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Award-Winning Tax Preparation Firm Uses Avaya IP Telephony to Manage Seasonal Doubling of Workforce

07-31-2006
  • IP Office solution helps Lopez Income Tax Services link five California offices, cut long distance costs by more than a third; Adds "big business" features that fit a "small business" budget

Lopez Income Tax Services turns to new IP telephony solution from Avaya to support its growing operations and accommodate seasonal peaks in its workforce.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – When Lopez Income Tax Services needed a new communications network to support its growing operations and accommodate seasonal peaks in its workforce, the company turned to a new IP telephony solution from Avaya (NYSE:AV). The tax preparation firm now is able to link five company offices across California in a single network and cut ongoing telephony costs by more than a third – while easily managing a doubling in the number of employees on staff during the busy tax season.


Founder of the firm Carlos Lopez says the new solution from Avaya, a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services, also has led to dramatic improvements in customer service – giving his company "big business" features on a "small business" budget.

 

"Our employees can treat customers just as if they were calling a big bank or airline," he said. "So it’s a more professional image.  In fact, the big corporate feel has helped us attract other firms with multiple locations as new clients." When they contact Lopez, callers can choose either Spanish or English.

 

Based on its outstanding service to its customers, as well as to employees and the community, Lopez Income Tax Services has received a 2006 Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 

To support the busy firm, Avaya BusinessPartner AdvanTel designed a solution based on Avaya IP Office, a flexible and easy-to-use converged voice and data system designed for small and medium businesses. The company now is able to link its headquarters in North Salinas with branch offices in East Salinas, Soledad, Gilroy and Marina, which previously operated with stand-alone communications systems.

 

A training center in Salinas where Lopez teaches licensed courses in tax preparation will be added to the network on August 1. Each office mirrors the other — with the same Avaya phones and a host of shared IP Office features to improve efficiency and customer service.

 

"No matter where an employee goes in the company, they are looking at the same equipment and know what to expect," Lopez says. "That means they can go right to work."

 

Even the auto attendant messages and prompts customers hear when they call the company are now standardized across branches, whether the call is received during the regular business day or after hours.

 

Four-digit dialing, built-in conferencing and a central voicemail system make  each office as accessible as if it were next door – helping the company drive significant new growth at branch locations and making it easy to transfer customers to the right contact, regardless of where they are based. In addition, phone bills have plummeted, with long distance costs and the number of phone lines used at each location cut by half.

 

During peak tax preparation times Lopez more than doubles its workforce and now has a telephony system that can quickly and seamlessly integrate new staff members into its operations.

 

"We set up virtual voicemail for seasonal workers," Lopez said. "That means even if multiple users share a workstation, each has their own phone number and voicemail extension and can log in from wherever in the company they are working."


To free up valuable staff time, Lopez Income Tax Services uses an automated IP Office Campaign Manager to enroll students in its tax school. Prospective students are simply routed to the firm’s Information Center, where an interactive voice response solution collects and records the data needed to enroll.

 

For additional efficiency, a call forward to cell phone feature helps the company stay in touch with tax professionals on the go.

 

"That thing is gorgeous," Lopez said. "You simply dial their office extension and don’t have to memorize cell phone numbers in order to reach someone when they are away from the office."


IP telephony also supports the vision Carlos Lopez has for his company’s future. His business plan calls for 20 offices across California and Nevada by 2010 – all linked in a single communication network. He also has formed a new real estate company and plans to use IP Office to support that business as well – with auto attendant prompts routing calls to the appropriate contacts.
 
About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than 1 million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

 

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results.  For more information visit the Avaya website: www.avaya.com.

 

About AdvanTel
AdvanTel is a technology company that designs, configures, installs and supports voice, data and integrated communications solutions for medium and large-scale enterprise clients. 

The company’s solutions are built around industry-best voice and data products. AdvanTel transforms these customizable systems into integrated solutions by adding complementary products from other leading manufacturers and a robust array of support services.  For more information, visit www.advantel.com.

 

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