Prudential Northwest Properties: A Case
The largest independently owned commercial and residential real estate
agency in the Pacific Northwest, Prudential Northwest Properties boasts 750
brokers in 18 offices throughout Oregon and southwest Washington. However,
in a hotly competitive business where the key to profit is reaching
customers first and fastest, the Portland-based agency had a significant
handicap. With a different legacy phone system in each branch, its employees
couldnï¿½t even transfer calls between offices; basic call handling features
like call-forwarding and voice mail were out of the question.
The real estate agency could simply have installed an enterprise-wide
private branch exchange (PBX) system, but it wanted productivity-enhancing
services beyond anything a traditional phone system could provide. Instead,
Prudential Northwest Properties opted to tie all its locations into a single
infrastructure combining corporate-class call management with all the power
of its existing Gigabit Ethernet wide area network (WAN).
The company sought a solution that was feature-rich, based on open
standards, and could scale easily for future growth. Today, a SIP-based VCX
V7000 IP Telephony solution from 3Com keeps Prudential Northwestï¿½s 750 real
estate agents in constant contact with buyers, sellers, mortgage brokers,
and each other.
Using IP telephony, Prudential Northwest Properties simply and affordably
weaves landline and cellular phone calls, faxes, e-mail, voice mail, pagers,
and personal digital assistants (PDAs) into a seamless communication system.
The companyï¿½s agents never miss a call, even as they travel from open houses
to closings, because unified messaging alerts them to incoming calls via
pager, delivers faxes to their computers, and even provides a text-to-speech
function for retrieving e-mail by phone.
With built-in ï¿½find me, follow meï¿½ notification, employees can also tell
the system to forward calls to several consecutive numbers before
transferring them to voice mail, further ensuring they get the information
they need in a timely fashion. Call management features like call forwarding
and hunt groups route calls throughout the companyï¿½s territory during
business hours, while automated attendants direct call traffic on evenings
The IP phone system also interfaces with the real estate agencyï¿½s
customer database, helping employees determine what callers need almost as
soon as they answer the phone. Customers get fast answers to their questions
ï¿½ a critical consideration in an industry where business depends on keeping
response time to 20 minutes or less. Finally, by routing calls over its WAN
and managing the phone system in-house using network management tools,
Prudential Northwest is saving thousands of dollars a year on maintenance
and long-distance costs, delivering a return on investment (ROI) of just 36
With sales growing roughly 15 percent last year and no slowdown in sight,
Prudential Northwest Properties expects to add further agents and locations
in the near future. Because it chose an open-architecture IP telephony
solution that can scale to support tens of thousands of users, expanding
voice services to keep pace with growth will simply be a matter of
connecting phones or phone-equipped laptops to the network.
If you are interested in purchasing reprints of this article (in either
print or HTML format), please visit Reprint Management Services online at
www.reprintbuyer.com or contact a representative via e-mail at
or by phone at 800-290-5460.
To The May 2004 Table Of Contents ]