14th August 2020

Ready for anything

Helping start-ups and communities in a time of crisis

We spoke to Mark Swire, Finance Director for Buzz Networks about how staying up to date with technology advances and online hosting for Sage systems has helped their business survive and thrive in crisis.

Buzz Networks provide internet voice communications for business and personal use. Buzz Networks is the umbrella company for both Virtual Landline and Buzz Connect offering VoIP telephony solutions and associated services so a customer can have a working UK telephone number without being tied into a contract.

The Virtual Landline product is a particularly popular choice for start-up businesses and individuals, especially with offering favourable pricing options. Despite being a small company, Buzz Networks is more akin to a large business in that it owns its own telecoms switch, whereas competitors of their size would usually be re-selling a larger supplier’s product. Investing in technology and continuously looking for ways to further automate their processes means they have managed to stay small and lean, providing customer service with a personal touch to many thousands of businesses and individuals.

  • Telecoms in a crisis

Customers for Virtual Landline and Buzz Connect include people or companies wanting to set up a business or home office, advertising agencies purchasing numbers for marketing campaigns, and expats overseas wanting a UK number. And in the recent COVID-19 crisis, Virtual Landline provided time of day routing for volunteer groups responding to helpline calls from the elderly. Landline numbers could go to different volunteers at different times of the day, automatically and Buzz Networks also added some extra elements not usually available to volunteer group accounts. Mark said;

“Volunteer groups found that the elderly don’t trust mobile numbers so they came to us for a landline number to coordinate deliveries of food, medicine and to just be speaking to the elderly in communities…
“They liked the personal relationship they could build with our team. I don’t think you could get that so much with a big company, you’re kind of boxed into what their product is.”
  • Home working

Mark reveals it has been “eye-opening” to see what can be achieved in times of crisis. Buzz Networks were able to easily adapt to remote working. They introduced Microsoft Teams and migrated their internal network drives onto One Drive within a matter of days. As a result, they were able to continue delivering excellent customer service without interruption. A seamless transition that was reflected by their experience with Datel. The systems have all been managed by the cloud and any issues arising have been resolved quickly and efficiently, with Datel’s help desk service described as ‘exceptional’.

The change to their ways of working initiated by the lockdown has actually brought forward improved processes - as Buzz Networks had upgraded Sage in 2019 and moved to hosting via Datel Advansys, the team could access systems at home in exactly the same way as in the office.

“It’s just astounding you know - something that would take six months of arguing over, was just done at a click of a switch.”

At the same time, a growth in demand for services has also highlighted the need to automate more and get systems to better talk to each other. During lockdown, individuals on furlough or starting up their own businesses came to Buzz Networks to quickly set up a landline without having to get into a contract. For the first week or two, Buzz Networks saw a small drop-off in business, but then levels went up by 40-50% and they continue to grow.

  • No slowing down

Mark is currently looking at using APIs to automate data entry, working on their CRM so when a customer phones in, their record automatically appears on-screen. Optimising their processes to make everything work better means that as Buzz Networks grows, they will be able to work faster instead of harder, and maintain their size of company and personal touch. They plan to grow by 30-40% minimum year on year and working intelligently is key to managing this growth.