We were already eyeing RingCentral to help enable our company’s growth and our plans for increased staff mobility. COVID accelerated that plan, and we couldn’t be happier with our decision.
The internet’s best wine site, according to many publications
Wine enthusiasts already know about K&L Wine Merchants. But for the uninitiated: K&L is a leading eCommerce retailer of wines and spirits from all over the world. Specializing in rare and collectible wines, K&L also has full-time experts accessible by phone and email to help customers make the best selections and locate hard-to-find products.
The company’s inventory of thousands of wines, combined with its global reach and unmatched in-house expertise, have led to an enormous number of industry awards. To cite just a few of dozens, K&L has been named “Best Wine Website in the US” by the Wall Street Journal, “One of the Nation’s Top 10 Wine Retailers” by Wine Spectator, and “The Internet’s Best Wine Site” by Money Magazine.
Another reason for K&L’s continued growth and industry accolades has been the company’s outstanding customer support. As San Francisco Magazine wrote, “When you want service from someone who knows Petrus from plonk, insiders have rightly called K&L a mecca.”
Wanting to protect and foster this reputation for excellent customer service, K&L decided it was time to upgrade its legacy telephony system.
An on-prem phone system that had soured
Brian Zucker, Co-Owner of K&L Wine Merchants, points out that the company’s on-prem phone system had been causing operational challenges for years. “We have several retail stores, but the phone system sent all customer calls into one site, where our support agents then had to route some of those calls to different locations,” Brian explains. “But the system often had difficulty connecting those site-to-site calls.”
As Brian also notes, K&L’s telephony system didn’t provide any real-time visibility into call volume or the ability for the team to view call traffic patterns:
Without the ability to see our call data, we had trouble staffing our call center effectively. Our choice was to over-staff our customer support operations, which wouldn’t be financially advantageous, or risk being understaffed and create a poor customer experience.
Retail & Consumer Products
Redwood City, CA
Equally frustrating, Brian notes, was the fact that K&L’s senior management team wanted to create a more flexible, mobile working environment for its staff—and to be able to hire experts from out of the area. But with the limitations of the company’s decade-old phone system, those goals weren’t achievable.
RingCentral adds mobility, scalability, and productivity
K&L solved these challenges—and created several important operational improvements—when Brian rolled out the RingCentral MVP unified communications platform and the digital customer support platform RingCentral Contact Center.
And as Brian also explains, because RingCentral is so intuitive and user-friendly—unlike K&L’s previous telephony platform—the company’s phone system will no longer be a hindrance to growth and expansion. “Setting up new users, adding people to call queues, we can do those things so easily and securely through the RingCentral admin portal that we can now really focus on scaling up.”
But the most significant benefit has been moving K&L’s customer support agents onto RingCentral Contact Center—which, like the rest of the RingCentral suite, they can access from anywhere, using any connected device.
With the callback feature in RingCentral Contact Center, if we have a sudden spike in calls, we can give customers the option to keep their place in the queue and receive a callback when an agent is available. That means we can keep our current level of staff and still deliver a great customer experience.”
As Brian explains, these and other RingCentral capabilities helped K&L’s customer support team continue operating at full speed through the COVID lockdowns, something he believes would have been impossible with the company’s previous phone system.
Contact Center made all the difference for us as COVID hit. With our old system, there was just no way we could’ve handled a transition to a 100% remote customer support staff. But because we had RingCentral Contact Center, that transition was completely seamless.