Independent Retailers Champion bira Keeps The Human Touch With Gamma Hosted Telephony


The UK’s leading trade body for the country’s many thousands of independent retailers has deployed Horizon hosted telephony from Gamma, the only system that allowed it to maintain the traditional levels of service its members value so much.

In consolidating and updating its communications across two sites, The British Independent Retailers’ Association (bira) was surprised to find Gamma was the only vendor able to offer cloud-based telephony with manned reception consoles at its two sites. With personal service a key differentiator for its members’ own businesses, bira needed to offer a similar level of service when answering members’ phone calls.

Explaining that automated answering was simply not an option, bira’s systems manager David Wilson said that out of all the vendors consulted only Gamma rose to the challenge. “Our members depend on the strength of the personal service they offer their customers and they expect a similar service when they call us.

“With Horizon we can do that. Callers are greeted by a receptionist, not an automated voice system, so they aren’t left hanging on. Meanwhile we’re saving thousands of pounds on hardware and maintenance and no longer have any worries about resilience.”

Formed from the merger of the British Hardware Federation and the British Shops and Stores Association, bira was faced with two headquarters locations, each with its own aging telephony system that relied on expensive, inflexible ISDN connections. With replacement the only option, bira wanted a solution that required no on-premises PBX hardware yet delivered a manned switchboard presence at each location.

Still haunted by memories of a two-week ISDN failure that frustrated inbound callers, bira also wanted the resilience to cope seamlessly with outages and disruptions. At the same time it was hoping to part fund the project by dispensing with ISDN, reducing call charges and eliminating hardware maintenance costs. Following an on site demonstration by Gamma, bira chose the company’s unified communications-ready Horizon platform to support more than 70 extensions across both its locations.