Staffing company leverages voice with accessibility
Powerful & Nimble: The Ultimate Combination
The Staffing Business
The Staffing industry is known to be one of the more competitive in business. In today’s economy, Staffing firms are looking for an edge that will allow them to compete for placements and outperform competitors.
Regardless of size or specialty, there are common operational denominators that all staffing firms aspire to.
First, Voice is the cornerstone of communications. Despite valuable tools like email, the telephone is the primary conduit for important conversations. By extension, executives and staff must be accessible by phone, almost at anytime, without unduly taxing caller or recipient with multiple numbers and complex connections.
Second, metrics help management gauge performance and productivity. What is measured, improves. Staffing companies seek ways to measure employee activity for discovering trends and fine-tuning procedures.
Third, nimble companies have the flexibility to respond to opportunities and make operational changes on-the-fly.
“ShoreTel Sky performs exactly as they said they would and exactly as we hoped. Voice is central to Aquent success and we believe we have a partner that can support and facilitate our ongoing growth.”
Larry Bolick, CIO
By way of background, Aquent has offices around the globe with customers that include two-thirds of the Fortune 500 and 90 of the Fortune 100 companies. At Aquent, agents with a track record of great service are organized into specialized practice areas that serve more than 600 clients who have worked with them for more than 10 years.
Aquent is based in Boston, Massachusetts with offices throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, France, and The Netherlands. One of the challenges of an organization with hundreds of employees and a mandate for high-touch client contact, is the phone system.
Aquent was no fledgling organization looking for some silver bullet to make them relevant. Quite the contrary. Aquent is the premier global staffing firm specializing in the placement of marketing and creative professionals. They already had proven tenets and processes. What they wanted was a phone system that allowed them to leverage those processes faster, better, and more efficiently. ShoreTel became the ideal partner to help Aquent establish an even higher benchmark for excellence.
Leveraging Voice With Accessibility / Reach-ability
Aquent had strict criteria for their new phone system that began with ensuring clients had a consistent, quality phone experience and seamless access to their desired party. With ShoreTel Sky:
- Aquent now has direct incoming numbers for all agents. This number is printed on business cards and clients now have one number that reaches their intended party without having to try cell, secondary, or home numbers.
- Employees can set up or edit forwarding or Find-Me/Follow Me rules in seconds from any browser. Home or cell phones become transparent extensions of the ShoreTel Sky system.
- Office Managers can also set up a buddy system to help each staff provide shared coverage for incoming calls.
- The agents like the hoteling feature. They can park themselves in a conference room for several hours and still get all their calls.
- Phone assistant – for better coverage and faster dialing
- For the growing number of Home Workers, the ShoreTel Sky system eliminates any geographical disconnect. By simply plugging the ShoreTel Sky phone into an Internet connection, users are visible, reachable, and “in the system” with all the same features and tracking available to coworkers in the office.
“Another big win was giving the user some control over their phone experience. Users appreciate the convenience of forwarding on their own. And, many take advantage of voice mails as .wav email attachments. Also, Caller ID is now available to everyone, not just to those in offices with newer phone systems.”
Deb McCusker, VP Shared Services
Voice Quality & Accessibility Highlights
Aquent employees have confidence that they will have faultless access to all their calls, from the routine to the very most important. With the ShoreTel Sky Portal, users can configure personal options that control how their phones are answered and forwarded. They can even set up simultaneous ringing of designated phones.
Candidates and clients no longer have to maintain and juggle multiple phone numbers for their key contacts. They now have one number to call that can reach designated agents.
Controlling The Business With Metrics and Integration
Who called Whom? When, and for how long? Tracking that kind of data, especially with multiple offices across the globe, is next to impossible with a conventional phone system.
- ShoreTel Sky automatically tracks all phone activity in real-time. Reports can be customized to generate key performance measurements that management can use to gauge productivity. Management can correct or coach behavior immediately instead of waiting weeks to find there is a problem.
Aquent recently began transition to a cloud-based CRM and they intend to deploy one of ShoreTel Sky’s most powerful resources: ShoreTel Sky Application Integration. Integration of Voice with CRM delivers immediate, tangible productivity results.
- ShoreTel Sky Application Integration integrates your phone-based activities into the CRM (or ATS) application, thereby unifying the desktop for staffing activities and transactions. Outgoing calls can be initiated with a single click and notes can be added automatically.
- Incoming calls generate instant screen pops with viewable candidate or contact information before the call is answered. Now with ShoreTel Sky, phone activity and history are automatically aggregated and consolidated for immediate access.
Metrics & Integration Highlights
ShoreTel Sky gives Aquent live information about the activities and status of their staff and client relationships. Management has the right kind of timely data to make decisions and adjustments.
Unifying the phone with the CRM promises to be a headlining breakthrough for Aquent. With information automatically aggregated and available at the fingertips, agents can leverage personal skills that generates revenue. Information has so much more value when it is current, complete, and instantly accessible.
Powerful & Nimble: The Ultimate Combination
A dynamic company like Aquent has to be responsive to fluid situations. That’s not always easy, given their size and global breadth. Adding staff or relocating offices can’t become clumsy, expensive, time-consuming projects that detract from the company’s core mission.
And the traditional “phone closet” with its attendant maintenance and administration is a distraction that makes less sense today than ever.
- Move / add / change of phones is a common occurrence in a company like Aquent. New ShoreTel Sky phone service is quick and easy. There is no traditional “wait” time or installation by IT or third parties.
- ShoreTel Sky managed hosted VoIP puts the responsibility for all phone functions and maintenance into the hands of experts that assure uptime. Aquent can focus on what they do best while their phone system is supported by the personalized service of the ShoreTel organization.
“It used to take 6-weeks and an assigned PM to coordinate several departments in moving an office. Sometimes an office would move just a couple of blocks and we had to change a long-held phone number. With ShoreTel Sky, that will never be an issue again..”
Larry Bolick, CIO
Being nimble just doesn’t relate to quickly moving phones or adding offices. Aquent operational changes, such as funneling calls to practice-specific agents, can be made immediately with just a few clicks on the web portal.
“Now, inbound callers can be greeted by a practice member in any of a number of offices, not just the members in the office originally called. Abbreviated dialing also is making a difference. Prior to ShoreTel Sky, interoffice calling necessitated area code + number. Now it’s 4-digit dialing and often done by simply selecting from a directory listing.”
Deb McCusker, VP Shared Services
Power & Nimble Highlights
Even if office needs were static, dedicating staff for routine maintenance across that geography is very costly. When IT staff is tied up with phones, other productivity projects are short-changed.
New offices or staff can be added on-the-fly with no loss of time or productivity.
Power outages are inevitable and can shut down operations and client communications for extended periods. ShoreTel Sky puts a disaster recovery plan in place that automatically reroutes calls to other staff or offices.
Summary of the Aquent / ShoreTel Sky Fit
ShoreTel Sky managed, hosted VoIP is valuable for businesses in a variety of industries. ShoreTel Sky transcends voice to become a key factor in productivity increases in four of the most volatile P&L lines: Revenue, Payroll, Rent, and Marketing.
But the ShoreTel Sky / Aquent fit is especially compelling. As previously detailed, (1) Aquent now has flawless voice and seamless accessibility to both clients and candidates, (2) metrics and application integration for ultimate management control and client interaction, and (3) the kind of nimble flexibility that allows Aquent to do what they do best: serve candidates and clients .
An additional significant ShoreTel Sky advantage is simplicity of billing. On the surface, this benefit sounds benign. But every month, Aquent administrators had to reconcile and process invoices from more than 40 long distance carriers and local phone system vendors, not to mention the processing of phone expenses from home workers.
Today, Aquent gets one itemized monthly invoice from ShoreTel Sky that covers all locations, all phones, all services. The elimination of this time and expense is just one more contributor to the positive ROI that Aquent enjoys from ShoreTel Sky managed hosted VoIP.