Deadline Despatch’s business is all about rapid response and express delivery. Customers want to pick up the phone and book a courier–with no protracted conversations and certainly no technical problems slowing the process down.

Which meant that, when the telephone systems started developing faults in Deadline’s London offices, something had to be done.

Barklay Saunders, Deadline’s IT Director, said that John Crozier had been talking to him for some time about the benefits of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone systems. But they had stuck with the traditional BT telephone system for so long because, ‘As long as it was working, it was too much trouble to change.’

However, continuing problems with the London exchange created a demand for change from both managers and staff. ‘Losing telephone calls was bad for business, and staff were getting increasingly frustrated because they felt they couldn’t do their jobs properly.’ Barklay decided to take John up on his recommendations and pilot VOIP in Deadline’s London office.

How the changeover to VOIP worked

The changeover, he said, was extremely easy. Because VOIP hooks into existing broadband provision, there is none of the disruption of waiting for new phone lines to be put in, or waiting for switches to be thrown on circuits buried somewhere in the street. Firstline could create a telephone number on the internet, and the switchover itself appeared almost instantaneous.

Staff were organised into telephone groups, so that they could set up call forwarding and pick-up. They were delighted to discover that all the features they had come to expect from a phone system were still available – and many more. Barklay said, for example, that staff appreciated the fact that the company’s telephone directory was now automatically linked to the staff directory on their computers.

In fact, the biggest problem was simply that users were changing from a system that they had used for years and years. But Barklay described it as like ‘switching from a right-hand drive car to a left-hand drive. Initially you are very conscious of what you are doing, but very soon you find it becomes as instinctive as it was before.’

Not only are the staff happy, but the cost savings mean that the management team is very happy too. In fact, it’s working so well that Deadline are planning to switch the telephone systems in their other offices to VOIP by the end of the year.