Case Studies

Best VOIP for Retail Business – A Case Study

April 13, 2021
Image represents Fresh produce - one of the staple products of Festival Foods

Best VoIP for Retail Business: Mitel VoIP Unified Communication (UC) – Case Study

Loyal customers deserved to have the best connection to products and shops they keep on coming back to. It is how a company can give back and nourish the trust built through branding and customer service.

That is what urged Festival Foods to innovate and update its business phone system. The 70-year-old company needed to find the best business VoIP for retail, and the main requirement is that it’s an advanced, scalable phone system. Here’s a story on how Mitel delivered expectations and proved that they are one of the leading business phone systems in the world.

Festival Foods: 70 Years of Family Business

In 1946, Festival Foods was first known as Skogen’s IGA by Paul and Jane Skogen in Onalaska, Wisconsin. With only $500 of borrowed money, they opened a 3,000 square foot grocery store attached to their house.

Three decades later, when Paul passed away, his son, Dave, oversaw the first Skogen’s Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) company operations. In operating the business, Dave has always been committed to his hands-on philosophy. And the company grew to up to seven IGA stores through Wisconsin, and Dave was finally named the company president.

The company also started to grow the number of their signature items. They created their premium quality blend of lean meats and savory spices from the Old-World recipes of German sausage makers. It was later named Octoberfest Brats that you can see in their aisles until today.
The Skogen family realized the shifting trend in the buying habits of their consumers, and it made them decide to change the store format. In 1990, the company opened its first Festival Foods grocery store in Onalaska, followed by many other locations from Marshfield to Green Bay.

Festival Food’s Philosophy and Values

Another innovation the company went through was becoming a Servant Leadership Company. This means that associates and management work side by side to ensure everyone has everything they need to succeed in their position. This also makes sure that the company continues to serve the customers to the best of its abilities.

Another philosophy the company adopted was the Boomerang Principle. The company’s business decision is based on the question, ‘Will it bring the guest back?’, which they follow until today. It has been one of the foundations for customers to keep on coming back.

In 2006, Dave’s son, Mark Skogen, took over and became Festival Foods President and CEO. The business kept on growing, and in 2014, they have over 5,000 associates and counting! They also introduced the slogan, “it’s the little things,” which reiterated that success comes from the little things, along with getting extraordinary food and exceptional experience.

Today, Festival Foods has grown to 32 grocery stores, positively impacting communities and ensuring quality products are delivered. They believe that their customers are guests and associates with their families.

As you can read in the company’s profile, the family has always been their core. Festival Food aims beyond and above to meet their guests’ expectations.

There is no better way to address the company’s philosophy but by having smooth and honest communication. With servant leadership, Festival Foods need to execute how committed they are to the community. This means they must make sure their lines are always open to serve, whether it’s face to face or via telephone

The Challenges with Legacy PBX Phone System

Festival Foods has always invested in technologies ensuring PCI compliance. This helps make their customers feel that the staff cares about them. With 32 stores, the company planned for an eCommerce with a centralized call center that can take phone orders.

The company has been using PBX, which they found to be old-fashioned and inadequate for the innovation they are pushing through. The functions are not enough that all it could do was make basic phone calls. The company needed something that can integrate with the POS system. The support was only available through one company which was deemed impossible for all 32 stores.

Another issue that they encountered is that the user manual is non-existent, making basic operations to be confusing. With phones only having nine buttons, it means one wrong order and the calls would be dropped.

Any support is costing the company a lot of money. Any kind of technical issue was expensive, whether the type of work is done onsite or remotely. And because most of the problems were handled onsite, the company also needs to incur the travel charges. They also found that when problems occur, they cannot be resolved by the day. They needed to wait until the next day to sort things out, making it unacceptable, primarily that Festival Foods aims to have a customer-focused company.

How to Choose the Best VoIP for Retail Business

In choosing the best VoIP for retail business, all you need to do is find all the features the Mitel VoIP UC phone system has to offer. Festival Foods implemented the Mitel VoIP UC phone system in less than a year in all of its locations.

Festival Foods IT Director Mike Nomland reported how the company integrated the phone system with radio handsets so that when an issue occurs, managers and employees can respond right away on the floor. All the staff needs to do is push one headset button to talk on one frequency and another button to speak over the microphone.

Mitel VoIP UC also enabled the company to deploy a SIP trunk and PRI allocations to multiple sites. It was all done without any complications, plus it was inexpensive too. With Mitel, every component of the business phone system is bulletproof, making the management more confident that they are not missing any customers’ concerns.

Feedback after using VoIP Phone System for Retail business

How Mitel UC Works for Retail Business?

Unified Communication is an integrated technology environment where various communication tools work together – seamlessly, ensuring the ease of use and efficiency for all parties involved.

Elements of a Unified Communication System

The list can be endless, but the most important and commonly used are the core phone system, desk phones, conference phones, voicemail, chat tool, group chat tool, audioconferencing, videoconferencing, and screen sharing.

Major Benefits of a Unified Communication

    1. You reduce wasted time. UC enables real-time presence in any organization. This provides staff an instant insight into colleagues’ availability to connect, whether via voice, IM, or video. This information is accessible from existing calendars, which can reduce latency. By knowing where to find, the staff can save a lot of time.
    2. UC bridges the geographical distance. With businesses going global faster than ever, having a UC system leveraged top talent from all over the world. With UC, the management can hire employees in multiple locations and work on projects seamlessly.

Mitel’s Unified Communication offers simple, comprehensive, flexible, and reliable solutions for businesses of all sizes. In the case of Festival Foods, they needed voice and collaboration tools integrated into a system that would allow easy flow of communication.
So, how does Mitel Unified Communication work for retail business, particularly in the supermarket industry?

    • All Mitel’s voice solutions can be expanded into a full, feature-rich UCC solution. The phone system allows the option to run solutions from their hardware or onto the company’s servers through software. This means the company can expand on your terms and your timing without the need to rethink the business phone system.
    • Mitel UC offers voice and unified communication solutions as a service. The company’s cloud capabilities allow you to skip the hardware and servers altogether and instead subscribe to a UC system using their data centers. This also means no long-term commitments or capital expenditures are needed.

A Happy Ending for Festival Foods

The deployment went smoothly, and it was also affordable. Festival Foods chose Mitel VoIP UC because it offered good value for money than the other vendors in the market. Mitel was also equipped with more flexibility.

The interface is also intuitive and user-friendly, that there is no need for any intensive training. This gave the company the peace of mind it needs. In the future, Festival Foods is planning to add more capabilities later.

Key takeaways

To summarize, here are the results that Mitel brought over for Festival Foods.

  • Increased the ease of use and ease of administration.
  • Mitel offered a scalable accommodation for aggressive growth.
  • Eliminate redundancy via multiple paths.
  • Mitel is more affordable than any other telephony vendor.
  • With its advanced security system, Mitel ensures PCI DSS compliance.
  • Easy integration with crucial systems streamlines.

In the end, the company, management, staff, and the customers are happy with the results Mitel delivered.

Is Mitel the best VoIP phone system for your retail business? Get in touch with us so we can tell you more about Mitel’s features. Mitel has been our partner for years, and it never ceases to solve communication problems for our clients. As you may find in the rest of our case studies, having the best business phone system suitable for your business is crucial in any growing business.


We at Call Flow Solution are always committed to serve big and small businesses around the world. We understand what every business communication system is different. Save your precious time with a single discovery call and learn what’s best for you, your team, and your business.

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