In Wisconsin, the phrase “call before you dig” really means something. In fact, the state has a statute requiring that anyone planning to excavate in any capacity must first contact Diggers Hotline. This one-call center has helped millions of callers obtain information on the location of underground facilities and safe working distances from overhead lines, absolutely free of charge.
Diggers Hotline is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1976 to help ensure continuity of utility and communications services, to prevent damage to underground and overhead facilities, and to increase worker and public safety. The information received during caller interactions is quickly processed and passed along to affected utility companies.
Today, Diggers Hotline handles around half a million call requests each year, any hour of any day, via incoming calls from professional excavators, utilities, and homeowners. Contact center representatives process a “locate ticket” for each incoming dig inquiry. The organization’s goal is to answer at least 80 percent of all calls within 30 seconds, but the team regularly exceeds that objective with service levels in the 90 percentile.
“Our company is based on communications—without it, we wouldn’t have a business. All calls from excavators doing projects in Wisconsin come in through our hotline to the contact center 24 hours a day so reliability and ease of use are critical,” explains Mike Meyer, Manager of IT Services at Diggers Hotline.
Excavating Costly Call Center Communications
In 2005, in conjunction with a move to a new home office building, Diggers Hotline built its phone technology on a Cisco VoIP system, along with an ASC recorder solution for its contact center needs. Also in the communications environment was an IEX TotalView workforce management system intended to help forecast staffing needs. Diggers Hotline had a support contract for its VoIP system with another vendor that was quite costly.
“We were only relatively happy with the phone system in place, and then it went end-of-life and end-of-service, forcing us to deal with an upgrade or replacement solution. To move forward with Cisco as our vendor, we would first need to purchase all new Linux servers and then upgrade the Cisco software. The support agreement we had in place was very expensive. We realized we could buy a whole new system for around same price, get more features and flexibility, and be better supported,” say Meyer.
Top priorities for a new VoIP platform included reliability, ease of use and simpler administration, and dependable support. Another consideration was that a replacement solution would still need to support hot desking, a technology that allows users to log in at any phone rather than having assigned seats and desktops. Meyer evaluated new solutions from ShoreTel, Avaya, and Cisco. During his research, he came across a third-party solution integrator, Converged Technology Professionals, a ShoreTel Certified Gold Partner and Customer Satisfaction Award winner.
“Diggers Hotline is actually required by Wisconsin State Statute to be operational 24/7. We needed to be able to design, implement, and cut over to a new communications solution without affecting the contact center’s ability to receive calls and manage the ticketing process. ShoreTel offered the reliability and simplicity we were looking for, as well as all the built-in cost efficiencies. Converged Technology Professionals was more than willing to take on this huge project with only 30 days to implement. The first time we talked to Joe Rittenhouse and Chris Frey at Converged, we knew that they would be able to deliver the project the way we needed. We really got something special with ShoreTel and Converged Technology—great partner and support, great technology and stability, and a great price,” Meyer details.
Digging into Greater Cost Efficiencies and Support
Diggers Hotline selected a ShoreTel Solution that included ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center for lower overall costs and a better customer experience. For highest voice clarity and reliability, ShoreTel IP Phones and ShoreTel Voice Switches are also part of the UC solution.
Designed to accommodate dynamic contact center requirements, Enterprise Contact Center provides a communications platform with built-in business intelligence, universal queuing, enterprise resource matching, and all the tools needed to create a powerful, flexible call center solution. Enterprise Contact Center enables Diggers Hotline call agents to communicate easily and effectively.
Supervisors are able to view dashboards, create meaningful reports on the fly, and benefit from unified management capabilities at their fingertips. Presence features, screen pops with customer details, and a unified desktop simplify center operations, even during high call volumes.
ShoreTel’s open standards and highly available distributed platform provide for seamless integration with major business and custom applications, built-in redundancy and virtualization support for greater business continuity. Combined with advanced disaster recovery features in Enterprise Contact Center, the ShoreTel UC system promotes greater uptime, and protection from WAN and system failures.
Converged Technology Professionals coordinated a very successful deployment, integrating ShoreTel with Microsoft Outlook, working with OAISYS for call recording solutions, and ShoreTel Professional Services for the IEX workforce management integration. The OAISYS solution is using a custom script that creates incoming call ticketing identification to be placed into the call recording, which then sends back a link to the ticket management system used by Diggers Hotline.
Putting the new ShoreTel platform into production would require a swift cutover and no issues. “We went from introduction to implementation in 30 days. Diggers Hotline has a 24/7 call center with hot desking login for 100 agents. The agents were standing by when we did the cutover, ready to log back on in a very short time. ShoreTel’s simplicity and architecture really contributed to our success,” explains Chris Frey, the solutions consultant at Converged Technology Professionals.
Benefiting from Significant Cost Savings
Diggers Hotline now operates an exceedingly efficient, agile call center, with brilliantly simple and intuitive collaboration features on the front end,and a highly reliable, scalable architecture at the core. Meyer recognizes that the organization now has a lower total cost structure, better functionality, and worry- free support.
“Any IT overhauls can be nerve wracking, but when we can’t afford downtime or cutover issues, the pressure grows. We definitely hired the right partner and we definitely chose the right UC platform for our goals. I was surprised how easy it was to get the ShoreTel system up and running,” discloses Meyer.
The organization has saved on its capital equipment budget, as well as operational expenditures, to lower the total cost of ownership. ShoreTel’s advanced multimedia capabilities and all-in-one contact center solution helps simplify round-the-clock business activities to improve productivity and reduce administrative demands.
“We don’t have the reliability issues or complications of the past, and can even make most of the changes ourselves. And we’ve absolutely seen savings—in annual support costs, in management time, and overall operation of the phone system,” he finishes.
"WE REALLY GOT SOMETHING SPECIAL WITH SHORETEL AND CONVERGED TECHNOLOGY - GREAT PARTNER AND SUPPORT, GREAT TECHNOLOGY AND STABILITY, AND A GREAT PRICE.”
Manager, IT Services
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