Overline founder Jason Young tells Daniel White about how the telecoms company grew into a flourishing success.
Twenty years ago Jason Young and John Davis sat in a room with nothing more than their ideas, yet, fast-forward to today and they are currently the owners and founders of a multi-million pound Telecoms company.
“I’d like to say that it was a fantastic plan but it wasn’t,” laughed Jason, the Sales Director. “Both me and John were working for another company and we decided we wanted to get our foot into the business world.
“We went to Overline House in Crawley and basically rented the smallest possible room we could find. The name Overline came out of the idea that we looked slightly bigger, only slightly bigger, than we actually were, which was two guys, two telephones and a yellow pages and we grew the business slowly. Over the last 20 years what we’ve been doing is growing the business and we now have over 50 people working for the company.”
Overline has developed into one of the leading telecommunication services across the south of England, with a growing customer base of over 5,000 and, with the recent investment into a mobile phone network, the company now has the ability to control everything from under one roof.
He said: “What we do is we sell, install, maintain and look after business telephone systems. We’ve now invested into our own mobile phone network so that means we can now give our business customers one point of billing. They get one simple bill that tells them everything, we let them see the full picture so they’ve got everything clear, they understand what they’re getting.”
While the company has been recognised for its achievements, taking home awards that include the SME Expert from Avaya and the runners-up award in the UK Dealer of the Year for 2012, their priority is to maintain a high level of service to their customers.
“For us, customer care is everything,” explained Jason. “We have about a 94 per cent retention rate. Every single customer that we sell a telephone system to or deals with us is surveyed so we get feedback. Obviously it’s great to talk about where we went right but also if we went wrong, we want to make sure we rectify it for the customers so their experience with us is maintained.
“Things change in businesses, things need to be done and we’re always there at the end of the phone to make sure we’re there to help, so customer service is key to us.”
After more than a quarter of a century in the sales business, Jason has seen his fair share of characters come in and out of the office but, now he has crossed over the line and become a success in his own right, he is now seeing the bigger picture.
“I know it’s corny but it’s not just about the money…now,” he smiled. ”It does help paying the bills but it’s not just about the money now, I have got some great relationships and I’ve met quite a lot of interesting and fantastic people as I’ve been doing this.
“It’s really old-fashioned but I get more enjoyment at this point in my career at people getting the little wins that they get; their first ever order or the first time that they get praise. I’m lucky, I’ve had a great career and I’m almost blessed in what I’ve got out of this.”
For 20 years Jason and John have worked together, building a company that can now boast a longevity unlike many others in their field and, despite a rough ride at some points along the way, their relationships, as with their customers, has never waivered.
Jason explained: “Do we have cross words? No. Do we listen to each other’s point of view? All the time. You can’t spend 20 years together and not have a difference of opinion but then we listen to each other. So we’re quite lucky because we can sit down and even if we have a difference of opinion we can listen to each other’s point of view and take the business the right way.
“Nowadays, it’s about the Overline concept and we have to run it like that because we’ve got 50 people’s livelihoods based on whether we can get on. It would be great to say that me and John pushed the company forward but I think we maybe steered the ship a bit but we had some great people on our side that helped us take the business forward, new and old.”
After a successful career in which Jason has seen the company grow beyond his dreams, he hopes to continue its expansion without forgetting the significance of what has proved successful for him to date; providing first-class customer service.
“The people that sign up with us have stayed with us for years because we put something back into the relationship and we’re looking to win more business, not just locally, we have customers from Amsterdam to Glasgow.
“Obviously, with the mobile phone we’re going into having our own network, which is a massive step from being two guys at Overline House to owning a multi-million pound business.”