Case Study: Black Country Chamber of Commerce

Black Country Chamber of Commerce engages more clients, more often, using Unified Communications
Organisation: Black Country Chamber of Commerce & Industry (


The Black Country Chamber is 1 of 56 accredited Chambers of Commerce in the UK. As a membership organisation, it represents around 1,500 businesses employing over 56,000 employees across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Owned by its members, it offers business support on a huge range of business issues whilst at the same time raising its members profile and helping them to develop a wider sales network. Members are encouraged to get involved in Policy and Lobbying activities to help demonstrate its ‘strength in numbers' approach. The chamber employs 32 staff across its four locations.

When Business Link and Black Country Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) de-merged in 2007, it provided the Chamber with an ideal opportunity to review its complete technical infrastructure requirements. An essential part of this review was the selection of a new telephony system.

Executive Officer at BCCC Lindsay Slater explains; "As part of the de-merger process we had to look for new offices throughout our region. This provided us with an opportunity to select a communications system that would more closely match our business and operational requirements. As we had staff spread over four locations we wanted a solution that would allow us to seamlessly connect everyone from a single point."

Solution – A new software-based Unified Communications solution installed at the head office with new functionality extended to all branch sites

BCCC reviewed a number of phone systems before finally selecting a ‘pure’, software, IP-based Unified Communications solution from Swyx, Lindsay Slater comments on the selection, "When we saw it, we were all very impressed with the system. It offered so much more than anything else we had looked at up until that point. The Rich Presence feature, combined with seamless call routing, call recording and call conferencing all integrated into a single communications system provided everything we needed."

The Swyx solution was rolled out to their main office in Walsall and their 3 satellite offices in Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.

Features and Benefits

  • Staff are available to more clients more often

"With the introduction of Swyx" says Lindsay, "We have been able to consolidate our reception facility into a single location that can handle all incoming calls. The ‘Presence function’ then enables our receptionist to transfer the call quickly to the most appropriate person, regardless of where they are located. Then in the event that they are not available based on their ‘presence’ status, it will then re-route to the next most appropriate person or department. This means we can serve our clients so much better because in most cases we are able to connect them to the right person when they first call in, without any frustrating call-backs."

She continues, "For the user it’s very simple, whichever office or desk they sit at, they simply log-in and immediately they are on-line and available to our clients."

Furthermore, according to the Chamber, it doesn’t matter whether they are in the office or not, as they can re-route the calls directly to mobile phones or to their home offices.

  • Call Recording

Swyx provides unlimited call recording as standard, this enables the chamber to record complex calls so important details are not missed when a client calls in. "Often a client will call with a complex technical issue that needs our help, rather than taking notes or risk missing an important detail, I ask the client if they are happy that we record the conversation. We can replay the conversation at a later date, ensuring that we deal with the request in the most efficient, professional and timely manner." says Lindsay.

  • Inter-office communication is simple, effective and toll free

Another benefit for the Chamber of using Swyx is that inter-office communications is now far more efficient, "I really like the secure Instant Messaging that Swyx provides, for short quick conversations I can interact with staff members without using email or using the phone. On occasions when a phone call is necessary if the called party is engaged I can send a ‘call-back request’ which means they will call me as soon as they have finished their call. This is very useful as it saves time on recalls when everyone is busy…..and of course as Swyx is now an integrated part of our inter-office network infrastructure all calls between offices are free."

  • Teleconferencing

The Swyx solution also provides teleconferencing as part of its standard package. This enables BCCC’s staff to hold both internal and external conference calls without having to dial-in to a third-party service or pay any additional fees. This feature is particularly useful when a client needs help from several different experts who needs to address a common issue.

  • Secure & Reliable communications tool

Lindsay says, "Our Swyx solution is supported by Ortiga and they have been extremely helpful and knowledgeable about supporting a unified Communication system that exactly meets the needs of our business. They have a genuine interest in us as a client and they always come back in timely manner without the need to chase when we need support. We rely on them to point us in the right direction in terms of how we can continue to develop and enhance what Swyx can do for us."


Lindsay concludes, "We are very happy with the Swyx solution and it has met and exceeded all our expectations. We would have no hesitation in recommending Swyx to other Chambers as it has served both ourselves and clients very well over the last five years."

Summary of Benefits

  • Enhanced Customer Service – BCCC can provide more responsive service due to call routing, call recording and Rich Presence
  • Mobility - Key staff can have calls re-routed to their mobile phones
  • Home or Flexible Working – Fully supported for both access to network and telephony regardless of location
  • Virtual centralised reception – All calls can be automatically re-directed to the appropriate site/person
  • Call recording – built-in call recording means that complex discussion can be recorded and played back to the corresponding ‘expert’ so that more issues are resolved without calling the client back
  • Rich Presence – Staff can see on-screen the status of other colleagues such as ‘busy’, ‘out of the office’, ‘in a meeting’ etc.
  • Call numbers direct from the screen – With Swyx staff can simply highlight a number and dial it
  • Secure Instant Messenger – staff can instantly communicated with each other using a secure messaging service, without the needs to download third-party software
  • Free Call Conferencing – BCCC can hold both internal and external conference calls without having to dial-in to a third-party or pay additional subscription fees.