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NJ Shares Case Study

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Case Studies

A customized ShoreTel Connect CLOUD solution fits the bill for nonprofit community service organization NJ Shares

Overcoming a previously unsuccessful cloud experience

In 2009, NJ Shares needed a new phone system to replace an aging Nortel PBX. The company wanted a hosted phone system, yet the first vendor it selected couldn’t support the high volume of calls NJ Shares receives on a regular basis. Still convinced that a hosted, managed VoIP solution was the answer, the organization evaluated three other vendors and selected ShoreTel Sky in January 2010 since ShoreTel was the only vendor able to meet its requirements. While NJ Shares was happy with ShoreTel Sky, Kim Warrick, director of client services, opted for the new ShoreTel Connect CLOUD solution when it became available in Sept 2015. Kim was convinced that ShoreTel Connect CLOUD would provide advanced features that would allow the entire organization to enhance productivity and collaboration.

Finding a cloud solution that could meet NJ Shares’ telephony requirements

NJ Shares provides heating and utility bill assistance to middle-class New Jersey families who need help keeping their utility services turned on.

When it came time to issue an RFP for a new VoIP solution, the organization knew the direction its telephony system needed to go. ShoreTel was the only contender that fit the bill. “Other companies wanted us to conform to the way their phone system was set up,” Warrick said. ShoreTel was willing to design something around our needs. And I think that was very important.”

The team at NJ Shares explained to ShoreTel the current phone configuration and what they wanted out of a new one. ShoreTel took NJ Shares’ four toll-free numbers, pointed them to separate numbers, and eliminated all of the expenses incurred with its landline provider. ShoreTel then merged the lines into a single system that helped the call center answer calls more quickly and efficiently, and identify callers’ needs. “Our phone tree gives our customers the option of different choices that other services couldn’t offer,” said Danielle Cramer, senior client service representative at NJ Shares.

Implementation capabilities also factored into the decision. ShoreTel’s support team came on-site to oversee deployment. It was crucial that the operation be completed with minimal downtime. “We’re the difference sometimes
between somebody having heat and not having heat, so the way our hotline works, we really couldn’t have any downtime, Warrick said. “The team was very flexible and spent several overnights here to get the system up and running. They were absolutely fabulous.”

ShoreTel Connect CLOUD’s robust capabilities enable staff to focus on more important initiatives

ShoreTel reporting functionality is now one of the most valued features for the organization. Customization options enable Danielle’s team to request specific information, whether that entails an individual, group or timeframe. Once generated, the report is automatically emailed to a set of predetermined recipients.

“Instead of having staff struggle over calls and decipher different metrics, the metrics are figured out for us,” Cramer explained. That’s important in an organization like ours for two reasons. We have a small staff and we’re obligated to have these reports for contract purposes with our partners. This granular reporting takes a lot of pressure off our staff and allows them to focus on initiatives that are more important to the company.”

Instant Messaging (IM) is also popular throughout the office. With IM, questions can be answered in real time right from an operator’s desk, while the client is on the phone. Additionally, the presence indicators alert staff members that the person they are trying to contact is in a meeting or on a conference call or simply unavailable, so staff
members no longer need to continuously rerecord messages for each status change.

“BEING ABLE TO RELY ON SHORETEL AND KNOWING THAT WE HAVE PEOPLE TO SUPPORT US MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE. WITH UPDATED TELEPHONY TECHNOLOGY, IT ALSO
HAS ENABLED NJ SHARES TO EXPLORE OTHER PROJECTS THAT PERHAPS WE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO LOOK AT BEFORE.”

Kim Warrick, Director of Client Services
NJ Shares

ShoreTel Connect CLOUD gives staff members the ability to operate remotely. “The call-forward feature to cell phones was very easy to set up and it’s also very easy to change, Warrick said. We have a whole team of people that work out in the community. They’re not sitting at their desks, so for them to be able to quickly forward a call to their
cell phone or to easily make changes is a huge benefit.”

Sometimes it’s the little things that count. For example, setting up NJ Shares’ phone tree correctly allows the organization to communicate better with the community. Often the nonprofit deals with crisis situations, which makes phone system efficiency vital.

“Being able to rely on ShoreTel and knowing that we have people to support us makes a huge difference,” Warrick noted. “With updated telephony technology, it also has enabled NJ Shares to explore other projects that perhaps we
wouldn’t have been able to look at before. So it might open other doors for us when different RFPs come up that we would not have been able to bid on without a state-of-the-art phone system.

With the hosted ShoreTel Connect CLOUD service, the flexibility to accommodate NJ Shares’ needs is greatly appreciateD

As a ShoreTel Connect CLOUD customer, NJ Shares is saving a great deal of money, and every dollar saved is money that goes back into helping members of the community.

In addition, ShoreTel’s ability to tailor services that enhance NJ Shares’ business processes and customer service differentiated ShoreTel from other telephony companies. “ShoreTel worked around our needs,” Warrick said. “There were other phone companies who wanted to sell us a kit type—‘Here’s our product and, no, we can’t conform to what your needs are.’ So I think it’s important that ShoreTel continues to accommodate each individual customer’s needs. What’s more, ShoreTel’s always looking for a way to give its customers more compared to many other companies that just offer a phone system in a box. NJ Shares is definitely an organization that will promote the ShoreTel Connect product.”

“INSTEAD OF HAVING STAFF STRUGGLE OVER CALLS AND DECIPHER DIFFERENT METRICS, THE METRICS ARE FIGURED OUT FOR US. THAT’S IMPORTANT IN AN ORGANIZATION LIKE OURS FOR TWO REASONS. WE HAVE A SMALL STAFF AND WE’RE OBLIGATED TO HAVE THESE REPORTS FOR CONTRACT PURPOSES WITH OUR PARTNERS. THIS GRANULAR REPORTING TAKES A LOT OF PRESSURE OFF OUR STAFF AND ALLOWS THEM TO FOCUS ON INITIATIVES THAT ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO THE COMPANY.”

Danielle Cramer, Senior Client Service Representative
NJ Shares

CHALLENGE:

  • Handle 200,000 calls a year easily, affordably, and without in-house IT staff.

SOLUTION:

  • NJ Shares deployed ShoreTel Connect CLOUD, a completely tailored, hosted, and managed VoIP service with custom, targeted reporting, IM, and remote calling/forwarding capabilities.

BENEFITS:

  • Elimination of costly landlines
  • On-call ShoreTel support and
    expertise
  • Ability to handle high call volume
  • State-of-the-art functionality and
    features
  • Designed to meet NJ Shares’ specific needs

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