8x8 Virtual Contact Center Enables Outreach Process Partners to Quickly Power-up Federal Drinking-Water Hotline
Versatile Cloud-Based Call Center Solution Facilitates Enhanced Responsiveness to Callers, Cost Savings for EPA
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Outreach Process Partners Inc. (OPP) specializes in providing expert communications outreach with topnotch customer relationship management (CRM) tools and processes to its public and private sector clients. For one well-known federal agency, cloud-based call center software from 8x8 Inc. (NAS: EGHT) provided a versatile, just-in-time solution with a short-turnaround implementation.
OPP adds value by developing tools and processes to provide strategic insight into constituent perceptions for high profile, heavy-demand clients such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Federal Highway Administration, the Maryland Transportation Authority and more. So, when the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water selected OPP to run its Safe Drinking Water Hotline, the company was well-suited for the assignment - except for one major hurdle: OPP had less than eight weeks to turn up the hotline.
To lead the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline transition, OPP brought in consultant Heather Donnelly, who has nearly 30 years' experience in program and project management, as well as in help desk, support center, call center and desktop-support management and operations.
Cloud-based VoIP call center solution needed
With a firm cutover date just weeks away, OPP knew it needed to find and implement a cloud-based VoIP call center solution. OPP's Founder and President Janice Roper-Graham had worked at a firm that pioneered software-as-a-service prior to starting the firm. "We knew that a good hosted call center option probably existed. We just had to find it fast and incorporate it into a complete solution that saved money over what the EPA was currently spending on the hotline," said Roper-Graham.
OPP asked Donnelly to research and recommend options. "Premises-based call centers fail to meet delivery dates and budget requirements about 55 percent of the time," she said. "They're also expensive to customize and maintain. I agreed that only a cloud-based solution could meet our schedule and budget constraints."
OPP's project plan for the Safe Drinking Water Hotline incorporated cloud technology, live agent support, IVR scripts and the government-owned toll-free number that needed to point to a new virtual call center. The next step was interviewing potential providers of a hosted VoIP call center. 8x8 stood out right away, Donnelly recalls.
'8x8 immediately responsive'
"I spent two days trying to get in touch with other vendors," she said. "I realized that if it was hard to get them on the phone, they weren't capable of delivering our solution on time. 8x8 was immediately responsive when I called. The sales person I spoke with seemed genuinely interested in helping me solve this challenge. I sensed that 8x8 would be a solid partner and stand by us through thick and thin. I felt very comfortable dealing with them."
Based on Donnelly's recommendation, OPP selected 8x8's cloud-based Virtual Contact Center to power the Safe Drinking Water hotline. (To learn more about Heather Donnelly's experience with the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center solution, register for her upcoming webinar - "Cloud Meets Contact Center: From Zero to Hero in Fourteen Days!" - on June 5, 2013).
"8x8 really saved the day for us," said Donnelly. "Setting up a consumer-oriented national hotline for a federal agency in less than eight weeks is almost unheard of. But everyone at 8x8 was calm, professional and confident that we'd get all the necessary arrangements done in time. It was like they did that all the time. I was really impressed."
8x8 solution includes JumpStart
The 8x8 solution also included its JumpStart program, which is designed to help customers deploy a virtual call center in as few as three days. Even though OPP had three weeks following project plan approval, the company quickly scheduled four sessions with an experienced 8x8 trainer.
Together, OPP and the 8x8 trainer tested the call flow, tweaked IVR greetings and performed quality assurance testing. Everything was going smoothly ... until at the last minute the previous contractor decided to retain the existing IVR greetings.
"I was slightly panicked," says Donnelly. "It was Thursday, and we were supposed to go live Monday. How were we going to professionally record all new greetings, stay within budget, and get it done on time?"
With a little ingenuity, she found a way. Using the voice-record feature on her smartphone, Donnelly recorded her own greetings and used a free Internet language translator to translate some prompts from English to Spanish. OPP validated that the Spanish translations were correct with the native speaker on the OPP team who handles Spanish voicemails. She then uploaded both the English and Spanish greetings to the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center as .wav audio files.
8x8 enables enhancements
With the help of 8x8 technology, OPP was able to implement several enhancements to the hotline while reducing the operating costs to EPA. These included translating all recorded greeting scripts into Spanish; previously the greeting scripts were only provided in English.
Additionally, callers to the hotline are now given the option to leave voicemails, both during the operating hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays as well as after hours, with typically same-day or next day response times. Previously, callers were only allowed to leave voicemails during call center hours. If they called after hours, they had to call back to get support. OPP's solution enabled 24-hour accessibility to the public at no additional cost to the EPA.
About 8x8, Inc.
8x8, Inc. (NAS: EGHT) empowers business conversations for more than 30,000 small and medium-sized businesses with cloud communications services that include hosted PBX telephony, unified communications, call center software and video conferencing solutions. The company has been delivering business communications services since 2004 and has garnered a reputation for technical excellence and outstanding reliability. In 2012, 8x8 was named a market "leader" in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in North America and was recognized as the No. 1 Provider of Hosted IP Telephony by Frost & Sullivan and Synergy Research Group. For additional information, visit www.8x8.com, or connect with 8x8 on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Joan Citelli, 408-654-0970
KEYWORDS: United States North America California
The article 8x8 Virtual Contact Center Enables Outreach Process Partners to Quickly Power-up Federal Drinking-Water Hotline originally appeared on Fool.com.
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