Unique Online Retailer Looks to Nortec to Implement Communications Upgrade

Unique Online Retailer Looks to Nortec to Implement Communications Upgrade

The Background

Built on a foundation of love for vintage and retro clothing, ModCloth.com is an online clothing, accessories, and decor retailer that aims to provide a fun and engaging shopping atmosphere for its customers. ModCloth does this by interacting with customers via social network sites like Twitter and Facebook, requesting feedback through the ModLife Blog and product reviews, and asking customers to vote on potential inventory with the Be the Buyer program. Supplying its customers with the opportunities to have their voice heard is what keeps the company fresh, relevant, and growing by leaps and bounds. With 220 employees in four locations, ModCloth has grown by 43% in the last year.

The Challenge

In order to capitalize on its unique position as an online retailer that allows its customers to drive its inventory selection through feedback and it’s Be the Buyer program, ModCloth’s IT Manager was looking to improve its overall call quality. While ModCloth is strictly a web based business, telephony is critical to its success because the firm provides phone support for returns and questions, and provides fashion advice through its ModStylist hotline. The company wanted to improve customer service through more efficient call routing and wanted the ability to report on statistics as well.

ModCloth had previously been using Skype for its telephony solution, but having grown by 43% in one year, needed to improve its communication systems. Poor sound quality and dropped calls resulted in poor customer service and lost revenue so ModCloth’s priorities included “improved call quality, extension mobility, reporting functionality, simplicity,” and of course, cost effectiveness. ModCloth’s IT Manager only had a few technicians to provide computer support, so he knew he needed someone with more expertise to help manage the upgrade. ModCloth considered Mitel and Cisco, accepted bids for each system, and ultimately chose Mitel because of its combination of great services at a cost that fit within ModCloth’s budget. Mitel then recommended Nortec as the installation partner.

The Solution

Nortec met with ModCloth to determine what products would best serve ModCloth and to develop an implementation plan. Nortec recommended the Mitel VOIP phone system with a Shoregear server, Shoregear 30/90 switches, Shoregear T1 switches, Mitel230 IP telephones, and Mitel Call Manager Software to meet ModCloth’s priorities and goals. Over two months, Nortec engineered and built ModCloth’s new phone system and is also providing consulting services on implementation of a call center. Since the Mitel system was implemented, positive customer service call metrics have improved significantly and the company’s long distance charges have been reduced.


In addition to a significant reduction in long distance charges, ModCloth has experienced increased call volume, better call clarity, extension mobility and the ability to do reporting. ModCloth’s IT Manager says that not only are customers happier because of the new system, but also the staff are happier because there is greater flexibility with how calls can be routed. He notes that “the Mitel system provides tremendous value for the price. It is a very cost-effective solution for us.”

Initially the company installed 90 phones but that number has grown to 200+ following the addition of ModCloth offices on the west coast. ModCloth’s IT Manager notes that extension mobility is one of the greatest benefits of the system, “executives’ extensions remain the same regardless of which geographic office they are actually in.” There is also simplicity for ModCloth’s teleworkers such that via Softphone, the phone rings on the employee’s laptop. The Mitel system provides great flexibility and is completely transparent to the customer.

For more information on Nortec, please contact us at georgeh@nortec.com.

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