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COLA Uses Interactive Intelligence IP Communications Software to Support Work-at-Home Staff During Temporary Office Closure

COLA, a clinical lab education, consultation and accreditation organization, redeployed its entire staff of 80 employees to work at home during a four-month office remodel using the remote agent capabilities of Interactive Intelligence Group Inc.’s (Nasdaq: ININ) all-in-one IP communications software suite.

The software suite, Customer Interaction Center (CIC), includes remote support capabilities that enable work-at-home employees to access the same communications applications as their onsite colleagues using an Internet connection and standard phone. In addition, managers can monitor remote employees in real-time and access reports about their activity and performance.

“I’ve been managing communications for many years and I’ve never been a part of anything as impressive as this,” said COLA’s director of network services, Larry Senior. “We made one tiny change to our employees’ login procedure and everything else was exactly the same – no hardware to install or complex configuration changes to make. Incredible!”

Also to its surprise, COLA found that key business metrics held steady or even improved during the office remodel. “Sales actually hit record levels while our employees telecommuted,” Senior said. “Customer satisfaction also held steady, and in some cases even improved.”

One of the keys to COLA’s success was CIC’s ability to show presence information for every employee. “CIC enabled our remote employees to see the precise status of every coworker – whether they were ‘Available,’ ‘On the Phone,’ ‘At Lunch,’ and so on – so they could avoid blind transfers, thus getting calls to the right person more quickly,” Senior said.

Senior cites other benefits of CIC’s remote support capabilities. “We had one employee working from home when his broadband went down,” he said. “He simply drove to a nearby hotel and worked from the lobby that day. He didn’t call us, because he didn’t need to. The whole event was invisible to callers and colleagues.”

The process went so smoothly that COLA has decided to keep some staff remote, according to Senior. “Ironically, some of the employees that were most apprehensive about working from home are now asking if they can continue to telecommute,” he said. “We’ve allowed many to do just that because our performance metrics during the remodel were so positive. Plus, we save money on reduced office space. It’s been a real win-win.”

COLA’s decision mirrors moves many companies are making to initiate or expand work-at-home programs. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that almost one in 10 employees now work from home at least part time. Still, some companies have concerns about telecommuting despite the growing demand from employees.

According to Senior, while COLA had similar trepidations, the work-at-home experience was a real eye-opener. “Like a lot of companies, we had apprehensions ranging from breaches in security and technical complications, to a loss of visibility into performance,” he said. “But with the right technology and processes in place, we’re now a firm believer in the benefits a work-at-home program offers to both employers and employees.”

Today, COLA uses CIC to support its entire workforce of onsite and work-at-home employees, all of whom have access to CIC features such as automatic call distribution, unified messaging, voice mail, desktop faxing, conferencing, and more.

About COLA
COLA accredits nearly 8,000 medical laboratories and provides the clinical laboratory with a program of education, consultation and accreditation. The organization is an independent, non-profit accreditor whose education program and standards enable clinical laboratories and staff to meet U.S. CLIA and other regulatory requirements. For more information, visit www.COLA.org.

About Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of software and services designed to improve the customer experience. The company’s 6,000-plus customers worldwide have benefitted from its cloud and on-premises solutions for contact center, unified communications, and business process automation. Interactive Intelligence is among Software Magazine’s 2013 Top 500 Global Software and Service Providers, and has received a Frost & Sullivan Company of the Year Award for the last five consecutive years. In addition, Glassdoor honored Interactive Intelligence with its 2014 Employees’ Choice Award as one of the Best Places to Work in the U.S., and Mashable ranked Interactive Intelligence second on its 2014 list of the Seven Best Tech Companies to Work For. The company was founded in 1994 and employs more than 1,900 people worldwide. Interactive Intelligence is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and has offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. It can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or [email protected]. Visit Interactive Intelligence on the Web at www.inin.com; on Twitter at www.inin.com/twitter; on Facebook at www.inin.com/facebook; or on LinkedIn at www.inin.com/linkedin.

Interactive Intelligence is the owner of the marks INTERACTIVE INTELLIGENCE, its associated LOGO and numerous other marks. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.

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