Bringing new clarity to callers and performance


Pick-n-Pull had been leveraging a legacy phone system and contact center module. However, both the phone system itself and the contact center module were considered end of life with no direct vendor support requiring a retainer contract with a third party to perform maintenance and address emergency situations.

Making calls with NocTel since 2018

With dozens of locations in North America, Pick-n-Pull is a common name on the airwaves and locally to many major cities in the United States and Canada being one of the foremost businesses procuring junk vehicles for parts or to be recycled. Pick-n-Pull’s single contact center, staffing nearly 100 agents, handles all seller inquiries, donations, and state specific reclamation programs.

For the business unit that operates a majority of vehicle procurement for Pick-n-Pull, a reliable phone system and robust contact center solution were essential.

Pick-n-Pull's Situation

To date, Pick-n-Pull had been leveraging a legacy phone system and contact center module to run contact center operations. However, both the phone system itself and the contact center module were considered end of life with no direct vendor support requiring a retainer contract with a third party to perform maintenance and address emergency situations. On average, the contracted third party would initially respond - not take action - within a business day even if the issue occurring was an impairment or complete outage event.

Contact center agents also had a rudimentary setup in workspaces requiring supervisors and qualified team leads to actively look for agents physically signaling them for assistance. Similarly, with no viewport into what each agent is doing supervisors and team lead patrols through the floor were also a method to check productivity. This placed an additional burden on supervisory staff who are responsible for processing performance reports and providing coaching to agents periodically.

For centers of operation like contact centers, reliable information informs higher level business decisions. The legacy system provided rudimentary reporting, which was cumbersome for managerial staff and were locked to a fixed set of metrics. Additional report processing took place in a series of shared spreadsheets that cluttered folders and desktop spaces, and were not conducive to real-time collaboration forcing only one individual to actively work on a particular report at a time. Information is not limited to driving business decisions, though. Reporting on agent performance directly impacts staffing decisions and provides insight to whether hiring practices are effective and in line with what the contact center needs and projects. The legacy systems at Pick-n-Pull could not provide rich, flexible reporting in regard to agent activities while on duty nor agent performance for call handling.

Fast forward to late March of 2020 with sweeping changes domestically and internationally stipulating nonessential operations cease or adapt for remote work. Contact centers - typically support channels - can be flexible enough to support remote work. However, Pick-n-Pull's operations which focus on procurement through the purchase of junk vehicles had traditionally been a fully on-premise operation. A path forward to allow operational continuity with the rapidly spreading advent of COVID-19 would be invaluable to future operations. Not just for large scale events like pandemics, but also encompassing events such as natural disasters or even more locally and frequently occurring incidents such as an employee needing to work remotely one or two days to care for a sick child.

Our Solution

After meeting with and assessing Pick-n-Pull’s immediate needs and future roadmap, NocTel worked closely with Pick-n-Pull stakeholders to develop, implement, and actively support a migration plan targeting zero downtime on the contact center floor while providing instructor led training on NocTel Flow for each agent, supervisor, and manager. After migration, NocTel field engineers remained on site to assist all users with their questions and take their feedback.

Being a web application, Pick-n-Pull supervisory staff were able to leverage company issued tablets where supervisors were able to actively monitor agent activity, view summarized contact center performance metrics, and peek at individual calling queue fill and waiting times directly from NocTel Flow. Additionally, NocTel engineers designed web accessible content that can be displayed on a dedicated large display wallboard or from a second monitor at a workstation. This web content driven wallboard implementation provided key real-time performance metrics specific to team operations around Pick-n-Pull’s facility.

During planning and implementation, NocTel developers worked closely with Pick-n-Pull stakeholders and CRM developers to identify the needed suite of operations reports. In some cases custom reporting was implemented for a specific business need/flow of Pick-n-Pull’s to integrate upstream with their in-house CRM. Delivered reporting provided both tabular and visual metrics on contact center activities and performance. Supervisory staff were able to easily run reporting through the Flow Reporting web application, and export results to various formats as needed such as images for use in decks or Excel format for further processing. Since reporting including grouping capabilities, commonly used and previously manually calculated aggregates were produced with a few clicks.

With the rapidly growing effects of COVID-19, Pick-n-Pull needed a way for staff to work remotely. NocTel engineers worked closely with Pick-n-Pull stakeholders, leadership, and IT to design and verify the feasibility of a "remote setup" for agents. Since it was not desirable for agents to take their workspace handsets home to use, Pick-n-Pull made a bold move forward to procure and issue company managed mobile devices to staff.

Deploying physical handsets at agents' homes came with several challenges with no manageable options:

  • Residential networks are not configured or managed by the employee's company's IT department nor external vendors
  • Residential internet connectivity quality can vary wildly by where the employee lives, the residential ISP connectivity options at that address, and what service package the employee may be subscribed to
  • Given the high probability of all individuals in a household observing social distancing or self-quarantine, it is reasonable to expect high consistent utilization of bandwidth in employee households
  • Higher likelihood of internet service interruptions, which can potentially halt business activities in productivity apps and services without a secondary means of connecting to the internet

The "remote setup" kit for agents consisted of a company issued smartphone and laptop. Agents were directed and trained to use the pre-installed and configured NocTel Go softphone app as an alternative for the physical handsets on-premise. The smartphone doubles as the handset agents use to handle calls during business hours, and also serves as a secondary means of internet connectivity in the event of internet outage or poor quality due to extensive use by others in the household. NocTel Go operates equally well on WiFi or carrier connectivity such as LTE and 4G. Tethering the company issued laptop also gives agents their own continuity to ensure they have all the services and equipment necessary to operate - even (for a reasonable period) in the event of power outage.

“I have been involved with call centers for over 25 years and this was by far the smoothest transition that I ever experienced.”

-Ron T., Contact Center Director

Pick-n-Pull's Results

Prior to adopting services with NocTel, Pick-n-Pull’s legacy handsets and headsets did not provide good voice quality from the agent’s side to callers. Worse, in a densely staffed facility callers would often have difficulties hearing the speaking agent due to being overwhelmed by ambient background noise. With the transition to Polycom handsets, featuring Acoustic Fence functionality and HD Voice quality, callers now clearly hear their agent with none of the background noise. The upgrade in hardware also reflects in call recording quality as supervisory staff no longer strain to understand what is being said by their agents.

With the implementation of web content driven wallboards, reporting, and web app for supervisory staff, questions relating to what the contact center is doing right now and how it was performing historically were now easily answered at a glance. With the Flow web app, agents are able to work efficiently without taking their attention away from their workstation where Flow manages the agent’s calls and presence and multiple other workflow tools. The handset is still present, but the need to know how to fully operate it is abstracted away.

Unexpectedly, call volume reports over time revealed that while a large number of valid callers were calling Pick-n-Pull numbers, many were not completing the caller menu steps to reach call queues and agents. Pick-n-Pull decided to simplify caller menu options to not present too many options, layers of options, and shorter messaging. This resulted in an increase of callers successfully reaching queues and connecting with agents.

Prior to reporting on contact center and agent performance, Pick-n-Pull’s reporting provided only rudimentary information. Agents were only classified as busy, available, or not available, which did not capture nuances in valid activities agents could be engaged in. With Flow Reporting, supervisory staff were able to query on organization defined status activities for the agents, teams, and overall. This enabled management to make better informed decisions regarding staffing size relative to normal call activity and seasonality. Agent call metrics also allowed managerial staff to better coach agents on their performance, calling out trends over specific intervals like average talk time over a week and even specific calls which occurred more frequently than desirable that were too long or short. This reporting capability in conjunction with Flow’s functionality to allow supervisors to locate, playback, and notate agent calls improved supervisor workflow in assessing agent performance in review.

In the course of Pick-n-Pull’s partnership with NocTel, large amounts of collaboration have and continue to take place. Particularly, Pick-n-Pull’s managerial staff have contributed largely to expansion of standardized reporting and UX as Flow Reporting became succeeded by NocTel Insight reporting. Likewise, NocTel continues to work with Pick-n-Pull to identify new ways to improve their efficiency, reach business goals, and implement operational initiatives.

Adapting to a majority and quickly a fully remote operation can be a huge undertaking that may not be effective fully even given the proper urgency. Pick-n-Pull was able to move rapidly from consultation to proof to implementation in the span of a few days. Pick-n-Pull's overall success is heavily attributed to the firm and rapid response by IT and leadership, and the understanding NocTel is not just a services provider but a close partner with intimate knowledge of operations.

“I have been with Pick-N-Pull 13 years always answering calls...Since we switched to NocTel and Flow, I personally have noticed a better sound quality - even the yards noticed the difference. When we first switched, callers would always tell me “Wow! Your voice sounds so different!”

-Dora G., Contact Center Agent

Summary of Benefits Provided

Through the standing partnership with NocTel, Pick-n-Pull has enjoyed the following improvements:

  • Rapid technical support response for all levels of urgency significantly reducing impairment or outage events and their duration
  • Networking and telecommunications expertise to advise and assist to improve and further stabilize VoIP connectivity
  • Standardized and custom operations reporting to answer known inquiries and enabling exploratory analysis
  • Integration of reporting to in-house CRM solution
  • Active feedback loop to further improve the Flow and reporting platforms and enable Pick-n-Pull business initiatives
  • Vastly superior agent call quality
  • Managerial staff can utilize several tools to effectively manage agents and floor operations
  • Rapid transition from fully on-premise operations to fully remote operations leveraging NocTel Go softphone app in matter of days


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