J. Turner & Associates

J. Turner and Associates (JT&A) is a Consulting Civil and Structural Engineer business based in Bromsgrove. Established in 1980 by John Turner, the firm which has recently been acquired by Tier (Midlands) works with a variety of companies and individuals all over the UK providing services including domestic house surveys to specialist commercial building projects in excess of £50M. 

When JT&A needed to expand, their telecoms provider advised them that moving their existing Avaya IP system would be very costly and were unable to provide a precise quote. JT&A were forced to invest in new equipment and software. A few years later when JT&A needed to install a new phone, the nationally recognised British Telecom’s supplier was unable to help, suggesting the system was not compatible indicating that they would need to replace the entire system again.

JT&A desperately needed guidance and support so contacted Spire after finding them on the Avaya website. Spire responded within a day of the initial contact and during their initial meeting at the JT&A offices they installed a new phone – a small and straightforward job.

Since switching to Spire, JT&A have had their telephone system reconfigured by wiping and reloading the Avaya software. The telephones have been upgraded to use new SIP trunks replacing the original ISDN2 circuits. They have also had a separate internet connection explicitly installed for the telephone system ensuring excellent speech quality, placing less demand on the company’s primary internet connection and also acting as a backup if the primary internet fails.

Spire’s solutions have saved JT&A £1000s in hardware, software and installation costs, as well as ongoing quarterly savings of around 50% each month, compared to their previous bills. The upgrades have also offered the ability to set up a disaster recovery solution by using an analogue line. While JT&A have opted not to utilise this facility at present, this has given them a viable option that would not be possible with many alternative modern telephone systems. An upgraded Avaya IP telephone system also means that they can link with multiple office locations nationwide, saving further costs as a result of inclusive office to office calls.

What the Client Said – Antony Bartlam, J. Turner & Associates Ltd

“Back in 2016, we needed to move our business to a larger space. We thought this process would be simple as we were only moving next door. However, our provider at the time was less than helpful and backed us into a corner. They said that the only way to move our existing Avaya telephone system was with an engineer that worked on an hourly rate of around £150 to £175 with no guarantee of the time it would take to carry out the work. The indication was that moving the system to the new premise would be a significant financial risk and that the best option would be to buy a brand-new Avaya system.

What made this worse was they sold me precisely the same system as what we already owned – even down to the same packaging! At the time, we didn’t realise there were other companies out there that could have helped us. We only went with this British Telecom’s provider as we presumed they were the best and what they were telling us was correct. We trusted them due to their globally recognised brand which was a big mistake.

When Tier (Midlands) Limited took over JT&A, we needed to prepare the office in readiness for them to move in. Initially, this started with the need to add a new phone to the system. Our provider couldn’t comprehend what we were asking them to do even though it was a straightforward request. They continuously told us that the Avaya system was not capable of adding a new phone and every person we spoke to recommended buying a new telephone system.

On top of this, the provider instructed us that our system which had been sold two us two years previously would need replacing urgently due to ISDN lines being switched off. They explained that VoIP would be replacing ISDN very soon and our current Avaya system was not capable of using this. Which we now know was untrue as with a simple upgrade Spire switched our Avaya System from ISDN to VoIP.

Eventually, I got hold of our providers local business manager who after some convincing agreed that they could add a new phone to the system and offered to send us a quote for the work. After many attempts to re-establish contact, they failed to deliver a quote, and I genuinely believe this was due to it being such a small job with very little profit for them.

We were in a corner, and we needed to find a new provider that could help us add a new phone as well as offer advice on the planned future expansion work as we had lost what little trust we had left with whom we were using at the time.

By visiting the Avaya website to search for a certified local company, we found Spire and one other business. We contacted both asking for help and Spire got back to us straight away. We are still waiting for the other company to reply to us! Spire arranged to come out free of charge to take a look at what we had and discuss our needs. It turned out that adding a new phone to our system was a relatively simple job that they did on the day with no issues.

Frustratingly we wasted weeks chasing our existing provider trying to get their help, and Spire did the work within half a day of their first ever meet with us and included it as part of the overall cost for the office expansion work.  Spire offered us independent advice about our existing phone system. They told us that what we had was more than capable of working using VoIP and that we could expand and add new phones whenever they were needed. They also showed us how to use the system correctly and make the most of the features available helping us improve the way we dealt with our calls.

We knew from this first meeting that Spire was a company we could trust. They not only saved us £1000s with their simple upgrade solutions but also saved us even more by offering us refurbished phones that work just as well as new ones but cost a fraction of the price and purchasing back our original telephone phone system to use for training. Spire cared more about our business needs than making a profit and therefore made it an easy decision to switch providers to go with them.

During the switchover process, one of our requests was to put an end to all our contracts with the British Telecom’s provider. Spire took care of this and dealt with them from then on. When they needed to order all our new lines through this provider, they dealt with them directly on our behalf with no issues. All our bills now come from Spire, so we have no further dealings with them and thank goodness for that!

When it came to the expansion work in preparation for Tier (Midlands) there needed to be a big rewire of the office to install a new server and data points. At the time of all this work, we were a small business, with me running everything. How I spend my time is valuable so what was legitimately incredible about Spire was being able to trust them to take responsibility for managing the entire project. They listened to what I wanted from the expansion work and said, right ok, we can sort this for you, no problem at all. Spire worked incredibly well with all the different contractors and businesses involved and ensured the project ran smoothly and on time.

The billing that Spire provides is upfront, and transparent with fixed prices for any work. Whether they are here 30 minutes or 2 days, I know what I am paying for, and I know the job will be done for that price regardless of how long it takes. When we were having phones installed they expected it to take half a day, but due to some complications it took a full day, but they stayed until they had finished the job with no additional costs.

Working with Spire has easily saved us over £3000 in capital costs and around £150 every quarter. Not to mention the time they have saved me by managing the expansion work and dealing with our old provider on my behalf.

Spire is a company that can be trusted as well as cost-effective. They have never pushed us to upgrade or buy. Their advice has consistently been legitimately helpful, and they have encouraged us to find ways to reduce our costs. However, it is not always about money. It’s also about the level of service and peace of mind that it can bring knowing you’re with a trusted company that tirelessly work for you to find the best and most cost-effective solution.

Most of our suppliers are local not just because we like to support our local business community but also due to the improved level of service compared to larger businesses. Spire is no exception. They have understood our goals and strategies and always work around our time restraints and requirements. There are no call centres or salespeople, just experts at the end of the phone ready to help.

We had a technical issue with the phone display when the clocks changed, so we called Spire for help. They talked us through the menu system to manually adjust the time, but when this failed to work, Spire turned up at the office within an hour to sort it for us. They reprogrammed the menu system, provided training in using the menu system and programmed the system to update automatically in the future.

I assumed there was no alternative to the national British Telecom’s providers. Discovering Spire and the fact that they could work on our behalf was a revelation. They are an excellent company to work with; their attitude has always been great with a ‘can do approach’. They are the complete opposite of our old provider, and businesses need to know that there is a lot better out there! Everyone automatically turns to these big providers as they believe them to be a safer option, but they are not. If we had this knowledge three years ago when we moved offices Spire could have saved us £1000’s.

My advice to any business of any size is that they should never feel pressured into making expensive purchases to fix simple problems. Always seek external advice before deciding on what direction to go in and finally contact Spire because they can and will help!

With the changing of the business, there were a few complications that Spire was able to manage. We needed to change all of the names on the existing accounts over to Tier Midlands which created a real nightmare. The forms you have to complete to change your name over with our previous provider was out of this world! Spire managed all of that process for us and have put our new accounts in the new businesses name.”

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