Dramatic improvements in responsiveness to customers
Staffing Firm Standardizes Phones with ShoreTel Sky for Improved Efficiency
“With ShoreTel Sky, we can grow indefinitely without our customers getting a busy signal. Plus, I don’t have to endure managing a phone carrier anymore.”
Heather Reck, Telecommunications Manager, EmployBridge
Challenge: Obtain Modern Technology without Large Capital Expense
EmployBridge was created nearly 15 years ago from a combination of several successful staffing organizations. Today, the 700-employee company spans 143 locations throughout the U.S. and is the fastest growing national provider of staffing and workforce solutions. It serves more than 3,000 clients in industries such as logistics, trucking, administration, manufacturing, accounting and medical.
Because EmployBridge is spread across so many locations, managing its analog phone systems and multiple carriers was a challenge. Each location had its own phone carrier and brand of phones with varying ages. The phones were rather basic, offering little in the way of reporting or customizable features. The company was paying for extra phone lines in order to set up what it called “hunt lines” so incoming calls during peak hours could roll to these added lines until they were picked up. “The phones were consistent in how they were set up, but there was no cohesiveness when it came to the actual phones or carriers,” says Heather Reck, telecommunications manager at EmployBridge. “Phone administration at the branches was a mess because there was no easy or cost-effective way to manage moves, adds or changes or the various carriers. Branches simply avoided updating the system.”
When the economic downturn forced many companies to become more efficient, EmployBridge management developed new workflows to alleviate as much administrative burden on the offices as possible. A new, standardized phone system would make centralizing processes achievable, but dedicating a large upfront investment in new equipment was financially impossible. Further, EmployBridge was preparing to roll out a new Microsoft CRM solution for all of its branch offices and needed a centralized place to answer employee questions about the new system. It didn’t have the time or the funds to hire staff or buy new phones and phone lines for a help desk queue (call center). They determined that centralizing the phone systems with a VoIP platform would not only help employees be more productive, but it could potentially offer significantly more functionality without adding cost.
Solution: ShoreTel Sky Offers Scalability Within Budget
After considering several vendors, EmployBridge chose ShoreTel Sky. A hosted VoIP platform would enable them to avoid a large capital expense to obtain modern, standardized technology for all company branches and home office employees; quickly establish a help desk queue for the new CRM launch with no additional cost; and eliminate hunt line costs. “We set up the help desk call center for our CRM launch in less than a week and then were able to shut it down six weeks later when it was no longer needed,” says Reck. “We didn’t have to purchase a license or spend money on staff and training.”
The phones also offer valuable options, such as an online portal to enable administrators to quickly make add/move changes to keep branches updated, voicemail to email transcription, and rich reporting capabilities. The reporting features are used to track call volumes, hold times, length of calls and other relevant metrics to show executives how Reck’s team is supporting her customers, the branches. Management teams use this data to make critical decisions about staffing and training needs. “The scalability of ShoreTel Sky platform enables us to customize our phone system as our business changes,” says Reck. “With ShoreTel Sky, we can let the technology meet the business need.”
Results: Improved Productivity, Efficiency and Customer Experience
Employbridge has seen dramatic improvements in its responsiveness to customers, particularly when its help desk call center went live with the CRM rollout. Even the IT executives took notice. Chris Loope, chief information officer at Employbridge said of the call center, “It allowed us to take every branch live at once and saved us a lot of travel. The call center handled 30 percent more calls and reduced answer times from an average of 54 seconds to only 25 seconds.”
Reck is most impressed with the flexibility and scalability of the new ShoreTel Sky platform. “With the analog phones, we ordered a phone line for each person. As volume increased, we didn’t know what to order for the growing infrastructure and customers often got a busy signal until we added more phone lines,” she explains. “With ShoreTel Sky, we can grow indefinitely without our customers getting a busy signal. Plus, I don’t have to endure managing a phone carrier anymore.”
The ShoreTel Sky phones have helped EmployBridge consolidate and centralize as it becomes more efficient and productive. It has also given them the ability to keep track of home office and remote employees better because they are each assigned one number, despite their location. The field employees are sending rave reviews of the new phone system and IT executives deemed the ShoreTel Sky implementation the “best project of 2011.”
One interesting success story came from a client in Dallas needing EmployBridge to quickly staff its expanding office. Qualified applicants suddenly inundated the EmployBridge branch. The ShoreTel Sky Phone Assistant showed them that every available representative was on the phone, but because of the volume of calls, they were unable to personally answer every inbound call. EmployBridge enlisted its Tennessee call center to help return applicant calls left in voicemail, but because the area code was out of state, most applicants did not answer their phones. Thinking quickly, the EmployBridge branch manager obtained a block of local Dallas phone numbers for the Tennessee call center representatives to use. “Within a few seconds, we were able to expand our local staff with resources hundreds of miles away. ShoreTel Sky gives our branches creative power to achieve their own personal and professional success.”