In Focus: Why Tollring Chief Puts Service at the Heart of Comms Industry Success
Tony Martino is CEO of Tollring, a leading specialist in call analytics
For a man with a technical background in IT, Tony Martino talks much more than tech these days. When asked to discuss the strengths and successes of the business he has spent 23 years at, he is keen to talk about other things – customer service, commerce, agility in the market and the talent of employees.
And yet, under his leadership, the technical expertise within the company has seen Tollring develop some of the best business intelligence products available in the telecoms industry.
This is the sign of a man who very much has a grasp of his business as a whole. After completing a degree in Computer Systems Engineering, Tony joined Tollring in a technical services role in 1994. But he learned to appreciate the commercial side of the business quickly, largely due to the influence of Tollring founder and original CEO Chris Mennie.
“Chris Mennie was a major influence,” said Tony. “Chris was an excellent negotiator with a strong commercial background. We gelled from the outset – my technical perspective was a great fit with his sales expertise.”
After leading a management buyout in 2002, Tony then had to apply the commercial nous he had learned from his mentor as the company’s new managing director. It was a role he adapted to well, securing deals which have been the springboard to Tollring’s success over the past decade, starting with a white label supply contract with Samsung.
“Our OEM deal with Samsung back in 2004 definitely put the business on the map,” he said. “And while there have been some significant achievements since then, I will always look back at that as a key moment.”
Tony recognises that his company’s agility when it comes to product development and response to market has played a key role in its continued growth. All of its call recording and analytics platforms can be deployed on premise, in the cloud or as a hybrid of both, offering maximum flexibility for end users. Tony rates some of Tollring’s most successful products as some of the most innovative, such as call analytics dashboards and a telecoms expense management SaaS solution.
“In a market that is continually evolving, I feel we are one of a few providers that have been able to keep our products and services relevant,” he said. “Our success and longevity is a testament to that.”
But underpinning all of that success, Tony is at pains to highlight two things key to the company’s principles – people and service.
“Our culture is all about people,” he said. “Our success is a testament to the hard work of everyone in the business – from our first line of support to the board of directors. It is all about hard work, driven by a passion to succeed.
“I always say that you need to make your staff stakeholders in the business. If you make staff feel part of the success and you reward them accordingly, then they will remain inspired, loyal and will always help you get to the next level.”
And to get to that next level, Tony insists customer service is essential in the crowded comms marketplace. “We have always worked hard in ensuring customer service is at the forefront of our thinking. And it’s not just about technical support. Customer service starts right at the top and is relevant across all parts of the business.
“In a market where there is a lot of choice for partners and customers, customer service is a key differentiator for all of us.”
Tony believes investment in three key areas – people, service and product development – has resulted in a step change in the company’s performance. Having recently added India to bases in the UK, USA and Australia, he is excited by the prospect of more global expansion in the coming years.
“We have been growing organically year on year but there has been a step growth recently whereby we have doubled in size. We have doubled our resources to help drive the business forward and to meet demand.”
“We’ve doubled our account management team and increased the number of staff in our R&D, technical delivery and Help Desk Support Departments four fold. This has had a huge impact on the business and has seen us bring innovative solutions to the market and to expand our reach globally in a way we would never have been able to do otherwise.
“[Looking forward] we need to leverage what we have built and invest in our sales and marketing efforts to realise the investment we have put into the business. We feel customer driven business analytics is evolving as the way we communicate changes. It’s a very exciting time for us.”