Paul Lancaster | IT Director
In 2015, Valley Truck Parts began looking for a new phone system as they updated most of their outdated technologies. They were using an analog PBX that was continually failing and causing telephone outages. The branch offices would lose communication with the main location in Grand Rapids, and vice versa. It was costing thousands of dollars for contractors to make the needed repairs and keep the system running. With the price of the expensive replacement parts in addition to the contract work, the system was simply becoming too costly to maintain.
Paul Lancaster joined the company during these discussions as IT Director. His position requires him to ensure that all technology needs are met, including phones. The communications system at Valley Truck Parts is extremely important, as the customers are more traditional. Lancaster described them saying, “This is a more mature industry, and the customers are very nuts and bolts. On the whole, they find it difficult to embrace automation, and don’t want to fill out a form online. They want to talk to their salesman and have a direct line into the business. We rely on the phone lines to manage our customers, and we were not doing our best for them with a failing analog PBX.”
In searching for a replacement system, the IT team completed a cost analysis of different telecommunications providers, compared provider stability, and spoke to references. In the end, they decided that a Nextiva hosted PBX was the best decision for Valley Truck Parts. Lancaster explained, “We were very impressed by the customer references who were with Nextiva. It was clear we would have access to the correct data to make concise decisions our customers require.”
The transition to Nextiva was largely smooth, especially for how quickly it needed to happen. Relying on phones to make millions of dollars in sales each month meant that the company could not deal with problematic telephones any longer, and needed to switch as soon as possible. Paul Lancaster worked with his account manager and other support staff at Nextiva to onboard properly. This included configuring seventeen call queues for individual salesmen and general departments, as well as unique ring structures and rollover queues for each one. These queues now handle upwards of 35,000 calls per month.
Lancaster held classes at the office locations to go over basic call functions, providing an easy transition for employees. “The CEO commented that this was the best phone system transition he’d seen, and the team really embraced the changes. They were ready for a system that was stable and not always on the verge of failure, so we worked together to learn quickly and ensure everyone transitioned smoothly,” Lancaster said.
“I’m on the phone working with vendors for the majority of my job, and in terms of customer support and response times, Nextiva has set the bar extremely high.”
“With so much of our business trusting in the reliability of our phones, the failover and redundancy available through Nextiva has been huge for us. Many of our branch locations are in rural areas. If they lose Internet service, they need a backup. Latencies can be erratic, and the Internet providers are just not as reliable as we want them to be,” Lancaster expressed. During Internet outages, Valley Truck Parts is now able to automatically forward all calls from the affected branches to the main office. “We don’t have to worry about losing sales. Knowing that the customers calling the branches for sales and support will definitely be put in touch with an employee, even if they’re at a different location, has been a lifesaver.”
Valley Truck Parts also recently started using Nextiva Analytics to assist in running their business. According to Lancaster, “It’s already helped shape the way we structure our system, and we’re just in the beginning stages. It’s an incredible tool, and I know it will help us more as we grow.” The company currently runs reports on incoming and outgoing calls from their various locations, and tracks trends based on these reports.
Nextiva’s Amazing Service® is another area of the partnership Lancaster has been happy with. “I’m on the phone working with vendors for the majority of my job, and in terms of customer support and response times, Nextiva has set the bar extremely high. We use the Nextiva customer support as a benchmark to judge other companies to decide if we should partner with them!”