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RingCentral helps C&S Wholesale Grocers cut its yearly telephony costs by $1M


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  • Cost savings: Eliminating carriers’ per-minute phone charges and PBX maintenance costs helps C&S lower its telecom bill by $1 million each year.
  • Improved service: RingCentral’s Contact Center’s Workforce Engagement and Quality Management modules help the support team improve the customer experience.
  • New efficiencies: Leveraging RingCentral integrations with Google Chrome and Microsoft Outlook saves time and improves employee efficiency.

The largest wholesale grocery distributor in the U.S.

When they pick up their groceries—whether from a local independent supermarket or a major chain store—millions of people across the United States have C&S Wholesale Grocers in part to thank for those shelves being stocked with the things they want.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. is an industry leader in supply chain solutions and wholesale grocery supply in the United States. Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, C&S now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with over 100,000 different products.

A legacy telephony infrastructure no longer capable of supporting operations

Philippe Bourdon, VP of Infrastructure for C&S, explains that the company has acquired many businesses over the years. C&S has always enacted cost-effective solutions and was able to maintain the telephony system in place—rather than upgrading it or integrating it into a central, companywide telephony environment.

But while that saved C&S money on IT costs, Philippe notes, it eventually led to business communication challenges.

“The old infrastructure had become unsupportable. We had about 15 PBX systems across the country, and most didn’t talk to the others. To dial between our offices, the carriers were charging us per-minute long-distance rates. And because some of these systems were 30 years old, they offered very little functionality. Many of our employees couldn’t even forward their calls to a different number.”

With RingCentral, C&S Wholesale Grocers is saving $1M a year on telephony

RingCentral addresses both the functionality and cost issues simultaneously

When he researched the leading cloud communications providers, Philippe found RingCentral topping his list in each key category—flexibility, ease of use and the ability to offer employees multiple communication formats in a single app. Still, though, selling the idea of a companywide IT migration to the executive staff would be difficult given their focus on minimizing expenses.

“Fortunately, when I ran the numbers, I realized that switching to RingCentral would also save us a fortune every year—about a half-million dollars on per-minute phone charges and another half-million by eliminating third-party maintenance agreements for the PBX systems. When I was able to demonstrate that this migration would save us a million dollars annually, our entire executive team was on board with moving to RingCentral.”

Creating new workflow efficiencies with RingCentral

As Philippe’s team rolled out RingCentral for nearly all C&S office-based employees, the company began immediately seeing the benefits of its new unified cloud communications solution.

Employees who previously needed their desk phones and landlines to take business calls could now receive those calls anywhere using their computers or mobile phones. Departments and teams also began creating dedicated groups on RingCentral’s team messaging platform for chats and sharing documents. And employees who had never had their own video conference licenses were now hosting meetings over RingCentral Video all the time.

“We had migrated almost everyone to RingCentral before the pandemic, and our employees were already seeing huge advantages in being able to take and make business calls from outside the office, set up video meetings and communicate so easily with each other over the team messaging platform. But when we had to transition to remote work, RingCentral went from an awesome communications platform to a ‘What-would-we-have-done-without-this?’ platform.”

Improving the customer experience with RingCentral Contact Center

In addition to moving thousands of C&S employees onto RingCentral’s cloud-based message, video, and phone platform, the company’s customer support department also rolled out RingCentral Contact Center to power its operations.

Carmela Hinderaker, Senior Director, Business Continuity & Customer Support, stated “Our managers find using the Workforce Engagement module very helpful for forecasting. They can see the number of calls per hour coming into each of our skill-based groups and use that knowledge to make sure we always have the right number of agents staffing those queues.”

Carmela’s managers are also finding ways to improve agent performance using the Contact Center’s Quality Management module. “Quality Management lets our team supervisors listen live on agents’ calls, which is great for several reasons. It helps us train new agents, coach anyone who needs help, and make sure we’re all giving consistent messages to customers across the department.”

Adding more value through RingCentral integrations

C&S is finding more ways to save employees time and streamline their daily workflows using tools his team has found in the RingCentral App Gallery, such as plugins for Google Chrome and Microsoft Outlook.

“The Outlook plugin for RingCentral is a real timesaver for us because our employees are setting up meetings all the time, both internal as well as with customers and vendors. By integrating RingCentral into our calendar app, scheduling those meetings and inviting people is so quick and easy—and nobody has to copy and paste details into an email anymore.”

In fact, Philippe points out, his team has identified other RingCentral integrations that promise to enable significant operational improvements for the company—specifically integrations with apps C&S’s employees use every day, such as ServiceNow and Workday. “We see opportunities to add a lot of efficiency to our everyday workflows using RingCentral integrations, which is why setting up these integrations is a top-priority item on our 2022 agenda.”


Originally published Mar 23, 2022

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