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The Problem

With a large customer base and multiple locations, Big Dog Satellite & Solar is a TV, internet and mobile phone retailer, as well as a solar panel provider with significant communications requirements. Internally, the company conducts daily calls between its three locations in Idaho (where their headquarters is based) and its offices in Iowa, Colorado and Puerto Rico. Externally, meanwhile, Big Dog takes numerous customer care and support calls, necessitating equipment powerful enough to reliably support a call center.

Previously, Big Dog used a traditional on-premise PBX to handle all these communications. However, this setup led to numerous issues. Foremost among these was the fact that the system’s unintuitive design created difficulty in changing its functionalities.

Our biggest issue was that when we needed to make any changes to call trees, call flows or anything like that, we had to deal with this user interface that was honestly pretty horrible,” recounted Mitch Workman, IT director for Big Dog Satellite & Solar. “We would rely on our system administrator — who wasn’t in house but just somebody we contract with — to make those changes, and we didn’t always get the best response rate. There were instances where we couldn’t get the proper setup going for days or even weeks at a time.”

In addition to this general unreliability in the system, Mr. Workman also described an ongoing problem with voicemail:

There was a long time where we didn’t even have voicemails properly set up. If calls weren’t attended to at the time, we didn’t even have the proper setup for allowing users to leave a voicemail, let alone for us to go in and retrieve them. It was a big headache.”

Faced with these difficulties, Big Dog sought a communications platform that they could more easily manage themselves — without requiring constant support from an administrator.

The Solution

Subsequently, Big Dog Satellite & Solar contacted Advantage Business Communications, a Wildix Gold Partner based in Idaho, in the hopes of improving their system.

“Basically we said, ‘Hey doc, here’s our symptoms — what kind of prescription do you have?’,” Mr. Workman recounted. “And they came in and pitched to our team what they thought would be a good solution, which was the Wildix system.”

This Wildix platform that Advantage installed consisted of a hosted system with licenses for 120 total users. Big Dog found particular use in the Wildix platform through its app and in-browser accessibility.

As such, the Wildix system was also set up to enable smart working for Big Dog, resulting in 90% of the company’s staff being able to work remotely.

Mr. Workman described this part of the process as particularly streamlined:

“It was super easy because in our initial setup, a representative from Advantage, Harrison Smith, made sure everybody had the Chrome extension loaded up. It made it super easy to open up the browser and click on who you wanted to call and just start talking. It was seamless.”

Advantage also created a user-specific setup for Big Dog’s call center.

“When an inbound call comes to a particular phone number for a specific branch, if those users are already occupied on phone calls, then other branches — maybe in another state — are used as the overflow for the initial branch that was unable to take the call,” Mr. Workman explained.

The features are all excellent, but the best thing about [Wildix] is that it’s easy to manage ourselves. We can get in and manage everything really easily within the system. […] Just being able to manage it and use it internally, rather than needing a system administrator for everything, is a big deal for us.

Mitch Workman,
IT director at Big Dog Satellite & Solar

Requirements

  • A communications system that can connect six offices across three US States and Puerto Rico
  • User settings and interface that can be changed without a system administrator
  • Reliable voicemail functionality
  • Capabilities for call center support

Value Gained

  • 10-15 hours saved per month through a self-manageable system
  • More leads pursued with a reliably functional voicemail setup
  • Hundreds of dollars saved per month with a simpler phone system
  • 90% of staff able to work remotely with no operational downtime
  • Possibility of additional integrations, chat features and communication tools

The Results

The biggest point of value that Big Dog gained from the Wildix system installed by Advantage was, according to Mr. Workman, more streamlined usability and customization.

“The features are all excellent, but the best thing about it is that it’s easy to manage ourselves. We can get in and manage everything really easily within the system,” he said.

“The videoconferencing and everything, that’s all great, but just being able to manage it and use it internally, rather than needing a system administrator for everything, is a big deal for us.”

In line with the smart working capabilities that Wildix enabled, Mr. Workman also cited the system’s portability as a key benefit:

What’s nice about a Wildix system is, having a web interface, we don’t necessarily need to be sitting right next to a phone device,” related Mr. Workman. “We can be using the app, our laptop, our Wildix device or all three. It makes it super convenient to be able to make and get those calls while you’re on the go.

“That ability to take calls on the go with the app or through the web — especially during these months when so many people were working remotely — meant employees could be back at their house and still function as normal, and nobody knew the difference.”

Furthermore, Big Dog also identified quantifiable value through Wildix and Advantage Business Communications. In addition to saving hundreds of dollars per month on phone bills, Big Dog also saved a significant number of working hours through Advantage’s installation of Wildix.

“The fact that we can manage everything in-house means that we’ve been able to save 10 to 15 hours a month compared to trying to figure stuff out with an offline, outsourced administrator,” said Mr. Workman.

Mr. Workman also cited increased business thanks to the Wildix system:

“We’re not missing the voicemails that we were before. We’re able to contact more customers and communicate with those customers more quickly than before. That means more revenue more quickly.

As for future developments, Big Dog looks ready to use the Wildix solution to expand their communications technology without adding to their expenses.

Rather than getting an all-in-one contact center subscription that’s gonna cost us thousands and thousands of dollars, we can build the same type of system through Wildix, either inherently or with a couple of easy integrations,” Mr. Workman explained.

With all this combined value, what’s the final verdict from Big Dog Satellite for recommending Wildix and Advantage Business Communications?

There’s no reason not to recommend them,” Mr. Workman said. “For our needs, they’ve met everything that was set out and more so. I would be more than happy to recommend them to anybody who has similar needs to ours.”

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