Where words fail, music speaks. That's why most of us dream of playing an instrument and indulge in a little air guitar now and then.
Our natural love of music is also what inspired Singapore and Hong Kong–based music school Aureus Academy. Founded in 2013, it's now Singapore's leading music school, with a goal of putting an instrument in every child's hands. Aureus Academy prides itself on its personal approach to musical education: its one-to-one lessons cater to each student's individual learning style.
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Julius Sarabi took a creative commercial approach when building the Academy. Students pay a monthly subscription and can book sessions on their own schedules. That helps them fit lessons around their busy lives. Parents are encouraged to sit in and they get regular updates on student progress.
This white-glove approach has hit the right note with the Academy's clientele, now teaching over 15,000 students across 28 locations in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Keeping Customer Support on Key
As a core part of Aureus Academy's ethos, personal service is also baked into its customer support operation.
"People like talking to people," Julius said. In his view, automated customer support simply can't match the instant gratification of receiving simple, immediate answers from a well-trained person for the best customer experience.
When small businesses grow, customer service is often the first thing to suffer. Julius wanted to honour Aureus Academy's customer focus as it expanded to more locations and took on more students, requiring quick and smooth communication with customers. To achieve this, they needed a seamless communication system that could operate flexibly and at scale.
The Academy's existing cloud-based phone system wasn't ready to cope with increased call volumes. More appropriate to a small business, it offered limited functionality and old-school physical handsets. It was already straining at the seams.
This was a problem for Aureus Academy’s support agents, who took customer support calls at different Academy locations rather than operating through a central contact center. The existing system didn't route calls automatically to an available agent, and if employees at a location were unavailable, customer calls would go to voicemail. It also didn't handle call transfers well. Employees had to look up each other's locations and branch telephone numbers before manually patching calls through.
Even worse, the old phone system would sometimes fail, leaving the company unable to answer calls at all. These conditions were unacceptable for a growing business. Julius wanted to upgrade to a more functional system that supported the company's communications goals. He needed a system with full cloud functionality that would grow with his business. And he wanted greater functionality, with softphones instead of physical handsets, to maximise flexibility.
"We were looking for something that was going to be a better solution in the long run, instead of just a better version of the Cloud PBX system we were already using," he said.
Tuning Up Aureus Academy's Communications
After testing several VoIP providers, the Academy chose Aircall. The system's clean and intuitive user interface made the phone experience easier for employees and customers. Its advanced functionality let employees transfer calls more easily to colleagues and even see who was available in a live dashboard. They could also create their own users and numbers, and configure custom call routing setups for them.
After piloting Aircall in one location, Julius quickly decided it was the right solution for the whole Academy. It deployed the cloud-based system across all its offices.
"Aircall provides the best experience on the market for cloud phone systems for us," Julius said, and looks forward to experiencing "more and more features entering the pipeline" as Aureus Academy pursues a long term partnership with Aircall.
Finding Harmony in the Customer Experience
Their new phone system revolutionised customer support at Aureus Academy. Now, when a customer calls their local Aureus Academy location, an agent can answer it from any of their locations across Singapore and Hong Kong. All agents have access to the same central infrastructure and information. That means customers always get through to an agent, even when staff at their local location are busy taking other calls. That means less waiting time and a better customer experience. The best part? Calls never go to voicemail.
The Aircall system also enables Aureus Academy to record calls so it can monitor agent interactions and offer feedback to improve customer service.
Switching to a more agile communication system also enabled Aureus Academy to weather its biggest ever challenge: the pandemic. Aureus Academy was given 72-hours to migrate lessons online from their physical locations, and with 15,000 students, this was a daunting task. A key component of the smooth transition to online lessons was Aircall’s cloud-based phone system, which enabled Aureus Academy’s employees to operate from home without disruption when working practices changed overnight.
"Because we had Aircall implemented as our centralised phone system, it was like nothing had changed," Julius said. "Everything was cloud-based, so we were able to just keep operating in exactly the same way. There’s no way we could have handled the pandemic with our previous phone system as we only had 1-2 phones per location, but up to 5 operational staff per location."
Beyond coping with present-day challenges, a cloud-based VoIP solution also serves as a platform for future expansion. Aureus Academy plans to grow tenfold in the next three years while introducing exciting services, and it will need a scalable and agile customer support system to handle new models of engagement. Julius is also considering introducing a central contact center to boost his customer support operation still further.
As a result of the pandemic, Aureus Academy is currently working on 2 new digital platforms to reach a global audience of music learners. Their pipeline of development since COVID-19 includes an online lesson platform, where students can take live online lessons with their highly qualified teachers anywhere in the world and an E-Learning platform that will allow those interested in learning to play an instrument, but at their own pace and learning style. Students will be able to follow exciting educational videos and apply their newly acquired skills in songs of all genres and musical games. Both their E-Learning and Online lesson products are scheduled to go live by the end of Q4 2021.
“What’s exciting about the future of our digital products is we are redefining how music is being taught online. Most music educators are simply using tools like Zoom and Youtube, but we’re building these platforms from the ground up in order to make them ideal for learning how to play an instrument. Since these products reach a global audience, we need a customer service platform that allows us to reach out to customers anywhere in the world and Aircall will allow us to do that.”
Julius mentioned that he loves the ability to adopt phone numbers in over 100 countries and create sophisticated routing rules. That gives Aureus Academy the coverage and scale it needs to expand into the online service space.
No one ever regrets learning an instrument. Having given children across Singapore and Hong Kong the gift of music, Aureus Academy is ready to take things up an octave.
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