Warn Industries Case Study
ShoreTel VoIP enables Warn Industries to be a trailblazer on the road to advanced telephony
Disparate systems lead to inefficiencies
In addition to the obsolescence issues, there was no way to balance voice traffic across facilities because the two different systems couldn’t work together. The existing call center was also showing its age and limitations.
Flexibility and advanced functionality
Warn Industries, a manufacturer of accessories and equipment for four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles, needed a single telephony system so incoming calls could be routed to the next available operator.
The existing call center was showing its age and limitations. Even minor changes to the call center or PBX configurations required expensive service. Warn telecommunications analyst Toni Mekkers, and her staff, wanted to be able to control and administer the system internally, avoiding highpriced maintenance contracts and long lead times.
Choosing the right VOIP platform
Mekkers came up with a short list of candidates, which initially included Warn’s existing vendors, Mitel and Avaya, plus Cisco and ShoreTel. Mekkers had been eyeing Cisco’s VoIP solutions for years, but research suggested that about 90% of the people who had bad experiences with VoIP were Cisco users.
Cisco could do everything Warn wanted, but adding a feature generally meant adding another box, which added to the price and complexity of the overall solution. “Plus, you had to be an engineer to understand the contact center solution,” Mekkers explains.
Conversations with Avaya were even less fruitful. The representatives were downright arrogant—an attitude Mekkers and her staff had already encountered when getting support for the Avaya PBX in the Milwaukee plant.
That left ShoreTel and Mitel. Mitel’s VoIP system had a very rich feature set, but was also quite complicated. Mekkers and her staff were worried about the user support issues that might ensue.
In contrast, the ShoreTel system was very easy to use, and Mekkers was immediately able to navigate her way around it and make administrative changes. It was also a lot less expensive, partly because Warn could opt to use inexpensive analog phones with it.
As a final test, Mekkers turned a group of users loose on the Mitel and ShoreTel systems. “Our users range from very technologically savvy to very low tech. They picked the ShoreTel system hands down, most of them saying it was easier to use,” explains Mekkers. “ShoreTel was also the easiest to implement, and gave us total control.”
The new ShoreTel system has eliminated the expense and inconvenience of dealing with outside vendors for support. Whenever there was a problem with one of the old voice platforms, it cost $145 per hour to bring one in. Now Mekkers’ IT staff can deal with the problems themselves in minutes.
ShoreTel gets two thumbs up
Warn sells its products through a two-tier distribution channel, so the bulk of the contact center’s calls are from dealers and distributors. But there are also calls from consumers looking for a retail outlet, or for help with a product they’ve purchased, or for assistance deciding what to buy.
The previous platform was an Avaya ACD system that worked well but was difficult to set up and configure. An outside service professional had to be called in at considerable cost to make any changes, and the configuration options offered only limited call-routing functionality.
“OUR USERS RANGE FROM VERY TECHNOLOGICALLY SAVVY TO VERY LOW TECH. THEY PICKED THE SHORETEL SYSTEM HANDS DOWN, MOST OF THEM SAYING IT WAS EASIER TO USE. SHORETEL WAS ALSO THE EASIEST TO IMPLEMENT, AND GAVE US TOTAL CONTROL.”
Toni Mekkers, Telecommunications Analyst
With the ShoreTel contact center solution, Bailey first defined his agent organization, and designated how he wanted calls to be routed among them. He created groups and prioritized the agents within them, so the system could automatically look through the available agents for the one with the best skill set.
“Once you figure out how you want calls routed to best serve your customers, the ShoreTel contact center is very easy to configure,” says Bailey. The reporting capabilities of the ShoreTel contact center also get high marks from Bailey. A lot more data are pulled into the reports, and it is easy to generate reports on an ad hoc basis, or schedule them. Report results are sometimes posted on the company intranet so everyone can see what’s going on.
Cost savings grow as company expands
So far, Warn’s agents all work from a central contact center facility but realize that a virtual call center concept could be very useful in the future. The region has an occasional “snow day” disruption. “When we have an event like that, it would be nice to have the option of having the agents log in at home and take calls,” Bailey says.
Warn also has 12 salespeople out in the field, and is testing ShoreTel’s softphone with one of them. When the person logs into the enterprise VPN, his calls are automatically routed to him, providing a consistent voice environment customized to this person’s telephony profile whenever and wherever he wants to work. If the experiment is successful, the sales force will gain some enhanced mobility and avoid some long-distance charges.
Warn is anticipating some savings from bypassing long-distance carriers and conferencing services. Once the Detroit site is added to the ShoreTel system, some $800 per month in toll charges will be eliminated. And upgrading to the new ShoreTel software with six-way conference calling will shave a big chunk off the $1,500 monthly conference call bill.
The success of the ShoreTel solution is turning Warn into something of a VoIP trailblazer. Mekkers now gets a lot of calls from other subsidiaries interested in moving to a converged platform. “They can see the benefits, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what this technology can do,” Mekkers says.
“THEY CAN SEE THE BENEFITS, AND WE’VE BARELY SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF WHAT THIS TECHNOLOGY CAN DO.”
The 15-year-old Mitel PBX was a veritable antique, and the contact center was being relocated from the headquarters in Clackamas, Oregon, which had an Avaya system. It was also a nuisance having two separate phone and voicemail systems.
ShoreTel provided Warn Industries with a complete, end-to-end VoIP system, which included ShoreTel IP Phones, ShoreTel Communicator, and ShoreTel Contact Center.
- Cost savings of $800 a month on long-distance calls
- Savings of $1,500 a month with in-house conferencing
- Softphone capabilities for salespeople on the road
- Real-time reporting features