McKenzie Sports Case Study
ShoreTel VoIP hits the bull’s-eye for McKenzie Sports call center
Maxed out capacity
McKenzie had a Nortel Networks Norstar-Plus Modular ICS system that was already at capacity. The company needed a reliable network solution that could accommodate future expansion and remote locations.
Reliable and flexible call center
When McKenzie Sports opened a distribution center in Fremont, Nebraska, and added six employees on a Nortel system, it maxed out the Nortel system by piggybacking voice traffic on the data link.
“We had a dedicated T-1 between the two locations for data, and part of it was partitioned off and dedicated to the voice signals between locations,” says Barry McKenzie, director of IT at McKenzie Sports. Voice traffic came out of the Nortel PBX on a digital extension, and then the digital signal was converted to analog. The analog traffic ran between the routers at each site via a T-1 link. In Nebraska, the analog signal was converted back to digital and entered the Nortel key system as a digital extension.
The setup was inefficient, to say the least. “Part of our site-to-site bandwidth was dedicated to those two voice lines, and we couldn’t use that bandwidth for anything else,” McKenzie says.
Knowing that the company would make additional acquisitions, McKenzie Sports decided to drop Nortel. “Upgrading the Nortel system would have cost a pile of money, and we would still be limited if we opened up another remote site,” he says. In addition, McKenzie Sports would need to upgrade its Cisco router, and a future acquisition would likely require another router upgrade.
McKenzie sought a more flexible, cost-effective IP telephony system, and he began researching solutions. ShoreTel scored “an immediate touchdown,” says McKenzie. “ShoreTel won the game, and they didn’t even have to play.”
“ShoreTel appealed to us because it was so open-ended in terms of future expansion,” McKenzie says. “And with the ShoreTel system between our two existing sites, we were going to get bandwidth back.” No longer would McKenzie Sports lose two router slots to dedicated voice cards.
McKenzie Sports boosts the bottom line with ShoreTel
In conjunction with the ShoreTel deployment, McKenzie Sports upgraded its network switches. “We had outgrown our switching infrastructure and knew an upgrade was just over the horizon,” McKenzie says. “Foundry and ShoreTel offered a scalable solution.” A Foundry FastIronII+ core switch sits in the company headquarters, and each satellite office has a Foundry FastIron Edge 2402 Power Over Ethernet (POE) switch. The POE switch supports wireless access points in the warehouses.
McKenzie also wanted a flexible system that supported both VoIP and analog. In case a WAN link drops, the analog side of the ShoreTel system kicks in. “With ShoreTel, if there is a WAN meltdown, calls coming into the customer service workgroup will get routed to a designated person in the customer service workgroup, and that person would be transformed into a call director,” explains McKenzie.
Since deploying the ShoreTel equipment, telecom costs have been drastically reduced. All calls are routed through ShoreTel-T1 at the headquarters, including long-distance calls from remote locations and calls into the company’s 800 number.
“I would probably faint if I saw the amount of money we’ve saved by using the site-to-site connectivity instead of dialing out,” McKenzie says. “And if the WAN goes down, we can still talk to customers. If we don’t have phone service, we aren’t making money.”
“WE HAD A DEDICATED T-1 BETWEEN THE TWO LOCATIONS FOR DATA, AND PART OF IT WAS PARTITIONED OFF AND DEDICATED TO THE VOICE SIGNALS BETWEEN LOCATIONS. PART OF OUR SITE-TO-SITE BANDWIDTH WAS DEDICATED TO THOSE TWO VOICE LINES, AND WE COULDN’T USE THAT BANDWIDTH FOR ANYTHING ELSE.”
Barry McKenzie, Director of IT
Several features have tremendously boosted user efficiency and, ultimately, the company’s bottom line. The ShoreTel Contact Center had just the features McKenzie was looking for. McKenzie Sports has one three-person customer service workgroup and another workgroup with as many as 25 people. Customers using the toll-free number are automatically routed to the agent who has been idle the longest.
“We went through three different call processors and none of them really routed calls to our customer service reps in an efficient and consistent manner,” McKenzie says. “Part of the standard ShoreTel feature set was a call center and customer service workgroup, and it behaved exactly like we wanted it to.”
Setting up new offices with the ShoreTel Director “takes minutes” and all management occurs in the North Carolina headquarters. “I love it,” McKenzie says.
ShoreTel results in significant cost savings
The ease of administration has saved $5,000 to $10,000 per year in adds, moves, and changes alone. McKenzie Sports no longer has to pay a Nortel tech to make the changes, and the simplicity of the management system frees McKenzie to work on more pressing projects. The company saves another $5,000 annually in replacement equipment, McKenzie says.
The company has also saved bandwidth costs. Now that McKenzie Sports doesn’t have to dedicate bandwidth on its T-1 line for inter-site voice traffic, the company is saving $1,500 per month that it would have to pay for additional lines.
Network efficiency also improved. McKenzie Sports didn’t have to upgrade the network routers or boost WAN links to support the remote sites. “With the ShoreTel equipment, we got half our bandwidth back, so we didn’t have to increase our WAN bandwidth to do VoIP across sites,” McKenzie says.
McKenzie described the upgrade as “painless,” and end users particularly enjoy the ShoreTel Communicator. “People took to the Personal Call Manager like ducks to water,” McKenzie says. “I shudder to think of the screeching that would commence if we had to do away with it.”
With the business growing, McKenzie is not concerned about adding new locations. “We’ll just drop a ShoreTel switch in there, hook it up to the network switch, and ask people where they want their phones. It takes minutes.”
“WITH THE SHORETEL EQUIPMENT, WE GOT HALF OUR BANDWIDTH BACK, SO WE DIDN’T HAVE TO INCREASE OUR WAN BANDWIDTH TO DO VOIP ACROSS SITES.”
McKenzie Sports was growing and its phone system was maxed out. The company needed a voice system that didn’t require dedicated bandwidth, would improve call routing to call center reps, and lower overall telecom costs.
ShoreTel provided a VoIP solution that included ShoreTel Voice Switches and T-1 support that enabled site-to-site connectivity, least-cost routing, workgroups, and a virtual contact center.
- Savings of up to $18,000 in bandwidth costs
- Annual savings between $5,000 to $10,000 in administrative costs
- $5,000 per year in replacement equipment