New Jersey Shares
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Offering hope and delivering help with ShoreTel Sky phones
“Our goal is to provide excellent customer service. The ShoreTel Sky phone system assists in achieving that goal.”
Kim Warrick, Client Services Manager, New Jersey SHARES
Challenge: Find VoIP Company Capable of Handling Large Call Volume
New Jersey SHARES, Inc. is a statewide, non-profit corporation primarily offering assistance to individuals and families in need of help meeting their energy and utility burden. NJ SHARES provides grants to pay the energy and utility bills of households in need, through a statewide network of more than 250 community-based social services agencies operating out of 315 sites. It partners with Verizon NJ for its Communications Lifeline call center that answers 150,000 calls a year for telephone bill assistance. It also partners with the state of New Jersey to run the Department of Community Affairs call center, answering 300,000 calls per year.
In the past, NJ SHARES used antiquated land lines with no reporting or customization capabilities. It then moved to a hosted VoIP solution but it quickly became apparent that the vendor couldn’t handle NJ SHARES’ large call volume. Calls were often dropped or frozen, reporting was unreliable and call monitoring was difficult. There were days when the phones were completely down and restoration was challenging and time consuming. “We had to make a decision to make a third move,” recalls Kim Warrick, client services manager at NJ SHARES. “Our customers were frustrated and we were not satisfied with the vendor’s response. We had to move quickly.”
Solution: ShoreTel Sky Provides Flexibility and Rich Reporting Features
NJ SHARES interviewed several companies, ultimately selecting three companies for the final round. They chose ShoreTel because of their presentation, expertise, package offering and willingness to work with a nonprofit organization. The ShoreTel representative worked with the NJ SHARES to design a system that would capture all that NJ SHARES needed in a phone system.
NJ SHARES operates two separate call centers and both utilize many of the robust features offered in the ShoreTel Sky phone system. Through the online portal, users can change their own voice messages and administrators can record messages, add/change/delete representatives. By calling ShoreTel technical support, management can move representatives from one queue to another virtually, depending on call center demand, without having to physically move seats from one call center to another.
The queue capability enables customers to choose to either wait in a queue for a NJ SHARES representative, or push telephone prompts to more quickly access recorded information that answers frequently asked questions. Warrick and her team are also using the call monitoring feature. “We can monitor a certain number of calls per day to help us with training and accountability,” says Warrick. “Sometimes, a customer and the representative have different recollections of what was said on a call. Now, we can quickly listen to the actual call and determine exactly what transpired. Our goal is to provide excellent customer service. The ShoreTel Sky phone system assists in achieving that goal.”
Reporting features are regularly used in both call centers. Call center metrics, such as types of calls and requests, calls transferred or abandoned, and hold wait times can be retrieved daily, weekly or monthly. These reports enable NJ SHARES to see when its call centers are busiest so it can better manage staffing requirements. Further, this data is readily accessible when our clients request specific call information. “We utilize the reporting features to assess whether we are providing the customers the best service possible,” says Warrick.
Results: Reliable Phone System and Key Data for Better Decision-Making
Now that NJ SHARES is equipped with a VoIP solution that has the capacity to handle its large call volume, the organization is pleased with the improvements in its customer service. The call center that handles the Department of Community Affairs calls improved its incoming call percentage to an impressive 99.7 percent of calls being handled with the ShoreTel Sky solution. The ability for the customers to choose the automated prompts rather than wait to speak to a live person has freed up the representatives and dramatically decreased customer wait times to less than five minutes, even during peak volume times.
Warrick says the flexibility of the phone system, combined with the reporting capabilities, has made her job much easier. She now has insight into call center activity, which enables her to better staff the call centers to provide customers with the best service possible. “We were on a tight budget and timeframe,” she says. “ ShoreTel was able to give us everything we needed so we can provide excellent customer service.”