Connecting the team and clients during lockdown at Candy Gillespie

3 min read
16/04/2020 5:46:48 PM

New Zealand’s level four lockdown saw many businesses' communication infrastructure tested; especially for those whose bones of their business were built on speaking daily with clients. 

Many employees were left grabbing what they could from their office, unsure of how long they may be working from their kitchen tables. 

But in the first week of level four, in amongst the patchy internet connections and thirty separate bubbles, one accounting firm recorded a 57% increase in calling. 

Cradle spoke with Candy Gillespie director Michael Candy on how Cradle enabled the accounting firm to remain in contact with one another and continue providing certainty to clients during a time of extreme uncertainty. 

Candy Gillespie vs Lockdown

Since 1962, the Matamata based firm’s prided themselves on being friendly and accessible to clients. Director and grandson of founder Michael Candy says the firm provides full service financial advice with a brick and mortar approach. 

“As a team, we’re all under one roof and our receptionist answers and directs all calls to the right team member. Working together is not only good for our workplace culture, but it’s great for our customers. They know exactly which number to call, meaning they can call us anytime they need,” says Michael.

Michael says the brick and mortar approach has proven successful with clients. 

“We’ve learnt that our clients  prefer the familiarity of a voice during times of uncertainty. Hearing a familiar voice during a time where social interaction is limited has brought a lot of calm.”

The Challenge

Like thousands of other businesses, Level Four lockdown measures required all non-essential businesses to work from home to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

Our team of 30 staff were instantly split into 30 different bubbles to work from their respective households. But there was a major problem. 

“Our existing phone system couldn’t make that work - we could take our client work computers home but we couldn’t take our desk phones.”

And the problems didn’t stop there. Staff’s privacy was also at risk. 

“Not all staff have work mobiles. While most were happy to use their mobile phones when needed, some felt uncomfortable using their personal phone numbers to call clients.”

Cradle keeping things moving

Michael called the team at Cradle who was able to quickly assess the situation and have the Candy Gillespie team set up with its platform within the day.  

“It functions like a phone or Skype app, except it also includes a contacts page with all staff and client contacts that have been drawn from HubSpot, Office 365, G-Suite and Xero. This enabled instant two-way communication between our team members and clients from anywhere with 4G mobile or a wifi connection.”

Using the Cradle also enabled the team to make calls under the cloak of the existing Candy Gillespie office telephone number when staff make outbound calls to clients. This feature not give the appearance of a succinct communication line, but enabled the privacy of staff by having their personal numbers hidden.

Inbound calls were another story; clients were able to effortlessly call the existing office number. A voicemail message explained that the team were all working remotely and asked callers to dial a new number. 

To remove the need of calling a new number, Candy Gillespie’s existing telephone number can be transferred to Cradle. That process was taking 10 working days, and due to the two-day notice period with lockdown, the team simply couldn’t wait that long. 

“Cradle was an absolute no-brainer. It was up and running on the same day and the learning curve for the team was minimal because the service is very intuitive and automatically links to our existing client base,” says Michael. 

A new Candy Gillespie unlocked

Cradle enabled Candy Gillespie to not only continue delivering a first-class client experience during lockdown, but created a tool kit that gave them the means to improve their client communication. The first week of level four lockdown, the team made 57% more internal calls (145 vs 228) compared to the year prior. The accounting firm also experienced its average call duration increasing by 296% from 53 seconds to 210. 

The onset of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown presented unprecedented financial challenges for many of Candy Gillespies clients and it was imperative for the team to keep in contact with clients via the phone. 

“A phone call gives an intimate experience where you can listen and respond appropriately to provide advice and certainty. Certainty is what clients value during times of uncertainty,” Michael told Cradle. 


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