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International Jewelry Retailer Finds Communications Gold with the RingCentral Unified Cloud Solution

Summary
Global jewelry retailer had difficulty keeping its thousands of employees connected.
They needed not just better phone service but a cloud-based unified communications solution.
With RingCentral, the company is now better connected, has valuable data, and saves money.
Company profile
Company profile:
Four decades after its founders opened their first store in New Zealand to craft and sell distinct jewelry, Michael Hill has grown into a global, publicly traded retailer (ASX/NZX stock symbol: MHJ) with hundreds of stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Today, the company is comprised of more than 2,600 full-time employees handling retail operations, administration, and manufacturing.
Year founded:
1979
EMPLOYEES:
2,600+ employees
Headquarters:
Brisbane, Australia
Website:

Michael Hill is one of the few large jewelry retailers that still employs a full-time staff of master craftsman. But don’t let the company’s commitment to tradition fool you. Michael Hill is a forward-thinking organization, always looking for new ways to leverage technology to improve its operations.

“Tech has played an even bigger role in our company over the last few years, as retail has become more of a data-driven industry,” explains Ricardo Rampersad, Infrastructure and Cloud Systems Engineer for Michael Hill. “We’ve become more sophisticated at leveraging software and data analytics, for example, to forecast sales cycles, so we can make better decisions about when to advertise or ramp up production of specific types of products.”

As the company found technology becoming increasingly important across its operations, Michael Hill’s IT team recognized its communications infrastructure needed an overhaul. “We were trying to keep thousands of employees connected globally across hundreds of locations using decentralized, disparate phone systems that lacked many new business capabilities,” Rampersad recalls. “We needed a modern enterprise communications solution designed for a distributed global and mobile workforce. We needed not just a new phone system but a single global communications solution that would include a phone system with additional audio and video conferencing, online team messaging, and call reporting and analytics.”

Searching for standardization, efficiency, and cost savings

“Our old phone infrastructure created several challenges for the company,” says Rampersad. “Because it lacked centralization and reporting capability, we had no visibility into how many calls we were receiving in given areas at given times. So we had no way to intelligently forecast how many reps we’d need at our service desk.”

“Managing and troubleshooting these phone systems across our locations was also difficult and not the best use of our tech team’s time.”

This lack of centralization also created other challenges in employee communication. “Because our employees are spread across several 

continents and need to communicate regularly, we were getting hit with high costs for internal office-to-office calls—because we were being charged at the international dialing rates.”

“Finally, because our solution was on-prem, our whole communications infrastructure was vulnerable to outages and other potential on-site disasters. We couldn’t afford the risk of a single point of failure. So we knew we had to replace our on-prem systems with a cloud-based global communications solution.”

RingCentral unified communications is the clear choice

During a conversation with a technology vendor, Michael Hill’s operations team mentioned the headaches the company was having with its on-premises phone system. The vendor suggested they talk with RingCentral, which had just opened offices in Australia. “The rest is history,” says Rampersad.

“RingCentral is a global organization, capable of scaling up and adapting quickly to meet the changing needs of a company as large and as geographically distributed as Michael Hill. We also really appreciated

that we could integrate so much of our communications functionality into a single app: virtual phone numbers our employees could use anywhere, automated greetings at our stores, call center features for our service desk, audio and video conferencing, online team messaging, and even call reporting and analytics.”

“It became obvious pretty quickly that RingCentral was the solution to go with.”

Benefiting the entire organization

“Even during our proof of concept with RingCentral, we could already see the benefits of this new functionality we’d never had before,” Rampersad says. “For example, we set up a hunt group for our IT service desk, a single number any employee anywhere in the world could call for support and get routed to the right tech. Just that feature alone helped us greatly improve our responsiveness and effectiveness in helping our worldwide staff.”

“By deploying the auto attendant, we could set up prerecorded messages on these lines. So if an employee was calling because a service was down and they could hear a recorded explanation and instructions before speaking to a tech, the person could just address it and save everyone time.”

Now Michael Hill is able to use analytics not only to forecast when to ramp up its production or advertising efforts but also when to staff up their customer call centers.

“RingCentral’s call data reporting and analytics let us monitor how many calls we’re receiving and when that traffic spikes and falls. This is helping us modify our rostering to be more efficient—which is saving us money.”

As mentioned, Michael Hill has offices all over the world, including a number of employees based out of their Canadian office.

“Thanks to the RingCentral mobile app, we’re now able to give employees more flexibility than ever. When a snowstorm in Canada makes road travel difficult and dangerous, for example, those employees can be just as productive and connected to the rest of the company while working from home.”

“I also have to say we’ve found RingCentral’s team a tremendous help to work with. They’ve been phenomenal at making this migration as simple as possible and being there for us whenever we need them.”

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