• Communication Solutions

RAES AUTOGROEP OPTIMISES INTERNAL COMMUNICATION WITH LICOM AND PANASONIC

Panasonic has partnered with Licom to upgrade RAES Autogroep communication systems and customer service.

This new Panasonic communication solution suits our company and the growth that we envisage perfectly.”

Ives Lingier, CEO of Licom

Client – RAES Autogroep
Location – Bruges, Belgium
Products Supplied – KX-NS1000
Challenge

To successfully overhaul RAES Autogroep's communication platform to successfully transfer calls between garages and improve customer service.

Solution

To install Panasonic's KX-NS1000 communication platform to connect the different sites with each other and IP telephones are used in all locations.


RAES Autogroep is a Bruges family business that focuses on the Volkswagen, Audi SEAT and SKODA car brands. Over the past 30 years Garage Raes has expanded from one garage to six different sites, including its own bodywork affiliate and there are now over 85 employees. However, in the communication area, innovation still lagged significantly behind according to Nico Raes, manager at RAES Autogroep.

“The biggest problem was the internal communication between the different sites,” explains Nico Raes. “Because these sites were all established at different times, they each had their own telephone exchange with a separate telephone contract and numbering system. Even for internal communication we made use of the outside lines which led to overburdened lines and high bills.”

The cumbersome telephone system also created a difficult situation for customer service. Transfers of calls and the elaborate numbering system were the biggest problem areas.

"Overall, this solution ensures improved ease of use and lower telephone costs for RAES Autogroep.”

Nico Raes: “A customer would phone one garage and end up being connected at a different site, this led to constant call transfers from one garage to another via the outside lines. It not only cost the employees a great deal of time but it overburdened the telephone lines and resulted in a structural added cost. It was also difficult to know whether colleagues were available. Sometimes after phoning a number of times, a customer would end up at the reception where he originally phoned. To guarantee optimal customer service we had to search for a solution.”

Integrated solution

RAES Autogroep searched and found this solution at Licom, a system integrator for all types of communication solutions. Ives Lingier, CEO of Licom, advised Garage Raes to overhaul the entire communication system.

“The situation was too complex to offer a solution with simple modifications. The decision was made to replace the entire system of RAES Autogroep with a uniform system that works on a single telephone exchange. A centralised telephone system was created in which all communication, including all internal communication between the different sites, takes place via a VOIP network. This way, the outside lines are less burdened, a new uniform numbering system is created and there is only one telephone contract to manage. Overall, this solution ensures improved ease of use and lower telephone costs for RAES Autogroep.”


A Panasonic KX-NS1000 communication platform is used to connect the different sites with each other and IP telephones are used in all locations, with robust wireless handsets for the workshops. The telephone exchange connects over 30 DECT devices and 55 IP desk telephones. It’s an ideal fusion between connectivity and mobility.

Built-in redundancy

Possible downtime of the communication platform, which would be detrimental to a commercial group like RAES Autogroep, was also taken into account in the new solution. Redundancy was built in by installing a second exchange at a separate site. If the primary unit fails, an automatic system backup is activated.

This provides a highly flexible service to support the crucial communication of the company. Thanks to remote supervision by Licom, maintenance and service are carried out at a distance. The system can be modified in no time, so that RAES Autogroep can continue its activities at all times without any sort of downtime.

Ives Lingier: “The Panasonic KX-NS1000 is a well-considered choice. Using this solution we were able to centralise all the lines and create a uniform numbering system. This way, transferring between the different sites and services is very simple. The centralisation and uniformity ensure that customers are helped faster and at the same time result in enormous cost savings. The cost of discussions between sites disappears and employees are more productive because they work more efficiently.

Reachable at one number. All the time, anywhere.

Mobile integrated solution

Licom even went a step further and provided a communication solution with mobile integration. Thanks to this, employees can answer calls to their fixed-line number with their smartphone and customers can reach their contact, even if he is not at the office. This also provides flexibility for the administrative personnel as they can work from different sites and keep using their telephone number.

RAES Autogroep also integrated Unified Communications (UC) into its communication solution. All the Panasonic devices at RAES Autogroep are linked to this UC solution so that it is possible to transfer someone or see whether a colleague is available with the press of a button.

“It was important for us to improve the level of the internal communication, but definitely our customer service too,” explains Nico Raes. “If an employee is on the phone, he will be shown by the UC solution as busy. The reception can then immediately report to the customer that he’s not available, look for another colleague or take a message to return the call. This new Panasonic communication solution suits our company and the growth that we envisage perfectly.”