We had a new CEO, and he had expressed a desire to expand rapidly. Although that was delayed for organizational reasons, the thought was to use the hybrid capabilities to turn up remote offices. We were told by our previous vendor that if we didn’t take the opportunity to be a beta customer, we wouldn’t be allowed to upgrade for a long time. Also, we wanted better mobility and softphone use.
Supporting our contact center with state-of-the-art technology has been a driving force within our operation in keeping pace with our growth initiatives and in supporting our valued clientele. As a result, we purchased ShoreTel and the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center solution. However, finding a knowledgeable contact center support partner had been an ongoing issue. Our past partners, while seemingly knowledgeable, were unable to resolve long-standing technical issues and had little to no time to dedicate to our operational needs, unless we had an open ticket. While opening a support ticket tracked technical software issues, we needed focused time to address our business operational opportunities.
We needed a business partner who understood contact center technology inside-out, and we needed an operational expert in contact center business management who could help us diagnose operational obstacles, isolate technical problems, and provide meaningful solutions to help Online Trading Academy in meeting our revenue potential.
Branch Office Integration
Each branch office had older Nortel phone systems. The systems were stand-alone, and offered no integration options. To reach an employee at another branch, one had to dial the main number of that location and ask to be transferred. To improve customer services and gain staff efficiencies, First Federal’s evolving business requirements demanded that offices were more tightly integrated. The situation didn’t allow basic integration features like station-to-station dialing and inter-office call routing let alone advanced Unified Communication features like presence and Instant Messaging. Business Disruption
Although the old phone systems were under maintenance, they averaged one failure per year. This caused an entire day of branch downtime, causing a significant disruption to business and customer service. Flexibility and Ease of Administration
A core requirement was the ability for IT personnel to easily make changes to the communications system, companywide. The existing legacy systems presented multiple, complex administration consoles with little flexibility. A single-image system with a simple web interface was required. Call Center
First Federal also knew that, with a holistic Unified Communications architecture, call over-flow from the branches to a central call center was possible. First Federal wanted to capture these previously unanswered calls at a central call center located at the corporate office. This functionality would improve customer service and capture potential lost revenue. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
First Federal IT staff knew that advanced Unified Communications solutions could offer much more in the way of Business Continuity. The current phone systems had multiple points of failure, were old and failing, and offered nothing in the way of redundancy. Any event, from a failed CPU, inclement weather, or dial tone outages, would result in an extended and major disruption in communications service.
Antiquated Contact Center Hardware & Software
The old Nortel Symposium Call Center was server-based, extremely old, and no longer supported. Because the Call Center is a significant conduit to revenue generation, Killington realized this was a huge liability in their operation. Modernization
With the opportunity to refresh their Contact Center technology, Killington realized this was an opportunity to look at cloud solutions to avoid ending up in their current situation – a system that was complex, required hardware and software maintenance, was a single point of failure, lacked modern-day features, unsupported, and obsolete. Pricing Flexibility in a Seasonal Business
Like so many seasonal businesses, the lion’s share of Killington’s revenue occurs within a few months of the year. As such, Killington adds many Contact Center agents during the busy snow season, and scales down for the off-season. Unlike in the past, Killington management didn’t want to invest a large amount of money in hardware, software, and licensing to accommodate the busy season, only to have that capacity sit idle in the off-season. Dial Tone Flexibility
To expand on the last point, Killington also didn’t want to commit to large telecommunications contracts to accommodate the substantial call volume in the on-season, only to have to pay for those idle trunks in the slow season. Future Multi-Channel Options
To accommodate the diverse communications preferences of their guests, Killington realized that the days of offering only voice communications were over. Like every service business, Killington’s guests prefer other communications modalities like web chat, email, SMS, and Social. The new Contact Center had to offer these capabilities.
Consonus realized that one of their most significant lost opportunities to improve customer experience was their Contact Center. They had no organized way of receiving calls or emails, or an efficient, timely, and consistent method of providing support to their facilities. To make matters worse, insight into these issues could not be data-driven because they had no data! The situation left them unable to find opportunities for improvement, or to make timely business decisions.
Unfortunately, their “solution” (a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM) did not solve their issues. Consonus was left with a voice system that provided few additional features beyond the previous setup. Calls were routed with slightly more finesse, but in the end, they were in the same spot
Baseline assessment of the current state of the Contact Center operation, including in-depth needs discussions, a system evaluation, and extensive staff interviews.
Stepping up Consonus’ Contact Center operation to best practice standards. Call flow was redesigned to provide improved customer experience while streamlining processes and creating staff efficiencies.
Training Contact Center staff on creating meaningful reports, and how to read and interpret them. Some would say that this was the most crucial step in the improvements Inflow implemented. Inflow’s high standards in training proved to be a major asset for Consonus.
“We learned so much from the recordings and metrics. We got data and context on individual conversations. This gave our sales and marketing teams valuable intelligence on opportunities with current and new customers. Our Contact Center is now more than just a service, it’s a strategic asset.”
John Baker, Consonus Technical Director
Consonus was more than pleased that Inflow was able to integrate their Microsoft Dynamics CRM system with their Contact Center. This provided agents with client record “screen pops” so agents could quickly see, assist with, and annotate activity during a customer call. This improved response times, agent efficiency and morale, and ultimately paved the way for a customized, premium experience for Consonus’ clients.
Now that Consonus has taken their initial steps in elevating their Contact Center operation to best practices, they are thrilled to get a glimpse of what’s to come. Up next for Consonus and Inflow is an in-depth exploration into ways they can implement advanced features like web chat and email integration, routing based on customized staff skills and call priority, and a deeper utilization of their customer data stores in order to maximize personalized treatment and call routing options.
Timing and accuracy of delivery of an inbound sales call is imperative for Zillow. When a customer or potential customer calls into Zillow, it is important for that call to be routed to the sales person that manages that account. If a sales rep isn’t assigned, the calls needs to be routed to the agent that last interacted, or attempted to interact, with that prospect. If this is the first time a prospect calls into Zillow, the call needs to be routed to the geographical sales team responsible for that region.
When that inbound call reaches the desired sales representative, Zillow needs the rep to immediately have the customer’s account up so they can view all recent activity and other information about the prospect or customer. This “intelligent call routing” and instant familiarity with the prospect, their history and interest, provides the desired customer experience Zillow is striving for.
To add complexity to the requirements, Zillow had just acquired Trulia. Both companies were on separate contact center systems and separate Salesforce instances. Zillow needed to merge their CRM systems, implement a holistic single contact center system nationally and integrate ShoreTel Contact Center with Salesforce in two months.
Case Study 7: K-12 New Phone System For One Of The Largest School Districts In Oregon
Replacing a 20 Year-old Nortel phone system at one of the largest school district in the state of Oregon, below budget and ahead of schedule.
The previous Nortel phone system had served the district for nearly two decades and was failing at a very high rate. Parts were no longer available. To keep the system running, Beaverton relied on outdated Nortel equipment at other school districts. The need for a modern UC system was urgent.
With rapid growth, the company’s communication system was unable to keep up with an expanding global presence. Their needs included:
A system that offered reliable operation and could connect seamlessly with the company’s CRM system.
Mobile smart device integration to help support Fluidigm employees who were increasingly performing work function while on the go.
Be budget friendly as the company was (at the time) not public; costs had to be kept at a minimum
Following Inflow’s Signature 3 Point Communications Analysis, we were able to provide the support Fluidigm needed by leveraging a single system ShoreTel unified communications platform – this system offered:
Modular, fully redundant architecture that easily scaled to hundreds of locations and up to 20,000 endpoints on a single system
Management of the vast system could be handled with a simple web-based administrative interface from anywhere in the world
The new system could be rolled out in stages across all offices in San Francisco and Singapore
Created new opportunities to better serve customers and keep track of their transactions
MPLS bandwidth to Singapore increased 5x
A system that can be scaled to hundreds of locations and up to 20,000 handsets
Seamless mobile integration and “find me/follow me” capabilities for immediate contact with key personnel and improved customer service and organizational efficiency
Skyline Hospital was saddled with a hosted business phone system that was unreliable and was losing phone service several times a week. For a hospital that provided crucial access to both emergency and appointment services, this unreliable system meant lives were at stake if the IP phone system were to fail.
Inflow deployed an on premise, fully redundant ShoreTel unified communications system that integrated seamlessly with Skyline’s existing third party Polycomm handsets
The SIP (Session initiation Protocol) trunking service allowed the hospital to protect their patients and themselves with “fail-over” phone lines that directed to an inexpensive alternate Charter Internet connection in the case that their primary connection should fail.
“I highly recommend Inflow Communications! They were able to assess our current situation and recommend a ShoreTel solution that improved our communications and saved us a substantial amount of money every month.” – Steve Opbroek, IT Director | Skyline Hospital
Three weeks after the installation, the main T1 provider in the area suffered an outage that left all customers in the area without service. Fortunately, the new unified communications system…
Automatically reconnected phones via the Charter Internet connection, resulting in zero interruption in normal phone service
Skyline was the only facility in the area with operational service
The new system resulted in savings of over $10,000 in its first year
With ongoing expansions, SagaCity needed a system that could grow alongside the company.
Review SagaCity’s business model and growth plans
Evaluate appropriate technology solutions
Evaluate and implement appropriate technology solutions
“I wanted a local vendor that I could bring in to senior management to show us the system. Inflow Communications has been very professional, friendly and responsive. I offer to compare ShoreTel to any other system – for the price and the feature set that you get, you can’t beat a ShoreTel.” – SagaCity Media
With ShoreTel unified communications system, SagaCity now have the following:
Site-to-site telephony and mobile integration allowing staff to communicate easily between all offices
A flexible system that made installation simple and convenient
IP phones and desktop software integrations with Microsoft Outlook™ providing an easy-to-understand user experience
Real-time information, giving clients and employees the ability to communicate easily from any location