State-of-the-Art Phone System Improves Productivity and Lowers Costs
Protravel Outsources Phones to ShoreTel to Improve Productivity
“Phones are what ShoreTel does and they do it better than anyone else out there.”
Lou Moran, Chief Technology Officer, Protravel International Inc.
Challenge: Upgrade Antiquated, Unreliable Phone System
Protravel International Inc. was founded in 1984 as a full-service travel company. With annual sales near $1 billion and nearly 1,000 employees, it ranks among the top privately held agencies in the United States. Its corporate headquarters are located in New York City and support a network of 22 branch locations throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as a network of hosted agents across the country.
Up until 2005, Protravel was operating with antiquated PBX phone systems from multiple vendors. The phones were not only highly unreliable, but difficult to service and support because they were obsolete. Further, the company was paying thousands of dollars per month for hundreds of unused and inactivated phone lines. “Protravel hired me to help them upgrade their entire technology network,” says Lou Moran, chief technology officer at Protravel. “I had specific ideas on what I wanted the phone systems to be but didn’t want to run it in-house; I wanted to outsource the phones to experts whose primary focus is on continually providing modern phone technology.”
Solution: ShoreTel Sky Offers Flexibility, Ease of Use and Mobility to Users
When another vendor failed to fulfill promises to bring Protravel up to date on its phone system, Moran called ShoreTel. “ShoreTel had a good reputation and were local so I wanted to give them a try,he says. “They blew me away with their presentation. They didn’t try to sell me the phones. Instead, they sold me on their project management. They knew more about phones than anyone I’d met and I felt their smart model could scale to fit our organization.”
Moran chose simple phones that were easy to customize and highly reliable. ShoreTel sent experts to each Protravel location to train agents on how they could take advantage of all of the features of the phones. Some of the most beneficial features ShoreTel is providing Protravel is 4-digit extension dialing and call transfers, connecting offices and agents like never before. “During a travel shutdown because of a volcano, we were able to keep an airline on the line for 18 hours, transferring them from agent to agent,” explains Moran. “We never could have done that with our analog phones.”
Protravel agents now have the ability to be truly mobile, enjoying the same reliability and quality found on the office phones in their homes or anywhere they travel without changing their phone numbers. In the U.K., several of the phones are designed so callers believe they are calling New York, no long distance required. Agents can move offices without changing their numbers. And in case of a disaster, people in the endangered location can simply move to a different site and the phones ring as if nothing has changed.
Results: State-of-the-Art Phone System Improves Productivity and Lowers Costs
Protravel is reaping the benefits of consolidating the phones under one provider and supplying agents with rock-solid technology. While much of the travel industry has suffered due to the economy, Protravel continues to grow, in part because of the reliability of their lifeline – the phone system. In fact, the ShoreTel Sky phones have been so popular at Protravel, the company actually uses them as a recruiting tool for prospective agents. “Many of our incoming agents have grown up in a technologically-advanced culture and expect that same innovation where they work,” says Moran. “Our ShoreTel Sky phones have improved productivity and helped us to recruit the best people in the industry.”
An unexpected benefit of the new phones has been the reduction in monthly expenses. Moran says the bill for the entire company is less than the bills used to be for a single office. For him and his CFO, a consistent monthly bill makes budgeting much easier, especially when they know they aren’t paying bills for unused lines.
Moran is thankful he doesn’t have to think about phones, but instead, can focus on driving the company forward. The support he continues to receive from ShoreTel allows him to do just that. “We are a travel company, not a phone company,” he says. “Phones are what ShoreTel does and they do it better than anyone else out there. I feel like we hired a phone department instead of a vendor.”