Archive for February, 2012

 

New business phone systems - frequently asked questions

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

If you are facing a serious decision regarding your existing phone infrastructure, you may also be thinking along the lines of new business phone systems.

How do I know what system is right for me?

Some companies perform their own research then go out and purchase a solution.

Others may simply look to see which system appears to offer the cheapest price and make their selection on that basis.

Both of these approaches may yield dissatisfaction downstream.

Unless you are an experienced business telecoms expert, it may be advisable to approach this decision by:

  • getting someone to help you with a full analysis of your requirements;

  • approaching a telecoms solutions provider with a proven track record in the successful implementation of small business phone systems - who will then use the analysis of requirements in order to identify appropriate solutions.

Of course, the same organisation may be able to complete both steps.

Which is best, to extend my existing system or to replace it?

There is no single answer to this question.

If your existing system is relatively modern and was produced by a quality manufacturer, who conformed to international technical standards, then in some cases the most cost-effective solution for you may be to look to expand it to meet your revised requirements.

However, if your system is many years old and/or does not conform to modern approaches and standards, then it may prove to be difficult to expand and integrate it with other more modern technical capabilities.

From a practical point of view, some antiquated systems may be approaching the point where they are impossible to support and maintain for reasons due to parts being unavailable etc.

Although the attractions of patching up existing systems appear to be obvious (perceptions of lower cost), in some cases this is a false economy and one that may cause you grief if your system becomes increasingly prone to failure.

It is necessary to objectively review both options in the context of your particular situation.

Why do I see such a huge price disparity in potential solutions?

When recommending a solution that involves thinking about new business phone systems, an expert solutions provider will be endeavouring to identify suitable matches for your requirements.  They will also be trying to balance the inevitable pressures to find a cost-attractive solution with their professional obligation to think about issues such as resilience, reliability and maintainability.

These latter points may have a very direct effect on your annual running costs over time but they are not always immediately visible if you are looking at costs based simply upon the ticket price of a solution.

This is why what appear to be the cheapest new business phone systems may not prove to be the cheapest in the longer term and why some solutions providers may not recommend them.

Looking for the best small business telephones

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

If you are looking to upgrade your telephone system, you may well be wondering what are the best small business telephones for you.

If so, you may wish to consider the following questions of any potential solution:

  • have your requirements been analysed - this is not a question of the telephone solution, as such, but a general principle because trying to select a new business telephone system in the absence of a detailed understanding of your requirements may lead to disappointment;
  • is the manufacturer a major player in the marketplace - purchasing solutions from organisations such as Siemens business telephone systems, may reduce your risks of encountering unpleasant surprises to do with quality and non-standard technical approaches;
  • is the system scalable - this basically means asking how easy it will be in future to upgrade the system if required, to cater for changes in your business (systems that cannot easily be expanded and upgraded may involve you in significant future cost);
  • can your supplier support it post-implementation - if you purchase your phone system through an outlet that is essentially an exclusively retail-based box shifter, then if you are unfortunate enough to experience troubles in use, you may find it difficult to obtain technical support (we pride ourselves on our ability to offer such support);
  • does the proposal include professional installation services - installing a new telephone system is rarely as simple as plugging in a few boxes and it is important both from a technical and health and safety point of view, that the installation is correctly designed and professionally carried out;
  • will the new system integrate with your existing technology - in today's business world, integration is often key to success both in terms of service provision and cost-effectiveness, so if different components of your technology do not communicate with each other, then you may struggle to achieve an optimum solution;
  • do you fully understand the cost base - when selecting what you consider to be the best small business telephones, the cost of your solution will typically be a major factor in your decision. Remember, however, to take into account things such as the annual running cost, as occasionally some apparently budget solutions may have unpleasant hidden surprises in store in this respect.

Guest Blogger - Computertel

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Our February guest blog comes from our call recording friends Computertel. Computertel supply cost-effective solutions for call recording, employee appraisal software, speech analytics, call handling and performance management solutions.

Yesterday, I got home to find that a bailiff had visited my home and left a seizure notice through my door for a person with the same surname but totally different forenames to that of my husband! He wasn't expecting it and he shouldn't have received it!

My bemused and perplexed husband then made a phone call to the bailiff, shown in the correspondence, and advised him that no person by the name on the notice lived at, or was associated with the address. The bailiff replied that "he had only visited the address given by the courts!"

Being a supportive wife, I of course did not find it highly amusing that the bailiff had gone into our back garden and cited our rather rustic wooden garden furniture to be seized, against a £ 3,000.00 debt! I smothered my giggles behind my wine glass quite well, I thought!

By this time, it was well after the courts had finished for the day, so after a quick Google ™ search couldn't show us anything useful, my husband resigned himself to wait until the second the courts opened the following morning to "state his case".

To sum up, your honour, the court advised that our address was not associated with the original paperwork issued. Allegedly, the information relayed to the bailiff was totally different from what the courts had issued, but for some obscure reason the bailiff decided to put the letter through our door and snoop at our furniture. The court also provided the contact details of the company who had brought the case in front of the court, so my irate husband then thought he'd share his frustrations with this company too, who was assertively asked to provide written confirmation that our address and my husband were in no way connected to this case and that there would be no seizure of our "highly valuable" garden furniture.

The point of my preamble today is that if someone had simply verified the information correctly before, then this problem would never have happened and I couldn't be blogging you about it now.

The details were issued by phone, so if they had been able to record the phone call(s) to double check the instructions, life would now be simpler for up to 3 people who have now been involved in writing the wrongs of some mis-information.

Call recording is not only suitable for call centres, smaller organisations that do business over the phone, be it land line or mobile, could all benefit from being able to verify actual information to help them work more accurately, confidently and professionally.

So, next time you look at buying or upgrading your Telcare telephony equipment, why not ask your account manager to discuss call recording options too?

For any enquiries please feel free to contact us or go directly to Sarah Jane or Brendan at Computertel 01474 561111

Cheap telephone systems maintenance in Kent

Monday, February 6th, 2012

If you are looking for good telephone systems maintenance in Kent, we believe we have the expertise and systems to help.

The nature of maintenance and support

However technically sophisticated a business telephone system is and however well designed and built, you may occasionally suffer various forms of technical problem.

Of course, if you are purchasing quality solutions from manufacturers such as Siemens business telephone systems, you may expect an excellent level of performance and system availability.  Yet even so, technology is never 100% predictable and faults may arise.

So, given this reality, what can telephone systems maintenance do to help you protect your interests?

Prevention is better than cure

There is a range of periodic technical maintenance activities that may help reduce the likelihood of you encountering outages or performance related problems with your system.

These may range from hardware related activities, such as checking circuits and connectors, to software and systems administration issues including the checking and clearing of log files.

If undertaken under the auspices of a support contract, these services may prove to be a cost-effective way of reducing the risks of you ending up in the situation of having a systems failure on your hands.

Fast response

If, in spite of all efforts to avoid it, your system fails, then it may be a safe prediction that you will want it fixed quickly.

Having the availability of qualified engineers and support personnel, on-call, might be critically important if you are to avoid a minor inconvenience and annoyance turning into a potential business catastrophe.

This is sometimes called proactive support.

Having the commitment of a technical services provider who will be able to react to your needs within certain timescales is highly advisable especially in terms of managing your business risk.

This may be known as reactive support.

Getting the balance right

It may be important to have in place a balanced support agreement covering both proactive and reactive elements of what may be called systems maintenance and support.

Of course, this has only been a very brief discussion of the key principles. We will be more than happy to discuss further how we can help provide you with reliable and cost-effective telephone systems maintenance in Kent and the surrounding areas.