Pat McDonnell Paints employs 90 people across seven stores nationwide. As well as being Ireland’s number one independent painting and decorating retailer, the firm runs a thriving trade and wholesale business.
Like every company, there is the constant challenge of staying close to customers and improving the business. Pat McDonnell Paints knew that mobilising its workforce would be one way to achieve this. With three sale representatives out on the road serving its trade customers, and delivery vans servicing its stores and wholesale arm, there were new efficiencies and better customer service to be gained by keeping them connected and giving them more information on the move.
Another priority was to ensure communication costs were competitive. The company was looking for a one-stop fixed and mobile provider that could guarantee the best deal across all services.
Pat McDonnell Paints signed up with Three for fixed and mobile services and has remained with the network despite attempts from other operators to lure them away. The company has been impressed at Three’s ability to better the competition in terms of cost competitiveness, while helping meet the changing demands of its business.
Two solutions have been particularly transformational for the firm. The first satisfied a long-standing plan to mobilise the workforce. Three sales reps on the road cover all of Ireland and needed better access to information to make the most of customer visits. Now armed with Apple iPads connected to the Three network, they can log in to back office systems and look up the latest data on a customer before going into a meeting. In addition, branch managers have all been issued with smartphones, now the primary point of contact for key clients, speeding up order processing while building closer customer relationships.
Three provides direct lines to each store along with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that connects the different sites, providing access to web and video conferencing. A central server hosts the company’s key business applications which can now be accessed from other sites over the VPN, and from reps on the road over Three’s 3G/4G network.
Rather than trust a business to multiple communication providers with different bills and service levels, Pat McDonnell Paints opted for Three as a one-stop provider and hasn’t looked back. It has delivered significant savings because of Three’s price competitiveness; it’s easier to manage and has provided excellent customer support, according to Aidan McDonnell, Director.
"I wanted to keep communications under one roof and after the experience with Three I’d be very slow to change,” he says. “They are very good. If I have any issues I can talk to someone straight away who knows our account. With other providers you end up ringing a call centre somewhere.” At the same time, having voice and data available anywhere, anytime, on smartphones and tablets has made Pat McDonnell Paints more dynamic. “From a billing, transport and stock point of view, the business is much more efficient," says McDonnell.
Whether it’s a direct connection between the warehouse and reps for faster order processing, seamless lines of communication have helped transform the business. "Our customers have direct access to store managers, so they can process their orders efficiently and get things moving more quickly," he adds.
Best of all, according to Aiden McDonnell, is the way it has helped generate new business through connectivity solutions. "Connecting the reps with real time information while out on the road is the most beneficial advancement that Three has delivered," he says.
"It’s driven sales in the areas that we want to target. Out on the road, reps can analyse their customers, account by account."
The innovation and upgrades that Three brings to its service have also impressed, particularly the faster broadband speeds. "Three recently completed the installation of fibre broadband in a number of our branches which has improved the connectivity of our data systems immensely," says McDonnell.
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