The Challenge

Cloud telephony and Salesforce integration helps connecting communities for future generations

Business Overview

The Challenge is the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society. They work at a local level to bring together people from all ages, ethnicities and walks of life, connecting communities and building trust. Their flagship program is the NCS (National Citizen Service), a government-backed programme which brings together young people from diverse backgrounds, providing them with strong skills for life, work and adulthood. The Challenge started in 2009 when their first programs reached 158 young people. Today The Challenge has over 550 staff and delivers programs to over 30,000 people each year.

Business Requirements

In much the same way as a business, The Challenge has to build close and trusted relationships with their clients who are the young people and the families and guardians that they work with. Every call they make or receive with a client needs to move them to the end goal of successful participation in The Challenge’s programs. Tanya Dunne, Head of Customer Services; “To really deliver on our mission to bring people together, one key metric for success has to be the number of people who participate in our programs. Every interaction has to give both young people and parents and guardians the support, motivation and confidence to see the process to the end, and to develop their trust in us as an organisation.”

To achieve this The Challenge had already implemented Salesforce CRM to maintain comprehensive details of all their clients and track progress of program participation. Salesforce is used by over 60 agents whose role it is to speak with NCS program candidates and progress their application to a successful conclusion. “Typically our agents talk to around one thousand clients every day, during the busiest period. They make and receive many phone calls, conduct skilled conversations and update Salesforce with progress.”

A number of factors prompted The Challenge to review their telephony and Salesforce integration requirements. 30-40% annual growth in the NCS program has led to the opening of a new in and out-bound contact centre operation for which they needed a telephony service. In addition their legacy on-premise PBX had no Salesforce integration capabilities.

Why Natterbox

The Challenge had a comprehensive selection process and evaluated four vendors to the final stages. From early on it was clear that a cloud-based solution was required to provide the flexibility, scalability and scope for future coverage of new locations. Natterbox ticked all the boxes for both cloud telephony and Salesforce integration.

Natterbox Cloud PBX was deployed to deliver telephony services to the new office. Dunne; “As well as providing the reliable, scalable service we need, we also appreciated the fact that we can make any changes such as updating call policies or adding new users ourselves. Previously we had to request that from our supplier which was slow and expensive. We require our service to be very responsive and it is great to be able to make changes to policy in real time, in response to our own or our customers demands.”

The Challenge also implemented Natterbox Salesforce integration solutions. Now, when a client calls in, their Salesforce record is automatically opened, call data is captured and added to the record. At the end of the call customised wrap-codes reduce administration time and increase call reporting accuracy. For outbound calls the CTI and local numbers are presented by the CLI to drive efficiency and improve pickup rates.

Natterbox Wallboards were deployed to display key management information on large screens for agents and management to gauge call queue status. Real-time inbound and outbound information is on the same displays enabling agents to switch duties according to demands. Management information is accessible remotely with managers in the London office able to view the Manchester Wallboards from any device.


The telephony and Salesforce integration for the new office took less than 4 weeks. Dunne; “The implementation went without a hitch. She added; “We also appreciated the Natterbox relationship and their customer-centric ethos. They are a true partner who ensure that they understand your needs, are accessible, and that their solution delivers what we needed.”

Business Benefits

The Natterbox system has made an immediate impact to The Challenge’s agent effectiveness and efficiency. Dunne; “Our agents are making more calls, they are having more successful client conversations and are getting more young people booked onto the NCS program.”

Productivity improvements have been achieved through using functions such as automated voicemail, which also ensures quality is maintained, click to dial and integration into Salesforce which reduces admin times on each call. Dunne; “Since moving to Natterbox we easily save up to a minute on each call and have seen an increase in agent productivity of 80% which is incredible. As we continue to use Natterbox the data it gives us is enabling us to understand our agent and customer requirements and behaviour better, and allowing us to make changes to our customer experience as a result.”

In addition the customisable IVR is being used to automate information provision to customers. This has helped them manage demand to their inbound lines during the busiest periods. Dunne; “We have been able to divert and serve between 10-20% of calls to an automated service so far, and there is plenty of scope to expand this function.”

Management information is crucial to the Challenge. Dunne; “The reports and visibility of real-time management information from any location gives us the ability to reshape working hours to optimise resources, reduce costs and ensure that we are fully staffed at the best times to process high quality calls. In addition this transparency builds management confidence in the performance of the operation.” She added; “At an individual agent level we see who agents are talking to, how often, how long and if the result was successful.”

The feedback from agents using the Natterbox system has also been very positive. Staff training and call monitoring capabilities are significantly improved with listening in and call barging available – even from remote sites. Dunne; “We have made agents measurably more successful, they know that we can monitor them much more closely but that is good for both them and for the organisation as we identify and share good practices.”

Feedback from an independent review of the service was uniformly positive with the timescale, quality and business impact of the Natterbox deployment investment being highlighted.

The Future

The Challenge continually explores the tuning of their Natterbox system to drive further operational improvements. Dunne; “Natterbox provides good value, allowing us to use cutting edge technology to enhance services to our customers and manage our business to be as efficient and effective as possible. It is a world away from the traditional PBX systems. There is a wealth of functionality that we are reviewing, and we intend to expand it’s use further across the business. Because the system is so easy to administer we can test new policies and features in real-time such as intelligent call routing ourselves without needing expensive external resource.”

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