Adapting to Covid-19 and anticipating future opportunities: an interview with Telavox’s Andy Brunt

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on April 5th 2021, 10:10am

Telavox originated as Scandinavia’s most successful cloud PBX which disrupted Sweden’s telecom market in 2003 with its IP telephony and cloud PBX services. It has since expanded its operations to the UK to bring its solution to the British market. Yet, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck Europe in the early part of 2020, like many other businesses across the globe, Telavox was forced to adopt a remote-working model and devise ways of providing the same levels of customer service and support, while also seeking out a way forward for the company.

Considering its speciality as a business, however, Partner Sales Manager Andy Brunt believes that the company was not only in an advantageous position when it came to adapting to the pandemic challenge, but also that there will be opportunities for its product and solutions offering moving forward as more firms move toward a flexible working model.

Speaking on The Leaders Council podcast, Brunt said: “When Telavox was founded back in 2002, its mission put simply was to deliver a simple and affordable unified communications system in the Cloud. Fast-forward to now and the pandemic has affected most businesses and we are no exception. We have had to adopt to remote working but what perhaps put us in a stronger position compared to some was that we use our own technology internally, and doing this allowed us to deploy our workforce remotely, overnight.

“Of course, the challenge after that smooth transition was to deliiver the same class of customer service and sales support as we did before the pandemic. We are proud of how our staff and senior management team have deployed remotely and been able to deliver that.”

A key part of making that possible within Telavox was to devise an efficient working-from-home strategy, which placed mental health and the maintenance of a positive mental attitude at the forefront of its priorities.

Brunt continued: “Deploying a workforce of over 250 people remotely doesn’t come without hitches. Some people have had to juggle home-schooling with their day-to-day work for instance, so to ensure people don’t become overwhelmed, we have had to make sure people’s mental health is at the forefront of our strategy.

“One of the practical things we’ve done to maintain positive mental health and a good attitude is host regular virtual meetings to keep everyone in contact. These range from teams meetings, virtual coffee sessions, quiz nights, and we have made sure all staff have been both personally and professionally supported by conducting regular questionnaires to gauge their mood and what their needs are.”

Of course, this did take some adaptability from a senior leadership perspective, as Brunt recalled.

“One of the toughest things for me was that our annual sales kick-off event that we would usually hold in person had to be done remotely with a week’s worth of teleconferencing. It was a blow not having the physical attendance and contact with colleagues to look forward to, yet we still achieved the same result. As a team of senior leaders, we have re-focused ourselves on maintaining the same levels of operation, relationship and communication even without physical meets, while stressing the importance of the work-life balance to staff.”

A key element from Brunt’s point of view was that the virtual meetings had to replicate the physical meetings that had been lost in terms of the energy and motivation that one could garner from it.

“What has been key is adopting remote strategies that generate the same energy as being there in the room with someone. When I jump on my weekly sales call, it cheers me up and I come away with a positive energy and understand my objectives for the week and how well we did the previous week, for example.

“Being remote doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same results, what we miss is the interaction. Our company barometer where we used questionnaires to gauge people’s feelings and mental health were key things that we have done throughout the pandemic and we’ll continue with that to understand how people’s feelings change over time and how we can best help them. Maintaining positive mental attitude and mental health have been key to looking after our staff, customers and partners, and crucially it has kept us productive. Amid all this, we have still grown as a business and launched new and innovative products and services, so we can look at our pandemic response and view it as a massive achievement.”

The experience of having to adapt to the post-Covid reality has not come without its lessons for Brunt, who candidly admitted that the corporate world had much to learn from the crisis and the newfound emphasis it has placed on mental health.

He said: “I have learnt over the last year just how important personal contact and in-person interactions are. I have also learnt you should take your time to dedicate yourself to the task at hand rather than rush through things to deadlines, especially when it revolves around people. Mental health is also something that has been highlighted through this, and we must ask questions about how much emphasis we placed on mental health prior to this pandemic.

“We are fortunate at Telavox that mental health has been at the forefront of our culture right the way through, but elsewhere from personal experience that hasn’t always been the case at more results-driven firms. If we are to learn lessons from this, it should be that we need to consider all staff mental health, be they office-based or remote, whether they work in the company warehouse, or the sales office.”

With the UK remaining in the grip of restrictions and a return to offices unlikely for some time, Brunt predicts that the aftermath of the health crisis will bring a new workplace landscape, with many more firms looking to adopt a remote-working model. It is here where Telavox, in his view, can look forward to significant opportunities.

Brunt explained: “Many more businesses are understanding now that staff can be productive and deliver the same levels of service from home and are seeing the benefits of it. What we can see going forward is an end to large corporate offices with massive overheads in some industries, and a much more flexible approach to remote working. Many organisations have overcome the mental block of trusting employees to work from home and be efficient.

“From our perspective, the technology we offer is all about making that digital transformation and migrating into the Cloud. So, there is an opportunity here for us as the conventional workplace changes. A lot of companies will, at the start of the pandemic, have had to adjust to remote-working overnight and now one year later will be reviewing the technology they are using and thinking about the longer term. We are currently seeing a lot of prospective customers in this boat for us, because temporary systems bundled together one year ago won’t be viable or futureproof for the long-term and it is likely remote systems will still be needed for some time.”

“As people review their technologies, gauge whether it is fit for purpose and then weigh up the benefits of new tech, this is where Telavox will benefit.”

As well as having a plethora of new potential customers to work with, the next year looks set to be an exciting one internally for the company as it prepares to both expand and launch a number of new products to increase its market share.

Brunt concluded: “Over the next 12 months organisationally, it is exciting times for the business We have acquired a new company and will be adding their 60 or so employees to the Telavox family, and at the end of the second quarter of 2021, we should be launching a new omnichannel product which will be an exciting addition to our portfolio of products.

“We have also recently launched a new version of our Contact Centre product, with exciting new features and a wide range of integrations that will be essential for companies moving forward and a massive gamechanger for our partners. We have an exciting year ahead and I am looking forward to everything we have planned.”


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Authored By

Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
April 5th 2021, 10:10am

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