The Running Room goes the extra mile and moves to the cloud

Other · Oct 24, 2019

They call it “running a business” for a reason. The similarities between running a successful business and the physical act of running are plentiful. Both are highly challenging. Both can tire you out and make you sweat. But both can be highly rewarding if you stick with it.
The Running Room is one of those rare retail businesses that has been able to push through the pain dealt out by e-commerce disruption like a stitch in its side. Starting as a single store in a renovated house in the 1980s, today they’ve expanded to over 100 stores in every province in Canada and even have locations in the United States. They keep going and growing, despite the competition from the online world. Their secret? It’s not something high-tech. It’s because they offer hands-on knowledge from their capable staff and a sense of community to their customers by hosting a free Run Club twice a week at every store. That builds trust. That builds loyalty.
While their competitive advantage may be very human in nature, The Running Room was not immune to falling behind the pace of technology.
While priding themselves on running expertise and superior customer service, old equipment and outdated telephony systems were admittedly slowing them down. Phones within stores were showing their age - some up to 15-years-old - while head office relied on an outdated PBX system. The company was in need of a digital transformation.
That’s what led the team at The Running Room to reevaluate their current providers with the aim of cutting costs, decreasing administrative hassle, simplifying their service provider relationship, and upgrading their technology so things would, well, run better.
We wanted to lower costs by having centralized management, all in one spot for easy access for the users. That all came as a benefit for us of going to the cloud [with TELUS],” said Ryan White, Director of IT at The Running Room.
“There’s a cost component, obviously, when dealing with multiple providers across the country, given that we do have stores in every province in Canada, as well as some in the U.S.,” added Roger Dang, Chief Financial Officer at The Running Room. “We’re dealing with different providers in different areas so consolidating that, having one company as a point of contact, was also part of the goal.” 
By working with TELUS, the Running Room was able to decrease their costs while increasing the level of service by moving their telephony system to the cloud using TELUS Business Connect.
What’s the difference? Imagine you’re training for a marathon: You can think of it like going from using an old fashioned stopwatch to measure your time, to using a smartwatch that can give you all sorts of new metrics. The transition to the cloud means the company now has the ability to monitor activity within their company, opening up a new world of data collection to glean new insights about their performance.
“We came from a system where we could not monitor anything. The insight of the platform is fantastic,” said Dang
Because of TELUS Business Connect, The Running Room was able to decrease time spent in set-up and shut-down when opening or closing a retail location. Plus, the newly realized ability to have conference calls now keeps executives and management in better contact.
“On a conferencing side, again that’s a tool we never really had and I do think it’s a benefit for us. I use it at least once every couple weeks with multiple people on the call,” said Dang.
Added features of TELUS Business Connect, like voicemail to text message on mobile devices, makes checking messages far less time consuming and easier to reference later, while executives are able to take their business phone number with them wherever they go, so calls are no longer tied down to an office location.
“We are using our phones in store and at the head office. Some people have the desktop app installed mostly for easier voicemail management,” said White, adding that the executives really enjoy the ability to push business call on and off their mobile phones. “We’re using the different contact methods quite a bit.”
Overall, The Running Room learned that it’s easier and more cost effective to move forward with digital transformation by using a single provider as a trusted partner, and by taking advantage of economies of scale that have the added efficiency of a single point of contact for each part of the transition.
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Authored by:
Nicole Hylmar
Nicole Hylmar