Nonprofit Unites RingCentral Contact Center™ and Cloud Communications Technologies to Drive Customer and Employee Engagement

Goal: find a reliable call center to help schools worldwide using its student testing software
Outcome: a unified solution for call center, voice, meetings, and team messaging
Results: cost savings, improved customer service, and happier staff
Company profile
Company profile:
NWEA is a nonprofit that develops cloud software for student testing. The organization creates assessment solutions to precisely measure growth and proficiency, providing insights to help tailor instruction. For 40 years, NWEA has developed pre-K–12 assessments and professional learning solutions to help advance students along their optimal learning path. The organization’s tools are trusted by educators in 145 countries.
Year founded:
1,200 employees (800 of whom are full-time equivalents)   
Portland, OR

Any student who has taken a school assessment exam in recent years has probably encountered NWEA’s work, even if they’ve never heard the name. More than 9,500 schools, districts, and education agencies in more than 145 countries use the nonprofit’s cloud-based testing software to administer assessment exams and track their students’ progress.

With so many students and teachers using its software, NWEA’s call center is the lifeblood of the company. Unfortunately, their legacy, on-premises call center solution offered no failover, which was unacceptable. “For an organization administering tests for a million students during peak times, we couldn’t afford the risk that a call center outage at HQ would leave our entire support staff unavailable to the teachers and school administrators who rely on us.” says Marc Junker, NWEA’s Director of IT.

As the company began to assess its call center challenges, NWEA also discovered a seemingly unrelated challenge: Its 1,200

employees/contractors were using many different communication apps, which created inefficiencies, frustration, and needless costs. “To give just one example, our staff used several different chat apps,” says Junker. “Almost half of our employees work remotely, so this just happened organically. But it meant employees trying to reach their coworkers might try one chat app, then realize those people weren’t using that app, so they’d have to try others to find them. This led to a lot of wasted time, lost productivity, and frustration.”

As the company began to investigate solutions to these two issues, they discovered that a single cloud communications solution—from RingCentral—could not only resolve both problems but also build a powerful unified solution.

A single solution for employee and customer engagement.

“What kicked off this migration initiative was our need to move from the on-premises, legacy call center we were using to a cloud-based solution that ensured we had failover and business continuity,” says Junker.

NWEA’s initial plan was to evaluate separate solutions to solve its challenges: one for voice and another for call center. 

“Then we realized how much more efficient things would be if we went the other way and consolidated everything—voice, call center, online meetings, team messaging, and other communication services—under a single cloud-based solution. That’s when we decided on RingCentral.”

A call center implementation so smooth it shocked the executive staff.

NWEA’s first benefit from deploying RingCentral came literally on the first day RingCentral Contact Center went live. Over the previous 20 years, NWEA had switched call center infrastructures three times. And in each of those migrations, the company’s operations suffered major downtime issues. “Our senior executives were pretty worried about this implementation,” recalls Junker.

As it turned out, they didn’t need to worry at all. “We went live with RingCentral Contact Center within three months, and everything worked immediately, without even a skip in operations. Our executives were shocked. They kept calling for updates. ‘What’s going on?’ they’d ask. And I’d answer, ‘Nothing’s going on. Everything’s working.’”

Junker says NWEA was also impressed with the simplicity of RingCentral Contact Center. “Our previous call center system was so complex that everything needed advanced scripting, so we always had to outsource and pay high fees to get anything done,” Junker explains. “Contact Center is so easy that we can do it all ourselves, and it’s costing us less than a third to maintain over our previous service. It’s amazing how much we’re saving on this functionality alone.”

RingCentral solved the problem that started NWEA’s migration to a cloud-based solution in the first place. “We now have call center disaster recovery, business continuity, and peace of mind that comes with it,” says Junker.

RingCentral’s integrated cloud communications solution drives employee engagement too.

Although the organization initially moved to RingCentral to solve call center challenges, NWEA’s staff has also seen tremendous benefits from several other communications and collaboration services from RingCentral.

“We’re all enjoying RingCentral Meetings, because it’s just so easy and everything works,” Junker says. “We’d been using lots of different meeting apps, and we told everyone to start moving over to RingCentral because we’d eventually be shutting down those other meetings services. Turns out, though, people started switching to Meetings on their own, so when we went to cancel those other apps, we found almost no one using them.”

RingCentral Meetings has also saved NWEA time and money on travel. “Our sales teams used to meet maybe four times a year for an on-site meeting,” Junker recalls. “Now they’re doing most sessions remotely with RingCentral, so they meet in person just once a year.”

“Our staff also became big fans of RingCentral’s Glip team messaging app. This was one capability we didn’t push at first because we didn’t want to overwhelm our employees. But people found the messaging app on their own and switched to it from the other chat apps they were using. Our project managers even started using the app’s task management and file-sharing tools to manage projects. It’s exciting to see the organic adoption of this tool across the company.

“Having RingCentral as our single communications solution for both customer service and employee engagement is proving more effective than we’d even hoped for.”

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