Last year, Bosselman Holdings, one of the Midwest’s most successful family-owned businesses, implemented a new Digium Switchvox business phone system at its headquarters in Grand Island, Nebraska. Switchvox is the leading value-based Unified Communications (UC) solution, recognized for the flexibility and ease-of-use it provides to SMBs. Bosselman needed to transition from a legacy phone system to a more affordable and complete integrated office communications solution and chose to replace an aging Shoretel hybrid system with the Switchvox SMB 355 VoIP system and Digium’s IP phones.
Bosselman started in 1948 as a single truck stop known for its delicious food in Grand Island, Nebraska. Today Bosselman Holdings is a conglomerate made up of two divisions: retail and energy. The retails side consists of more than 50 “Mayberry-style” Pump & Pantry fuel stops; hundreds of Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J Travel Plazas; over 40 Boss Shop automotive service centers; dozens of hotel franchises; as well as dozens of Grandma Max’s restaurants and diners; and food courts and various other roadside eateries. In the energy division, Bosselman owns a complete fuel distribution, logistics and transportation system across the Midwest, including gas, propane, diesel, jet fuel, lubricant products, tanks, trailers, and parts.
In the search to replace their existing Shoretel phone system, Bosselman requested bids from Cisco, Avaya, Shoretel, and Digium. According to Tim Seaton, Senior Business Development Manager at Bizco Technologies, Bosselman was operating with a sophisticated IP infrastructure for data when they contacted him about a new VoIP system. Bizco, a Digium Switchvox preferred partner and reseller in Lincoln, Nebraska, offers their customers a number of IT services and integrated AV solutions. One of their best-selling business communications systems is Digium’s Switchvox UC solution. “The problems were mounting with their existing hybrid Shoretel digital phone system, which offered only partial voice IP capabilities and no IVR functionality at all,” Seaton says. “They were looking for more functionality, additional features, affordability, and an easy end-user interface.” Bosselman management was familiar with both Digium and Cisco systems. Their IT director had even implemented a Digium solution at his prior job. In comparing features sets, Bosselman’s management team for the project found aspects of both they liked. When it came to comparing price, however, the all-inclusive feature set of Switchvox versus the pricey, a la carte, pay-per-feature approach of Cisco made it an easy choice. Digium won hands-down.
Originally, the Bosselman corporate office consisted of over 140 employees, including mobile users. Shortly after implementation of their Switchvox phone system began, they added a 10-man call center, bringing the employee count up to around 150. They wanted the flexibility of having all calls come into a centralized location, but needed an easy user interface in which the receptionist could simply drag and drop calls into any number of call queues or IVRs. They wanted to be able to direct calls to specific departments, like the executive offices or the call center, while also being able to ring employees working from home, or push calls out remotely to workers in the field via cellphone, something they were unable to do with the old Shoretel system.“Management wanted every phone to ring at least four times at a desk before rolling over to the employee’s cellphone,” Seaton says. “With the older system, this wasn’t possible. Now the calls can be forwarded on to voicemail, which is available no matter where the employee is located, whether they are in a meeting, out of the office, on vacation, or working from home. The caller never knows the employee isn’t in the office and the employee can prioritize the calls they answer based on caller ID.” As it turns out, the successful implementation of the Switchvox system at the corporate office also planted seeds for the future.
“They are quite blown away by all the functionality — some they asked for specifically, but a lot more they really didn’t know they would have, and more still that they just have not yet ventured to use,” says Brad Osbourne, senior IT Manager for Bizco.
The opportunity to use Switchvox in the company’s new call center also presented some interesting options for Bosselman. For instance, both big box and proprietary software packages, such as CRM software for call centers, integrates easily with Switchvox to provide immediate access to caller account information. Bosselman is researching these types of software options as well as exploring other advanced Switchvox features as away to help improve operations at the call center. “They have whisper listening on their radar; in fact they actually have the ability to do it, as well as call recording, both which are excellent training tools for a call center environment.”The company is also excited to build out an infrastructure that will accommodate IP phones in every remote Bosselman location across the country, all connected through Switchvox. The plan, according to Osbourne, is to connect all their remote locations through the Asterisk-based Digium Switchvox telephony solution from Grand Island. Because of the number of locations, it is an ambitious plan that takes a great deal of planning; but it will be a major accomplishment for Bosselman.Fortunately, Switchvox is a powerful but flexible UC solution that can be built out across the entire Bosselman network to link all of its locations to the corporate office. It is just another reason why Switchvox was the best choice in telephony solutions from among several other VoIP systems considered.