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Customer Success

Phone System Helps People Level-Up Their Financial Literacy & Attack Debt

CESI Consumer Education Services guides people through the toughest financial topics with a communications system that places people first.

View of Raleight, North Carolina
CESI Founded 1998 PDF Download
Employees 80+ Location Raleigh, NC
Favorite Features Auto Attendant, Advanced IVR, Nextiva App

Founded in 1998 in North Carolina, Consumer Education Services Inc., or CESI, is a 501c3 non-profit credit counseling agency committed to promoting and assisting consumers on the road to economic security. CESI provides face-to-face counseling and phone counseling, as well as web-based education and solutions to meet the needs of each individual or family. CESI has educated individuals and families across the U.S., including their local North Carolina community through outreach and education programs, and partnerships with local agencies.

Over eighty CESI employees strive to enhance economic security for the customers they serve. Since 1998, CESI has helped more than 500,000 consumers through debt management, budget counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and more.

Also, their Debt Management Program has helped more than 75,000 people design plans of action to pay off their unsecured debts.

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Nextiva offered us the flexibility to move from third-party managed services to direct management with the help of the amazing Nextiva support team, who is on hand when needed. It was absolutely the right move for our organization, saving us thousands of dollars annually and improving our efficiency.

Jean Elias Vice President of Marketing

Efficiently Running Technology

Tim Weaver, IT Specialist at CESI, is responsible for technology operations.

He assists with administration and advisory roles for IT to ensure CESI’s technology is running efficiently.

CESI started considering options for a new communications system in late 2016 to replace their previous platform, which was challenging to work with.

“There were massive obstacles to overcome the entire time and too many deliverables that weren’t being met…we actually lost functionality from what we had prior to switching to that system,” Weaver said.

“We were looking for a solution that would offer maximum flexibility and ease of use. Our system was cumbersome and time-consuming,” said Jean Elias, Vice President of Marketing at CESI.

“Changes to call queue membership could take days, when it should have taken seconds.”

CESI inside view of office

Enhance Your Customer Experience and Digital Marketing Efforts

Elias has been Vice President of Marketing at CESI since 2015.

In her role, she focuses on enhancing CESI’s customer experience and digital marketing efforts and is responsible for overseeing the organization’s technology vendors and staff.

The research process for a new communications provider didn’t take long, as Nextiva was recommended to CESI by Connectivity Source, their telecom partner.

After looking into the features, they found Nextiva offered Auto Attendants, intuitive agent dashboards, and the Nextiva App.

They also liked that the Call Centers and Advanced IVR (Interactive Voice Response) features could route calls based on zip codes, so CESI could control call flows to adjust priority between their call centers.

After evaluating the various features available, CESI decided to switch to Nextiva in Spring 2017.

“Nextiva offered us the flexibility to move from third-party managed services to direct management with the help of the amazing Nextiva support team, who is on hand when needed. It was absolutely the right move for our organization, saving us thousands of dollars annually and improving our efficiency,” Elias commented.

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There wasn’t any pushback on anything we wanted training on. The interactions with Nextiva were always proactive with solution-based actions. If we had any questions, they were simple and could be resolved with an email.

Tim Weaver IT Specialist

Onboarding Made Easy

The onboarding process entailed working with Nextiva to establish their desired setups, in addition to building and testing call flows with other numbers; then they were able to program original features to get up and running.

“Nextiva was building something completely new to accommodate our needs and keep our business,” Elias said.

To implement their cloud-communications system, CESI’s IT team went through a few ‘train the trainer’ sessions and instructed management on how to use their necessary tools afterward.

They also held a few classes to train their call center agents how to use call queues.

“There wasn’t any pushback on anything we wanted training on,” Weaver said. “The interactions with Nextiva were always proactive with solution-based actions. If we had any questions, they were simple and could be resolved with an email.”

CESI sign

Evaluate Operations with Useful Reports

Part of their internal operations includes running reports to evaluate efficiency and reach of their programs and services.

CESI and Nextiva worked together to figure out how to receive direct exports from reporting tables from call center software.

Once this was resolved, Weaver noted that no one in the company really noticed when the new system went live due to the smoothness of the change.

During previous communications carrier transitions, Weaver faced inefficiencies including lost numbers and dead air, which led to hours of lost productivity.

This was thankfully not the case during the development to Nextiva. “When we switched to Nextiva, I don’t even think we dropped a call - it was seamless,” Weaver said. “From my end, it was the most painless thing I’ve ever done as far as launching a new project, especially when the call center is the bread and butter of the organization. It’s the heart.”

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Nextiva has given us the flexibility we need to be nimble and move resources quickly and effectively. It also provides us the opportunity to enhance the customer experience by integrating our website directly with our phone system.

Jean Elias Vice President of Marketing
CESI lobby desk

Stay Connected and Productive

The Nextiva App helps CESI’s staff stay connected, as the organization has team members working in multiple locations nationwide.

“The app provides our organization flexibility in instances of inclement weather, allowing us to work from anywhere and maintain productivity,” Elias said.

CESI is a small organization, so when problems arise, they leverage their resources to maximize efficiency to obtain the desired results.

“When you’re a small company you’re trying to make changes fast; everything is the highest priority,” Weaver said.

“It’s nice to call in and say: ‘I need to make this change,’ and while I’m on the phone with someone, they make the change and it’s done. That’s a huge benefit of working with Nextiva.”

“Nextiva has given us the flexibility we need to be nimble and move resources quickly and effectively. It also provides us the opportunity to enhance the customer experience by integrating our website directly with our phone system,” Elias said.

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The best part of working with Nextiva is hands-down the caliber of its people. We’ve been fortunate to work with talented engineers and a dynamic Channel Manager. Our team doesn’t hesitate to push the limit of what is possible in order to meet our business needs.

Jean Elias Vice President of Marketing

Assistance on Demand

Through the ‘Call Me Now’ feature, consumers are able to request callbacks directly from the website, allowing for assistance on demand.

She is happy with the service and features Nextiva offers that help them make a difference in the lives of their customers.

“The best part of working with Nextiva is hands-down the caliber of its people. We’ve been fortunate to work with talented engineers and a dynamic Channel Manager. Our team doesn’t hesitate to push the limit of what is possible in order to meet our business needs.”

3 Takeaways you can pull from this story:

1. Make a difference in the lives of customers with a support team always happy to help.

2. Leverage your resources to maximize efficiency to obtain the desired results.

3. Enhance customer experiences, with technology you can rely on.

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