centered around the U.S. Home Agent strategy.
“Nectar also gave 1-800-FLOWERS complete telecom autonomy. We’ve provided them with the ability to dictate how much usage they need to pay for at any given time, and to manage that volume themselves. It’s an extremely powerful solution with astronomical hard-dollar savings.”
Technical & Economic Challenges for Home Agent Solution
To staff its virtual contact center, 1-800-FLOWERS employs a large number of Home Agents that use the Avaya IP Agent platform in a dual-connect mode, which essentially utilizes the Remote Agent’s home phone line to make and receive calls. The retailer also maintains a Citrix environment to deliver its Point of Sale and Avaya applications. Within this Avaya-Citrix environment, the Home Agents’ VoIP phones will only operate with limited functionality, because the Citrix environment does not support VoIP applications.
By operating in this limited functionality mode, 1-800-FLOWERS was paying toll charges for every call routed from the global call center to their pool of home agents. During the holiday season, home agents handle tens of thousands of calls every day, all of which were carrying a per call toll charge.
Nectar created a virtual dial plan of more than 20,000 local Direct Inward Dials (DIDs) and custom built a soft phone for the Home Agents. With the virtual dial plan, the Home Agents now use Nectar’s virtual local number whenever they launch the Citrix-based soft phone. The deployment of this virtual dial plan effectively eliminated the per-call, long-distance toll charges across the entire army of Home Agents.
Addressing Drastic Call Volume Spikes
1-800-FLOWERS maintained a large number of telephony access circuits across multiple Avaya Communication Manager deployments. These access circuits were fully utilized during the holiday peaks, yet remained significantly under-utilized during the remainder of the year.
Nectar’s SIP-trunking, nationwide DID coverage and self-management portal enables 1-800-FLOWERS to trunk on-demand during peak calling seasons and eliminate those under utilized circuits and the monthly costs associated with them. With Nectar, 1-800-FLOWERS now utilizes their IP network for voice services.
Anthony M. Servidio, Chief Executive Officer of Nectar’s parent company, Juma Technology Corp., added “We’re in the business of saving companies money. Our Nectar solution transformed the way 1-800-FLOWERS viewed their telecommunications expenses. Nectar drastically reduced their telecom spend and improved operational efficiencies.”
About Nectar Services Corp. (www.nectarcorp.com)
Nectar Services Corp is an IP communications firm specializing in managed services for voice and data networks. Nectar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Juma Technology Corp. (OTCBB:JUMT), maintains a suite of service platforms: Enterprise Session Management (ESM), Hosted Telephony Systems (HTS) and the Converged Management Platform (CMP). The Nectar offerings preserve investments in existing telecommunications systems while transitioning to IP and provide advanced monitoring and management for complex networks. These innovative solutions deliver significant cost savings, inherent business continuity, intelligent call routing and the centralization of both applications and management. Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nectarcorp.
About 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is the world`s leading florist and gift shop. For more than 30 years, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. has been providing customers with fresh flowers and the finest selection of plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods, confections, balloons and plush stuffed animals perfect for every occasion. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM(R) (1-800-356-9377 or www.1800flowers.com), was listed as a Top 50 Online Retailer by Internet Retailer in 2006, as well as 2008 Laureate Honoree by the Computerworld Honors Program and the recipient of ICMI`s 2006 Global Call Center of the Year Award. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM offers the best of both worlds: exquisite arrangements created by some of the nation`s top floral artists and hand-delivered the same day, and spectacular flowers shipped overnight Fresh From Our Growers(R). As always, 100% satisfaction and freshness are guaranteed. Also, visit 1-800-Flowers en Espanol (www.1800flowersenespanol.com). The Company`s BloomNet(R) international floral wire service provides (www.mybloomnet.net) a broad range of quality products and value-added services designed to help professional florists grow their businesses profitably.
Nectar Services Corp.
Melissa Nacerino, 646-291-8264
Melissa J. Nacerino
Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications
Nectar Services Corp.
370 Lexington Avenue, Suite 608
New York, NY 10017