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Buffalo Sabres Case Study

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Case Studies

The Buffalo Sabres enhance customer service and score a hat trick with ShoreTel conferencing, reporting and mobility

Buffalo Sabres

New goal: Modern telephony that doesn’t require expensive third-party support

The Sabres’ aging telephone system had become increasingly less reliable. It was dropping calls and taking longer to find replacement parts as various components failed. Its lack of flexibility prevented Sabres staff from making any changes in house. Modifications required a call to a third-party vendor, which was inconvenient and pricey.

Flexibility to accommodate the needs of a multiuse facility and enhance the fan experience

First Niagara Center is a multiuse facility and home to the NHL Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo Bandits in Lacrosse, and a venue for all concerts and family shows performed in Buffalo.

It isn’t easy to host these events. Winning helps, but being able to stay in contact with fans and making sure that they can contact a representative easily is imperative to ensure an excellent customer experience. To facilitate this interaction requires modern telephony features.

The Sabres had several items on its must-have list. The new phone system needed to be user-friendly, flexible enough to change as business needs dictated, and easy to use so staff could make changes to meet the needs at any event. The Sabres explored a number of systems from Mitel, Cisco, and NEC.

“When reviewing options for a new telephone system, we decided that the ShoreTel UC VoIP solution met all of our main priorities in our ticket offices at First Niagara Center and just general calling needs,” says Chuck Lamattina, executive vice president of finance and business operations and CFO for Sabre’s parent company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment. “Flexibility, manageability, and ease of use really made ShoreTel stand out.”

ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center elevates customer service

The ShoreTel deployment made it stress-free for the Sabres to get up and running. Much of the work was done in the offseason and allowed employees to work, while the ShoreTel VoIP system was implemented in the background. One mission was to enhance Sabre customer service, which required a fully featured contact center.

With ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center, the organization can now prioritize calls for season ticket holders. When other fans call in, prompts direct them to information or a department via established workgroups. 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. 

“The deployment of the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center has helped our customers interact with our box office and customer service staff to make every event a positive experience,” says Lamattina. “It also allows us to run reports so that we can monitor customer service to ensure that wait times aren't too long.”

With telephones now in every suite, Sabres staff can communicate with customers during events. They also have the ability to transfer calls, so if somebody can't make it to the office, calls can be forwarded their homes or cell phones using ShoreTel Mobility. On game day, it’s easy to accommodate different broadcast needs.

“THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE SHORETEL ENTERPRIS CONTACT CENTER HAS HELPED OUR CUSTOMERS INTERACT WITH OUR BOX OFFICE AND CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF TO MAKE EVERY EVENT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE,” SAYS LAMATTINA. “IT ALSO ALLOWS US TO RUN REPORTS SO THAT WE CAN MONITOR CUSTOMER SERVICE TO ENSURE THAT WAIT TIMES AREN’T TOO LONG.”

Chuck Lamattina
Executive Vice-President of Finance and Business Operations and CFO, Pegula Sports and Entertainment

“As a hockey venue, we have to have a connection to NHL headquarters in Toronto in order for executives to oversee and instant-replay all the goals and/or questionable items that occur during game play. The ShoreTel system enables seamless and timely communication so the game moves on in a timely fashion,” says John Sinclair, vice president of tickets and customer service for the Buffalo Sabres and the First Niagara Center.

ShoreTel 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.

ShoreTel unified communications features also enable employees to better communicate among departments and allow Pegula Sports and Entertainment to use one platform across a number of its different businesses. That has also saved the organization money since it’s no longer necessary to duplicate services. Lamattina estimates that ShoreTel has reduced the company’s total cost of ownership (TCO) by approximately 50%.

As the team continues to enhance its customer experience, it plans to integrate the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center with its CRM system and add functionality such as enhanced 911 and call recording.

“ShoreTel has been a great solution for us. It has allowed us to expand to Rochester, where we purchased a minor-league hockey team. It has grown with us as we built Harbor Center here in Buffalo, New York. Also, since Buffalo has been selected to host the 2016 draft, we’ll need at least 120 lines for suites and individual team needs. With ShoreTel, we can scale up without any additional infrastructure additions,” concludes Lamattina. “Bottom line: ShoreTel is a great product and a good company.”

"SHORETEL HAS BEEN A GREAT SOLUTION FOR US. IT HAS ALLOWED US TO EXPAND TO ROCHESTER, WHERE WE PURCHASED A MINOR-LEAGUE HOCKEY TEAM. IT HAS GROWN WITH US AS WE BUILT HARBOR CENTER HERE IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK WITH SHORETEL, WE CAN SCALE UP WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE ADDITIONS. BOTTOM LINE: SHORETEL IS A GREAT PRODUCT AND A GOOD COMPANY.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Enable the Sabres to provide a great customer experience and the flexibility to make changes on the fly to accommodate any scenario.

SOLUTION:

  • The ShoreTel UC deployment delivered a VoIP business phone system that included ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center, IP 400 and 600 series phones, ShoreTel Mobility, and Web conferencing.

BENEFITS:

  • Eliminate costly third-party support
  • Ease of use
  • Contact Center reporting
  • ShoreTel Mobility
  • Web conferencing