In this article, one of our valued customers, Simon Oates from The Tax Partnership, explains how a VOIP telephone system has improved his productivity, enabled him to offer a better service to his customers, and gain a better work-life balance. 

Hi Simon, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed today. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? 

I’m an accountant and I’ve run my own accountancy firm, The Tax Partnership, since 1992. Our office is based in Derby and we have a number of employees who are now able to choose where they work. This might be in the office or remotely from home, at clients, or as they travel between meetings. 

How long have you been a customer of Link ICT? 

I’ve known the owner of the company, Mark Fryers, for many years. We officially started our IT support retainer with Link ICT in 2016. 

How long have you had a telephone system from Link ICT? 

We first moved our telephone system over to Link ICT in 2019. Our previous telephone system was an analogue system and we found the functionality very restrictive and that it no longer supported the way we wanted our business to operate. Also, we knew that analogue systems were becoming obsolete and service support might be affected, so we were keen to make sure that we moved over to a VOIP system in plenty of time. 

What made you choose Link ICT for your telephone system? 

When we were thinking about how to improve our telephone system, I knew that Martin Lindau would be the man to ask. He was able to talk us through the benefits of moving across to a VOIP-based telephone system. As our dedicated technician, Martin has a great knowledge of how we operate as a company so he was able to talk to us about how the features of the new telephone system could be used to help us all work more efficiently. 

The functionalities that particularly appealed to us were that everyone could have a direct dial number that instantly diverted to where ever they were working. Also, if anyone dialled the main office number, anyone could answer the incoming call and transfer it to the relevant person. This enabled us to adopt more agile working practices, made everyone easier to get hold of, and gave us reassurances that communication was going to be much more secure as it took place within our network and not on open mobile networks. We were also able to remove the need to have a rota of telephonists sat at a desk answering incoming calls. 

Based on this analysis of our needs, Martin arranged for a quote to be sent to us. We compared pricing with a few different companies and found that the Link ICT proposal offered the best value.  The installation was carried out in a fast and efficient manner and the project management was excellent. We were up and running with the new system very quickly. Martin also made the time to ensure that all the staff were trained and felt confident in using the new system. 

Can you talk us through a typical working day using our phone system? 

Due to current circumstances, I’m working remotely more often than not at the minute. Typically, my working day starts around 8.30 am. To make sure that we’re able to support our customers, I can set my profile so that calls outside our office hours are diverted to my mobile. At 8.15 am, I receive a call from one of our customers with a query about running payroll. I’m able to answer the call using the app on my mobile and resolve the customer’s query before I am even at my desk. Albeit, the customer has no idea that I have answered the call whilst still at home. 

Around 8.30am I move into my home office, switching to the desktop app for the phone system. This allows me to answer calls using my laptop and a headset, which means I don’t need a traditional desk phone as part of my home working setup. 

Meetings take up the rest of my morning so I take myself out of the call queue to make sure I’m not disturbed. As a team, we’ve found the desktop phone system app really convenient for being able to see at a glance which members of the team are available to be in the call queue to take incoming calls. 

After a quick lunch, I divert all the calls to my mobile again, whilst I drive over to our Derby office.  There’s a document I urgently need to review in person. At the office, I log into the call queue on my desk phone and find myself answering a call from one of our customers who needs to ask some questions about their accounts. I’m able to easily transfer the call to one of my colleagues who is actually working remotely.  

I carry on working in the office until the end of the day, but when I get home at just after 6 pm I realise that I haven’t signed out of the office phone. This is quickly resolved using the mobile app! 

Would you recommend other companies buy a VOIP phone system from Link ICT? 

Absolutely. When COVID hit and we needed to move to working remotely, our telephone system was already set up and our transition was seamless. 

Sadly, not all companies found this so easy and their client service really suffered. When I saw that other companies were having to tell customers they could only communicate by email and that staff members were having to reveal their personal mobile numbers on the company website so clients could get in touch I felt relieved that we had invested in new technology. Unlike those companies, our phone system meant we were able to continue business as usual working remotely. This was invaluable at a time when we were busier than ever supporting our customers. 

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If you think your business could benefit from an improved VOIP telephone system, please do not hesitate to get in touch.