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Harcourts Blue Realty Case Study

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Case Studies

ShoreTel UC saves Harcourts Blue Realty an estimated 30 percent on calls and system management costs

30-user system can’t scale

As the company looked to support continued expansion, and maintain a 50-year tradition of excellence, it also faced growing costs and limited capabilities with its 30-user Panasonic telephone system.

Single number to reach four offices

Monthly call charges were rapidly increasing. There were also growing add-on charges and the “hidden” costs of mobile phone call-ins. Landlines were not being used for call routing, and there were high callback charges, and missed calls. Compounding the problem were the high costs of maintenance and service each time a new person needed to be added or removed from the system.

Harcourts Blue Realty customer service manager Gerry Gorry was becoming increasingly frustrated with the high costs and inability of the Panasonic system to create any sort of scale going forward. After testing various technologies, Harcourts Blue Realty management decided that a highly reliable and scalable UC solution would be the best option to replace its Panasonic system, which was coming to the end of a five-year lease.

“We needed to reduce our call costs and provide our sales and support staff with a resource to help them be more productive,” says Gorry. “We had to find a way to help our staff communicate more effectively. Ease of use was another issue. Staff found the Panasonic features awkward. As a result, the system was only being used for basic telephony.”

Gorry needed a system that provided immediate savings in call costs, reduced basic maintenance expenses, and included additional resources that could lift productivity. As Harcourts Blue Realty operations grew, the system also needed to be easy to manage and use, efficient to deploy, and highly scalable.

ShoreTel provides an easy-to-use system that enables free calling among branches

After carefully evaluating the available options, Harcourts Blue Realty selected a ShoreTel UC system. “The highly flexible ShoreTel UC deployment started to provide an investment return from day one,” says Gorry. “Our salespeople found the ShoreTel Call Manager feature a genuine resource that helped them achieve more from their workday.”

ShoreTel Call Manager provides full information about incoming calls and call history, so users can access a variety of details about the caller and their interests before taking the call. It also enables users to type in a call recipient’s name and make the call using a desktop computer without ever having to touch the handset. It is a simple click-and-dial process.

ShoreTel has also simplified system management. The complete ShoreTel UC system can be managed using the browser-based administration interface, ShoreTel Director, from anywhere on the network.

Any changes needed to the system like adding people, changing numbers, or moving handsets around the offices can now be done by the inhouse IT staff. “There are no costs involved when we do this, apart from the costs of any additional handsets that we need,” explains Gorry. In addition, the system can scale up to 10,000 users—ample room for growth over the midterm to longer term.

The team has also seen immediate benefits because of the system’s ease of use. “The features of ShoreTel Director are very intuitive and much easier to learn and use compared to the Panasonic system,” says Gorry.

Property consultants have full telephony resources in the office or on the road

The remote mobile capabilities of the ShoreTel UC system have helped increase the productivity of Harcourts Blue Realty’s real estate consultants, who spend a large part of their working day outside a traditional office environment.

“WE NEEDED TO REDUCE OUR CALL COSTS AND PROVIDE OUR SALES AND SUPPORT STAFF WITH A RESOURCE TO HELP THEM BE MORE PRODUCTIVE. WE HAD TO FIND A WAY TO HELP OUR STAFF COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY. EASE OF USE WAS ANOTHER ISSUE.”

Gerry Gorry, Customer Service Manager
Harcourts Blue Realty

Regardless of where a call is answered, the ShoreTel UC system allows the call to be transferred to whichever location the receiver chooses. “The ability to switch all calls to any nominated location provides us with better use of our administration resources. Staff can work from different locations and assign their phone to colleagues or sites in any of our offices. We see mobility being an exciting second phase in our plan for generating additional productivity from our communications,” explains Gorry.

Ability to monitor call traffic

The ShoreTel UC system provides visibility across all of Harcourts Blue Realty branches and operations. It puts client contact information at the fingertips of sales consultants and management wherever and whenever necessary. Colleagues can see who is on the phone, who is in the office, and when the sales consultant can take the call.

By providing integrated contact management with Microsoft Outlook, the ShoreTel UC system enables Harcourts Blue Realty to create and modify user groups for specific marketing campaigns. This feature provides a genuine resource for sales professionals seeking to engage with potential customers and others who might refer business to the agency.

Harcourts Blue Realty is sold on ShoreTel

Harcourts Blue Realty has already seen a return on its investment and higher productivity. “The ShoreTel UC system has created an estimated 30 percent savings in call and system management costs, and all calls within our branches now are completely free,” says Gorry. “Cost savings like these make a real difference to the business bottom line.”

The functionality of the ShoreTel UC system enables staff to automatically dial out with just a few clicks from their PC, instead of having to dial numbers manually. This feature saves sales and administration staff dozens of man-hours annually, as they don’t have to stop work to look up telephone numbers from their files and then dial the number.

“Harcourts Blue Realty has a significant resource that will underpin its growth into the future,” concludes Gorry.

“THE SHORETEL UC SYSTEM HAS CREATED AN ESTIMATED 30 PERCENT SAVINGS IN CALL AND SYSTEM MANAGEMENT COSTS, AND ALL CALLS WITHIN OUR BRANCHES NOW ARE COMPLETELY FREE. COST SAVINGS LIKE THESE MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE TO THE BUSINESS BOTTOM LINE.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Faced with rapid expansion, Harcourts Blue Realty needed to reduce costs, improve branch office communications integration, and adopt a scalable, reliable unified communications (UC) solution.

SOLUTION:

  • ShoreTel provided the threebranch realtors with ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel IP Phones, and ShoreTel Director for system management. The solution was rolled out to 59 users at Harcourt’s offices in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

BENEFITS:

  • Advanced cost-saving features
  • Make MACs at little or no cost
  • Scalability of the system to meet growth
  • 30 percent savings on call and system management costs