Using Vonage to Create an Omni-Channel Engagement Centre

The Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan (CCSSK) is one of the largest community-based organisations in Canada, with volunteers in ten provinces. It is today establishing and maintaining successful relationships with key supporters with help from Vonage Contact Center for Salesforce.

Woman cancer patient hugging her friend
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At a time when many charities were experiencing declining support, the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan (CCSSK) had to find a way to overcome the odds and continue to increase funding.


Vonage Contact Center for Salesforce


Supported by technology from Vonage and Salesforce, CCSSK opened a new Omni-Channel Engagement Centre from which they operated. By using Vonage Contact Center for Salesforce, the organisation saw a 30% uplift in participant retention and a 70% increase in pledge numbers with an overall increase in fundraising of 225%.

At its Heart, a State-of-the-Art Omni-Channel Engagement Centre

In late 2013, Andrew Caswell, Associate Executive Director and Catherine Moore, Senior Director, Strategic Engagement & Platform Development at CCSSK, began the huge task of building a new Engagement Centre for the organisation. Its purpose was to revolutionise the charity’s relationship with 200,000 supporters and contacts, nearly 10,000 volunteers and people living with cancer among Saskatchewan’s population of 1 million.

With Salesforce CRM up and running, Andrew explains why Vonage was chosen as the partner telephony solution: “We went to Dreamforce and learned a lot really fast and as we started the RFP process, Vonage Contact Center quickly stood out from the pack. They took the time to really understand our business and our goals and we felt that culturally they would truly be a partner with us in building this centre of excellence.”

Fast and smooth implementation

Set up in just two weeks, Cathy describes the Vonage implementation: “It was quicker than I expected. Vonage presented us with all sorts of options which enabled us to do things we hadn’t previously thought about.” This meant CCSSK could deliver the ‘Engagement Journeys’ it had designed for participants, donors, volunteers and cancer survivors.

The first real test – Relay for Life

The Canadian Cancer Society’s signature event – Relay for Life - was the first real test for the Omni-Channel Engagement Centre. With more than 10,000 participants, survivors and volunteers each year, the team at CCSSK was able to transform the planning, recruitment and support for Relay for Life through the combined capability of Vonage and Salesforce CRM:

Recruitment calls – The system enabled the four new Customer Care Reps to make personalised, engaging reminder calls to recruit participants, with a wealth of information about part participation at their fingertips.

Increased fundraising with a personal touch – Welcome calls were made to coach participants. Those that received at least one coaching call from the team raised an average of 225% more than those who did not.

Building a lasting relationship – CCSSK now tracks every call and conversation in Salesforce to record supporters’ interests and motivations. “Now we know more about our callers, and we’re already seeing the impact in our more recent calls - our participants are so happy to hear from us as part of an ongoing conversation.” says Cathy.

Expanding the community – The team has been busy making thank-you calls helping participants understand the real impact of the money they raised and letting them know about opportunities to get involved and see their fundraising dollars at work. Registration in cancer support retreats and prevention workshops is higher than ever - easily tripling past levels.

The Engagement Centre has transformed Relay for Life results at CCSSK. Team retention for those participating again rose by nearly 30%. Amazingly, the number of pledges is up by nearly 70%, to 5.11 per participant. The average amount raised is up to $34.99. Andrew says “Better retention is a virtuous cycle: as it increases, you lay a strong foundation for future years.”

Vonage offers other core strengths, including recognising incoming calls and routes them to the relevant primary agent, allowing CCSSK’s Customer Care Reps to build and maintain relationships with individual participants, volunteers and cancer survivors.

Easy to use and configure - The Vonage Contact Center interface is very intuitive for the Customer Care Reps. As Cathy comments, “Our reps love talking to people all day long! They use the system to create tasks for follow up calls.” And she doesn’t need to call on expensive IT resource to configure the system: “I programme all the routing myself. I can change things when we need to. I feel like I have a tremendous amount of power. It wasn’t an option with our previous system.”

Unlimited scale and flexibility for changing demand - Cathy has been able to ‘pool’ the inbound calls for the whole of Saskatchewan through the Vonage system. This means reception staff at different sites across the province can take calls, some of which would previously have gone unanswered. All staff have access to Salesforce and the customer details and provide exceptional service at the first point of contact.

Real-time reporting and tracking - Real-time reporting from Vonage is a huge plus for CCSSK. Knowing how long call queues are – including the number of abandoned inbound calls – enables Cathy to identify opportunities for customer service improvements.

Taking it to the next level  - The CCSSK Omni-Channel Engagement Centre is a model for the whole of the organisation (CCSSK) in Western Canada. Already, CCSSK has been making calls for the Alberta province. Andrew and Cathy are adding social media and live chat to the Engagement Centre with the ultimate aim to provide more opportunities to engage with the people of Saskatchewan. “We can contact people and improve our advocacy work around cancer.” To sum up, Andrew says Salesforce and Vonage have been “a game-changer for us.”

"It was quicker than I expected... and Vonage presented us with all sorts of options which enabled us to do things we hadn't previously thought about."

Catherine Moore, Senior Director, Strategic Engagement & Platform Development, CCSSK


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