Montana-based Comfort Company first began manufacturing seating and position equipment for geriatric and rehabilitation patients and people with disabilities back in 1990. During that time, training and sales activities were conducted in person, sometimes requiring expensive and time-consuming travel.
As the company continued to expand its global workforce to include a greater number of remote direct sales representatives and international distributors, the need for an easier and more affordable way of connecting salespeople across thousands of miles became clear.
We recently spoke with Eric Murphy, Vice President of Marketing at Comfort Company, to learn how Lifesize’s cloud-based video communication technology is helping the company save time, money and resources.
Everything we do is about making it easy for our customers, B2B distributors and medical providers. We spend a lot of time educating providers so they understand why they need our products and, consequently, ask distributors for them. If we have a great product but our providers and distributors aren’t aware of it or we aren’t communicating with them as effectively as we should be, our relationships with them are affected and they’ll go elsewhere.
We’d been talking to Lifesize for a couple of years, but it never seemed to be the right time to implement the product. As our company grew, however, the need for a communications solution became critical. Lifesize has a reputation for excellent conference room systems, and around this time Lifesize also began offering cloudbased services along with pay-as-you-go payment options — a perfect match.
Allowing us to try the Lifesize demo before we officially committed played a crucial role in our ultimate decision. Before we saw the demo, we thought, “How will we know if this is really different from other video conferencing options?” but the demo was amazing! After experiencing the demo from Lifesize, we immediately realized the Lifesize product’s value. We used it for eight hours straight — and we were sold. We also selected three Icon conference room systems to complement the service.
We have 23 remote sales representatives, and about 10 of them are international distributors. Products are updated constantly, and training must be done daily. Prior to incorporating video conferencing solutions, our salespeople had to travel to our customers, which was expensive and taxing. We started using GoToMeeting, but it was always a challenge to share anything, and the quality was poor — our video conferencing solution ended up exactly like those YouTube spoof conference calls! Since we can spend up to eight hours a day on video conference calls, it was imperative that we find and invest in a high-quality product. The Lifesize application has saved our sales representatives’ valuable time, significantly reduced frustration and ensured that our client meetings are productive.
Our human resources department is also using Lifesize. Generally when we try to hire a new employee, we start with a phone interview. If it goes well, we fly the candidate to our headquarters in Montana. This can be expensive and time-consuming for all parties. Lifesize’s collaboration platform allows us an easy, seamless video conferencing tool to get a better feel for candidates’ body language and how they react to questions than we would by simply conducting a phone conversation — and it’s a lot less expensive than flying candidates to headquarters.
Our sales representatives are always traveling, so we use the Lifesize web app quite a bit. We have a lot of video conferencing calls that include a handful of people on video conferencing and others who dial in with just audio. We do a lot of screen sharing as well.
We also lean heavily on Skype for Business, and through seamless integration with Lifesize we are still able to use this tool.
The Lifesize chat feature is good when you want to ask a question during a demo or presentation — when you want to “IM” questions but don’t want to interrupt the presenter.
Lifesize has helped improve relationships with providers and distributors and has greatly decreased travel time. We are also communicating more effectively internally, eliminating a substantial amount of wasted time. This is especially important since our recent international growth came a lot faster than we anticipated.
Before we started using Lifesize, we had one of our employees who works with international and local customers fly to different locations to conduct training sessions. Now he doesn’t have to travel anymore and instead conducts all his training sessions through video conferencing. We also have salespeople who are spread out all over the country, and we can constantly meet with them via Lifesize; now things run much more smoothly. Lifesize’s cloud-based software application and the camera and phone systems have provided a scalable and cost-effective video conferencing solution that is above and beyond any solution we have used before — and we’re reaping the rewards just in time.
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