Telecommunications Challenge

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Thank you for informing me of Pulpco’s current situation. I am sorry to hear that you have been receiving complaints from Corporate about your group’s unsatisfactory communications with the home office employees and your customers. As head of the Telecommunications Division, I share in your apparent embarrassment; our division certainly did not intend to precipitate a “cavalier attitude toward customers and colleagues,” nor did it wish to hurt PulpCo’s relationship with FatCo. The redesign of your telecommunications system was simply an honest effort to reduce costs and to increase efficiency.

Unfortunately, we were unable to anticipate any of the unlucky events (such as the phone company’s initial misconnection of your phone lines) that took place. Because we felt that this new system needed some time to really take effect, we excluded any additional features (such as a voice mail system) as a part of our cost-cutting efforts. In retrospect, we see that this was not the best decision. After eight weeks, we feel that an adequate amount of time has passed in order to thoroughly and accurately assess the effectiveness of the new system and to determine any changes that need to be made. Any action before this time would have been hasty, especially with all of the other changes your organization has been undergoing as a result of Corporate’s mandate. We will certainly do our best to work with you in order to make the necessary improvements, but we’d like to keep the system we’ve put in place.

As you know, the purpose of installing your current communications system was to cut down on unnecessary phone time and to encourage more efficient conversations by having one phone for several workstations. We also felt that the costs of some options, such as call-waiting, would outweigh the benefits, and thus decided to omit them. Furthermore, having a central switchboard with one receptionist was intended to increase the level of organization and efficiency in directing calls and respond to our customers’ preferences of calling a main number. Although unforeseeable events (such as the increase in business and the greater number of calls) has placed a strain on this new system, I feel that it still provides a great starting point for low cost, effective communications. What we need to do now is to build upon and enhance this current system. Let’s explore some of our choices, beginning with our primary option of installing a voice mail system.

Implementing a voice mail system is sure to enhance communications in several ways. First, it will solve many of the problems that you have encountered at PulpCo. by providing a system which ensures that every individual (customer, employee, management) has the ability to contact the appropriate PulpCo. employee. A well-running voice mail system guarantees that messages reach individuals, and in addition, keeps people accountable (they cannot claim that they did not get the message or the information). With such a system in place, your organization can also avoid nuisances such as telephone tag, missed messages, and time zone delays.

Having voice mail will also eliminate the need for call-waiting and increase effectives, as there will be no time wasted switching lines and repeating phrases such as, “Let me call you back,” or “I’m on the other line – can you hold on a minute?” This, in turn, will lead to increased productivity, as there will be less time wasted on interruptions or waiting for someone to finish a conversation on the other line.

A voicemail system is also inexpensive to install and will lead to long run savings. According to the materials you sent, such a system requires no initial capital expenditure, minimal start-up and training costs, and it is very easy to use. In addition, voice mail will cut costs, as these types of calls are more business concise, and thus shorter and less expensive. This is likely to minimize the phone call costs of your various departments, especially those who have to make calls to different regions of the country (for instance, when a service representative must return a call from a customer who is located across the country).

It will also allow for more efficient credit card calling (only one phone call has to be made to reach a number of different people), which may come in useful for your marketing department, for instance, when it has to notify other departments of its marketing strategy or research efforts. In addition, the need for memos (and their necessary supplies/materials) will be greatly reduced, leading to further decreases in production and mailing costs. These savings can be redirected to your Product Development and marketing departments, to aid to research and development and Marketing efforts. I expect that Payroll will also I am certain that the executives at FatCo. will recognize the long run savings from a voice mail system will greatly exceed the initial start-up costs (which are very small) associated with implementation.

In addition, voice mail has the potential to further PulpCo.’s competitive advantage by enhancing the performance of your departments. It will increase productivity by making people more accessible and making needed information available sooner. Customer service representatives will be able to provide a higher quality of accurately and timely service, Payroll will be able to better calculate compensation for actual productive working time, and Marketing and Product Development will be able to assess and respond to the wants/needs/preferences of its customers faster than your competitors.

Customers can place orders or leave requests for information, and it is up your customer service representatives and sales people to assure timely responses to these requests. Voice mail will assist your Payroll department, as using a system that cuts down on unproductive work will provide a greater incentive for your employees to be more efficient if they know that they are being more appropriately/accurately compensated. Your sales people can also assist the marketing department by sharing the information they’ve learned about PulCo’s customers in order for marketing to assess current trends.

This information can also help the Product Development department improve upon current designs and form innovative new ideas for future products. Accuracy and expediency of information is especially important to these two departments, as they will want to develop effective ad campaigns and new products ahead of PulpCo.’s competitors. Furthermore, the abundance of information that is gathered can be shared with FatCo.’s other subsidiaries (and we hope that they will return the favor). This sort of inter-department cooperation is sure to put PulpCo. ahead of its rivals who do not utilize voice mail.

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