Armstrong Watson are Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers with clients across the North of England and Scotland. Their 460 employees work across 12 regional offices from Glasgow to Leeds, providing a full spectrum of financial advice and services.
An important aspect of service delivery for the business was providing a ‘personalised’ approach to customers. The business maintained close customer relationships and they wanted to continue to provide this level of service while staff were working remotely.
Paul Cullen, IT Infrastructure and Hardware Manager said, “We have been a Unity customer for many years using VoIP based desk phones. Unity allowed us to move our telephony services so that we could use the soft phone functionality very easily. However, we wanted to amalgamate our communications platforms so that we only had one integrated comms platform for our users, so we required our telephone calls to utilise the Teams platform.”
Armstrong Watson has been a Redcentric customer for over 10 years, using the Redcentric VoIP solution ‘Unity’ and features such as Receptionist and Routing to manage inbound calls. They had recently adopted Microsoft Teams to support users with a single place to collaborate and to enable smart-working. At the start of Covid, the business wanted to accelerate plans to provide calling capabilities within Microsoft Teams to support staff, who overnight needed to work from home using the usual business numbers and their enterprise calling features.
The pandemic highlighted the need to streamline the inbound call process, as they identified that up to 90 different people could potentially take an inbound call within the current process, and while keeping lines of communication open with clients was extremely important, this way of working added complexity for teams working remotely.
Shortly before ‘lockdown’, the business completed a short trial of Call2Teams with 18 users over a couple of days. Paul Cullen said, “After speaking to Redcentric, we arranged a PoC of Call2Teams to test the concept. After this completed successfully, we accelerated the roll-out to everyone and within 48 hours all our users had the ability to make and receive external calls within Teams.”
The adoption of Call2Teams meant that over a weekend we went from 400 office-based staff using desk phones, who were now able to take business calls within Microsoft Teams on any laptop or mobile. It was so easy to use; adoption was incredibly quick and easy as there was zero input required from the users to make this operational – it just worked!
Call2Teams meant that employees could use all their usual business calling functionality on any Teams enabled device and adoption was rapid as users found it quick and easy to use while working from home and using headsets. Paul said, “From the IT team’s perspective as well as for our users, it was such a simple journey and exactly how we’d like a new deployment to run.”
The Call2Teams deployment has been so successful, Armstrong Watson decided to permanently remove desk-phones and continue to use Call2Teams to give them greater flexibility and agility. In parallel with the Call2Teams deployment, analysis of Akixi call reporting highlighted the need to create a dedicated team who could handle calls efficiently.
The Call2Teams service delivered clear benefits to users, who found it easy to use without requiring additional training and adoption was rapid.
Increased collaboration – Users could collaborate and make calls in a single interface
Improved efficiency – Inbound calls were answered in seconds using the ‘Receptionist’ feature of Unity telephony from within Teams
Customer service – High levels of service and contact were maintained
The combination of the PSTN calling and the call reporting from Akixi has allowed us to streamline inbound calls. We haven't just maintained customer service while working remotely, we've improved it!
Increased visibility of calls – Axixi call analysis showed call volume over different time periods, call waiting times and missed calls which meant they could identify the optimal number of people required to handle calls efficiently.
Efficient call handling – A dedicated back-office team of 8 employees were trained to manage all types of inbound calls, with calls being answered by the next available person.
Service delivery – The primary function of the new inbound call team was to direct calls onwards to the ideal contact in the business, without being bounced elsewhere, so that the business could maintain ‘the personal touch’ and remain responsive to customers.
Covid-19 has accelerated both deployment and adoption of new cloud technologies which have been very effective in supporting remote-working and delivery of customer service. Looking to the future, Armstrong Watson are planning for wider adoption of cloud technologies, recognising the benefits for business agility, continuity planning and customer delivery.
“From signing of the contract to delivery, the turnaround was very quick. You delivered what you said you would and delivered ahead of what you promised.”