When the Phone Becomes the Front Door – Part 2

customer service

For many companies in spring 2020, business models  shifted from tried and true operations to everything happening over the phone. It was uncharted ground, where distancing became the prime directive and in- person interactions were by necessity curtailed. Phone call volume soared to unprecedented levels, resulting in widespread busy signals. Crisis or not, for many organizations the phone has become the front door – and business has changed for good.  In this new terrain, how can you enable your customers to meet demand not only now, but for the foreseeable future? How do you know you’re delivering a great experience when you can no longer see your customer’s reactions?  Many organizations, across multiple industries, are finding new communications and collaboration tools – such as Unified Communications and Contact Centers as a Service – to be indispensable gear for the new landscape. These solutions help businesses of all types meet and exceed customer expectations, drive productivity and accountability, and also provide a positive experience for employee.


In Iowa, the local provider of Internet, data, cable TV, and phone service to the Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha communities thinks and does business differently. Being laser-focused on customer experience, they moved their entire premise-based customer service department – meaning staff, equipment, call flow and more – Elevate cloud Contact Center solution.  The move was driven partly by global circumstances, with the customer care team needing the ability to remotely log in from their homes via a mix of cell phones and soft phones. However, the company also derived permanent enhancements to the customer experience, including:

  •  Predictive call flows for routing
  •  Detailed reporting
  •  Real time data displays that can be accessed remotely
  •  Multi-channel communications – chat and e-mail in addition to voice
  •  Interactive menus, including the option to process secure customer payments
    Real-time alerts on important metrics, such as wait time
  •  Integration with critical business software such as CRMs
In Georgia, a family-founded baked goods company has  had over 100 years of success, and now runs almost 50 highly efficient bakeries across the country, producing exceptional bakery foods for retail and food service customers across the nation. Reaching more than 85% of the U.S. population through their delivery network, and with sales of $4 billion, the company identified a need for contact center functionality improvements in key areas.  With high call volume but limited reporting, the company leveraged Elevate’s industry-leading library of reports and real-time monitoring to derive immediate insight and enhance caller experience. Noticing a high volume of abandoned calls, the next task was to identify the impetus behind that data, and also to isolate a “true” abandon – meaning a caller who did intend to wait in queue but gave up after a certain threshold.   Highly variable call durations were another challenge.  With interactions ranging from one minute to as long as 90 minutes, it was crucial to understand the reason for the variance (achieved via recordings), and to reduce the delta using smart routing rules.  Integrations with key productivity suites such as MS Teams and ServiceNow, instant scalability via “bursting,” and ease of moving, adding, or changing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus rounded out the feature set that helped make the decision for Contact Center, and position the company for its next phase of phenomenal – and delicious – nationwide growth.
With most facilities shut down until further notice, one leading university decided to take all its customer facing departments remote with a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform.  They faced a common but significant hurdle: the existing on-site PBX equipment had no means of connecting inbound calls to outside devices. In other words, they could receive calls but not route them outside the premises – at a time when everyone was required to work at a distance.  Adapting to changing circumstances, the university deployed advanced IVR menus plus call queues.
With this strategy they were able to route calls to entirely outside devices, including remote agents’ cell phones – and deliver context to the agent about the incoming inquiry.  The university may move entirely to its new “vendoragnostic” setup, or it can continue using some on-site components. The Contact Center solution is highly flexible and can be spun up on a stand-alone basis or in parallel with existing communications, making it an ideal choice for quick pivots and rapid deployments. 

Moving up the coast to British Columbia, Canada, an integrated network of health and social services centers assists young people combatting addictions and mental health issues. With the arrival of the pandemic, the organization needed to quickly shift its delivery model, and deploy a solution that would empower its clinicians to stay connected to clients and each other – while also staying safe.  To stay connected with youth calling in, the group turned to Contact Center Pro. Linking clients, clinicians, scheduling departments, and 140 care partners, the solution not only powers a responsive remote care experience but offers entirely new levels of insight – helping the organization to respond to demand now, and readily scale to meet future challenges. Components of this deployment included:

  • IVR menus, to help direct clients to departments, individual staff members, and outside care partners
  • Skills-based routing designed to connect clients with clinicians who are most adept in certain disciplines
  • Callbacks function for particularly busy times, allowing clients to hang up but retain their place in line.
  • Staff members are automatically connected to these callback requests once their status returns to “available”


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