Communication has never been a problem for Vita Olmsted. She’s a straight shooter, and her communication style is direct and verbal.
“I’m a talker,” she said. “I will talk everybody through everything.”
In her role as Information Technology Manager for Behavioral Perspective Inc. (BPI), a company that provides therapy for children with autism and special abilities, Olmsted is in charge of making sure the company’s 173 employees have clear lines of communication with each other and their customers.
When she sensed the team at BPI wasn’t maximizing the benefits of its powerful internal and external communication solution, Verizon One Talk, Olmsted cranked up the communication between her IT team and the rest of the company.
She started by consulting with BPI’s Verizon account manager, Elliot Villarreal, who Olmsted said has become a trusted ongoing partner since he took over the account earlier this year. Together, they talked at length about BPI’s current business needs and communication challenges, and discussed ways to optimize communications for the BPI team and the customers they serve.
Then Olmsted asked her fellow BPI employees how they were using One Talk, and what features of the system were invaluable in helping them do their jobs.
Then, she listened.
“If I ever say anything to anybody, it’s ‘always involve your users in your decision making,’” Olmsted said. “I’ve worked with users long enough to know that any project is going to be 10 times harder if you don’t have buy-in from them.”
With input from BPI’s One Talk users, guidance from Verizon and help from Mary Vicich, Human Resources Generalist for BPI, Olmsted took the lead and set a course for improving the company’s internal communications and maximizing the benefits of One Talk in coordinating calls coming in from the outside.
Now, having implemented a few key changes, Olmsted said One Talk is being better embraced by BPI employees, allowing them to work smarter and better communicate with each other and their clientele.
We were able to set up our schedulers with Native Dialer so that calls could be routed during and outside of business hours. That was a wonderful workaround offered by One Talk.”
Vita Olmsted, IT Manager, Behavioral Perspective Inc.
Helping kids find their voices presents its own challenges
BPI offers Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy to children, mostly ages 3 to 8, through a mix of in-clinic therapy sessions, in-home visits, telehealth conferencing and school consultations at any of its seven Illinois-based clinics (an eighth office is located in Austin, Texas).
To provide their customers with exceptional care and telehealth visits, BPI deployed Verizon One Talk—a cloud-based business phone system—as a solution to improve the receiving and routing of incoming office calls. One Talk allows business calls to ring on multiple devices, including laptop computers and individual business lines.
To optimize the system, Olmsted consulted with BPI staff regarding their device preferences and quickly discovered employees preferred making or receiving calls on their mobile phones rather than their laptop computers, especially when working one-on-one with their customers.
“It’s kind of hard when you’re working with autistic children to open a computer to make a phone call,” Olmsted said.
She also discovered that many employees were using other devices outside of OneTalk to make phone calls, meaning they had no need for a company-issued business phone line that was costing BPI money every month.
Figuring there had to be a better way to position the team for success, Olmsted and the IT team consulted with Villarreal in an effort to make the most of the many solutions One Talk provides.
Clear lines of communication lead to real solutions
One of the first steps taken by the IT team to solve the BPI’s communications problems was determining which employees weren’t using or needing their business lines. By shrinking the number of lines issued to BPI employees, the company saved thousands of dollars and honed in on the communications solutions that made the most sense for One Talk users.
The cost savings also played a big role in implementing a second big solution—the incremental installation of desktop phones in the various BPI offices. Verizon offers a series of over-the-internet One Talk Desk Phones specifically designed to take advantage of the various solutions offered by One Talk.
I’m installing all the phones into the clinics now. When I was putting phones in offices recently and showing them how to use it, they were very happy about it. And the ones that found the laptops cumbersome to use, now they’re extremely happy.”
— Vita Olmsted, IT Manager, Behavioral Perspective Inc.
The IT team also brought BPI employees’ personal cell phones into the company’s One Talk system. This allows them to have their business calls routed to their BPI-issued Verizon cell phones so they won’t miss calls while away from a clinic, often referred to as the Native Dialer experience.
With the One Talk app on their phones, BPI employees can take advantage of several key features of One Talk, including:
Incoming callers are automatically greeted and offered a set of options to route their call to the best available contact.
If a customer calls with a specific question or need, the call can be routed to a group of BPI subject experts who are able schedule their availability to take the calls.
Voicemail to Email
This feature sends audio recordings of voicemail messages to an email address, so even if a BPI staffer misses a call when they’re not in front of a phone, they’ll see a voicemail when they check their email.
These One Talk features are among the many in place to help users avoid missed calls and ensure callers know their calls have been received.
BPI first implemented Native Dialer with its scheduling team. “We were able to set up our schedulers with Native Dialer so that calls could be routed during and outside of business hours,” Olmsted said. “That was a wonderful workaround offered by One Talk.”
The IT team also set up each office with its own Hunt Group rules, making it easier to analyze and manage the call data each office produces. “Now I can look at the data and say, ‘You know what? The Aurora clinic is getting X amount of calls every day.’ Before, all the offices were in one group and we’d have to go through spreadsheets and sort out data,” Olmsted said.
It’s kind of hard when you’re working with autistic children to open a computer to make a phone call.”
Vita Olmsted, IT Manager, Behavioral Perspective Inc.
Incremental changes produce immediate results
The mission at Behavioral Perspective is to help solve the communication challenges of their subjects, helping children on the autism spectrum find their voices. To do that more effectively, the team at BPI used One Talk to overcome its own communication challenges.
By identifying and issuing lines only to BPI employees who need them to do their work, BPI is saving thousands of dollars the company can reinvest into purchasing tools such as One Talk Phones that improve the overall performance of the system. With a better performing system, fewer calls are being missed or dropped.
And now that the system is optimized for the company’s needs, the available reporting helps BPI officials make better staffing decisions to support their customers.
With Verizon’s ongoing assistance, Olmsted and the IT team have identified the key tools in One Talk to help Behavioral Perspective operate more efficiently. Callers are finding it easier to schedule appointments and connect with the right people within the company. Workers are able to communicate internally using One Talk messaging tools, and better connect with customers through a system that is proving easier to use more and more every day.
With a better understanding of how BPI staffers were using One Talk’s sophisticated features and functionality, Olmsted and the IT team were able to optimize the solution.
“Now, with Elliot’s help, we’re working towards getting it to a more manageable place,” she said. “I’m really happy right now.”
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