Helloworld is a new travel retail brand in New Zealand with a long history of creating lasting travel memories in New Zealand. Formerly operated as Stella Travel Services, HelloWorld brings together former Harvey World Travel stores, Air New Zealand Holidays stores and some United Travel stores. As the new face for some 70 retail stores nationwide, including 10 owned by the company along with some 60 franchised outlets, HelloWorld creates what is New Zealand’s largest travel group. In 2016, helloworld approached Cogent seeking a standardised telecommunications solution.
Multiple telecommunications providers: the helloworld network was being serviced by a wide range of different telecommunication providers from Vodafone and Spark through to small local providers.
This meant there were varying degrees of service and pricing across the different outlets, along with outdated and inefficient systems and hardware. As the operator of a franchise model, helloworld wanted to transform telecommunications service for its franchisees into a value-add offering.
The solution needed to cater for the variation in technological capabilities of all its customers, many of whom are small business owners accustomed to one long-term provider and older equipment. helloworld sought a standardised solution that would provide its franchisees with:
- Up-to-date, agile and flexible communications
- User-friendly – minimal training required
- Cost-effective - Simple pricing model with cost certainty
- Reliable, responsive, managed service
Solution Cloud-based service
Cogent proposed a cloud-based managed service that would deliver full telephony and internet service in one package to outlets in the helloworld network.
The service - and its implementation - would be lead and fully managed on and off-site by Cogent including the provision of new phones, headsets and routers and all networking needs. Simple pricing: helloworld outlets would pay per user per the month in a fixed price all-inclusive bundle delivering full telephony and internet needs and service.
Agile and scalable
The solution would provide multiple ways to scale and enhance service including linking stores owned by the same business, and a range of add-ons such as web-based security cameras.
“We explored a range of partners and Cogent’s solution was very compelling solution all-round. It was a no-brainer,”Chris Siebert
As part of its offering, Cogent led an initial pilot in August 2016 of the cloud-based solution with two helloworld-owned outlets. It fully managed the project working directly with the sites on their call flow requirements and reporting back to head office daily.
Rolling out the solution
Following the success of the pilot, Cogent has taken the full offering to the wider helloworld business with all 10 of helloworld’s owned stores the first to transition. For each site, the implementation is carried out over several weeks involving installation of data circuits and routers, new phones and headsets.
Cogent manages the implementation process, working with existing telecommunications providers and site owners to ensure smooth transitions whilst keeping helloworld head office updated daily.
“Cogent project managers are exceptional. Implementation is smooth, communications are fantastic. We loved how they owned the entire project. It made things very easy.”Chris Siebert
With roll-out initiated in September 2016, so far 17 outlets have transitioned to the cloud-based solution. It has resulted in 25%-30% cost savings for helloworld-owned stores whilst for franchised outlets, overall savings are likely to be more, depending on the provider they are migrating from. And, for owners with multiple stores, being able to link telephony systems between stores is one of the initial additional advantages they’re discovering – with plenty more available.
Taking franchisees on a journey
Cogent is supporting helloworld in taking the solution to its wider franchisee network around the country participating in quarterly presentations to its customers as the brand’s preferred and recommended telecommunications service.
For each site the implementation is carried out over several weeks involving installation of data circuits and routers, new phones and headsets.
Smooth end-to-end process
Cogent puts in place pre-implementation, implementation and post-implementation plans to ensure customer confidence. To minimise disruption, as much testing as possible is carried out offsite with onsite tests scheduled outside peak times. For the necessary short drop in functionally required for migration to the cloud server, Cogent ensures helloworld outlets are fully informed at the pre-implementation stage as to which functions would be affected, allowing time to plan and implement to ensure customer service continues.
“Having Cogent’s telephony solution as part of our platform is a huge value-add to us and our customers.”Chris Siebert