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Buffalo Sabres Case Study

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Case Studies

Buffalo Sabres scores savings, reliability, and customer relations enhancements with ShoreTel UC

Buffalo Sabres

New goal: modern telephony

The Sabres’ previous aging telephone system became increasingly less reliable. It was dropping calls and taking longer to find replacement parts as various components failed.

Reliability tops the must-have list

Ensuring that communications are efficient, cost-effective, and reliable is vital to serving the interests and safety of the local population and the crowds of tourists and visitors that flock to the site.

Tired of the high cost of an aging phone system, Mike Queeno, manager of technical communications for the Buffalo Sabres, and his IT team, investigated three IP-based unified communications (UC) systems, and narrowed the field down by requesting demonstrations from ShoreTel and Cisco. “It quickly became clear that the ShoreTel solution met all of our main priorities for reliability, cost-effectiveness, and its ability to integrate with other business processes,” says Queeno.

In addition to reliability, a major requirement for the team’s UC system was the ability to integrate with its customer relationship management (CRM) system, which contains vital business intelligence about customers, campaigns and promotions, and other key sales and marketing information. “The ability to put relevant CRM details at the fingertips of our staff, so they have information about the caller that can help them best answer the call, was a key goal for us,” explains Tom Matheny, database marketing manager for the Sabres. “Efficiency features like these are what UC is all about.”

The small internal IT team was also concerned about receiving prompt and responsive support, since high availability around the clock is crucial for both safety and customer satisfaction. Queeno and his team worked with ShoreTel partner PremCom. “PremCom was extremely responsive, and gave us the confidence that they would continue to be right there when we need them, no matter how small the question. That level of service is priceless in this type of environment,” says Queeno.

Sabres score more than a hat trick with ShoreTel

Queeno and his team were also impressed with the ShoreTel UC system’s ease of installation and management, and low total cost of ownership. “We’re dealing with the public in a fairly high-pressure kind of environment, and simply can’t afford to have our staff tied up in complex system management tasks,” Queeno explains.

ShoreTel provided the Buffalo Sabres with ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Phones to support the organization’s more than 530 users throughout the HSBC Arena. The new UC system is accessible also in the locker rooms, luxury suites, concession stands, and management offices throughout the six-floor facility.

With the ShoreTel UC system in place and ShoreTel Communicator, integrated with Microsoft Outlook, all Buffalo Sabres employees are now on the same phone and voicemail system.

“I know a lot of people appreciate that voicemail shows up right in email, and find it a quick and easy way to stay accessible,” says Queeno. In addition to powerful user features, ShoreTel’s software is distributed to every voice switch, which eliminates any single point of failure in the system. In the unlikely event of a ShoreTel Voice Switch failure, other switches on the network will automatically take on the call-processing load, so calls are never dropped.

“IT QUICKLY BECAME CLEAR THAT THE SHORETEL SOLUTION MET ALL OF OUR MAIN PRIORITIES FOR RELIABILITY, COSTEFFECTIVENESS, AND ITS ABILITY TO INTEGRATE
WITH OTHER BUSINESS PROCESSES.”

Mike Queeno
Manager of Technical Communications
Buffalo Sabres

ShoreTel Contact Center application enhances the fan experience

Since customer service and maintaining a happy fan base is at the heart of the Buffalo Sabres mission, the organization relies on an efficient and well-organized call center to respond to fans’ needs.

Furthermore, integration of the ShoreTel UC system with the organization’s CRM system makes it even easier for call center agents in the ticket office to respond to callers faster, which can greatly help improve sales and increase revenues. For instance, new callers can be presented with appropriate promotions and campaigns designed to introduce them to the excitement of a Buffalo Sabres hockey game. Existing fans can be presented with promotions and offers that instill fan loyalty and enhance their stadium experience.

Workgroups help Sabres stay ahead of the game

The Buffalo Sabres team has established several workgroups in ShoreTel Contact Center to help streamline efficiency. The team store is one workgroup, and this enables the Buffalo Sabres to consolidate all of its inquiry calls to a specified group of agents. This group can be augmented or changed on the fly to respond to peaks and changes in traffic. Productivity is enhanced, and calls are answered quickly. This feature also provides basic reporting capabilities to help measure call volume and make work schedule changes as necessary.

“We can monitor how long calls are on hold, how long each call is taking, and so on. If we need to make staff changes, we can make them right away. We don’t need to look at a certain shift and make changes for the next shift—we can add staff immediately to improve the situation right away. It’s very convenient,” explains Queeno.

ShoreTel’s cost savings take center ice

Cost savings have also been a huge benefit for the Buffalo Sabres. As a result of its ShoreTel implementation, the Sabres have saved not only on toll charges due to sharing the same line for both data and voice traffic, but also on service provider charges for difficult configuration changes.

“The ShoreTel UC system is a lot easier to work on,” concludes Queeno. “If there was something I didn’t know how to do with our previous system, I had to ask a service provider to perform the task, which was expensive and sometimes time-consuming. Now we can do almost everything on-site and PremCom supports us remotely, if there is anything we can’t do ourselves. That kind of peace of mind is invaluable when you’re hosting more than 18,000 people in a few hours.”

“NOW WE CAN DO ALMOST EVERYTHING ON-SITE AND PREMCOM SUPPORTS US REMOTELY, IF THERE IS ANYTHING WE CAN’T DO OURSELVES. THAT KIND OF PEACE OF MIND IS
INVALUABLE WHEN YOU’RE HOSTING MORE THAN 18,000 PEOPLE IN A FEW HOURS.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Implement a modern phone system that improves reliability, enables integration with key business process applications, and is easy to manage in a high-pressure, highly public environment.

SOLUTION:

  • The ShoreTel UC deployment consisted of ShoreTel Voice Switches and ShoreTel IP Phones throughout the $127 million, six-floor facility.

BENEFITS:

  • Integration with existing CRM system
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased revenues
  • Built-in reliability and ease of management