Author Archive

 

Winter Newsletter

Monday, January 21st, 2019

We are fully in the grips of winter this morning, the temperatures have well and truly dipped, the thermals have been resurrected from the back of the wardrobe and the time between coffee breaks has got noticeably shorter.  The countryside does, however, look splendid in a blanket of white frost.

2019 has settled in nicely and we’ve been off to a flying start with jobs far and wide as well as inside and outside, although the latter not being a favourite of our engineers at this time of year.

For the Telcare team 2018 concluded with our Christmas party at the wonderful Ashdown Park Hotel. It was the perfect end to a busy year and the evening was went on until the wee hours, needless to say not everyone made it to breakfast the next morning.

We are delighted to be sponsoring the 2019 quiz nights organised by the Friends of the Wisdom Hospice.  In order to keep the Hospice fully functioning the Friends fundraise throughout the year.  There are many events planned and the quiz nights are certainly a fun way to raise some much-needed income.
The first quiz will be held on Saturday 16th March at the Hook Meadow Community Centre in Walderslade, Tickets can be purchased from the Friends on 01634 831163

Students Matter We have just attended another FSB 3030 Skills event in a local school. Engaging with the students in this interview programme is entirely beneficial to all that take part. We have found the students to be focused and open to career suggestions.  The FSB have been really proactive in bringing local businesses and students together it’s a fantastic initiative.

Can we help? What are your plans for 2019?  Are you expanding, downsizing or moving office?  Please feel free to pick our brains when it comes to telecoms, we are here to help and always happy to chat.

 
A Telcare Tip: If you get to the office and find your telephone system has stopped working, check the following points, they may lead to a speedy solution.  We often get panic calls as a result of a ‘dead’ system but it is usual to find that the solution can be quite simple.  Here’s a few things to look out for.

1.Are there any lights on the system? If not, has the system been unplugged or switched off?  It is not unusual for someone to unplug the system unknowingly.

2. Have you tried turning the system off and back on again? Sometimes, a reboot of the system can sort the problem out. A system may take a good 5 minutes to come back to life after a reboot.

3. Has there been a power cut? If so, this may have interfered with your system. Again, try turning the system off and then back on again and it may right itself

4. Is there any building or electrical works going on in your building? If so, could they have affected your lines? If there are other businesses in your building, do their phones work?

5. Has anyone been working on the system? Maybe you were having your computers reconfigured and these reconfigurations have interfered with your telephone system.

Health & Wellbeing

Wellbeing at work has always been an important matter to us and so investing time and money for training in the subject has been essential.  Poor mental health affects one in six people in the workplace.  Raising awareness and being in a position to help our staff members and hopefully preventing situations from worsening is our aim.  As we speak we are pleased to report that we have a staff member currently on a course with Kent Police, training to be a Wellbeing First Aider. 

If you would like to get in touch with us please send an email to helpdesk@telcare.co.uk or call us on 0800 376 8484

Christmas Greetings

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

With only a handful of sleeps until Santa takes to the skies we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous 2019. We would also like to thank you for your custom throughout 2018; we appreciate your business and have enjoyed serving you.

Are you all set for Christmas?

Before you tuck into the mulled wine and mince pies, make sure you have made all the correct preparations for the festive period in your organisation. Now is the time to think about Christmas announcements, call diverting and those little faults you’ve been meaning to report. If you are changing your opening times during the Christmas period, you will need to let your customers know. If you need any assistance in changing your voice mail announcements or auto attendant messages please contact us.

Minor faults could lead to major faults – deal with them now and avoid inconvenience. Bad weather may create the need for diverts, don’t forget to keep our number to hand just in case you need to call us 0800 376 8484

Our Christmas Opening Times 

Our offices will close at 3pm on Monday 24th December and will re-open on Thursday 27th, Friday 28th and Monday 31st December at 9am – 5pm.  We will then be closed again for the 1st January. Normal business resumes at 9am on Wednesday 2nd January 2019.  For customers with 24/7 cover, our auto-attendant service will answer all calls during closure and will route to the engineers on call.

News from Ofcom

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Today’s news from the telecom’s watchdog, Ofcom, regarding the capping of directory enquiry call costs, is most welcomed, although in our view, somewhat tardy and still expensive!

The capping will bring prices down to £3.65 per 90 second call, a reduction on the current £20 average cost for the same duration but this won’t come into play until April 2019.

For most of us these days, if we want to find a number we will turn to the internet and find it within moments therefore steering clear of the rip off prices.  However, those without internet access are paying the price.  Research has shown the majority of people using the directory enquiry services are likely to be over 65. They use the service in good faith unaware that they are incurring massive costs. Of course, this results in bills that many cannot afford to pay.

We have received reports from two customers saying they had been charged £78 and £92 for using the 118 118 service and could not understand why it was so much.  In both instances they had agreed to be put through to the number they were looking for. The charges are ridiculously expensive. Not only were they paying high fees for the initial enquiry, but they continued to pay premium rates for the entire duration of the call.  A 30-minute phone conversation could easily cost you £150 and much more if calling from a mobile.

If you must use this service, NEVER let them connect you. Write the number down, hang up and dial the number yourself, it may be slower, it may be less convenient but one things for sure, it will be cheaper.

It may be useful to know that there is a special service for people with disabilities. 195 is a free service offered by BT for people who cannot read or hold a directory due to disability or illness. You will need to complete a form and get it signed by your GP to use this service. You can apply by calling 0800 587 0195 between 9am – 4:30pm Mon – Fri to request an application form.

5 things you can do to ensure your office telecoms run smoothly

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

1. Know your set up.  Make sure the key people in your office know the general set up of your telecoms. How many lines, what type of lines, who is the provider. Document the information and keep it by the system, it will save time when you need to report a fault.

2. Plan for downtime. Whether it be a faulty hand piece or a complete system failure, make sure you have some technical back up in place. Disasters never come at a convenient time and can cause major disruption to your business.

3. Take time to check what you are paying for.  It is easy to carry on paying for equipment or services that you no longer use.  Look into the types of calls you make on a regular basis, make sure you are getting the best rate for these calls.  A little audit can result in big savings.

4. Give your staff some training.  Make sure everyone knows how to use the features on the system.  Being able to utilise the equipment fully will help your staff work more efficiently.

5. Look after your system, a little preventative care goes a long way.  It’s a major part of your business, so give it some TLC.

The Networker's Networking Event

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Telcare have been proud to sponsor the Networker's Networking Event for the last two years.

There have been a series of six events brought to us by Amanda Flanders of Butterflies Events. Each venue has been stunning, providing very pleasant surroundings to spend a day getting to know other business men and women in our communities. Dotted across Kent, and giving everyone the opportunity to join in, we have visited Eastwell Manor, Brands Hatch Place, Kenward House and Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, we even got a safari thrown in that day.

The events have included speakers, organised networking fun, (where everyone has happily participated) and open discussions based upon relevant business issues. We did manage to steer clear of Brexit but I do recall the dreaded GDPR getting a bit of a bashing.

Attendees have been first time networkers right through to those of the well seasoned variety.  We have bumped into old friends and made lots of new ones at the Networker's Networking Event and have thoroughly enjoyed each one.  The sad news is that today's event held at Brands Hatch Place Hotel in Fawkham was the last one of it's kind.  Of course that just means that Amanda has something else up her sleeve for next year.  But for the time being we would like to say thank you Amanda for providing some fun networking in beautiful surroundings, it has been informative, useful and very well organised.  We look forward to what's coming next.

 

Give Your Staff the Gift of a Process

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Having systems and procedures are extremely valuable to us, they help us to get the job done in a professional and efficient way.  Without them your staff could flounder and find themselves in a difficult situation.

Take a complaint as an example.

Imagine a busy day in your office, you may be short staffed and the phones are ringing like mad when a customer calls with a complaint.  It may be the last thing the staff member expected and she’s not prepared.  The customer is unhappy and relays the reason why, his tone is not friendly.

We have all been on the receiving end of an angry person at some stage and it’s not pleasant, it is easy to take it personally and to get upset.  This has the potential for the situation to get out of hand, especially if your staff member has no idea what to say.

When there is a process in place, your staff member can feel confident in resolving the issue by responding to the complaint rather than reacting to it. This is likely to placate the caller quickly and bring the matter to an agreeable and speedy conclusion.

If you are feeling horrified by the thought of having to go to great lengths to get a process in place, rest assured, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

You can put together a simple formula for the staff to remember.  When it comes to complaints our team use the word HEAT to help them.

H is for hear; this is a reminder to listen fully. Give the customer a chance to explain what he is unhappy about.

E is for empathise. Try and look at the situation from the customer’s point of view and be understanding to his plight. Let them know you intend to help them.

A is for apologise. Let the customer know that you are sorry they have had reason to complain and thank them for the opportunity to put it right.

T is for take action. Tell the customer how you can help them and let them know what the next step will be.

Our team have always been encouraged to go the extra mile and dealing with a complaint is often an opportunity to demonstrate a genuine desire to help.

There are many areas of your business where you can apply a standard method or procedure. By giving your staff the gift of a process, you will be helping them to carry out their job in a more professional and efficient way. You can encourage them to create new methods or improve existing ones. It will probably result in a ‘thumbs up’ all round.  Good luck.

Summer Newsletter

Monday, July 16th, 2018

 

As the temperatures reach chart topping heights and the sun continues to smile on us, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a relaxing summer and an enjoyable season in the great outdoors. We are constantly reminded that being at one with nature is so necessary to our wellbeing but it’s not always easy to do when it's raining cats and dogs.  So now is the time to get out the deckchairs, and immerse yourself in the natural environment. Have fun!

Before you set off on holiday, here are a few voicemail tips you might find useful  

  1. Be aware of the background noise before you start recording. Choose somewhere quiet to record your message, it will not only be easier for the caller to understand but will give a more professional image. Try sitting up and smiling whilst you record the message, it will come across clear and upbeat and be far more welcoming to the caller. Have a little rehearsal so you know you’ve got it right.  Include your name in the greeting and when you will be back.  Give an alternative contact number for customers to use when you are away.
  2. Often callers don’t know what to say, which results in messages that only include half the required information. Help your caller out and remind them in your greeting, what you will need to know in order to call them back. For example, name, number, company and reference number etc
  3. When you are away for an extended time like annual leave, you will probably change your greeting to advise your callers accordingly.  Don’t forget to change your greeting upon your return.  It can be quite confusing for callers when they get a message saying you’re on annual leave until the 10th of the month, which was 5 days ago!
  4. Get in the habit of deleting your messages once you have heard them.  If you leave them in your mailbox they will build up and your mailbox will be become full and no longer able to record any further messages. A possible disaster if you are away for a few weeks.
  5. Every so often listen to your greeting and make sure it’s still valid, still audible and still recording messages. Gremlins strike once in a while so don’t assume all is fine.

 

Recommendations for a Summer read

If you fancy an easy read, here’s a little book loaded with useful content.

Essentially a business book but told in story form. Bob Burg and John David Mann are the authors of the Go-Giver range of books and this is their latest, The Go-Giver Influencer. If you want to improve your negotiating skills, learn how to handle conflict and build great business relationships, we highly recommend this short but impactful story.

 

Many thanks to you

When it comes to the ‘overall Customer Experience’, we know that many factors are considered when deciding whether the experience was pleasurable or not. In theory, you would think it’s relatively easy to provide a good service, however, the reality is that it’s far from easy. The reason being is that every customer has a different expectation of what good service might be.  At Telcare, we work very hard to meet the different expectations of our customers, we really do want you to become part of the ‘Telcare’ family and enjoy doing business with us. Your feedback, therefore, is extremely valuable. The good news is that recent results from our customer satisfaction survey currently show that 89% of our customers would be happy to recommend us, we are delighted and grateful for your feedback. 

 

Discovering Restoration House

At Telcare we have always enjoyed lending a hand and getting involved in the local community, recently Lisa signed up for a volunteering stint at the delightful Restoration House in Rochester.

The Friends at Wisdom Hospice have for some years now taken on the role of running the tea room during the summer and supply Restoration House with a group of volunteers ready to serve tea and cake to its many visitors.

Lisa said “It was so enjoyable, Restoration House and it’s gardens are quite something, it was a pleasure to soak up the history of the house and its beautiful gardens.”

Whatever you end up doing this summer, make sure you relax, breathe and enjoy it.

Thank you for your custom.

 

Staying Safe

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

You don’t know, what you don’t know. If you don’t know anything about cyber crime you probably won’t be thinking of ways to protect yourself and your business.  It is, however, one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world. So, a little awareness can go a long way and is a good place to start.

We are grateful not to have had personal experience of cyber crime but we do know others that have.  We have picked up a few simple tips that are worth bearing in mind and sharing with your staff.

Remember fraudsters are good at what they do, they will appear friendly and trustworthy. When they ask you for your personal information or your business information it will be asked in a way that might not ring alarm bells. But STOP, anyone wanting your address, telephone number, bank account number or card details could be up to no good.  Ask as many questions as you can. If the request is legitimate then they won’t mind you checking them out. Take time to think this through.

Phishing emails are very popular, again they are made to look like and read as if they are from someone you trust.  There is often a link to click on and before you know it you have inflicted a virus on to your computer. Indicators of something not quite right are spelling mistakes, strange use of grammar and an unusual email address. STOP do not click on an unknown link or download.  Delete it.

 Passwords should be secure and it’s a good idea to change them regularly. STOP using default or easily guessed passwords, such as your name and birthdate. Use a mixture of capitals and lower case, symbols and numbers.

Destroy documents efficiently. STOP throwing documents in the bin with your personal details on. This can lead to identify theft.  Use a shredder so information cannot be read once it’s left your property.  

Keep your anti-virus software up to date. STOP thinking it won’t happen to you.  Keep software up to date by backing up regularly.

Be aware of the devices your staff bring to work.  Have a Bring Your Own Device to Work Policy (BYOD). Make staff aware that their mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets are the most vulnerable of tech items. They can be easily exploited and quickly compromised by hackers. Be aware of the work-related data your staff keep on their personal device. Advise your staff to use secure PIN codes, STOP connecting to public wifi networks. If it is lost or stolen report it immediately, so necessary steps can be taken.

We all hope that we don't become victims of this online crime wave, but taking some precautions will be better than hoping.  Stay safe!

 

GDPR Mayhem

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

As May comes to an end there will be many businesses happily ticking off ‘GDPR’ from the to do list.

It has been a mind-boggling time to say the least.

We have received hundreds of emails asking us to opt in to newsletters, newsletters from companies that we haven’t even heard of before. If we don’t opt in we will NEVER EVER hear from them again. Really? Needless to say, we did not opt in, and were somewhat surprised to then receive emails saying “you haven’t opted in, but don’t worry, we will keep your details safe anyway”.

Marketing departments have been sent into a frenzy at the thought of having their email lists wiped out. We heard from one company that we’d never had any dealing with whatsoever but apparently, we have been on their mailing list for years and they were desperate not to lose us. Their newsletter must have gone to spam every time, and remained unopened for yonks and yet we were valued customers?  We were even promised entry to a free prize draw if we opted in to some newsletters.

One lady took a rather sensible approach saying it was a good time to have a tidy up of her mailing lists and that she would rather have 50 people who were interested in her services and enjoyed her newsletters than 500 who didn’t care.  

So May 25th has been and gone, it has been truly amazing how we have all interpreted the new rules.

At Telcare we welcome the fact that individuals might get more control over how their data is used. We like the idea of regulations that might protect us from identity theft and junk mail.  We agree that explicit consent is the way forward.

For our part we can confirm the following:

We have done our best to be GDPR compliant.

We are registered with the ICO

We have trained our staff and updated our processes.

We do not send our clients spam-like emails, we only contact our customers through legitimate interests, i.e. to carry out our contractual obligations of delivering our service.

If you are a customer and have any questions please feel free to get in touch at helpdesk@telcare.co.uk

 

Spring Update

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

We are very pleased to be reporting to you from the right side of winter. The sun has finally been shining and what a game changer that is. It might even be safe to take the thermals off.

We are probably all agreed that it’s been a miserable winter as far as the weather is concerned but thankfully we can draw a line there. It has been a busy few months in the Kent Business Community and Telcare have been enjoying the interaction. So far, this year we have been a part of a fantastic STEM day held at the Thomas Aveling School, who knew that creating algorithms and deciphering codes was so much fun. We also attended a mock interview day held at King’s School Rochester, it was inspiring to see the next generation so geared up and ready to enter the workplace.

The Telcare team have been learning too, training has been received for the new data protection regulations that are coming into force on 25th May. Health & Safety training has kept the staff up to date in areas such as Working at Height, Asbestos Awareness and First Aid. Our systems and processes have had a makeover to reflect changes in the industry and excitement is brewing for our mock Disaster Recovery Day in the summer.

The Networker’s Networking Event in February took us to the charming Eastwell Manor, where we had a most enjoyable day meeting new contacts and having interesting discussions about bringing Kent independent businesses together. We were proud to sponsor this event and we look forward to the next one on 17th May, which will be held at the fabulous Port Lympne Reserve.

Once again, we were involved in the Kent Women In Business Awards, where I had the pleasure of being a judge and actually presenting awards at the gala dinner held at the Mecure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone. This year the event was bigger and better and we were blown away by all the finalists, runners up and winners. You can catch up with that news here

Our support continues for The Wisdom Hospice, who are located here in Rochester, by sponsoring their quiz nights, attending their events and volunteering where we can. The Vintage Tea Party just before Easter was a huge success, obviously they needed help in eating the delicious sandwiches, scones and cakes all made by the wonderful volunteers. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. We are now gearing up for the Colour Me Purple event on 29th April, last year’s colour run was so much fun, slightly messy in a purple paint way, but hey, it soon washes out! The Friends of Wisdom Hospice are always looking for volunteers so do get in touch if you fancy helping.

Do you know someone that has recently been diagnosed with Dementia?
A Dementia Friends information session is a great way to become Dementia aware. We are sponsoring a session on the 8th May at 3pm at the St George Hotel in Rochester. Places are free and include refreshments. Register your place here and we will see you there.

I know it’s hard to believe, given everything mentioned above, but we have been busy working too. The team have been mostly divided between Kent and London recently, although there have been a few trips to the West Country, isn’t it amazing how the word spreads? Installing new systems, carrying out maintenance visits, site surveys, cabling new offices and problem solving are what we do to build efficient telecoms set ups for our customers. We are always grateful to receive feedback along the way, it’s great to pass on words of encouragement to an engineer after a job well done, especially when he has been stuck on the M25 for hours.

So onwards into April we go, wishing you and your business many successes throughout the Spring/Summer season and beyond.