Topline Federal Credit Union Case Study
TopLine Federal Credit Union banks on ShoreTel Unified Communications for better ROI and service
Lack of productivity features
The phone system was 12 years old and lacked newer technology. On average, the bank received 6,000 calls a month from members and nonmembers. Each one of those calls had to be manually routed.
Solution to improve performance, costefficiencies, and reliability
TopLine has numerous full-service branch locations throughout the Twin Cities. While the credit union’s membership and services continue to flourish, its telecommunications system began to flounder. An outdated telephone system had become limited in useful functionality and scalability, and was no longer able to accommodate growth. The credit union wanted to implement a business continuity plan to ensure enterprise-level reliability and meet stringent disaster recovery requirements, but this was not supported by the old system.
In addition, TopLine was focused on decentralizing its corporate call center—using tellers at branch offices to handle incoming calls—to improve productivity. The existing communications system could not handle distributed call center architecture easily or cost-effectively.
Before Colleen Jakes, director of information services at TopLine Federal Credit Union, began investigating VoIP vendors, she researched how to assess the existing communications environment and identify new system requirements.
The PBX system in place at TopLine was lacking several key features that hampered operations. For example, the credit union employed many part-time “floating” tellers who traveled and worked at whichever branch might need extra help on any given day. Without a presence feature or instant messaging, these mobile tellers were not always easy or quick to locate. While the PBX system offered audio conferencing, only three telephone lines could be dialed in at one time, and the process required 18 buttons to activate the conference. And 15 buttons were needed to log into a workgroup queue.
Generating requirements for VoIP
Jakes engaged 25 employees to form an evaluation committee that comprised a cross section of the organization, including tellers, accounting, human resources, and other key areas.
Among the top priorities for a new VoIP system at TopLine were price, ease of use, disaster recovery features, and the ability to distribute the call center to branch personnel. Features such as automated attendant and integration with instant messaging were also very important.
Another key requirement was integration with existing Citrix XenApp software, which virtualizes Windows applications across the data center for on-demand access to users from anywhere on any device.
TopLine Federal Credit Union contacted Transcend United Technologies, an integrator of IP telephony solutions, and looked at presentations from several vendors. ShoreTel was among the two finalists meeting TopLine’s criteria for unified communications. “We loved the ShoreTel distributed architecture and rich feature set, and its full integration with our existing software for improved reliability. However, once we saw the ShoreTel Communicator demonstrated, we knew we had to have it,” explains Jakes.
Ensuring simpler communications with ShoreTel
The TopLine Federal Credit Union deployed a ShoreTel UC system, which is purpose-built using a fully distributed architecture with no single point of failure.
“WE LOVED THE SHORETEL DISTRIBUTED ARCHITECTURE AND RICH FEATURE SET, AND ITS FULL INTEGRATION WITH OUR EXISTING SOFTWARE FOR IMPROVED RELIABILITY. HOWEVER, ONCE WE SAW THE SHORETEL COMMUNICATOR DEMONSTRATED, WE KNEW WE HAD TO HAVE IT.”
Colleen Jakes, Director of Information Services
TopLine Federal Credit Union
Employees from Transcend United walked the TopLine training staff through all the key ShoreTel features, enabling the staff to then conduct twohour training sessions for the rest of TopLine’s employees.
As employees became familiar with more features, productivity has increased. “The branch tellers are now managing our distributed call center and seem to use the presence feature extensively to immediately identify who is available and better manage calls,” says Jakes.
With ShoreTel Communicator and ShoreTel Converged Conferencing, the credit union reintroduced IM into its daily operations. In addition, colored icons provide a quick visual reference of the presence information of the person being called, call handling modes are easy for the users to set up, and the call center group makes extensive use of the contacts tab in ShoreTel Communicator to quickly call frequent contacts.
TopLine is taking advantage of ShoreTel’s hunt groups, workgroups, and rollover features. “Workgroup reports give us visibility into the operation, and help us find out how many calls might be waiting in the call center queue. We have a hunt group set up for our mortgage team, and a manager’s hunt group as backup to help ensure calls are picked up and to handle escalations,” says Jakes.
TopLine realizes cost savings of $11,000 annually and a 78 percent decrease in call wait times
The ShoreTel UC system has significantly increased TopLine’s return on investment. “We compared the ROI of ShoreTel to the old system— the savings of time, support, maintenance, and costs is 42 percent. And metrics from the new distributed call center show a 78 percent decrease on call wait times and call completions. With ShoreTel, deployment is easy and we have room to grow—we can add switches, extensions, entire branches, simply and quickly. And we’ve eliminated the POTS lines, which saves $11,000 annually,” Jakes says.
TopLine was able to meet its business requirement for transitioning centralized call center activities out to branch offices. “ShoreTel allowed us to eliminate the call center functions here at corporate, to better utilize branch tellers and the auto-attendant feature. Callers can literally press ‘1’ to order checks, another number to report lost or stolen credit cards, and so on. We’re also using the ShoreTel voicemail callout. This helps ensure that important calls are returned quickly. It all adds up to a highly efficient yet still user-friendly environment for both our members and staff,” explains Jakes.
“EVERYTHING HAS MET OUR EXPECTATIONS, AND IT’S FANTASTIC TO SEE SO MANY EMPLOYEES ACTUALLY ENJOYING THE SIMPLICITY OF OUR COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM.”
“The ShoreTel products live up to what is advertised and presented. Everything has met our expectations, and it’s fantastic to see so many employees actually enjoying the simplicity of our communications system,” concludes Jakes.
TopLine Federal Credit Union wanted to modernize, decentralize, and simplify an outdated phone system that had become overly complex and was no longer userfriendly.
A ShoreTel UC system was deployed across TopLine’s corporate site and four remote locations.
- Rapid return on investment
- Easy-to-use interface
- Ability to inquire, route, and solve issues in real time
- Extensive flexibility with data mobility