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Buffalo Sabres Case Study

Case Studies

Buffalo Sabres needed a modern telephony solution that didn’t require expensive third-party support. Mitel’s conferencing, reporting and mobile solutions scored a hat trick, helping the team to enhance the fan experience.

Buffalo Sabres

Situation 

The Sabres’ aging telephone system had become increasingly less reliable. It was dropping calls and taking longer to find replacement parts as various components failed. Its lack of flexibility prevented Sabres staff from making any changes in house. Modifications required a call to a third-party vendor, which was inconvenient and pricey.

First Niagara Center is a multiuse facility and home to the NHL Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo Bandits in Lacrosse, and a venue for all concerts and family shows performed in Buffalo.

It isn’t easy to host these events. Winning helps, but being able to stay in contact with fans and making sure that they can contact a representative easily is imperative to ensure an excellent customer experience. To facilitate this interaction requires modern telephony features.

The Sabres had several items on its must-have list. The new phone system needed to be user-friendly, flexible enough to change as business needs dictated, and easy to use so staff could make changes to meet the needs at any event. The Sabres explored a number of systems from Mitel, Cisco, and NEC.

“When reviewing options for a new telephone system, we decided that the Mitel UC VoIP solution met all of our main priorities in our ticket offices at First Niagara Center and just general calling needs,” says Chuck Lamattina, executive vice president of finance and business operations and CFO for Sabres’ parent company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment. “Flexibility, manageability, and ease of use really made Mitel stand out.”

Solution

The Mitel deployment made it stress-free for the Sabres to get up and running. Much of the work was done in the offseason and allowed employees to work, while the Mitel VoIP system was implemented in the background. One mission was to enhance Sabre customer service, which required a fully featured contact center.

"The deployment of the Mitel Enterprise Contact Center has helped our customers interact with our box office and customer service staff to make every event a positive experience."

Chuck Lamattina, Executive Vice President of Finance and Business Operations and CFO Pegula Sports and Entertainment

With Mitel Enterprise Contact Center, the organization can now prioritize calls for season ticket holders. When other fans call in, prompts direct them to information or a department via established workgroups. The team store is one workgroup, and this enables the Buffalo Sabres to consolidate all of its inquiry calls to a specified group of agents. This group can be augmented or changed on the fly to respond to peaks and changes in traffic. Productivity is enhanced, and calls are answered quickly.

“The deployment of the Mitel Enterprise Contact Center has helped our customers interact with our box office and customer service staff to make every event a positive experience,” says Lamattina. “It also allows us to run reports so that we can monitor customer service to ensure that wait times aren’t too long.”

With telephones now in every suite, Sabres staff can communicate with customers during events. They also have the ability to transfer calls, so if somebody can't make it to the office, calls can be forwarded their homes or cell phones using Mitel Mobility. On game day, it’s easy to accommodate different broadcast needs.

“As a hockey venue, we have to have a connection to NHL headquarters in Toronto in order for executives to oversee and instant-replay all the goals and/or questionable items that occur during game play. The Mitel system enables seamless and timely communication so the game moves on in a timely fashion,” says John Sinclair, vice president of tickets and customer service for the Buffalo Sabres and the First Niagara Center.

Results

Cost savings have also been a huge benefit for the Buffalo Sabres. As a result of its Mitel implementation, the Sabres have saved not only on toll charges due to sharing the same line for both data and voice traffic, but also on service provider charges for difficult configuration changes.

Mitel unified communications features also enable employees to better communicate among departments and allow Pegula Sports and Entertainment to use one platform across a number of its different businesses. That has also saved the organization money since it’s no longer necessary to duplicate services. Lamattina estimates that Mitel has reduced the company’s total cost of ownership (TCO) by approximately 50%.

As the team continues to enhance its customer experience, it plans to integrate the Mitel Enterprise Contact Center with its CRM system and add functionality such as enhanced 911 and call recording.

“Mitel has been a great solution for us. It has allowed us to expand to Rochester, where we purchased a minor-league hockey team. It has grown with us as we built Harbor Center here in Buffalo, New York. Also, since Buffalo has been selected to host the 2016 draft, we’ll need at least 120 lines for suites and individual team needs. With Mitel, we can scale up without any additional infrastructure additions,” concludes Lamattina. “Bottom line: Mitel is a great product and a good company.”

"Mitel has been a great solution for us. It has allowed us to expand to Rochester...and has grown with us as we built Harbor Center here in Buffalo. With Mitel, we can scale up without any additional infrastructure."

Chuck Lamattina, Executive Vice President of Finance and Business Operations and CFO Pegula Sports and Entertainment

Situation:

  • An aging telephone system had become increasingly unreliable and difficult to manage
  • Needed a solution that would accommodate the needs of a multiuse facility and give staff the flexibility to make changes on the fly.

SOLUTION:

The Mitel UC deployment delivered a VoIP business phone system that included Mitel Voice Switches, Mitel Enterprise Contact Center, IP 400 and 600 series phones, Mitel Mobility, and Web conferencing

BENEFITS:

  • Eliminate costly third-party support
  • Increased ease of use
  • Enhanced contact center reporting
  • Better support for an on-the-go workforce with Mitel mobile applications
  • Simplified workflows with built-in web conferencing
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