Archive for July, 2011

 

Kent small business telephones

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Perhaps you are looking to obtain a business advantage by upgrading your telecoms infrastructure in Kent? Small business telephones and systems exist that may be able to help you achieve exactly that.

Kent, small business telephones and our services

We have extensive experience of helping companies, throughout Kent and further afield, to select and install new business telephony systems.

To utilise telephony to its maximum potential, skilled analysis and advice is typically required.

That’s because no two businesses are exactly alike and a system that may be suitable for someone else’s particular environment may not be an optimal solution for you.

In essence, our analysis may help you avoid procuring an office telephone system that is too complex (and therefore unnecessarily expensive) for your needs or one that is incapable of providing you with the technology support you require.

Selecting a solution

There are many factors that need to be kept in mind when selecting a solution:

  • its ability to support both your existing business and where you may hope your business will be in the future (this is sometimes called ‘expansion capability’ or ‘scalability’);
  • its potential for integration with other services or technology (for example, can it provide conferencing facilities if required);
  • its reliability – a small office phone system may become an indispensable tool in your day-to-day work and if it’s constantly ‘falling over’ it may bring your business to a standstill;
  • its cost-effectiveness – you may wish to have a solution where the purchase and installation costs are commensurate with your overall turnover and profitability and where the annual operating costs (excluding calls) are not going to prove to be an ongoing liability;
  • its maintainability – any phone system may, in some circumstances, fail and if it does, you may wish to be sure that it is a system that conforms to established standards and which engineers are capable of supporting;
  • the quality of post-sales support – things such as training and regular maintenance, plus telephone support, may be essential both practically and for your peace of mind.

All of these things may prove to be very important. In Kent, small business telephones supplied with local support offered by ourselves may be a very attractive proposition and something well-worth considering.

Summer Customer Draw

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

The summer customer draw has now taken place and the winners have been announced in our summer newsletter, which will be with you by the end of the week or alternatively you can read it here

http://www.telcare.co.uk/newsletters/summernewsletter2011.doc

A M&S gift card to the value of £50 awaits the two winners. Simply email Lisa at lisa.settle@telcare.co.uk to claim your prize.

Our customer draw takes place once a quarter and is in recognition of your loyalty.

The autumn draw will take place in October, good luck.

What is the best small business phone system?

Friday, July 15th, 2011

This is a question that we are sometimes asked but for which the answer must always be “it depends”. The reason being that the best small business phone system for you will depend upon your circumstances – and what’s best for someone else may not be the best for you.

Business functions

Some small office telephone systems may suit environments such as a veterinary practice, school or college, or library. There the requirements may be for several lines out and lines coming in plus the capability to support fax transmissions and voice mail.

By contrast, a small manufacturing business may have an office location but also a shop floor, some way away (or even in a different location altogether). In that case, you may require the above facilities plus a more extensive switching service between extensions over a widely spaced network.

If you are a medium sized organisation, you may need your small business phone system to integrate with other technology such as the internet or video etc – to support conferencing and so on.

In these three situations, the best small business phone system may vary considerably in its configuration.

Selecting a system

There are though, common factors that should apply to the selection of any system and several of these are perhaps summed up by the word ‘quality’.

That’s why even an entry-level system from a company such as Siemens business telephone systems typically positions a company well to flex and grow the system in future – if required.

In fact, with a quality Siemens’ solution, the core potential of your system is there to be exploited just as it would be in their far larger systems.

That’s why we believe that quality is always a prerequisite when considering what may be the best small business phone system for any client. It is also important to note that with our service, quality does not necessarily equate to a system being expensive!

At Telcare, quality business telephone systems and affordable telephone systems go hand in hand, so there is something to meet every business’s needs – and budget. This extends to installations too ...

Migration

Installing a new office telephone system may be relatively simple or it may be complex – it depends again upon the configuration required to support your business.

What is important in all situations, however, is that the installation is planned and expertly conducted. Again, our service can help.

Almost as important is planning the migration to your new system. For example, to obtain the maximum benefit, it may be highly desirable to engage in some training of your colleagues before you simply unleash them on it.

However, many modern office telephone systems are intuitive and easy to use – an attribute you may wish to add to your selection criteria when thinking about what constitutes the best small business phone system.

Guest Blogger – Gill Monk

Monday, July 11th, 2011

It gives us great pleasure to introduce one of our suppliers, Gill Monk of All Health Matters Limited. Gill has just returned from a week in Ghana where she was carrying out some work for one of the oil companies. She is our guest blogger this month and explains a little about the subject of Occupational Health.

If your computer breaks down, you call in the computer guys. If your telephone system needs replacing, you call Telcare. If your company van fails to start, you call in a mechanic. These ‘assets’ are fundamental to the running of your business. But what do you do if a member of staff is off sick? Accept a medical certificate and ask the rest of the team to work harder to cover the empty chair?

Your staff are the greatest asset you have got – without them there is little point in having the best product in the world because there is no one to make it, sell it, pack it, distribute it and get paid for it. Healthy staff are self-financing. Sick staff are a costly business.

‘Occupational Health’ is all about looking after the health and well being of your staff and therefore the health of your business, and here at All Health Matters, we are passionate about your business health.

You are possibly aware of the reactive services available – sickness absence management, referrals to an Occupational Health physician etc. These services are there to help you manage a sick employee, to help them return to the workplace and carry out meaningful duties, but are you also aware that for relatively small cost you can introduce some proactive measures? Seasonal flu vaccinations, pre-placement medicals, DSE Assessments, drug & alcohol testing, Health promotion programmes, Health Surveillance activities are just some of the initiatives we can offer. Health surveillance is especially important if your staff are exposed to noise or to respiratory sensitizers or skin irritants for instance. Regular surveillance programmes have the effect of not only helping your staff to keep well and to feel valued but also serve to protect your company from future insurance claims.

I have just come back from a week in Ghana where I was contracted to do some work for an oil company. Being a UK company operating overseas in a hazardous industry, they adopt all of the UK standards towards health and safety and put great emphasis on the fitness of their staff. The conditions over there are of course quite different to the UK, but the drive to keep people well and at work is exactly the same.

As OH practitioners, we work closely with Health & Safety and HR professionals, providing the medical advice which supports these two important areas of people and safety management.

Talking of safety, before setting off for Ghana I was given a very comprehensive what-not-to-do and etiquette handbook which included such advice as “Don’t give or receive gifts with your left hand”, “Don’t shake hands with your left hand”, “Don’t point or wave with your left hand”. I am really glad my husband didn’t come with me because he is left handed and would probably have been arrested!

A piece of safety advice was to “only get in a company car and only after the driver has shown you his official company ID”. On my arrival in Accra airport at 9pm on a tropical (98°) Sunday night, I was met by a driver who showed me his ID and so I gladly went with him. He took me across a pot-holed, dusty, makeshift car park with cars everywhere and no apparent traffic control, to what I can only describe as a campervan. He slid open the side door and shoved my case and me inside, sliding the door shut behind me and then wandered away! You can no doubt guess how I felt when a man who had been crouched down in the drivers seat started the engine and drove away with me. For the next 10 minutes I was quite convinced that I was being sold into the white slave trade or that they liked their women big and white! When we slowed to let some traffic through, I got ready to jump and shouted over the noise of the engine about my concern that my guide was not with me, but the driver shouted ‘Nana is following in a car’ and for some reason I was comforted by that! True enough, when we arrived at my hotel, there was ‘Nana’ waiting to ensure I was checked in before leaving me in my four-star hotel. I naturally told my hosts about this the next day at the office, but I made a big joke of it and got them all laughing so they didn’t suspect I was pretty scared at the time. (I suspect though that the ‘top man’ took the message on board and will ensure it doesn’t happen again to anyone else).

Another safety fear in Ghana is Malaria which is endemic in Africa and my host company are insistent that all staff travelling or living there undergo intense training in malaria prevention, symptoms, treatment etc. They provide everyone with mosquito repellent and a malaria testing kit with clear instructions on its use and until you have completed the training they won’t allow you to travel. Every office and hotel they use is air conditioned and the turn-down service includes a room spray. I have to confess to being very impressed by their diligence and foresight and felt comforted by it. Wherever I go in the world, the mosquito population normally see me coming and are lined up at the airport waiting to greet me with their little proboscis’s twitching with excitement. I normally come back more bitten than tanned, so I was overjoyed that African mossies found me tasteless and uninteresting (could be due to the amount of deet and my bicycle clips of course).

In business, I often meet managers or business owners who, when learning what my company does, view me with a degree of suspicion – they see us as being “yet another nose trying to get into their trough”, but nothing could be further from the truth. As my client the oil company has proved, those with a more realistic view of the world, with perception and wisdom, see OH for what it truly is – a tool to maintain a vital resource and with which to repair an asset which is broken.

So if you care about the people you employ and whether driven by legislation or desire you want some OH advice – call me Gill Monk on 07968 233890, email gill@allhealthmatters.co.uk or log on to www.allhealthmatters.co.uk

Looking for a cheap business phone system?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

If you’re thinking of upgrading your telephone services, then perhaps the phrase “cheap business phone system” may have entered your considerations once or twice.

If so, that would be perfectly understandable. In times of economic uncertainty, budgets are stretched and focus is often on saving money.

Yet an approach that is entirely driven by the need to find a cheap business phone system may not yield the very best results.

That’s because a very-low cost business telecoms solution may not meet your full requirements or support your business should it grow or change in the future.

The reality of the case is typically that what is a cheap solution for another organisation may not prove to be cheap for you in the immediate or longer-term future.

Why?

There are certain characteristics of quality solutions from manufacturers such as Siemens business systems, that may not always be available on systems that have been built to reduce costs to the minimum - including things such as:

  • resilience – your systems won’t support your business operations if they’re not working and there may be a relationship between the quality of your system and its reliability;
  • scalability – you may have ambitions that your business will grow and expand. So you may wish to ensure that your phone system is capable of doing so with you because if it cannot, you may find yourself needing to purchase yet another new one;
  • compatibility – today ‘integration’ is a key concept in delivering value to any organisation or business. But to achieve it, your business telephone equipment will need to conform to the latest technical standards;
  • maintainability – however well designed and built, office telephone systems need to be periodically maintained and checked, which is something that may prove to be easier and more efficient with some systems than others.

If this all sounds fine but expensive, then you may not need to worry.

In practice, solutions meeting the above requirements can start with as little as two handsets.

Perhaps the best way to consider the issue is to think about whether a search for a cost-effective solution to your needs might be better than simply looking for cheap business phone systems.

That is where our service can help.

We can work with you to understand just how modern business telecom services may help to drive your business forward to success.

Your budget is important but so too is finding a solution that is fit for purpose and an investment in the future. That may prove to be more important to you eventually, than having a cheap business phone system.

PS. Check out our £950 ‘No Bull’ Package  to see how affordable a business phone system could be!

Half way there

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Just in case you hadn’t realised, we’re in July! Shocker I know!

Half of 2011 is done and dusted and the other half is ready to go. A great time for reflection, looking back on what’s been said and done and then tweaking your plans for the next 6 months. I read advice (somewhere) that said ‘take the lessons learnt yesterday and invest them in tomorrow’; it’s definitely something worth doing.

So who went to the Kent Invicta B2B Exhibition last week? The answer is loads and loads of you! It really was a busy event. We had a stand in the Kent Suite and had a steady stream of visitors all day. It was amazing hearing so many croaky voices, we simply talked ourselves hoarse! Great testament to the Kent Invicta Chamber, this was their 25th year of running the exhibition, so well done to them. The camera crew at Kent Business TV were there filming and you can see us all in full swing here: http://www.kentbusinesstv.com/events/kent-invicta-chamber-business-exhibition-is-a-great-success/

The winner of our champagne was Michael Doree at Portal Tax Claims. Michael was extremely pleased to get his hands on the champers, apparently he never wins anything, so it was his lucky day! Cheers Michael!

Last week we had a work experience student placed with us from The Howard School. In addition to spending time in the office, he was given the chance to attend the B2B Exhibition with us as well as The Sales Roadshow at the newly opened SusCon building in Dartford. I would like to thank all those that took time to include and speak to our student, every little helps. He went back to school with an interesting CV.

The Sales Roadshow was a success too, full of interesting FREE tips relating to selling, presenting, social media and SEO. If you missed it look out for the next one at www.facilitator.co. You can also get to take a look at the fabulous SusCon Building at www.suscon.uk.net they have an open day on 15th July.

Last week’s thunderstorm kept the help desk on their toes. We were flooded (excuse the pun) with calls from people who had been left without power. Fortunately most of the situations were temporary although we did have a call from one company whose telephone system had been well and truly zapped. The Telcare team quickly came to the rescue and installed a new system, having them up and running in no time. So welcome to A1 Glass in Strood, not the normal way of gaining a new customer, but glad to have been able to help.

Next week you can read about our guest blogger’s alarming moments in Ghana but until then get reflecting!