Retail Solutions: Voice

American Community Bank

American Community Bank (ACB) is a full-service community bank headquartered in Monroe, NC. Known for its excellent customer service, it has eight branches in North Carolina and three in South Carolina. The bank has long made a point of capitalizing on technology, both to minimize costs and to deliver on its mission to have calls answered by people, not by voicemail.

"We had seven branches at the time, which meant seven phone systems to administer. In addition, we needed an outside vendor to handle the administration – we had no control. If we needed to move somebody to a different location, someone had to come in to make the change."
– Dan Ellis, Chief Financial Officer, American Community Bank

In 2003, the bank had individual, standalone Nortel phone systems at each of its branches, none of which were connected to one another. Deciding it was time to upgrade, the bank considered a number of IP technology providers – including Cisco, Intertel, and ShoreTel – in its search for a system that offered simplified management and ease of use, and would allow for reduced long distance charges between branches.

"We are a high growth bank, and the easy and cost-effective expansion capabilities of ShoreTel are very attractive."
– Dan Ellis, Chief Financial Officer, American Community Bank

A visit to an existing ShoreTel customer helped American Community Bank make its decision. Working with Charlotte-based channel partner CNP Technologies, ShoreTel deployed the new phone system. CNP also provides network support and related services to the bank. ShoreTel phone systems are easy to use, simple to manage, flexible, and reliable. All system management, including moves, adds, and changes, can be done from anywhere on the network through ShoreTel Director's Web-based interface. Other benefits include:

  • With the old system, adding a new branch to the network cost about $12,000; with ShoreTel, it can all be set up in-house, in less than a day, for $5,000-$6,000.
  • Least cost call routing capabilities allow the bank to avoid toll charges. If an employee in the main office in Monroe calls a customer in Gaffney, the call is routed through the bank's data lines, thus bypassing toll charges.
  • The ShoreTel Call Manager integrates tasks formerly performed on separate devices, such as managing voicemail and email and even dialing calls. With less time spent playing phone tag and responding to incoming messages, employees have more time for the essentials.
  • Advanced call-handling features allow the bank to distribute customer service among branches to maximize utilization of its teams' experience and expertise.
  • Further savings are realized in the form of accurate call reporting, which helps the bank to plan and thereby to stay ahead of its needs.

"We wanted a system that was easy to manage, would reduce our long distance charges between branches, and would provide simplified management. ShoreTel's VoIP solution met those requirements."
– Dan Ellis, Chief Financial Officer, American Community Bank


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