Web architects needed a business phone system that could keep up—then they found OnSIP.

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Webitects is a user-focused website design and development firm with an impressive portfolio, including many nonprofits, foundations, and associations. The main Chicago office is home for most of the firm’s 16 employees, and they employ a few remote workers as well. In dire need of an updated phone system, Webitects found everything they were looking for with OnSIP.

We spoke with cofounder Todd Reifenrath, who has been building websites with the company since its inception in 1995.

Expect the Unexpected

True to their name, Webitects combines their design and technical skills when building a website to "create a balanced approach," just as an architect would when designing a building. They aim to produce websites that are appealing structurally as well as visually.

"Early on, you could look at most websites and determine whether they were built by somebody with a design or technical background. Those built by designers tended to include a lot of big pictures and were often laid out like a printed piece. Those built by developers typically didn't look as nice and were likely to include interactive widgets that developers like to use to show off their technical abilities," says Todd. Webitects is finding a middle ground between the two.

To achieve their goals, Webitects defines both expected and unexpected site requirements after interviewing their clients. "By interviewing stakeholders and end users early in our projects, we often discover unmet or unstated needs that websites should address. The upshot is happier end users and stakeholders," Todd tells OnSIP.

To go above and beyond expectations, Webitects must constantly research and communicate with their customers to create long-term, successful relationships. Communication has always been key.

The Benefits of VoIP vs. Analog

Years ago, Webitects relied on an old analog phone system. The phones they used were ancient and lacked many of the call-handling options available on modern desk phones. Employees could transfer calls from one extension to another, but that was as complicated as it got. During an office move about ten years ago, Webitects made the decision to replace their old analog system and upgrade to a newer analog system and phones from Vodavi. It was better, but there was still something missing.

Webitects is recognized for its ability to design and build websites that serve their intended audience, are easy to maintain, and that emphasize usability and the user experience. It was time they had a phone system that functioned similarly. Webitects needed something more tech-savvy—something more in line with how they worked as a company. However, they encountered obstacles during the next search for what would hopefully be their final phone system.

OnSIP: Affordable VoIP Beats the Competition

Their first thought was to continue with their analog system. "Initially we were pragmatic and thought continuing with our analog system was less expensive," Todd tells OnSIP. After further research, they realized business VoIP would actually be a more affordable solution that would provide them with more productivity-boosting features.

Todd continues, "We looked at a handful of providers and eventually found OnSIP to offer a nice combination of affordability and system features. We tried a phone for a couple of months and were pleased with the service and support. After the trial, we couldn't wait to roll out new phones to our entire staff."

Polycom Phones and Time-Saving OnSIP Features

With the exception of a few Polycom Soundstation conference phones, the entire staff at Webitects is outfitted with Polycom Soundpoint 550s.

"The sound quality is much better than our previous analog service. It's uncanny at times...you almost feel like the person you are speaking with is sitting next to you," says Todd.

Just maintaining their old analog system was a job in itself. With OnSIP, things are much simpler. "Making changes [to the phone system] in OnSIP's admin portal is a breeze. (It's almost fun)," Todd told us. OnSIP's automated voicemail to email feature is also a big hit: "Receiving an audio recording of voice messages via email is wonderful. We no longer worry about checking voicemail when away from the office since we know such messages will land in our email."