News & Buzz

Grasshopper is everywhere

Original Article

National Landscaper - Virtual Telephone Service

When a company does landscaping work in all 50 states, like DesignScape.com does, it is important that customers can not only email but also call and reach a local designer. DesignScape gets a new customer and customers get a new “look” to their properties. Instead of needing a $25,000 phone system, DesignScape’s founder James Marcian is pleased with GotVmail’s much more economical solution.

“Because we recently home-sourced all of our designers, the GotVMail technology was vitally important,” noted Marciano. “Now customers simply call our toll-free number, press the extension for their designer, and have it appear as one seamless company. Meanwhile, our management team can be either in our San Diego headquarters, traveling, or working from home, and we don’t miss a beat. We particularly appreciate the emailed voice message capability which allows us to save or send messages onto other people on our team, as well as the ability to have GotVMail first call a Skype number then a cell phone. Also, the ‘call announce’ feature is superb. And what might be best of all is that with GotVMail we spend more time in contact with customers and working on business than driving around burning increasingly expensive gas!

DesignScape.com originally started as a traditional landscape design firm, with designers being sent into the field (customers’ homes). About two years ago, the company made the switch to doing design online (using the conferencing service), which, according to DesignScape Founder James Marciano, remains a pretty radical notion.

In late 2005, the company moved to a telesales model (again using a Web conferencing service) and to a “home-sourced” model (similar to Jet Blue’s home-based reservation experts) using GotVMail as part of the solution. The home-sourced model doubled DesignScape.com’s gross margin and telesales now has the same close rate as its field sales force.

DesignScape.com’s customers are residential homeowners, typically with design budgets ranging from $15,000 to $1 million. Customers are charge by design area (square footage) with the average price for a full set of designs, including planting plan and CD-ROM, totaling around $2,500. The company currently covers the U.S. and Canada and is evaluating expanding operations into Mexico and Australia.