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La Capitol Reaches New Stratus with Strata CIX

By: Erik Linask

Businesses large and small, in every vertical, are quickly learning the benefits of adopting VoIP technology to enhance their communications capabilities. For members of the banking industry, it is not only critical to ensure communications are reliable, but also convenient and secure, given their crucial need to protect customer information, while also providing high levels of customer service.

To meet these goals, La Capitol Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, turned to VoIP technology, looking to enhance its customer service capabilities as well as internal communications. In addition to the main office, La Capitol also understood the value of being able to effectively communicate among its 13 branches, which combined receive in excess of 25,000 calls each month.

Thus, in addition to looking for a VoIP system for the main branch, it also sought a system that would easily allow it to connect all its branches, including centralized voice mail, simple call transfer, unified messaging, and enhanced call center and ACD opportunities.

The Solution

La Capitol turned to Gage Telephone Systems in Baton Rouge for guidance in selecting and deploying a new VoIP system. Greg Wood, Jr., Operations Manager at Gage, suggested Toshiba’s Strata CIX business communications system, which he said would meet all of La Capitol’s requirements.

This made the selection easy for La Capitol, since it had already been using a Toshiba system, and was looking to upgrade its technology to benefit from VoIP, not because it had problems with Toshiba.

In fact, Bert Callender, Assistant Vice President of Operations at La Capitol, said, “We have always been happy with Toshiba’s unbeatable reliability, durability, and ease-of-use, so when we decided to move to a Voice-over-IP communications platform, we chose Toshiba again.”

With the help of Gage, La Capitol proceeded to deploy Toshiba’s (News - Alert) Strata CIX670 in its headquarters, as well as a Strata ACD Call Center system, TASKE call center reporting and supervision, Strata CIX iES32 Voice Processing, Unified Messaging, and Call Accounting with Strata Net Networking. It also deployed a CIX670 at its New Orleans branch.

The remaining 11 branches were outfitted with Strata CIX IP business communications systems, for a total of nearly 300 ports, including a combination of PRI, T1, and IP lines. La Capitol uses a selection of IP deskphones and softphones. Among the benefits of the Toshiba platform is that La Capitol was not required to replace all of its endpoints; where appropriate, it was able to continue using existing digital and analog devices from its previous systems.

Importantly, with the Strata system in place, the networked facilities were able to effectively communicate with one another using direct extension dialing, as well as transfer calls between branches or in the ACD groups with ease.

Benefiting from the Strata CIX

The benefits the Toshiba platform brought to La Capitol significantly improved both internal and external communications capabilities. In addition to the extension dialing and transfer capabilities, the enhanced voice messaging system has made internal communication considerably more productive, as messages can be forwarded or copied to any extension on the system, either as voice messages or emails. Having all 13 locations and some 200 employees on the same system allows La Capitol to do what it does best — serve its 55,000 members as though they are dealing with a single facility.

“Having the ability to easily share voice messages across the email system has given us a whole new way of expanding and improving our customer service,” said Callender. “By being able to listen to voice messages over my email, it takes less time on the phone and makes the entire process of reviewing voicemails faster and easier.”

In addition, the Toshiba system allows Callender to manage the whole system from his office, as opposed to requiring service technicians to be called out for any minor move, add, or change, providing both time and cost savings.

La Capitol’s new Strata ACD system is managed using the TASKE software, allowing supervisors to view a variety of usage, call flow, and other reports to more efficiently staff the facility. The reporting features also are a benefit to the marketing team, as it allows them to easily understand which services and promotions are getting the greatest response.

By simply enabling callers to dial into the appropriate ACD group, the Strata system saves them time and, in the process, aggravation. With the system, queues are shorter and members experience greater satisfaction.

Of course, what business today is without its mobile employees? La Capitol’s management is able to connect to the communications system via softphones on their laptops from anywhere — all they need is broadband connectivity.

“The SoftIPT screen looks and acts just like a Toshiba desk telephone, so the users can make calls, answer calls, listen to voicemail, transfer calls, initiate conference calls, and more, all from their notebook computers using a plug-in headset,” explained Wood.

The Bottom Line

Having deployment of the Strata CIX systems, La Capitol quickly began realizing the benefits of its decision to switch to VoIP — the telephony features themselves made the move worthwhile. The customer service enhancements, including the enhanced ACD system, has allowed La Capitol to, first and foremost, meet its goal of improving its customer care, a large part of which includes the internal communications improvements.

Of course, the other key reason businesses look to VoIP is the cost savings they hope to achieve. In CAPEX alone, La Capitol says it saved more than $20,000, not to mention to potential for millions in OPEX (News - Alert) over the coming years.

“Communication with our members and between our employees is our business,” said Callender. “We give credit to Toshiba and Gage Telephone Systems for helping us maintain our lifeline to our members and employees, our IP business communication system.” IT

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