Hosted Phone System – Chichester District Foodbank

Connecting the Community

As the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, Chichester District Foodbank’s existing phone system needed updating quickly to continue to operate and connect with those that needed their help.

Customer Overview

Chichester District Foodbank is a charitable project founded by local churches and community groups, who work together towards stopping hunger in and around Chichester. The foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust’s network of 428 foodbanks, working to tackle food poverty and hunger in local communities, as well as across the UK.

Hear from Joanne Kondabeka, CEO, and Graham Causley, Volunteer, as they discuss their experience of working with Welcomm during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

The Challenge

As the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, Chichester District Foodbank’s existing phone system quickly became overwhelmed with incoming phone calls and messages. After days of missing phone calls, preventing help from reaching those in need, and those wishing to donate being able to speak to someone, it became apparent that the charity missed an immeasurable amount of lost donations from samaritans offering to support the organisation at this critical time.

Having been recommended by one of their volunteers, Chichester District Foodbank turned to Welcomm for help.

Key operational challenges included:

  • An immediate need to move from a single office based analogue line to remote working, supporting multiple roles and users
  • Connecting the main foodbank number seamlessly to a number of operational satellites, each with their own single analogue line
  • Unable to reach different departments internally, resulting in wasted time redirecting callers
  • Delivery drivers having a need to connect with clients and staff using personal mobile devices but not wishing to show their personal numbers, whilst also ensuring GDPR compliance
  • Previously had no means to triage incoming calls, track call volumes to manage staffing or action answerphone messages

Key Solutions

  • Auto Attendant

  • Video Conferencing

  • Hosted Telephony

What we needed from a Partner

Relationships are at the heart of Chichester District Foodbank, and it was crucial to the team that their chosen telephony partner shared their values. The foodbank needed a partner with a can-do attitude, able to quickly supply a resolution to their communication dilemma, whilst supporting a team of staff and volunteers that had limited experience of using a hosted telephony system. 

Having worked with Welcomm in a different role, Graham had confidence that we could deliver bespoke solutions at very short notice. As part of the selection process, it was Welcomm’s customer focus and charity support that made this partnership the perfect fit.

“Relationships are really important, especially within the charity sector. All of Welcomm’s staff were really good – for me, actually, that was the most important factor when choosing to partner with them. Although their products are amazing, I really liked the way Welcomm responded to our needs.”Joanne Kondabeka, CEO

“I really appreciated Welcomm’s help and quick response. Having worked with Welcomm before, I knew that they have an incredible can-do attitude. I have absolute faith in recommending Welcomm to other companies. They use accessible language, and no question is stupid” – Graham Causley, Volunteer

The Solution

Welcomm initially implemented Horizon hosted telephony on a rolling monthly contract for flexibility. This provided an immediate solution to the communication challenges the foodbank was experiencing.

Once this was in place, we then worked closely with Joanne and the team to help improve functionality and efficiency in other areas of the business. For example, the delivery teams were not part of the initial scope, but were added after the original implementation. Following an assessment of this process, Welcomm recommended a number of improvements to enhance operations and communications.

The Outcome

  • Increased the number of donations the Foodbank is able to accept, as callers are able to reach the correct department first time.

  • Helped improve the efficiency of deliveries, thanks to better communication between all internal teams.

  • Every call has been answered. Since the telephony system was deployed, the line has not been engaged.

  • Increased productivity business-wide as staff no longer have to deal with incorrectly routed phone calls.

  • Able to service more of the community.
  • Rural & larger sites are connected seamlessly.

Key Benefits

  • Provided a rapid resolution to an overloaded phone system, enabling critical communication in an unprecedented time of demand – ensuring the foodbank could continue to operate when others had to close.

  • Auto-attendant and recorded messages update callers with the latest COVID-19 guidelines, providing a professional response for callers and saving staff time.

  • Calls are able to be answered immediately, when previously priority callers in need may have experienced long queues and delays.

  • Reduced handset and mobile contract costs, plus the risk of contamination (when sharing mobiles) as the Horizon phone system can be used on any device, in any location – presenting the organisations’ phone number, rather than a personal mobile number. 

Would You Recommend Working With Welcomm?

“Yes I would. Nothing was too much trouble for your team. We had a meeting on a Friday afternoon until 6:30pm to discuss our requirements – most people would want to go home, and yet your team were prepared to work late in order to meet our needs. I found that amazing, to be perfectly honest.” – Joanne Kondabeka, CEO

A Word From Welcomm…

Having spoken to Graham at length about the needs of the organisation, I knew that we were able to help – and quickly. As a Gamma Platinum Partner, hosted telephony is our bread and butter, and through the application of Express Remote-Worker Telephony Licences + a free trial of Horizon’s Collaborate video conferencing platform, we were able to get things moving quickly, whilst keeping costs low. 

Welcomm have worked with Graham before, in another life, when he worked for a different business. To have been thought of three years later when the charity where Graham is now a volunteer required a telephony partner means a lot to us, and speaks of the great relationships we aim to build and maintain with all of our customers. 

To have been able to help, even in a small part, towards the continued operation and success of the Chichester District Foodbank is very satisfying – especially given the incredibly challenging circumstances we too had to overcome to deploy this solution remotely.

Thank you Joanne and Graham for your kind words. We look forward to working closely with your charity in the future.

Luke Stanton

Unified Communications Specialist

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