Customer Story

Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment: Employee collaboration from anywhere

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When COVID-19 hit, Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment employees moved effectively to working from home and collaborated online with colleagues and clients using Google Workspace.

Google Cloud Results

Enables real-time review of products, saving time for customers.

• Saves employees time and increases productivity when rolling out client projects
• Reduces IT costs by providing a single dashboard for maintenance of all applications
• Strengthens client relationships by improving collaboration and responsiveness

In the world of marketing fulfillment services, smooth collaboration is essential between client and agency. From branded merchandise and e-commerce to printed materials, every project requires regular contact and careful project management driven by demanding deadlines. Michigan based Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment is no exception. Its employees work closely with clients including Domino’s Pizza and Shell to promote their brands to customers using loyalty, with incentives and other programs.

Amanda Blanchard, Program Director, Operations, Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment, says, “Collaboration is important for us. Our program managers are like the hub of a wheel with spokes that connect with other Mercury teams including accounting, our warehouse, and IT. We also need to share spreadsheets and other important project documents with our colleagues and clients.”

But this interconnected environment was put to the test during the first COVID-19 lockdown when almost overnight, Mercury employees found themselves working from home, relying on their laptops and smartphones to keep the business running.

Home office gets a boost with video conferencing

“Google Meet is the closest thing to being in a face-to-face meeting.” -- Amanda Blanchard, Program Director, Operations, Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment

Fortunately for Mercury, it was a long-term user of Google Workspace. Employees were already enthusiastic users of Gmail as well as Google Chat for messages and group conversations. But it was Google Meet, an intuitive video-collaboration tool, that further extended the value of Google Workspace during the pandemic.

Ron Davidson, Director of Information Systems at Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment, says, “Once we went to working from home, reliance on Google Meet just took off. Pretty much everyone used it to communicate with one another. They ditched using their cell phones and used Meet for everything.”

When COVID-19 restrictions were announced, Davidson and his team set up a training program so that everyone was familiar with Google Meet and its main features. But he was struck by how easily people took to the application, especially the integration with other Google Workspace applications, including Gmail and Google Calendar.

Davidson says, “Other video conferencing products grabbed the headlines, but Google Meet stands out because it is so intuitive, especially for less tech-savvy employees. For example, you can easily add Meet to your Calendar invites and easily join from the event details without having to log on to a separate application and type in all the details. The information is automatically added from Google Calendar.”

Blanchard agrees, calling out the screenshare feature of Google Meet that makes it simple for anyone on the call to share a document for review on screen. “In one meeting the customer was keen to show us an inventory table. That was easy because I didn’t have to hand over permission. They could do it directly from their laptop. Google Meet is the closest thing to being in a face-to-face meeting.”

There were additional challenges for Jessica Tabas, Senior Account Manager, Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment. Her work includes meeting with suppliers and visiting events to review products. “The quality and the stability of the connection with Google Meet is great. We can collaborate with our suppliers online and review physical and print products from screens. It saves a huge amount of time, and we can pass that benefit to our clients.”

As well as keeping the business running, Google Workspace enabled Mercury employees to stay in touch and maintain friendships forged during their time in the office together. Blanchard says, “My group is close-knit and about a month into working from home, everybody was saying that they missed each other. So, every week we have a one-hour Google Meet slot for lunch where we get together and talk about anything we like. It’s a great way to stay connected.”

Giving employees a voice in the hybrid workplace

“When a call comes in, I don’t notice the difference between Google Voice and my cell phone connection. It is just as stable, and the sound quality is razor sharp . The user interface is also a lot easier to use than other voice solutions that we’ve used in the past.” -- Amanda Blanchard, Program Director, Operations, Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment

As COVID-19 restrictions eased, many employees still wanted to spend some of the week working from home. Google Workspace supports this hybrid working environment and Davidson has taken steps to update the company’s systems so that people can stay productive and connected, no matter where they’re working.

This includes replacing desk phones with Google Voice, a Google Workspace application that enables people to make calls from their smartphone or laptop without having to give out personal contact information.

For example, when employees began working from home, they didn’t want to give out their private cell phone numbers to clients. With Google Voice, they can keep their original work number with the option to forward calls and voicemails to their personal device. They can also set Google Voice to ‘do not disturb’ outside of office hours to help respect their personal time.

Google Voice also has an automated attendant feature that allows Mercury to direct callers to the correct people or departments. It’s easy to set up and manage, providing voice prompts to callers to help them make their selection.

Blanchard says, “When a call comes in, I don’t notice the difference between Google Voice and my cell phone connection. It is just as stable, and the sound quality is razor sharp . The user interface is also a lot easier to use than other voice solutions that we’ve used in the past.”

A crystal-clear view of future collaboration

“Like any business, we need close control over our budget. With Google Workspace, we can streamline our IT operations and enable the business to serve our clients more efficiently in a highly competitive market.” -- Ron Davidson, Director of Information Systems at Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment

From an IT resourcing perspective, Google Workspace also saves Davidson time because he can manage Google Workspace from a single interface, including licensing, directory, and security features. “Like any business, we need close control over our budget. Google Workspace helps us streamline our IT operations and enables the business to serve our clients more efficiently in a highly competitive market.”

Another important advantage for Mercury is that Google regularly updates Google Workspace in line with evolving business needs, especially as it related to remote and hybrid working. For instance, you can now join a Google Meet call directly from Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides allowing anyone to quickly start a meeting and talk through content questions and address issues in real time.

“Google Workspace applications are increasingly smarter, better integrated, and accessible to employees whatever their tech background. The tools are constantly enhanced,” says Davidson, “which means that productivity will continue to increase, and our teams can collaborate effortlessly, no matter how workplaces evolve.”

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.