Long-standing resilience

After 129 years in the game, London-based accountancy and tax advisory firm Wilson Wright knows something about longevity, and what it takes to roll with the times, time and time again. The firm prides itself on being ahead of the curve, remaining agile, and trusting in technology

A firm that had witnessed world wars and countless recessions proved their resilience again, remaining fully operational with minimal disruption.

“Delivering a second-to-none, professional service has always been our top priority and the challenges we were facing during the pandemic, while daunting, were an opportunity for us to guide our clients through that unprecedented period. We were feeling our way through the dark just like everybody else, but we were at least a few steps ahead of our clients. We took this opportunity to further cement ourselves as the go-to advisor, a safe pair of hands and a source of guidance.”

That determination was the catalyst for firm-wide changes to systems and practices that ultimately paid off handsomely. It onboarded more than 400 new clients despite the broader economic downturn.

“We’ve been on a steep growth trajectory for the past seven years – double-digits, year-on-year,” comments Kamalia. “Although that growth was curbed somewhat by events in the world around us, the hundreds of new clients we onboarded speaks volumes about how well we handled it.”

Staying agile

It’s clear that Wilson Wright weathered the storm better than most, but Kamalia and his team have been doing this long enough to know that sheer force of will alone wasn’t the deciding factor. Like any organisation that’s lasted this long, the firm knew that ongoing change and transformation was the key to continued longevity: this time around, it would be digital.

“We pride ourselves on staying agile when it comes to the technology we implement and we invested heavily in cloud collaboration technology –  Microsoft Office 365 and Teams – and ran a series of firm-wide sessions to train staff on the disciplines and skillsets of collaborative working.”

That investment and training was instrumental to the firm’s success, however, it became clear that one piece of the remote working puzzle was still missing – robust, flexible telephony.

“Our previous solution – on-premise PBXs  – had outlived its usefulness. We realised that although we had collaboration and communication within and between teams – for productivity but also for wellbeing, which was paramount – our inbound and outbound telephony solution lacked coherence and fluidity. It was stressing our customers and staff alike.”

The firm then turned to Gamma to transform their Teams platform into a fully integrated collaboration, conferencing and calling solution. The goal was to create a smooth and streamlined experience – with clients’ needs to the fore – delivered equally proficiently by staff working from offices, kitchens, bedrooms, wherever.

“Early in our remote working journey we were using the processes we had embedded and, while we had a head start, we were by no means soaring,” reflects Kamalia. “It was at this point we considered the lasting impact of the pandemic, and really doubled down on fully enabling remote working to benefit our staff and our clients.

For professional firms, great customer experiences usually start with a rapidly answered call to a knowledgeable receptionist, a warm welcome and then expert forwarding. It feels fast and fluid – but that’s because of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into streamlining inbound calling.

For all of its many strengths, Teams has some specific weaknesses as a calling platform. At the time, there was a lack of an easy ‘bring your own Telco’ facility, so connections to the public network weren’t straightforward. And then there is its missing ‘Reception’ functionality – the routing of inbound calls to prioritised queues, automated distribution, comfort messages (auto attendant) and music on hold. And for professional services firms particularly, the ability to record voice calls is important – but absent.

Gamma brought a powerful Teams Direct Routing offering, solving the issue of public network interconnect, in the cloud. A solution for Reception, and the other missing bells and whistles, took a bit more creativity.

“The plan was put on hold for a couple of weeks while we got our heads together with Gamma. The innovative answer was to merge the contact centre capabilities of Gamma’s own hosted voice solution – Horizon – with Teams to create a powerful, sophisticated inbound calling customer experience. Of course, our receptionists were working from bedrooms, kitchen tables, wherever!”

Today, Kamalia and team are more committed than ever to the new normal of working, and the solutions they embraced will sustain well into the coming years.

Wilson Wright take all of its learning and experience, translating it into a flexible, hybrid working model for existing staff and new talent.

“We’ve invested in systems that allow staff to work efficiently from anywhere. It’s been a success, so we see no reason why we would abandon that now. That being said, there is an element of ‘remote fatigue’ and many of our staff have missed the routine and downtime of the commute, and the ability to mentally clock out when leaving the office. So, we do welcome them to the office as and when they want to come in. It’s a best of both worlds approach.”

Considering the blend of traditional and digital experiences it’s been able to extend to existing customers alongside the impressive influx of new clients – two vital KPIs for any professional firm – it’s obvious that Wilson Wright have invested very shrewdly in great solutions and great partners.

“This has all been possible because of Gamma, who has truly defined what it means to be a trusted advisor. Thanks to them we’ve thrived in a difficult period, remained agile, and always been one step ahead.”