Contributed By: Andy Hemmer | AndyHemmer.com
Try as he may, Brent Cooper could not get his calls returned.
Ironically, the president and owner of C-Forward Technologies was calling phone companies at the time. And he wasn’t selling anything, either.
Cooper, a stickler for customer service that’s “personal, proactive and reliable” (www.CForward.com) had a job to do, and he was looking to hire either a business partner or trusted vendor.
What he eventually found was both, right in his second-floor home office on West Fifth Street in Covington.
One decade into the growth strategy and business development of C-Forward Information Technologies, the Covington-based IT firm is unveiling its second new division in two years, a new web-based phone services unit dedicated to the fast-growing – and quite ill-served – Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) industry.
The new VoIP service is facilitated by the nature of its architecture as a remote-access solution. Also last year, C-Forward added Disaster Recovery to its portfolio of services.
Voice over Internet Protocol is a general term for transmission technologies employed in the delivery of voice communications over networks such as the Internet or other networks. It’s also called IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony and broadband phone.
Think voicemail on broadband steroids, capable of being plugged into any company’s computer network.
To C-Forward, it’s another opportunity to display the acumen that has earned the firm a bevy of accolades such as the Torch Award, the Small Business Success Award, the Emerging 30 program sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Cooper being named to the Cincinnati Business Courier’s celebrated “40 Under 40” program.
“I couldn’t count how many times, over the last 10 years, that we have sent phone business away. I had to tell people, my clients, ‘no,’ which was killing me,” said Cooper, a Fort Thomas resident who relocated his company to Covington several ago. “On those occasions when I would reach out to try to find somebody, on behalf of our clients, we wound up severely disappointed.”
NEW BUSINESS ‘SNAPS’ INTO C-FORWARD REPERTOIRE
“Besides the fact that I couldn’t get a phone call returned – or sometimes it would take weeks – phone vendors don’t have the knowledge or experience that we have. They might know phones well, but they don’t always know what they are linking them to,” Cooper added. “We come from the completely different side. We’re network engineers, administrators and installers.
“We have invested heavily in training for our staff getting ready because it just made a lot of sense for us,” Cooper continued. “The thing that really clicked with the phone solution is it’s Windows-based, and we already do Windows networking and the integration with Exchange. We are already a Microsoft reseller implementing servers, e-mails and data bases, and this product snaps into all of it.”
Officially, C-Forward is a reseller of the AltiGen Communications Inc. phone solution. Traded on the NASDAQ as ATGN, the California-based company is a leader and market innovator in VoIP telephone systems that designs, delivers and supports VoIP phone systems and call center solutions, combining high reliability with integrated IP communications applications.
As one of the first VoIP companies, AltiGen has been deploying systems since 1996. The company has more than 10,000 customers worldwide, with more than 15,000 systems in use.
REGIONAL EXPANSION GROWS C-FORWARD FOOTPRINT IN MIDWEST
The creation of the new C-Forward VoIP division comes during the company’s 10-year anniversary, on the heels of a regional expansion campaign that saw the company open its first offices in Columbus last year, with a Dayton office due to be announced this spring. Within a two-to-five-year framework, Cooper anticipates opening up satellite offices in Louisville and Lexington.
At C-Forward, the innovations keep coming, according to one of C-Forward’s first customers for VoIP, Dwyer Companies of West Chester, one of the largest foundation repair, waterproofing, soil stabilization and concrete lifting companies in the U.S.
“It does seems like every year we have come up with something that our clients need that fits in with something trendy that’s going on in the marketplace,” said Cooper.
As network experts, his staff is fully versed in proactive network administration, network evaluation and auditing and remote access solutions.
Many are A+ Certified Technicians, Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MSCEs) and Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNAs). C-Forward personnel are also trained and experienced in product offerings from Symantec, GFI, Juniper Networks, Citrix, 3COM, Bay Networks, Checkpoint, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.
Besides the technical expertise, C-Forward personnel are known for their professionalism and personal approach. The company made its name early strictly through word-of-mouth referrals, which Cooper considers a badge of honor … even though he’s now in charge of a $2 million company now known throughout the Midwest.
“Our customers are used to the C-Forward brand of service. That means they get their calls returned the same day, sometimes the same hour, and quite often we are out there to serve them that same day, if they need it,” Cooper said. “Considering the new voice product and related services are a remote-access solution, however, we’re even better positioned to help them as soon as they need us.”
“It’s been working great since we installed it. There are a lot of features that we think could help us even more that we haven’t even used,” said Bill Bonekemper with Dwyer Cos., based in West Chester. “The support and training have also been very well-received, but what we really like is the software interface. That’s a real advancement in technology for telephone systems. With people so software-oriented today, it was a very easy transition for us to be able to sit there and check out our call center on a software screen.”
“It seemed like a very logical move for us to bring this offering to the market. Our customers are extremely excited about it, because they’re used to us handling things the C-Forward way,” Cooper concluded. “And that means getting your phone calls returned – especially if you’re a phone company in the first place, which we can now proudly call ourselves.”
For more information about C-Forward, please call (859) 442-7877 or visit www.CForward.com.
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