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Better Business Bureau Case Study

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Case Studies

Better Business Bureau brings out the best in communications with ShoreTel UC

Better Business Bureau

Legacy system on its last legs

Boston BBB’s previous phone system was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and with offices in three locations, and remote employees, the BBB was not able to consolidate all users on one, feature-rich, easy-to-manage system.

Improve reliability and reduce costs

When it comes to understanding the communications challenges around doing business, the Better Business Bureau leads the marketplace. But the Boston BBB’s previous phone system was becoming costly to keep up.

“We looked at upgrading the old system, but both short-term and long-term costs were exorbitant,” explains Deanna Liberti, vice president of operations for the Boston BBB office. “We were paying a total of $7,800 a month just in phone use and networking costs for the systems at our main office in Boston, and the remote sites in Rhode Island and Maine.”

In addition to integrating communications among their offices, the BBB also wanted a communications backbone to keep up with its growing number of remote workers. This backbone must also support an important part of the organization’s daily operations—its two call centers: one for receiving and dealing with consumer complaints about businesses, and the other telemarketing group that makes about 100 calls a day to persuade businesses to apply for BBB Accreditation, an important source of revenue for the organization.

“Excellent customer service is vital to the credibility of the BBB, and we wanted to be able to monitor our agents’ calls on a daily basis, as well as closely manage these groups so we can improve their efficiency,” Liberti states.

As part of the decision-making process, Liberti attended an industry trade show and saw a demonstration of both the Cisco and Mitel solutions. In addition, Boston-based ShoreTel partner Barry Electric and Communications was providing the Boston BBB office with a new wide area network, and suggested she take a look at the ShoreTel system.

“The features in the ShoreTel system met all of our needs for a modern, high-performance communications system,” Liberti says. “We already had a very positive relationship with Barry Communications. Having just one point of contact and one expert to work with was very important.”

Cost comparison showed huge savings

Working with Andy Mehlman, vice president of sales at Barry Communications, to understand all the costs involved in an IP-based communications system, Liberti compared current phone and Internet bills to the calling and networking costs of a new ShoreTel UC system.

“Barry Communications showed us how to reduce our communication expenses from $7,800 a month to $5,600 a month with a redesigned network and the ShoreTel system,” Liberti says. “The cost of the system was well within our budget, and we knew the new features would help improve productivity. Of all the solutions we evaluated, ShoreTel best met our needs.”

ShoreTel UC ensures communication get through, no matter what

Once Barry Communications had installed a new WAN for the Boston BBB, and T1 modules were in place in the co-location facility, deployment of the ShoreTel UC system was simple. The co-location facility is configured to provide disaster recovery, and includes SIP trunking.

“EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE IS VITAL TO THE CREDIBILITY OF THE BBB, AND WE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO MONITOR OUR AGENTS’ CALLS ON A DAILY BASIS, AS WELL
AS CLOSELY MANAGE THESE GROUPS SO WE CAN IMPROVE THEIR EFFICIENCY.”

Deanna Liberti, Vice President of Operations
Boston Better Business Bureau

The Boston BBB solution included ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel T1K Voice Switches, ShoreTel Application Server, and a ShoreTel VPN Concentrator. This helps ensure that remote users are fully connected to the ShoreTel UC system through a VPN and the ShoreTel system’s Office Anywhere features.

High availability contributes to growth

“We simply can’t afford to have the phone system go down,” Liberti says. “The ShoreTel distributed architecture lets us implement a highly available system with a co-location facility that ensures inbound and outbound calls continue to get through, even in the event of a disaster.”

An important, always-on feature for the Boston BBB is the telemarketing and call centers. Using ShoreTel Communicator workgroup applications, Liberti can effectively manage each center, while rich reporting features have enabled her to make significant productivity and efficiency gains.

“Initially, I intended to place five agents in each call group,” she explains. “However, after looking at the call trends in the phone usage reports, I discovered that four agents would be enough. That meant two people were freed up for other important tasks.”

The reporting features also enable Liberti to assess how much training agents need and the number of calls they can handle. The telemarketing team has to make a certain number of calls to close business and meet revenue goals, so call analysis has enabled them to better manage their time. “Since implementing ShoreTel and closely managing calls, we have seen an increase in monthly sales,” Liberti adds.

ShoreTel’s ease of management increases productivity

The ShoreTel UC system is set up with four-digit dialing, so employees at the disparate offices no longer need to remember long phone numbers, and staff use the Find Me feature to locate the right person quickly.

“A significant part of our $2,200 per month savings is due to ShoreTel’s least-cost routing,” Liberti says. “Our interoffice and remote worker VPN calls are routed as local calls whenever possible instead of long distance. The number one tip I would give to other nonprofits looking for a new phone system is to look at how each system addresses these costs.”

“ShoreTel is easy to learn, manage, and maintain, which is very important to this IT team of one,” Liberti concludes. “New groups and new employees are productive straightaway, and can begin generating revenue faster, because they don’t have to wait for their phones to become available. And that’s great for business.”

“A SIGNIFICANT PART OF OUR $2,200 PER MONTH SAVINGS IS DUE TO SHORETEL’S LEAST COST ROUTING. OUR INTEROFFICE AND REMOTE WORKER VPN CALLS ARE ROUTED AS LOCAL CALLS WHENEVER POSSIBLE INSTEAD OF LONG DISTANCE.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Replace an aging and costly PBX system with a feature-rich, IP-based business communications system that improves reliability and helps reduce costs.

SOLUTION:

  • ShoreTel UC system comprises ShoreTel Voice Switches over three locations, ShoreTel IP Phones, and a co-location facility housing ShoreTel T1K switches, a ShoreTel Application Server, and ShoreTel VPN Concentrator.

BENEFITS:

  • Flow optimization resulting in increased sales
  • Reduced conferencing costs by 50 percent
  • Improved reliability and ease of management
  • Increased productivity and more personalized communications