Heltor is an independent heating oil supplier for Devon and Cornwall, providing domestic, commercial and agricultural fuel supply. Exclusively serving the needs of the Southwest of England, Heltor offers an excellent fuel distribution service, delivering from between 500 and 36,000 litres to local businesses. Heltor is committed to providing the highest standards of customer care.
Blackstar Solutions (Blackstar) have been working with Heltor for many years as a trusted communications supplier, initially managing their mobility package and more recently, their telephony needs.
Blackstar installed a ShoreTel on-premise telephony system for Heltor about five years ago; a hosted telephony solution was not a viable option at that time because Heltor’s location meant that their internet connectivity was not reliable.
In 2020, Heltor suffered internal infrastructure outages between Christmas and New Year – their busiest time – which caused issues to phones and business operations, especially as they make the majority of sales via the phone. Blackstar understood Heltor’s connectivity issues, so they suggested that it was time to look again at alternatives. With faster and more reliable internet options now being available to Heltor, Blackstar suggested a hosted, cloud-based telephony solution with leased lines backed by a business grade SLA. With multiple locations, Heltor also needed features such as hunt groups and pick up groups. A more niche requirement was CTI integration between the phones and their CRM system, which meant that they needed a bespoke solution.
Heltor has been operating for five years with an on-premise ShoreTel telephony system but with unreliable internet connectivity, the ISDN option lacked the resilience that they urgently needed. Heltor relies heavily on their phones as 90% of their business is generated via phone calls, so it was a business-critical decision to improve resilience with a cloud-based solution.
Blackstar researched the best options and recommended the Gamma Horizon Cloud PBX business phone system, which offers a subscription-based cloud environment, including managed support.
Blackstar tested the new platform for a month, prior to any contract being signed, checking that all of Heltor’s needs were met, such as screen popping, click-to-dial and hunt groups. They also went through various iterations of test phones, going the extra mile to ensure that Heltor was completely satisfied with the solution.
It was Blackstar’s prerogative to make sure that the system met Heltor’s specific needs. Blackstar also reached out to Heltor’s CRM supplier (CODAS) and they worked together to integrate Horizon with the CRM system.
After a comprehensive testing phase, Blackstar project managed the entire deployment for Heltor, with a seamless transition and minimal business disruption.
Blackstar replaced the old phone system with a secure, cloud managed service, and now provide dedicated support for Heltor on a five-year contract. They are available for support Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm, and also offer an out-of-hours emergency line, if necessary, where any faults are remedied remotely.
Each location has a separate phone number, so if there was ever an outage, the phones will automatically reroute to another office location, creating ultimate resilience. They have removed the reliance on internal infrastructure and can route calls to any site, which they couldn’t do before.
Horizon Integrator has numerous call control features on the desk top and it can integrate with Heltor’s CODAS CRM software, enabling click-to-dial and screen popping options. Blackstar also delivered end user training on the new phones.
Not only does Heltor now benefit from a resilient, secure and robust cloud communications solution, they are delighted to have a platform that integrates fully with their CRM system.
The single system means that Heltor can route calls to wherever they want, and staff can work remotely, if required. They’ve embraced the Collaborate app with about 10% of employees using the soft client version. Additional features of the Gamma Horizon Cloud PBX business phone system include hunt groups for distributing and allocating calls across the team; call transfer to any internal or external number; call pickup and call park; instant group call; call waiting; and auto attendant with menu options for call routing.
Nick Gratton, Finance Director at Heltor, commented,
“It took a mind shift to become serverless! But we are in the business of taking customer calls, so the phones need to ring, otherwise we can’t take orders. The cloud-based system has greatly improved the reliability of our communications and we now have fixed, monthly costs, so it’s easier to budget. It’s vital that our telephony system always works, and thanks to Blackstar, it does.”
Elliot Mace, Sales Director at Blackstar Solutions, added,
“We undertook a comprehensive review of Heltor’s telephony infrastructure, deploying a Gamma Horizon Cloud PBX technology solution to provide business continuity via a resilient cloud network.
Blackstar went the extra mile to ensure that the Gamma technology fully integrates in real time with Heltor’s CRM system, so they can continue to deliver excellent service to their customers.”