Archive for May, 2010

 

The terror of the telephone system repair

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Some business owners may be quite terrified of their existing phone system. That’s because it is so old that it almost qualifies as an ancient monument. The scary thing about that status is - what happens when a telephone system repair is required?

It is a fact that business telephone systems have moved on at virtually the speed of light over the past 2-3 decades. Older systems may now be unreliable, prone to breakdowns and perhaps most seriously of all, incapable of supporting 21st century business operations.

If you are in the position of having an office telephone system that your grandparents would also have been familiar with, then you probably face three options:

  • keep using it and hope that your luck holds in terms of business-stopping problems;
  • take out a full support contract with a company specialising in phone maintenance;
  • replace it with a modern system.

If you’re into gambling then perhaps the first option is for you.

It may be a courageous decision though because today few businesses could survive for very long if their phones were out of action. Trying to find someone to make a telephone system repair on spec to an obsolete system in the event of a catastrophe, well, it might be an experience you’d do well to miss!

Perhaps more sensible would be to have a support and maintenance contract in place with a specialist telecoms system installation and maintenance company, such as ourselves. We are highly experienced in just about all types of telephone systems and, if a problem arose, we will be on site quickly to help resolve these problems.

It may be a far less traumatic approach than frantically thumbing the yellow pages in a situation where your phone system has simply conked out.

The third option above shouldn’t immediately be dismissed as being too expensive.

Ultimately, there is a limit to the patching up that can be applied to very old systems, as parts become unavailable etc. Even the most expert of phone maintenance companies may eventually struggle to guarantee your service.

Modern small business telephone systems from companies such as Siemens can be very competitively priced for even the most cost-conscious companies. They can be small to start and grow as your business changes over time.

Investing in one may not only help your business develop but it may also cure your telephone system repair nightmares, so if you want to discuss the options available to you (which match as closely as possible your budget), your next step is to get in touch with us for an informal, no obligation chat!

Post Exhibition News

Friday, May 28th, 2010

The Be an Amazing Business Builder Show got off to a sizzling start with temperatures reaching 27 degrees as Roger House, the Kent Chairman of the FSB officially opened the show on Monday afternoon.

As we welcomed visitors and fellow exhibitioners to our stand there were networking events and seminars being enjoyed throughout the show. Speakers included Barnaby Wynter of the brand bucket company, Carl French of Replico, John Roberts of Stiddard Maidstone and Nigel Kimber of Vantis Corporate Finance. Racing Challenge provided some fun enticing the competitive spirit in visitors and exhibitioners alike. In fact the overall winning time was made by Mark Fowler of Document Scanning. You can see Mark proudly displaying his medal and bubbly in our photos.

Each visitor was provided with a folder and as they made their way around the show they collected a sheet of top tips from each stand. At the end of the day our attendees had a full folder of valuable tips from all the participants including accountants, solicitors and of course from Telcare too. If you were unable to come to the show but are interested in obtaining copies of the top tips, please go to the Be an Amazing Business Builder website or the Replico website where pdf versions will be available. (link)

The organisers of the event went to great lengths to ensure that the show ran smoothly and they are to be congratulated on achieving their goal. Talking of congratulations, the winner of our champagne was Michael O’ Connor from The Utility Warehouse. Cheers Michael!

Alan Beggs of Human Enterprise

John Roberts from Stiddard Maidstone

Telcare’s Elizabeth Baldock and Kirsten Gibbs from Replico (Organiser)

Speedie Consultants' Jason Hulott

Roger House (Kent Chairman of FSB) Louisa Felstead (Event Organiser) and Lisa Settle (Telcare)

Kirsten Gibbs Replico

Mark Fowler Document Scanning

Local telecommunications company wants to give golden opportunity to one lucky business

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Business owners in Kent are being invited to enter a competition where they stand the chance of winning a top-of-the range business telephone system (including installation and a years’ maintenance - free).

To enter the competition – entitled the “Golden Giveaway” and which is being run by Kent based telecommunications company Telcare - business owners need to say in around 200 words what the installation of a free telephone system would mean to them and their business.

There is no catch or obligation, explains Director, Lisa Settle. She says: “This is a simply fantastic opportunity for a small or medium sized business to benefit from an incredible new telephone system, including installation and maintenance, at no cost whatsoever!”

Entries to the Golden Giveaway may be submitted on or after 1st June 2010 and must reach Telcare no later than 30th September 2010.

To enter the competition and for a full list of terms and conditions, visit: www.telcare.co.uk/golden-give-away

Is there such a thing as a cheap telephone system?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Any discussion of a cheap telephone system is, by definition, going to be controversial.

Right at the outset, it’s important to note that what is cheap to one person need not be cheap to another.

For example, you may be able to purchase a cheap telephone system in the sense that it is the lowest price you can find. Of course, if you then have to subsequently pay out lots of money to keep repairing it, you may not think of it as being cheap in the medium to longer term.

Then there is the perennially thorny question of functionality.

You may find a small business phone system to be cheap at the time of purchase but if it doesn’t meet many of your business requirements then it might be debateable as to whether you’ll still think of it as a good purchase in 12 months time. Compromise on function in return for a reduced price may make sense at times – but it may also prove to be a big business risk.

As a final theoretical illustration, buying a system that appears to be cheap may prove to be a very false economy if you then have to throw it away after a short period and replace it with another that is capable of supporting your business expansion.

So, a system you may think of as cheap may strike you as being expensive at some time in the future.

Of course, this is just basic economics and these considerations apply to many business purchases rather than just a cheap telephone communications system.

The trouble is, if you make a purchasing error in many other business domains then it may cost you money and a little frustration. In the case of small business telecoms systems though, a purchasing error could bring your business to a grinding halt.

In the final analysis, only the individual making the purchasing can really decide what constitutes a cheap telephone system. It will vary from one case to the next. It may though, be advisable to take professional advice beforehand from a telecommunications company if you’re not to end up living with the consequences of getting it wrong!

Siemens telephone systems – supporting your business

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Siemens telephone systems can become the backbone of your business.

That’s because they offer a range of systems and characteristics that are typically highly prized by companies in the modern communications-oriented world including:

  • some of the latest and most powerful systems around;
  • a range of cost-effective options that may be suitable for small businesses and other operations such as schools, colleges and hospitals etc where, typically, funds are tight;
  • the support of one of the world’s largest global telecommunications companies;
  • a reputation for reliability and robustness;
  • a basic concept of flexible modular growth potential – in other words the system can easily grow with you as your needs change over time.

All of these things may be very important to you, because the reality of modern business life is that it is dominated by business telecommunications.

We recognise that no business can survive and prosper unless it communicates with its clients in ways of their choosing and that is why we install Siemens telephone systems, as their systems can typically do as much or little as you need them to do.

What your customers expect

If your customers and clients need to contact you, they will expect to be able to do so when they need to and through mechanisms of their choosing. So if, for example, they ask you to set up a conference call, they will expect your phone system to be able to support that.

If they are speaking to you and then wish to speak with your other office, they’ll expect a seamless transfer. They may understand that you can’t take their call if you’re on the phone – but they may well also expect to be able to leave you a voice mail message rather than be asked to call you back.

If you need a colleague to help you in the call, your client will expect that to happen quickly and easily at your end and not be told that you’ll have to call them back.

It may sound harsh, but if you can’t deliver this sort of basic customer and client service because your phone system just isn’t up to it, then your customers may simply go to someone else who is able to do so.

How we can help

Siemens telephone systems are perfectly capable of providing these sorts of facilities to support your business – and a whole range of other even more sophisticated ones.

It’s possible to start with a basic entry-level system that may comprise only two handsets and perhaps access to an outside line. That basic core can then be grown to a powerful system comprising perhaps some hundreds of handsets.

Choosing Siemens telephone systems may be the first step in positioning your business to meet the demands of the modern business communications world. So, if you want to know more, why not get in touch?

Exhibition News

Friday, May 21st, 2010

With only a few days to go until the Amazing Business Builder Show, our preparations are all in place. We hear that the registrations are coming in fast and that the networking events are nearly full. A great deal of effort has been made by the organisers to ensure this event will be successful.

Every detail has been considered right down to getting your car washed whilst you are attending the show. There are a number of promotions being offered including the launch of our own fabulous golden giveaway. Why not come along, we would love to see you.

You can find out more about the show here

What is a multi line phone system?

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

In days of old, this was a relatively simple question to answer. A multi line phone system usually meant that there was some sort of switchboard in place that had several independently numbered phone lines coming into it.

Sometimes it also meant just having a lot of individual line sockets littering the office walls.

Today, the term can be much more flexibly interpreted as the power of business telephone systems has grown exponentially over recent years.

A businesses’ needs

If you are a business or any other form of operation that requires telephone support, your line requirements may be highly varied.

You perhaps:

  • would like each person in your offices to have their own externally dialable number that will go directly to their handset (sometimes called DDI);
  • want everybody to have access to an external dialling capability from their handset when they need it;
  • wish to offer clients a choice of numbers they can use (eg. by department);
  • need to have automatic routing to faxes;
  • etc.

All of these things are now possible if you have a new business telecoms system from a supplier such as Siemens.

Organic growth

Inevitably, your requirements will change over time. As they do, you may find that you need more lines or more flexibility along the paths indicated above.

Perhaps you may find that you need to link multiple parties in multiple locations into one telephone conference. Possibly you’ll need video services. Perhaps you’ll wish to offer premium or other special telephone number services.

Whatever your needs, the modern small business telephone system should have the capability to grow with you and provide increased opportunities as it does.

Your definition of a multi line phone system may well change and as it does, your phone system needs to be capable of meeting your evolving needs.

Integration

In one sense, it doesn’t really matter how many lines you have, what is important is that your phone system integrates into your business processes.
Having a system that has capabilities you do not need, and perhaps never will, may be an expensive luxury. Equally, trying to exploit the information technology world to support your activities from an inadequate technology base is likely to prove at best frustrating, and at worst, a major business inhibitor.

So rather than perhaps demanding immediately a multi line phone system, what may be more sensible would be to talk to a business telecoms provider such as ourselves who are capable of understanding and translating these into a business telecoms infrastructure.

We will make sure we understand what your business does, and what sort of telephones systems installation you will need in order to help your business run as smoothly as possible. We can then suggest the most suitable telephony system that fits in with your budget. We can also help with the aftercare of your system, with a telephone maintenance contract.

So, a multi line phone system may be part of the solution – but only a part! A system that has been carefully selected to met your business needs, with the peace of mind of knowing that help is always at hand, may be key to your telephony system’s – and your business’s - success.

The importance of getting the right telephone systems maintenance

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Telephone systems maintenance is one of those things that it’s all too easy to overlook.

After all, modern small business telephones systems are put together with technology that is far more reliable than earlier generations of what may appear to be similar equipment. So why bother with a maintenance contract?

Theory and practice

The key weakness in such sentiments is that they’re really hostage to fortune.

For example, if your business telecom services have just collapsed in a heap and you can’t use them to contact your clients (and vice-versa), then you may not take much consolation from the fact that you’ve just been exceptionally unlucky and everyone else is okay.

In fact, even if everything is currently fine, you typically will have two concerns:

  • to stop problems occurring in the first place;
  • to ensure that any problems that do arise are fixed quickly and effectively.

Prevention

Once installed, all small business telephone systems may typically benefit from preventative telephone systems maintenance.

Some of this you and your colleagues may be able to do yourself with training. This is sometimes referred to as systems administration.

Other aspects of prevention may be a little more technically demanding and require specialist support.

This may involve (depending upon your system) things such as:

  • checking and clearing log files;
  • checking error messages and taking corrective actions where required;
  • periodic circuit tests;
  • disaster recovery and standby testing;
  • etc.

Although these actions can’t guarantee that you won’t experience troubles down the line with your office telephone system, they may reduce the chances of catastrophe.

This may be doubly important if you have an older or antiquated system. Such business telephone systems may well have passed their natural expiry date but that may be extendable, to a point, if they are regularly checked and maintained.

Cure

However diligent your telephone systems maintenance, there is always the possibility that you’ll suffer what’s sometimes called a major system outage.

In those circumstances, your business may grind to a halt very rapidly indeed if you can’t communicate with the outside world.

Should that worst-case scenario arise, what you won’t want is a philosophical debate about why it happened but rather a fix – and quickly.

That’s why businesses where business telecoms are critical to their operation sometimes have two things in place:

  • a support contract with specified service levels (this may be with the manufacturer or an agent if the system is under warranty or a third-party it if is not);
  • a standby system that can kick-in to provide minimal telecoms support until such time as your own system is fully restored.

Price

The support structure you select and pay for will be defined by your perceptions of the criticality of telecommunications to your business.

What is clear is that economising on telephone systems maintenance and related contracts may be a significant risk.

Telephone systems installation – part of the solution

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Many businesses have experienced it - the new telephone systems installation that amounted to little more than a delivery person dropping a lot of boxes on one of the desks then quickly exiting out of the door.

They may have been tempted to phone the supplier to complain – if only their phones had been working!

Design without installation – unacceptable

Although modern business telephone systems are designed to be simple and modular, they are nevertheless phenomenally powerful and they have the capability to transform your business operations.

To get the best out of such systems requires professional advice and guidance up-front - in other words a supplier that has the expertise to work with you to help you design and choose a solution suitable for your needs.

However skilled the supplier is and however much insight they’ve shown in terms of helping you to understand your requirements and the technology’s potential, none of that will count for much if the telephone system doesn’t actually work upon arrival.

It needn’t be a question of technical faults – such problems are comparatively rare with modern equipment supplied from major companies such as Siemens. What may be more likely is that installation requires skills and a technical familiarity that typically doesn’t exist in many small business or other operations.

As a result, choosing a telecoms solution is not just about picking the technology and its functionality but also selecting a provider that is going to be able to work with you in partnership to make it happen at the coalface. In other words, someone who will help you make a success of your telephone systems installation - in every sense.

Support is often key

Getting the supplier right isn’t only important for telephone systems installation.

There may come a time when you wish to change or enhance your business telecoms. Having someone that can work with you to design and implement that change is likely to be highly important.

Then there is the question of phone maintenance. There will come a time when your system will drop out of manufacturer’s warranty and if problems arise, you may need the comfort of knowing that you have expertise and support services close at hand to resolve the problem.

The technology is flexible

Much modern business telecommunication technology can be adapted to support widely differing client needs - be it, say, a small office needing only two handsets up to a medium sized business company requiring 200.

The technology part of the solution selection and design is critically important, of course, but there is a tendency sometimes to overlook the human factors involved in making a success of a new telephone systems installation.

Therefore the implementation management also needs to look closely at things such as telephony training and in-house support development potential.

That’s because to maximise the benefits, you will need to know how to use the system to its full potential. If people using the system need help and advice on a day-to-day basis, having a colleague as an in-house first point of contact expert, may also prove to be a real benefit.

For all the above reasons, selecting both the right telephone system technology and a partner to help you smoothly complete the telephone systems installation (and provide ongoing telephone systems maintenance), are all important. Once this is all in place, you can get on with focusing on running your business, knowing all your communication bases are covered.