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StepChange Debt Charity Case Study

Case Studies

ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center enables StepChange to become more efficient

StepChange

Rapid growth resulted in disparate systems

StepChange has grown exponentially from one employee 15 years ago to 850 employees today. During this time, it has implemented three different contact center platforms and more than 10 different communication platforms across 10 different sites.

Scalable, reliable solution to streamline communications

StepChange is the UK’s leading debt advice charity, helping people with financial difficulties via its free national telephone service, 10 regional centers, and online services.

Due to an increase in call volumes, the charity needed a reliable communication system that would accommodate expansion and scale with the organization’s growth. StepChange also planned to migrate to a single system to consolidate and streamline communication across its different sites.

StepChange initially spoke to 10 vendors. The organization selected ShoreTel. The project was implemented with Astro Communications, a ShoreTel partner and unified communications (UC) specialist. Astro and ShoreTel worked to develop a 450-agent solution scalable to more than 1,000 users, making it ShoreTel’s biggest UK contact center deployment to date.

“The project was completed very efficiently because Astro and ShoreTel integrated well with StepChange’s internal project and technical teams. Astro also provided that vital link between
the vendor and the customer,” says Steve Smith, managing director for Astro Communications.

ShoreTel increases efficiency by standardizing communications on a single plug-and-play system

StepChange deployed ShoreTel UC and ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) solutions across its 10 sites to streamline and standardize communications on a single platform. ShoreTel’s unique distributed voice architecture enabled the project to be rolled out with plug-and-play ease and included redundancy features that have increased contact center reliability and uptime.

The ShoreTel ECC also offers a bounty of robust features. For example, its routing engine distributes calls to the right agent based on specific criteria, such as status, location, and wait-time. In addition, an integrated graphical scripting engine provides a customized call experience and self-service automation.

“If the helpline sees any agents are available, a client is offered an appointment straight away,” says John Paterson, technical support manager for StepChange. ShoreTel also improved call handling and routing by allowing all employees to see how many helpline advisors for specialist areas are available at any time, and transfer calls appropriately to ensure timely and efficient customer service.

“We now have the ability to transfer clients to other departments rather than give them an external number to call,” explains Lisa Vause, helpline advisor for StepChange. “We also know which agents are available to speak to customers so we can put them through and introduce them personally. All call-handling features enhance the customer experience and make advisors’ job easier.”

ShoreTel enables communication without barriers

Successfully managing the business means effectively communicating without barriers or borders. ShoreTel delivers reliable and flexible tools to cost-efficiently communicate, collaborate, and conference, from anywhere at any time, on any network, using any device.

“THE PROJECT WAS COMPLETED VERY EFFICIENTLY BECAUSE ASTRO AND SHORETEL INTEGRATED WELL WITH STEPCHANGE’S INTERNAL PROJECT AND TECHNICAL TEAMS. ASTRO ALSO PROVIDED THAT VITAL LINK BETWEEN THE VENDOR AND THE CUSTOMER.”

Steve Smith, Managing director
Astro Communications

ShoreTel’s best-of-breed UC and networking solutions enable StepChange to quickly take advantage of industry-leading technology and the lowest total cost of ownership. ShoreTel’s unique distributed voice architecture and premise-based VoIP platform combine with highly scalable, resilient, and agile networking infrastructure, for end-to-end UC that meet today’s modern multimedia and mobility needs.

With ShoreTel networking solutions, users can instantly access a rich suite of UC collaboration tools from their desktop or mobile device without accessibility or reliability issues. The simple design and management allows organizations to swiftly adapt to future changes without the typical complexity of heterogeneous IT environments.

ShoreTel’s commitment to open standards brings efficiencies to network operations, which considerably reduce infrastructure investment, maintenance, support, and overall TCO. The ShoreTel architecture lowers capital and operational costs, while dramatically improving how communications are managed and delivered.

ShoreTel prepares StepChange to handle an increase in cases

StepChange now has a state-of-the-art business communication system, which streamlines processes and puts critical information within an agent’s reach. It is also a solution that can scale up and down to meet the peaks and troughs in customer demand. “With the current austerity measures and spending reviews taking place, we expect even more households experiencing financial difficulties and coming to us, leading to dramatic increases in helpline calls,” says Gordon Bell, chief executive officer at StepChange.

The ShoreTel solution supports StepChange in its primary objective of providing customers the comfort and peace of mind that it is always here to help them with any difficulty or obstacle to overcoming their financial problems.

“WE NOW HAVE THE ABILITY TO TRANSFER CLIENTS TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS RATHER THAN GIVE THEM AN EXTERNAL NUMBER TO CALL,” EXPLAINS VAUSE. “WE ALSO KNOW WHICH AGENTS ARE AVAILABLE TO SPEAK TO CUSTOMERS SO WE CAN PUT THEM THROUGH AND INTRODUCE THEM PERSONALLY. ALL CALL-HANDLING FEATURES ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND MAKE ADVISORS’ JOB EASIER.”

Lisa Vause, Helpline Advisor
StepChange

 

CHALLENGE:

  • StepChange needed a reliable communication system that could accommodate its expansion and scale with future growth. Operating three different contact center platforms, over 10 different communication platforms, across 10 sites, was a barrier to streamlined communications.

SOLUTION:

  • The organization deployed a ShoreTel Unified Communications (UC) system and ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center.

BENEFITS:

  • Scalable for future growth
  • Advanced redundancy features
  • Better reliability and uptime
  • Improved customer service