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Washington State Employees Credit Union Case Study

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Case Studies

Washington State Employees Credit Union credits ShoreTel UC with saving $13,000 a year in reduced maintenance and support costs

Washington State Employees Credit Union

Time to upgrade to modern telephony features

The previous system was a patchwork of independent systems that were becoming unreliable, antiquated, and unable to adapt to new technology. Additionally, supporting the network was time-consuming and costly.

New features to provide better member service

Faced with further growth and new business initiatives to provide members with remote, real-time access to transactions, and to deliver high-tech, high-touch member service, Tony Hildesheim, vice president of IT at WSECU, realized the credit union’s need for a state-of-the-art unified communications system.

“To improve internal and external member services and flexibility, we required a unified system that would offer redundancy for business resumption needs, and one that could evolve into the future, as WSECU continues to grow,” says Hildesheim.

IP Telephony offers a platform for future advances

The credit union was particularly interested in new features and functionality that would support and enhance the core of the credit union’s brand: “to make members’ lives easier.” WSECU was already using voice over IP (VoIP) systems at two branches,
and experienced acceptance and quick adoption of these IP-based PBX systems.

“The benefit of an IP-based PBX is its use of existing data infrastructure, reducing cost for implementation, management, and expansion,” Hildesheim explains. “Plus, integration into other applications is significantly simplified, allowing for process improvement and better call management features.”

The team sent an RFP to about nine vendors. Based on the responses to this RFP, the list of finalists was then shortened to three: Avaya, Cisco, and ShoreTel.

“ShoreTel really outshone the others with their commitment to customer satisfaction,” Hildesheim explains. “ShoreTel took a very member-centric approach and were able to demonstrate a UC system that could meet our current and longterm needs.”

While most of the feature sets of each vendor’s solution were similar, Hildesheim was particularly impressed with the distributed architecture of the ShoreTel UC system. “As a member-owned institution, we’re charged with providing the finest financial products at the lowest cost, and with an unprecedented level of service,” says Hildesheim. “With the ShoreTel distributed architecture, each switch is survivable, which helps ensure industry leading dependability. Since our members depend on us, this level of performance, reliability, and ease of management is essential for service and satisfaction.”

During the evaluation, ShoreTel consistently came out ahead for reliability, ease of management, support, and costs—essential criteria that enabled the team to focus more on core business processes and less on maintenance and support. As a result, WSECU decided to purchase the ShoreTel IP Unified Communications (UC) system.

ShoreTel increases flexibility branch-wide

Deploying the ShoreTel UC system enabled WSECU to centralize communications and use several feature-rich applications, including ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) to establish multiple call centers—a primary call center for members, and smaller call centers for departments such as the loan center and member solutions.

“THE BENEFIT OF AN IP-BASED PBX IS ITS USE OF EXISTING DATA INFRASTRUCTURE, REDUCING COST FOR IMPLEMENTATION, MANAGEMENT, AND EXPANSION. PLUS, INTEGRATION INTO OTHER APPLICATIONS IS SIGNIFICANTLY SIMPLIFIED, ALLOWING FOR PROCESS IMPROVEMENT AND BETTER CALL MANAGEMENT FEATURES.”

Tony Hildesheim, Vice President of IT
WSECU

State-of-the-art routing and multiple service options allow customization of the caller experience and provide the tools to correctly
deliver calls to the proper agents. Additionally, built-in workgroup capabilities provide call center functionality to many internal support departments like facilities and the IT helpdesk.

Integration with other applications and systems has also been straightforward. “Our branches use Citrix, and with very minimal programming and branch staff training, we were able to create call center queues for overflow traffic and special, skills-based calls,” Hildesheim explains.

This level of flexibility helps the credit union call center ensure service levels are met, and requires no additional cost or administrative resources. Furthermore, WSECU is already seeing reduced maintenance and support costs with the ShoreTel
UC system, and expects to see annual savings of around $13,000 from the previous systems.

“Since ShoreTel is deployed as a single image, the system is easy to administer, maintain, and expand from any location,” Hildesheim explains. “We no longer have to send out a truck to change a telephone at a cost of about $100 per hour. Ease of use and advanced functionality also means we’re saving an estimated 117 staff hours a month. That translates to more time our staff can spend focusing on new initiatives and technology-related projects.”

Skills-based routing functionality in the ShoreTel ECC application is also helping WSECU enhance member service. If a caller needs an expert in home banking, the call is quickly connected to the right specialist, optimizing resources and saving valuable time. And four-digit dialing also helps users transfer member calls to any employee in the credit union. Plus, staff can contact one another quickly no matter where they are and see presence information through ShoreTel Communicator—all innovative tools that help speed service and enhance productivity.

Business agility helps WSECU see green

WSECU has already implemented many ShoreTel features, including ShoreTel Communicator for Operators to provide advanced high-volume call handling, and ShoreTel Communicator, which integrates with Microsoft Outlook. Hildesheim’s IT support team is using a ShoreTel softphone via a VPN connection to provide after-hours support from home, and is working on integrating
instant messaging (IM) to help speed employee communications and enhance productivity.

“Our offices are spread over several hundred miles, so now the cost to call those offices is not a factor,” says Ryan. “We estimate the savings are thousands of dollars per year. This translates to money we can use for supporting at-risk children in our community.”

“SHORETEL’S ABILITY TO INTEGRATE WITH BUSINESS PROCESSES, DATABASES, AND OTHER APPLICATIONS, AND TO STREAMLINE THE COMMUNICATIONS EXPERIENCE, WILL HELP US TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FUTURE INNOVATIONS IN MEMBER SERVICE.”

“ShoreTel’s ability to integrate with business processes, databases, and other applications, and to streamline the communications experience, will help us take advantage of future innovations in member service,” Hildesheim says. “We’re working on integrating ShoreTel with a number of financial applications to improve our members’ experience. With the savings and simplicity of the ShoreTel system, we can do all this seamlessly and costeffectively—as an employee and member, that’s something I can count on.”

CHALLENGE:

  • Replace multiple disparate telephony systems across branches with a centralized, reliable unified communications (UC) system that helps improve member service, increase flexibility, and provide essential system redundancy.

SOLUTION:

  • ShoreTel provided the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) with an IP Unified Communications (UC) system that included more than 500 ShoreTel IP Phones.

BENEFITS:

  • Improved customer service, even during peak times
  • Savings of $13,000 annually
  • Lower TCO due to ease of management
  • Tight integration with business processes