“ShoreTel Sky has improved our business processes… This was the most painless technology transition I have experienced.” – Dan Wagner, President, Aspire
Since 2005, Aspire has been a leading professional search and staffing firm based in the mid-Atlantic region. Aspire has four offices with 30 employees serving in the executive search, project staffing and business consulting services industries. Its vertical focus includes accounting, finance, information technology, healthcare, engineering and operations.
In 2009, Aspire considered transitioning from its premise-based phone system to a VoIP platform to reduce expenses and obtain more phone features. At the same time, its existing phone carrier acquired an organization that offered a new suite of VoIP services and convinced Aspire to migrate. The carrier promised Aspire that it would move them to the VoIP system seamlessly; however the transition was anything but error-free. Aspire suffered up to 50 dropped calls per day, making the migration a significant business interruption. Despite efforts from the carrier to fix the problems, it was never able to make the system function effectively.
As luck would have it, while at a mid-Atlantic staffing event, Dan Wagner, president of Aspire, listened to a presentation by ShoreTel. He realized that not only did ShoreTel have extensive experience with VoIP systems, but with the staffing and search firm vertical markets as well. “Our business is about being on the phones,” explains Wagner. “ShoreTel showed us their strong portal that would enable managers and producers to review current statistics and metrics and compare them to their daily and weekly goals. We could use these metrics to maximize efficiencies. My only concern was whether the transition would be as painful as the last effort.”
ShoreTel consultants worked with the Aspire IT staff to design and implement a scalable VoIP phone system that would give the company the functionality, reliability and cost savings it desired. Wagner says that to their surprise, ShoreTel was able to do it “painlessly and efficiently.” Although Aspire was expecting its IT staff to dedicate much of its time to the latest phone migration, the simplicity of the plug-and-go phone system required little technical expertise and no complicated wiring architecture.
Now, Aspire managers have access to call metrics that put valuable information at their fingertips, like outgoing and incoming calls per extension, call times, elapsed times and total times – all of which they download into Excel to manipulate further. Using this data, they can better monitor producers (recruiters) and ensure they are well trained. Another training feature is called Barge. This enables managers to “whisper” to producers on calls without the prospects hearing, coaching them through the call, if needed. Should the conversation require intervention, managers can “barge” into the call and take control where both producers and prospects can hear.
Wagner says the VoIP system has significantly more features than their previous premise-based phones. They are saving costs in many ways, such as relieving their IT staff and eliminating the need for employing an administrative person at each location. Aspire can designate one office as its call center headquarters to receive all incoming calls. The operator portal gives them the ability to transfer lines, place them on park, etc. Call routing, voicemail and fax-to-email transcription, Find Me Follow Me and auto-dial through their CRM software are some of the most used features on their ShoreTel Sky Cisco phones. The phones also allow a user to operate up to six lines at a time.
On an interesting side note, Wagner utilized the simplicity and functionality of the ShoreTel phones for a personal endeavor. Each year, he leases 20 ShoreTel Sky phones for a phone bank he helps creates for his high school. Alumnae and students use the phones for a three-day fundraiser to benefit the school. “It was so easy,” he says. “All I had to do was buy a switch, plug the phones into the switch and plug the switch into the wall. Without this technology, the school would have been challenged to conduct the drive at all. It would have been logistically, technologically and financially impossible.”
When asked why he would recommend ShoreTel Sky, Wagner stated, “ShoreTel has improved our business processes by giving us the capability to track employee metrics. We have experienced significant cost savings over premise-based phones and other VoIP systems through a more attractive pricing structure. Finally, the customer service has been impressive because of ShoreTel’s expertise and responsiveness. This was the most painless technology transition I have experienced.”