Considered to be one of America’s greatest race car drivers, Carroll Shelby founded Shelby American, Inc. in 1962 to market and manufacture performance vehicles for the public. In 1966 Shelby American joined forces with The Hertz Corporation to build the ultimate weekend getaway vehicle. This machine of pure American muscle was the now iconic Shelby GT350H.
Due to government regulations, Shelby American, Inc. stopped building production cars in the late 1960s, but remained a hot spot for special projects for automakers. Thirty years later, Shelby American opened their manufacturing facility at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Today, they build most of their trucks and customize vintage cars there, in addition to hosting a flagship store and museum which features custom cars that were built in their facility.
With a well-known name and big reputation, Shelby American responds to customer service calls from across the globe. Due to some issues with their previous communication system, they began looking for another provider. “[The system] was five years old at that point, so we were due for a complete overhaul. We started doing some research on all the different cloud-based products, rather than an on-premise system like we had before,” says Shelby’s Director of Technology, Rich Sparkman. Their old on-premise server system, while technically considered Voice Over IP, had too many touch points, was difficult to deal with, and required programming knowledge in order to make small changes. As the main point of contact for their in-house communications issues, Sparkman says he was looking for something more user friendly.
“What I was looking for was an all-in-one cloud-based solution that was easier for me to manage, more reliable and robust than what we had before, and had excellent customer service.”
As luck would have it, two Nextiva representatives showed up to drop off a business card while they were in the process of researching providers.
“[I] brought them into my office and we had a sit-down discussion about the virtues of being a Nextiva customer. I was impressed with what I heard. It was perfect timing; it was exactly what we needed,” says Sparkman.
In order to make the full transition over to Nextiva, Shelby American would have to cut ties with their previous providers. During this transition, Nextiva stepped up to help when it came to resolving an unexpected outage, in which a replacement part from their old provider would take a few days to arrive. Nextiva was able to bring over a couple of phones, configure their firewall to work with the Nextiva system, and bridge the gap in their old service. When they were ready to fully transition everything over to the new Nextiva system, Sparkman says it only took about two days to complete and it was easy to train their staff since their previous system had similar features.
“I can’t really say enough about the support. Nextiva is top-notch when it comes to any issues that I have. It is thorough, it is responsive, and it’s professional. From my perspective as the IT Director, it’s really the forefront of my requirements for any vendor that we deal with. We have to be able to reach out to support and resolve an issue very quickly.”
"Our phones have to be available, they have to be reliable, and they have to always be on. We get that availability and reliability through Nextiva. We’re not going to go anywhere. We’re very happy where we are."
Shelby’s employees weren’t the only ones who noticed a difference with their new phone service; their customers were also impressed. Although small, their call center responds to all questions about their website. While many companies offer web chats for their customer’s questions or issues, Sparkman says Shelby’s customers are often more comfortable calling for answers to their needs. Having a phone system to respond to those calls quickly, clearly, and efficiently was essential. Now, Sparkman says their operators stay logged into the system all day to monitor calls and provide their customers with inline announcements and on-hold music while they wait.
“They love using the Nextiva phone service so much more than the old phones. They had so many problems before—people weren’t able to hear them or just simple call quality issues. They don’t have that anymore. My users describe it as HD calling. They say, ‘It’s much clearer!’ Well, it ought to be. It’s a modern system,” says Sparkman.
While their new phone system offered similar features to their last provider, Sparkman says Nextiva helped Shelby cut their business communications costs by more than 50% while upgrading to a more professional product.
Shelby strives to always keep its company at the cutting edge and as sleek as the cars they build. Their phone system is no exception; keeping a future-focused mindset is at the core of their business values. Sparkman says when it comes to researching new products or services, they ask themselves, “‘Where’s that company going to be five years from now? Are they forward-thinking like we are?’ Nextiva was a great fit for us as far as that goes. We were able to go as far technologically as was practical for a company of our size. We’re early adopters of new technologies and this phone system falls right into the way we do business now, technology-wise. Moving to a cloud-based phone system was a natural move for us.”
As their client demographic continues to get younger and younger, Shelby American remains forward-thinking by providing services that benefit their customers, while making their job easier and earning them more revenue. Sparkman mentions that communications are especially important for any business moving forward. He says having an antiquated phone system could be a contributing factor as to why customers shop elsewhere, leading to intangibles, like lost business, that can’t be quantified.
“Phone calls pretty much fuel everything that we do here, so our phones have to be available, they have to be reliable, and they have to always be on. We get that availability and reliability through Nextiva. We’re not going to go anywhere. We’re very happy where we are.”