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How Canada’s Credit Counselling Society Found a Way to Keep Serving Clients During the Pandemic

Leadership Communication


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2 min read

When the pandemic led to stay-at-home orders around the world, the lockdowns were particularly devastating to people already dealing with unmanageable personal and consumer debt. Credit card statements, medical debts, and utility bills were already a major source of stress for these people—but the shutdown added to the burden by taking away their income.

Fortunately, for the residents of Canada, there’s the Credit Counselling Society, an accredited non-profit charity that has been helping people with money problems for a quarter-century. And because CCS had recently replaced its outdated phone system with a work-from-anywhere cloud solution, the company was able to keep helping clients even as its own employees were forced to leave the office and work from home.

Not the disaster they were planning for

CCS’s primary reason for upgrading to a modern, flexible phone solution was business continuity. The company had experienced an unacceptable number of power and Internet-service outages at its head office in Vancouver, which, as Director of IT Kevin Chow explains, affected the company’s phone service nationwide.

“Our on-prem system forced us to route all calls through our headquarters. So when the power or Internet to that office went down, all 23 offices across the country lost phone service—sometimes for hours.”

Additionally, maintaining CCS’s legacy phone system created an enormous drain of time and resources. As Kevin explains, the system was so difficult to operate that making even small updates left his team with two options. They could do it themselves by delving into the system’s many menus and submenus to figure it out—which often took days. Or they could bring in a third-party provider—which cost the non-profit an enormous amount of money every time.

Eventually, CCS found both options unacceptable—and they went looking for the best cloud communications solution they could find.

A solution that improves operations even in a pandemic

By the time CCS realized that lockdown orders were inevitable, the company was only about halfway through its rollout to RingCentral’s all-in-one cloud solution. Kevin’s team intentionally scheduled a slow migration to the new system, to make sure all employees across the company had a chance to get familiar with RingCentral before phasing out the old phone system.

But when the company’s leadership team decided to begin the transition to remote work, Kevin needed only half a day to complete the implementation and give the entire company everything they needed to stay connected to each other—and accessible to clients—during the quarantine.

“We needed to change our call routing instructions for the call center, so our support agents could continue taking client calls from home,” Kevin explains. “With the old system, that would’ve taken days. With RingCentral, we had it all set up in a few minutes.”

The company also made use of RingCentral’s built-in team messaging platform to collaborate with colleagues all over the country. “We set up team messaging groups for each office, for various departments, and even for specific projects, so everyone was up to date,” says Kevin.

And thanks to RingCentral Video, for the first time in his history CCS had video conferencing capability for every employee throughout the company. “The video conferencing was a real game-changer for us,” says Kevin. “It allowed managers to have face-to-face conversations with their teams, even though everyone was at home. It also gave our education team the ability to host more educational webinars and invite more attendees, than they ever have.

Originally published Aug 05, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022

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