VoIP saves money for Supershuttle

Remote call-takers will be part of virtual call center

Transport company Supershuttle is about to launch a virtual call centre, using voice over IP (VoIP).

“We are putting in a VoIP system as a replacement for the original PABX system we had,” says Aaron Anderson, IT manager of Supershuttle.

The company has 14 offices around the country and all were running different phone systems.

“It was costing us a fortune in toll calls, diverts afterhours and things like that,” he says.

“The phone bill was our second largest expense, and a fair percentage of that was internal calls and diverted calls.”

Now, all calls will go through the data networks — just like emails.

Apart from the obvious financial benefit, the VoIP system also offers reporting and accountability where staff are concerned, Anderson says.

“Now we can see exactly how many calls a particular reservations agent has missed, or how long customers have to wait, which means we can look after the customers a lot better.”

Starting next month, if phone queues are long the company will be able to bring in remote call-takers who will work from home using broadband connections.

“They will be able to VPN into the phone system and work just like a branch office. They will all be a part of one virtual call centre,” he says.

For over a year now, the Supershuttle drivers have received all orders and information via smart phones connected wirelessly to Bluetooth printers in their cars.

“We needed a solution that would get all the right information to the drivers as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible,” says Anderson.

Anderson investigated installing data terminals in the cars, but that would cost at least $4,000 per vehicle, whereas the smart phone and Bluetooth printer system cost about $1,000 per vehicle, he says. The system is now implemented in nearly all of Supershuttle’s vehicles across the country.

“We are using POP3 email. All the dispatcher has to do is to select the job, select which van it is going to and send the email.”

Within a few seconds, the drivers have got all the information printed out in front of them, including vouchers or other documents.

Anderson is hoping to use VoIP for the smart phones in the future.

“It requires wi-fi networks to become more prevalent,” he says.

For the VoIP system, Supershuttle is running Cisco equipment, which will allow for the option of switching between GSM networks and wi-fi, without the caller even noticing, Anderson says.

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