How Softphones from TelNet Worldwide Helped This Healthcare CEO Succeed
Building Bridges is a pediatric therapy center that provides a comprehensive range of programs to help children and families impacted by delays in childhood development, autism, sensory processing, and other behavioral and emotional issues.
Located in Plymouth, Michigan, Building Bridges has been in operation since 1988. The center is owned and operated by CEO Brad Naberhaus and his wife, Stephanie, a trained therapist who leads the clinical teams. The company has 195 employees throughout Michigan.
Building Bridges has been a TelNet Worldwide customer since 2017. In May of last year, TelNet upgraded Building Bridges to softphones to allow their workforce to be more mobile.
We interviewed Brad recently to see how things are going and get his insights on the benefits gained, the experience of working with TelNet, and what he would tell other business decision makers who are considering a phone system upgrade.
The Importance of Reliability, Flexibility and Mobility
Because of the human-element nature of their business, reliability is critical to Building Bridges. They handle a large quantity of calls each day, with a multitude of 30-minute, 45-minute or 60-minute appointments back-to-back. Patient well-being is often at stake.
“Reliability is really important to us,” says Naberhaus. “The flexibility that comes with the mobile technology is really important, too.”
“We have a high volume of time-sensitive calls,” says Brad. “We provide a hands-on service. That requires a lot of customer contact and a lot of that’s done by telephone.
“We work with kids with special needs. Communication is very, very important to parents. Kids are the most important things to parents, so there’s often a live conversation with parents before their child starts our services. Just reading about us on a website doesn’t make a parent comfortable that we’re the right place for their child. So, telephones are very important to us.”
Finding a Customer-Focused Voice Provider
Naberhaus was referred to TelNet by Global Telecom Solutions (GTS). GTS is a Detroit-based consulting firm specializing in helping companies solve business technology needs.
“I’ve known GTS CEO Mark Stackpoole and President Ryan Hathaway for years,” says Naberhaus. “We have a long relationship and are good friends. When Building Bridges was upgrading our building a few years ago, we also wanted to upgrade our technology. I was no longer going to use our old phone system. I reached out to GTS and they recommended TelNet.”
In 2017, TelNet upgraded Building Bridges to the cloud and supplied new YeaLink T54W phones that provided visibility to other phones along with a range of other features.
“When we went to cloud-based phones it made the layout in our new building much easier. It allowed more flexibility in the front office, where we can have hunt groups and things like that to make it easy for two or three people at different desks to share incoming calls.”
Making the Leap to Mobile and Going "Phoneless"
After being on TelNet’s hosted voice platform for five years, last year Building Bridges made the leap to mobile-app-enabled softphones. The benefits have been many.
“The softphones have enabled a lot more flexibility,” says Naberhaus. “They have allowed us to go completely phoneless. For example, I don’t even have a desk phone anymore for my direct line. I’m on the mobile application on my cell phone or I talk using my computer.
“We’ve had some of our administrative team now start working either hybrid or completely remote, and we can do that easily now where we couldn’t have done it two or three years ago. Now, I can have someone take a call on their computer in their living room, and it feels the exact same as calling our office for that customer experience.
“That’s been something new and exciting for us.”
Some Building Bridges staff still use desk phones. “That’s their personal preference,” Naberhaus says. “Some front office folks prefer a handset. We leave it up to them.”
Building Bridges uses Microsoft Teams as its internal collaboration platform.
“We’re all-Microsoft here,” Naberhaus says. “They’re one of the few platforms that, without a huge amount of extra services or consulting or fees, comply with some HIPAA standards. So we’re able to use Teams and talk about patients. For example, I can talk to someone on our staff and say the name of the patient and still be covered by HIPAA.”
The Ease of Working with TelNet
Naberhaus says working with TelNet has been a dream.
“When we implemented the current platform, TelNet made it easy. They took our old architecture and mapped it all for us. Rob Johnson and Jeff Rodgers (both from TelNet) were involved. I liked working with both of them. They are quick communicators, very positive, easy to work with.”
Building Bridges uses an outside Managed Service Provider (MSP) for IT services. An issue was encountered getting the mobile apps running properly due to settings in the Building Bridges firewall. TelNet worked with the Building Bridges’ MSP to get the issue resolved with minimal disruption.
“It wasn’t a failure on TelNet and it wasn’t a failure on my firewall folks,” Naberhaus says. “It was just issues that had to be worked out by tech people. I was on vacation at the time. TelNet was great and responsive and worked directly with my IT people to get the things resolved quickly.”
The Advantages of Working with a Michigan-Based Company
Naberhaus says he likes TelNet’s personable, hands-on approach.
“I like the blend of having some old-fashioned human guidance with the new technology,” he says. “It was nice for me to have a real company here in Michigan that could help do the setup for us. It’s nice to be able to call up people and not have to interact with a completely web-based company. I don’t have time to investigate and learn what fits best for us. Working with real humans helps and it helped us get access to modern tools.
“We’re not a technology company. With TelNet, I described what I wanted to accomplish and they made it happen. For example, I did not know what a hunt group was. I just said, ‘I need the phone to ring for these four people, and then if none of them answer, it goes to this number.’ TelNet made that happen.”
Advice to Other Executives Considering Softphones
In the end, Naberhaus is pleased with the switch to softphones and mobile apps, both for the company and for himself as chief executive. He recommends the solution to other busy executives, too.
“Softphones are great. It’s made it a lot easier for me as owner. I can be wherever I need to be. A corded phone doesn’t work for me as the CEO. The softphone is a no-brainer solution. It matches the technology of today’s real-world work environment.”
Discover What Softphones Can Do for You
As it did for Building Bridges, a softphone solution can give you new communication capabilities, cost savings, flexibility, and scalability. Discover what softphones can do for you. Contact a TelNet expert today.
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