8x8 Virtual Contact Center’s Integration With SalesForce Helps Software Developer Enhance Their Customers’ Experience

Although Buildium, a leading property management software developer, is known for providing “legendary” support, a basic call center setup prevented agents and managers from seeing who was calling and why. After integrating its new 8x8 Virtual Contact Center with Salesforce CRM software, Buildium now has all the visibility it needs, and a 99% customer satisfaction rate, too.
Buildium Logo

Buildium’s cloud-based software is used to manage more than 750,000 residential units in 31 countries worldwide. Founded in 2004 by three Boston-based IT consultants who were struggling to keep up with their own real estate properties, the company now has 50 employees working in the U.S., India and Portugal. A core focus for Buildium is customer satisfaction. Most of the company’s 8,000+ customers are small businesses that have not used property management software before. “We’re a small company ourselves and we cater to the small business market,” explains Alan Laurentano, call center manager at Buildium. “A lot of our customers are migrating from paper or Excel spreadsheets. Our product is a fantastic upgrade for them, and even though our product is easy to use, some of our customers do require assistance from our team to get going.”

Basic Call Center Setup Leaves Agents and Managers Blind

When Laurentano joined Buildium in February 2012, his primary responsibility was to assess the company’s call center and ensure that customers were getting the support they need. He found that 31% of contacts came through service tickets, with an in-house reporting tool providing visibility into the customer, product, service issue and other metrics. Another 1% of contacts came through email, providing similar visibility. But the majority of customer contacts—68%—came by phone, and here the picture was less rosy. The company’s virtual PBX call center solution offered no visibility into who was calling, why they were calling, or how long they were waiting. In addition, the standard “round robin” call distribution meant that customers could not be routed by product or issues. “The call center technology was very limited,” recalls Laurentano. “We didn’t know how many calls were coming in, when our peak times were, how long customers were waiting on hold, or which product they were using. Agents were essentially ‘flying blind’ when they picked up calls, and it was impossible to forecast and staff the call center appropriately.”

Starting Fresh with a Cloud-Based Solution

Laurentano immediately recognized that Buildium needed to implement advanced CRM features that would address these unknowns and provide key call center metrics. He had done it for previous employers while preserving their existing call centers. This time, however, he got a rare opportunity: Buildium wanted to implement a brand-new VoIP call center. “As soon as I made the decision to start fresh, I knew I wanted to go with a cloud-based call center solution,” says Laurentano. “We’re a cloud-based software provider, so it was in line with our own product and business strategy.” In March 2012, Laurentano did a deep dive into the world of virtual call centers and call center software. He conducted research and asked colleagues for recommendations. By the beginning of April, he narrowed his search to six vendors and began evaluating their solutions. “It was a rigorous process,” he says. “I asked a lot of questions, ran them through our requirements, and watched their online demos. I wanted to be sure we got the right fit for our needs.”

“Because of 8x8, I got the contact center I needed in the time frame I needed it.”Alan Laurentano, Call Center Manager at Buildium

8x8 Eclipses the Competition by Providing Desktop Visibility

Laurentino’s search ultimately led him to 8x8, where he was drawn to the power of the company’s desktop software. “8x8’s desktop application has built-in automatic call distribution [ACD] that shows you the call queue, number of calls waiting, how long callers have been in queue, which agents are on a call and how long they’ve been on the call,” he explains. “The application is easily visible on every agent’s screen, right in front of them. 8x8’s desktop application and the immediate visibility it provides the agents sold me tenfold over the other solutions we evaluated.”

8x8 Implementation Setup Package Enables Brand-New Scripts and Prompts

Buildium began rolling out its 8x8 Virtual Contact Center in May 2012. Laurentano decided to purchase an implementation setup package from 8x8 so he and his team could rebrand and rerecord the entire menu system. They were pleasantly surprised at how simple the IVR scripting process was. “We were starting from scratch and needed to develop brand-new IVR scripts and prompts,” he explains. “It was the first time we were able to manage and report on incoming calls to sales and support separately.”

Leveraging 8x8’s Integration Capability to Implement Salesforce CRM Features

Within two to three weeks, the new contact center was fully operational. But Laurentano also wanted to take advantage of 8x8’s ability to integrate with Salesforce CRM software. “Salesforce provides advanced CRM features along with a computer-telephony interface [CTI] and a softphone,” he says. “With 8x8, you can integrate CRM features into the contact center without losing the ACD desktop. That visibility was critical for us; otherwise the solution would not provide the value we needed.” Laurentano engaged 8x8 consultants to configure the contact center so it would pass transaction codes to Salesforce. At the same time, he engaged an IT consultant to configure the Salesforce CRM software. By December 2012, Buildium had a fully integrated, state-of-the-art 8x8 Virtual Contact Center with advanced CRM features.
Leveraging 8x8’s Integration Capability to Implement Salesforce CRM Features

Salesforce Integration Provides Full Visibility into Contact Center Operations

The launch of the new contact center has dramatically improved operations for management, agents, and most importantly, customers. Laurentano can now see when the company’s busy periods are and adjust call routing accordingly. For example, instead of having customers hold for up to an hour—an unpleasant experience for them and for the agents who bear the brunt of their frustration—the call center now offers a “red carpet service” that allows customers to leave voicemail without losing their place in the queue. Using CRM reporting features enabled by 8x8 data, Laurentano is able to accurately forecast and adjust staffing levels. He can also tag the subject matter of calls to better estimate how long they will take and investigate emerging support trends.

Advanced CRM Features Enhance the Customer Experience

Agents’ ability to assist customers has significantly improved because they now have full visibility into incoming calls. The Salesforce CRM automatically pulls up customer records for them, allowing them to personally greet callers and enhance the customer experience. All information about the call is saved into Salesforce as activities, including the caller’s name and customer account number, why they called, how long the call lasted, and which Buildium product they use. “We’re only able to capture all this call information because of our 8x8/Salesforce integration,” says Laurentano. “It allows us to connect the dots and anticipate the customer’s needs.”

Benchmarking Success: Buildium Achieves 99% Customer Satisfaction

Because of Buildium’s strong focus on customer satisfaction, Laurentano uses third-party benchmarking by MetricNet to determine how the company performs relative to peers, based on contact center data. Recent benchmarking results placed Buildium extremely high in customer satisfaction. “Buildium is known for the quality of customer service we provide; it’s become a competitive differentiator for us,” says Laurentano. “Thanks to the contact center data that 8x8 provides, we can measure our performance and validate our claims.” In addition, Buildium follows up with customers by emailing them a satisfaction survey. Those results are even more unequivocal: 99% of respondents indicate they are satisfied with Buildium’s support—even when wait times are longer than usual. “Our average wait time is generally only a few minutes; however our customers are willing to wait to speak with an agent because the service they receive is outstanding.” says Laurentano. “We’ve set their expectations around it. If our software tools were disjointed and the customer experience was poor, we wouldn’t have such a high satisfaction rate.”

Zendesk Integration Takes Help Center to the Next Level

8x8’s open APIs and integration capabilities allow Buildium’s call center solution to grow and change as the company’s needs evolve, making it easy to add both Salesforce and Zendesk. 8x8 Virtual Contact Center now has 17 agents, and Laurentano is taking it to the next level by adding Zendesk integration. “Salesforce provides powerful operational tools that help us support and satisfy customers,” he says. “Going forward, we want to focus on customer success. Zendesk integration will allow us to evolve our Help Center so we continue to improve our customer service and reduce churn.” Asked how much 8x8 has contributed to the success of Buildium’s integrated call center, Laurentano replies that 8x8’s role has been “critical.” “8x8 offers robust CRM integration capabilities and their consultants really know their stuff. It’s been a true partnership and a collaboration. Because of 8x8, I got the contact center I needed in the time frame I needed it.”