Sovran Self Storage Case Study
Mitel Enterprise Contact Center and VoIP telephony system helps self-storage leader gain business and boost the bottom line
System inefficiencies and unreliability cause loss of business
Sovran was faced with a telephone system unable to meet the company’s current needs, especially its call center requirements. The system was difficult to use and began breaking down often— both of which lost Sovran a lot of business.
A quest for communications excellence
The company’s telephony system was in dire need of an upgrade. Sovran decided to look for a solution that would offer a robust feature set, including call center capabilities, and one that could be managed in-house, which would save time and money and also prepare the company for its anticipated growth.
With the help of Sovran’s New York-based integration partner, the company reviewed products from top vendors, including Mitel. Traditional PBX systems were not a fit for Sovran since they would require outsourced maintenance. After Sovran reviewed solutions carefully, the company chose Mitel because its solution proved to offer the most robust feature set in a voice over IP (VoIP) system, including the integrated call center applications.
Mitel’s call center capabilities are more advanced than those of the competitors
“The technology of the Mitel system was much more advanced than that of the other solutions,” says Randy Hillman, customer care manager for Sovran Self Storage. “The ease of use and feature robustness resulted in the best value overall. We’re excited to have found a system that will help us tie together the home office with the retail stores seamlessly.”
Mitel’s ECC is an integrated contact center application suite on the Mitel distributed IP communications platform. The Mitel system allows agents to be located anywhere and administrators to manage the suite of applications from a single user interface. In addition, the single distributed voice network facilitates teamwork and enables virtual workgroups, and calls can be routed across sites anywhere on the Mitel network— not just within the same physical location.
Mitel’s ECC enables call center agents to log in from any phone, including at home. This provides a more reliable home office environment than soft or hard IP phones that use the Internet for voice conversations. The software also leverages the reliability of the PSTN for voice, and the speed of DSL or cable modem connections for desktop call control, unified messaging, and other applications.
“Our agents now work from anywhere, so we can leverage expertise wherever they are, and their location is completely transparent to callers,” says Hillman. “In other words, with Mitel’s distributed system, we’re not limited by location—we can pool our call center agents logically. We can also monitor these agents wherever they work using the reporting capabilities and audio monitoring, so we can easily train new representatives and quickly make staffing changes based on the reports.”
Mitel’s Contact Center helps Sovran attract more business
With Mitel’s ECC, which is being used for its 35-agent call center, customer service and response times have improved dramatically. “People find self-storage solutions in the Yellow Pages most often, and they start dialing—if they don’t get a pickup right away, they quickly move onto the next number. We needed to eliminate those abandoned calls. The percentage of calls we were answering was in the low 90 percent, and we wanted to be at 95 percent. Mitel has brought us up to 96.5 percent or better. That’s the bottom line because if a call is lost, you lose a customer,” explains Hillman.
“THE EASE OF USE AND FEATURE ROBUSTNESS RESULTED IN THE BEST VALUE OVERALL. WE’RE EXCITED TO HAVE FOUND A SYSTEM THAT WILL HELP US TIE TOGETHER THE HOME OFFICE WITH THE RETAIL STORES SEAMLESSLY.”
Randy Hillman, Customer Care Manager
Sovran Self Storage
Contact Center also allows Sovran to match its staff to required service levels, quickly identify and solve resource issues, and give agents the tools they need to deliver quality service. Because each call is delivered with a great deal more information than before, Sovran call center agents are armed with helpful insight that enhances the service they deliver to each potential customer.
“Our agents get a huge amount of info on each call—before even answering,” states Hillman. “It literally comes down to the difference in time it takes to answer—before you had to answer a handset, now it’s a simple mouse-click. That’s how sensitive our business is to call answer times. Mitel has made us more successful with that capability alone—not to mention all of the other features we enjoy.”
“With the Mitel solution, we can see on the screen exactly what store they are calling about by the number they dialed,” Hillman adds. “We’re also able to share voicemail messages with appropriate people, without the risk of human error in relaying a message. You simply forward the voicemail via email to multiple people. It’s great to be able to share both compliments and complaints with those who need to know about them. These features are exceptionally powerful tools for a business like ours. Customers get answers faster and we win more business.”
Mitel prepares Sovran for corporate and customer growth
Sovran looks forward to its anticipated growth and knows the Mitel system will be able to keep up, without a doubt. The company plans to integrate the system with some of its own proprietary applications and is working closely with Mitel to prepare for that. The bottom line so far is that Sovran’s business has improved by simply installing the Mitel system: Money has been saved, time is used most effectively, and more business is won.
“We are pleased with the Mitel system and we appreciate our integration partner’s expertise,” concludes Hillman. “We intend to move forward with both Mitel and our partner for a long time to come.”
“IT LITERALLY COMES DOWN TO THE DIFFERENCE IN TIME IT TAKES TO ANSWER— BEFORE YOU HAD TO ANSWER A HANDSET, NOW IT’S A SIMPLE MOUSECLICK. THAT’S HOW SENSITIVE OUR BUSINESS IS TO CALL ANSWER TIMES. SHORETEL HAS MADE US MORE SUCCESSFUL WITH THAT CAPABILITY ALONE— NOT TO MENTION ALL OF THE OTHER FEATURES WE ENJOY.”
Sovran’s existing telephone system was outdated, unreliable, and slow, which resulted in lost business. Its inability to provide a robust feature set for the company’s call center agents lost the company even more business, and outsourcing management of the system cost upward of $20,000 a year.
Mitel provided the selfstorage leader with an end-toend solution, including voice switches, VoIP and analog telephones, and integrated Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) software.
- Management cost savings of
$20,000 per year
- Improved customer service
- Increased call answer rates
- Business gains due to better service