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OnSIP Customer Testimonial: R. Michael Cross Design Group

by Joe DeBari

Architecture firm uses OnSIP hosted VoIP for over 10 years, providing the staff with a scalable service and business-grade call features.

Serving our nation’s capital and its surrounding environs, R. Michael Cross Design Group is a small architecture firm located near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The firm has been an OnSIP customer for over a decade, relying on our hosted VoIP system as a trusted business communications partner.

We spoke with R. Michael Cross, Principal Architect at this design firm, to talk about his long-term experience with OnSIP and how his team uses our VoIP service to support the flourishing company.

Architectural Design Services for Residents of Our Nation’s Capital

Founded in 2007, R. Michael Cross Design Group designs and develops both private residences and commercial spaces. “We primarily serve the local mom & pop developer community by offering turn-key design and permitting services related to residential condo conversions in the District of Columbia,” explains Michael. “Our team offers a great deal of Zoning and Permitting experience to our clients, often advising them on feasibility prior to the time of purchase and then shepherding the project all the way through design, engineering, and permit issuance.”

While the firm only has one physical office, it does have several staff members who work remotely on a variety of schedules, including two who are full-time remote and out-of-state.

In Need of a Full-Featured Business Phone System

Prior to using OnSIP, the architecture firm had a basic consumer grade IP-based phone line with a single line shared across a few wireless handsets. The service they were using did not offer business-grade features like extensions or call transfers. This posed a problem as those missing call features were needed to professionally communicate with their clients and the public.

Michael decided to upgrade his firm's phone system. At the time, he didn’t know anything about hosted VoIP. He learned from a fellow subtenant in the office building he was working in that their business was using a hosted VoIP phone system. Michael then began reading more about this technology online, and he immediately recognized the benefits that it would offer to his firm.

“I think the thing that really drew me into the OnSIP community was all the educational resources. I equated the paradigm shift that occurred for me through setting up our phone system to be like learning a new language; it opened up a whole new world for me. As a very young, scrappy business, I loved being able to provision used phones off of eBay and have an enterprise grade system for virtually no money at all,” he says. He selected OnSIP and set up his company’s account in 2012.

“I think that OnSIP should be on every entrepreneur’s startup checklist. It fits anyone’s budget, provides essential business-grade communication, and is scalable for businesses of any shape or size."

Hosted VoIP Call Features that Enhance an Architecture Firm’s Communications

With the OnSIP platform at his company’s disposal, he began taking advantage of those much-needed business calling features! All users have their own voicemail, which includes voicemail-to-email. This helpful feature automatically forwards voicemails to a user’s email address—allowing them to manage all of their inbound communications (both voice and email) from one place.

R. Michael Cross Design Group Trustpilot review of OnSIP
Michael's review of OnSIP hosted VoIP on Trustpilot

The architecture firm also uses an auto attendant, a call feature that answers inbound calls with a pre-recorded greeting and self-serve options (‘Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Support, 3 for our address,’ etc.). Paired with custom business hour rules, these call features provide their clients with the personalized experience of a human answering the call during the firm’s open hours. And with the auto attendant answering and directing calls, Michael’s staff can focus on their work without being distracted by a regularly ringing phone throughout the workday.

He also explains how something as simple as extensions is a valued component of his OnSIP deployment. “We use extensions to control traffic to individual users as well as allow distinctive rings, group sections of the office together, allow extension dialing even with remote workers, etc.”

Most of his team have desk phones in their offices—including full-time remote employees, who have desk phones in their home offices. He observes that his team finds dedicated, high-quality Poly phones to be valuable business tools. Alongside physical hardware, however, the staff rely on OnSIP’s mobile app on their smartphones. The app is a separate application entirely dedicated to work communications—voice, video, voicemail, and even presence statuses, too.

To administer the firm’s OnSIP account, Michael logs into our web-based admin portal, where he can make moves, adds, and changes to features and call handling preferences in real time. In this portal, he can also edit billing details and download invoices and call detail records. However, he knows that our U.S.-based Customer Support Team is ready and available to answer any questions that might come up about setup or configuration issues.

Michael elaborates, “OnSIP simply works, and as such I have had very limited experience with the Support Team for the roughly decade that I have been a customer. That said, in those times I have been in touch with support, I am always amazed at the level of personalized support they are able to provide to me, particularly given that we are probably one of their smallest accounts."

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