Archive for August, 2012

 

Guest Blogger – Molly Harrington

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Last week we had a work experience student with us here in the office. We were extremely happy to welcome Molly to the team; she has a bubbly personality with a positive attitude, so a pleasure to have around. Work experience placements can require lots of prep work so it is wonderful to see when a student is receptive and eager to learn, it makes all the preparation worthwhile. When I suggested that Molly write a blog for us, I was absolutely delighted that she didn’t hesitate for a moment, she just got stuck right in.

So let me introduce our latest superstar, Molly Harrington, who will give you an overview of her week at Telcare.

I managed to land a week’s work experience with Telcare through my school and the Medway Education Business Partnership (MEBP). On my first day in the office I didn’t know what to expect and I was feeling very nervous! I had never experienced any kind of office life. Thankfully everyone in the office was very friendly and welcoming and there was a great atmosphere. The Telcare team really made me feel at home and were always ready to help.

I was shown how to use the company database, as well as the accounting software Sage. Throughout the week I was given many tasks to do; my favourite was creating a twitter spreadsheet as part of Telcare’s social media campaign. This involved researching new tweets and scheduling when they would be written. On Thursday my day began well, as first thing I received my GCSE results and then I went on a trip that my supervisor at Telcare had arranged. Telcare knew I had a keen interest in law, so we went to the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). We were lucky enough to sit in the viewing gallery of a murder trial. I found it really interesting to see how the court worked and how the various roles were played. It was clear to see there was a common court room courtesy and everyone was very respectful to each other. I didn’t get to see the accused questioned however, but it was very interesting to study their body language. I wonder how much this influenced the jury. You could also see the importance that CCTV played in the trial. It took up the whole day, with actual footage, still frames and continual descriptions being given to the jury.

After my day out, I was inspired even more to go into this line of work. It has really given me the impetus to work hard.

One of the valuable things I will take from Telcare and my supervisor is being taught how to create a CV and covering letter, which I will continue to add to in the future.

For any student coming to this placement next year I would tell them that having good communication skills is the key to a successful week. You will need to talk to your colleagues throughout the placement to help you get an understanding of what you are doing; it will also help to build your team working skills.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my week with Telcare, and have found the Telcare team very entertaining! I loved being part of the office life. Telcare taught me that it is never a happy office without there being a hot pot of coffee and a smile. Cream cakes also go down a treat! Working at Telcare has improved my communication and self managing skills which I will take with me to any future work experience placements or jobs. I would be more than happy to come back for a few days if they ever needed my help!

Thank you Molly, we wish you every success with your A Levels and a wonderful time in the sixth form.

6 top tips on auditing your telecoms

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Are you paying more than you should be for your telecoms? This may seem a strange question to ask, but we often come across businesses that are paying for services they no longer use or need. For example, in the last few months alone, we have found that two new customers were overpaying by around £550 and £850 a year respectively!

One was paying twice for his broadband, while the other was paying for telephone lines he no longer used – both easy things to overlook when you are in the midst of running and managing your business.

Of course, we appreciate that carrying out an audit on your bills and telephony systems may not be high on your list of priorities – so that is why we have come up with our top pointers on what to look out for. These are all quite simple things to check out, but could make you some attractive cost savings ...

  1. are you being charged for lines you are no longer using? Maybe you have downsized your workforce, but still have the same amount of lines coming in?
  2. are you paying for something you thought you had cancelled? For example, maybe you switched broadband providers and kept your old broadband running until your new one was up and working, then forgot to cancel the original agreement?
  3. are you using an old, non-efficient system that costs you more to get the service you want? One example of this is a new customer who previously did not have the facility to transfer calls internally. Every time she received a call, she’d ask the caller to leave a message. She would then have to get the person they needed to speak to, to call back. This was not cost nor time effective for anyone - as well as portraying a rather unprofessional image;
  4. are you paying for a service and maintenance agreement that could be cheaper elsewhere? Take a good look at what your agreement provides and how much it costs – just as you’d shop around when buying a new TV, taking a bit of time to get a few alternative quotes for your maintenance agreements may be beneficial;
  5. do you make lots of calls to mobile phones? If so, could you get a better tariff? There are tariffs designed specifically for businesses who call mobile telephones a lot;
  6. and on the subject of tariffs, are you still on the most cost-efficient tariff overall? Telephony service providers often update or bring in new tariffs, so you may find one that is more suited to your calling habits.

We hope these pointers have helped. However, if you want us to carry out a full audit of your telephones systems, please feel free to get in touch. You’ve got nothing to lose and, potentially, only savings to gain!

Mobiles vs. landlines for business use

Friday, August 10th, 2012

With businesses starting up, often on a very limited budget, or where there is just one person, using mobile phones for business (instead of a land-based service) can be a popular choice. While there is no doubt, however, that a mobile phone means clients should be able to reach you as and when they want to, here at Telcare we feel there are some real advantages to having an office telephone system rather than being just a mobile phone based business. Here's why:

  • above all, having a landline number looks more professional. Clients and potential clients can see that you are a fully fledged business, rather than a “man / woman with a phone”;
  • a land-based service gives the impression of a company, with an office and staff – ie. a genuine, serious, business;
  • can you really give 100% to the customer whilst on hands-free driving along a motorway, shouting at them over the noise of the road? It’s not a great way to transact business. Conversations can often be misunderstood in terms of what is actually being said, and no one likes being shouted at!
  • people often prefer to call landlines as not only is generally less expensive, but it feels more convenient, as you know that the person answering will be sat at their desk – or not! There is nothing more annoying / frustrating than ringing someone on their mobile and they are on the train (so the signal keeps breaking up) or they ask you to call back in ten minutes as they are “just getting a sandwich”;
  • ringing a landline gives you a central point of contact – in mobile-only businesses where there is more than one person, a customer may become frustrated ringing first one mobile, then another, in a bid to get through to someone;
  • having a landline gives you back control with the client “emergency” calls (you know, the ones that happen at 10pm on a Sunday night when you are a Monday-Friday 9-5 business). Mobile phones only can make you too accessible;
  • there are many services that landlines provide that mobiles may not - eg. "hold", "divert" “transfer” etc. You can even divert calls from your landline to your mobile if you want, if you still want to give your customer means to get in touch with you wherever you are;
  • some mobile phone users like the idea that by giving a mobile number only, their clients will not know their location. However, non-geographical landline telephone numbers are available, too. These are numbers where your location cannot be determined by your telephone dialling code. So, customers may get the perception of you being in a big city, even if you are in fact working in a garden shed in your back garden in Dartford! Plus, you can retain the number even if you move (for example, if you upgrade to bigger premises) without having to change all your stationery!

So, as you can see, having a landline number really could be beneficial to your business.

We appreciate that someone starting up a new business may think it is too expensive to get an office telephone system. However, this is not the case. At Telcare, we have a number of small business telephone systems solutions that won’t break the bank – which in the long term may even help improve your profits as your image becomes more professional.