This case study comes courtesy of DigiDems
Vonage, a telephone service provider, uses high-speed Internet to make calling easier. Vonage did everything needed for a 60-phone voter-protection hotline in the campaign office.
The campaign's requirements were
- the ability to ring many lines either simultaneously or in order
- the ability to roll over capacity to a larger organization (if busy)
- functional for remote volunteers
- ability to use their existing Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones.
Vonage met all four requirements.
Vonage pricing is based on user/extension. The campaign bought a 12 extension package from Vonage ($315 per month total).
To begin, users downloaded Vonage Business Cloud, the Vonage app, to their phone, then logged in. There is also a web dashboard / admin tool.
Vonage allows 5 users logged into each extension simultaneously. Incoming calls ring a call group (everyone logged into any of five extensions and in the call group gets a ring). Volunteers (most were remote, in this case) logged out at the end of their shift so someone else could log in to replace them.
There’s also a “virtual receptionist” that can perform robotic tasks, for instance this campaign forwarded unanswered calls to a larger organization’s hotline.
The campaign didn't test landline functionality, but Vonage will theoretically work with any VOIP phone. This is one reason Vonage was a prime choice; some other services require you to purchase phones specifically for use with their product.
Helpful tip: If you want a special number (like 800-VOTENOW), you have to buy that number separately then link it to the Vonage platform. The campaign used the vendor 800forall.com, as recommended by Vonage.
What was the outcome?
Volume-wise, calls peaked during a 3 hour window that correlated with questions about polling locations being closed when they should have been open. During the peak window, we received approximately 100 calls. Lots of these went to the larger organization. During the rest of the day, we had 5-10 calls per hour. There weren’t any issues during the peak. The team started advertising the number about 4 days before the primary; with more publicity, call volume might have increased.