Using VoIP to Power a Regional Workforce
About In-Home Tutors
Watch Dennis Freeman, founder and Director of In-Home Tutors, talk about he has grown his business from the ground up to learn more about how In-Home Tutors has realized regional success with Vocalocity’s (now Vonage Business Solutions) VoIP phone system to help them stay connected.
Dennis Freeman is the owner of In-Home Tutors, a tutoring company that originated in Atlanta but has steadily grown to include locations in Orlando, Connecticut, Dallas, Detroit, and Nashville. In-Home Tutors works with students of all ages across all subjects in areas like math and SAT-prep for high-school students, adult literacy programs, and skill development for elementary-school students. In-Home Tutors draws from a network of qualified tutors in their cities of operation, and they are able to aid learners of all ages by providing general and specific support for a range of educational courses.
Dennis started the business with a fairly minimal investment, and knew that while he planned to expand his operation over the course of several years, he needed to ensure that his technology and operations resources stayed simple, affordable, and easy to use.
When they began to branch out, In-Home Tutors staffed their regional offices with administrative staff to answer the phones and conduct business. Dennis quickly found that this type of support wasn’t entirely necessary since they were able to operate remotely, and wanted to leverage a phone system to primarily manage all offices from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta.
When In-Home Tutors started, the company was using Bell South (now AT&T) for its business phone system, and decided to use the same company for its first branch – the Orlando office. Unfortunately, he found that traditional, analog system wasn’t allowing his business to operate effectively, and by the time they expanded to Detroit and Connecticut, he knew he needed a more versatile VoIP solution.
Switching to Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions)
The company had expanded to the point that they needed to be able to manage vendors and clients from multiple cities using one unified phone system. Analog lines didn’t allow Dennis to easily connect extensions or communicate across offices like he needed to, but he wasn’t ready to commit to a new phone solution for all of his offices. Dennis was locked into his AT&T contract for several more months, but decided to sign up with Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions) for the regional offices to test out the VoIP service. After experiencing Vocalocity’s (now Vonage Business Solutions) service and features, he decided to leave AT&T completely when his contract ended and ported his main number over to Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions).
He found that VoIP allowed him to connect and operate his offices with ease at a lower cost using the IP phones on one cloud-based phone system. In-Home Tutors’ prime example of using VoIP to stay connected has been how they leverage call group technology. Since Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions) enables its customers to use call groups to ring multiple lines at once, Dennis set up his phones to ring all lines across multiple cities simultaneously. Now, no matter what time it is or if it’s the lunch hour, someone is always around to answer the phone.
“The calls used to go to voicemail, either because there was nobody at the phone or we were on the other line. There’s no question that being able to speak to somebody improves your chances of converting them to a client.”
As they open new offices or require new lines, Dennis notes that it requires a simple call into Customer Support to get everything up and running to make sure his lines are all connected. His team has quickly figured out how to use the phones and the VoIP features very easily, and the administrative staff especially loves being able to forward voicemails across offices.
“A very cool thing we have is the ability to transfer incoming calls to the right person. When a phone call comes in tagged as ‘Nashville,’ it’s easy to just forward that call to the person who manages Nashville. Even though we are all hundreds of miles apart, it’s as easy as if we were all in the same office.”
When parents call in seeking assistance for a student, In-Home Tutors matches their needs with one of their qualified tutors. They source tutors from local job boards, screen them to meet their requirements, and parents find In-Home Tutors through their web marketing and local educational publications. By purchasing local numbers for each of their markets, In-Home Tutors has been able to establish a local presence in each of its operating cities while managing its critical functions from its headquarters in Atlanta.
Dennis’ team now works staggered hours across the United States, and there are always at least two people available to take calls when the phones ring simultaneously across In-Home Tutors’ regional offices. Therefore, if a call is placed in the Detroit region, someone can answer the phone and help that tutor or parent from Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, or any of In-Home Tutors’ other offices, ensuring that business operates smoothly and all leads are best served.
In the AT&T days, Dennis was paying over $140 a month for only two phone lines that couldn’t communicate with one another and could only forward calls. Now that he’s expanded with multiple lines and calculated his savings, he realizes that he’s saving over 80% per month and has the ability to communicate across all lines, use call groups, send voicemail to email, and do so much more that wasn’t possible with his old phone system.
“If it wasn’t for the Internet and advances in VoIP technology, our business would not have been able to grow as it has. The phone system absolutely plays into that. It’s a home-based business and each person has their own phone and is working from their home desk. We can easily communicate with one another and answer any customer query from any city. It simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”
Favorite Benefits of Vocalocity (now Vonage Business Solutions) VoIP
• Tagging and Call Groups: By being able to tag calls and have them simultaneously ring across call groups, In-Home Tutors can quickly and easily identify which call is coming in from which market and answer the query accordingly.
• Local Numbers: Establishing a local presence in each market has allowed the company to expand in six cities while maintaining a local look and feel.
• Online Backup and Storage: The company’s tutor profiles are saved on a secure, shared network drive with allows staff in regional office to access critical data.
Learn More About In-Home Tutors
To learn more about In-Home Tutors, visit their website at http://inhometutors.biz.