Spring Update

Posted April 10th, 2018 by

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.

Telcare 1 Snow 0

Posted March 9th, 2018 by

The recent snow hit Medway in a big way, our office car park was transformed into an ice rink in no time. As the main blizzard reached us on Tuesday there was a mass exodus of office workers, all deciding to leave at the same time, needless to say this resulted in absolute chaos.

The photo is the view from our office window. 

At Telcare, we took the view that it was better to be in the warm office than sit in the long queue of traffic. After all we had tea, coffee, biscuits and a loaf of bread!

The days that followed, often started with the question, is it safe to make the journey? As everyone came from different areas with varying degrees of conditions, it was a hard decision.  It wasn’t just the roads to consider, our vehicles ability to cope with the adverse weather situation became quite an issue. With screen wash frozen solid it was a battle to keep the windscreen clear and maintain good visibility.

Further challenges presented themselves to staff in the shape of school closures, problematic boilers and burst pipes, the snow was doing it’s very best to bring everything to a halt.

Fortunately, we have the technology for staff to work from home, so some of the team made it in to the office and some kept us covered remotely.  Our customers had the same idea.  We spent the week diverting their calls, re-setting voicemails, putting emergency announcements in place for schools and medical centres and re-scheduling work.  During the madness we managed to pick up two new customers right on our doorstep. Their telephone systems had just given up, weather related or just a coincidence? Either way we were able to assist and both customers had replacement systems installed mid snow showers.

So despite the snow’s best efforts, the Telcare team pulled together and made it through the week. Result Telcare 1 Snow 0

 

Charity Quiz

Posted February 5th, 2018 by

Are you a secret Egg Head?

It’s that time of year again, we hereby serve you notice to dust off your encyclopaedias and brush up on your general knowledge. Yes, we are talking quizzes, we will be sponsoring The Friends of Wisdom Hospice Quiz Night on 17th March 2018.

If you have been before you will know it’s a fun evening, if you haven’t been before and you like a quiz, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, it’s a great opportunity to help raise some much needed funds for the hospice too.

Question mark symbol dice rolling 3d illustration

There is of course a serious side to this. Did you know that one in three people have been touched by hospice care? The Wisdom Hospice really does an amazing job, but needs your help to continue to do so.

 

The first quiz night will be held at Hook Meadow Community Centre in Walderslade, ME5 0TZ at 7pm. Teams will be made up of 6 people and charged at £6 per person. All you need to bring along is the tipple of your choice together with some nibbles and a pen.  To book a table contact Emma at The Friends of Wisdom Hospice 01634 831163.

We look forward to seeing you there.

#MicroBizMatters Day

Posted January 12th, 2018 by

Telcare's 12 Tips for supporting the independents on #MicroBizMatters Day

Have you heard about #MicroBizMatters Day?  Just type it into Twitter and you’ll soon be educated. It’s today, the 12th January 2018. The day has been designed to recognise small businesses, celebrate their achievements and come together to support each other.  Today is an ideal opportunity to make a difference and there are many ways in which you can do this.

Here are 12 of our suggestions:

  1. The most obvious is to support the day, jump on social media and join in the fun. Retweet and share.
  2. Find a new micro biz to follow on social media, engage and get to know them.
  3. Spread the word about #MicroBizMatters throughout your own contacts.
  4. Attend a local networking group and get to know your independent business owners.
  5. Support an event or a workshop that a local business is running. You might learn something new as well as meeting new contacts.
  6. Take a look at your local community, how many independent businesses are there, do you support them? Could you do more?
  7. Check your spending, what percentage of your spending is done with the independents? Could you improve on this?
  8. Pledge to make a change today. Swap a corporate for a microbiz.
  9. Give praise to your fav independent shop or supplier – tell them they’re doing a great job.
  10. Buy something from a micro business today.
  11. Write a blog highlighting why we should support small businesses.
  12. Remember people don’t do as you say, they do as you do, lead the way and show the next generation how important the independents are.

2018 here we come ...

Posted January 10th, 2018 by

A tardy but nevertheless sincere Happy New Year to you, 2018 is here and waiting to see what we will make of it. Of course, it’s up to us to make the year meaningful so get your planning hat on and prepare for a fantastic year ahead.  If we can help in anyway do let us know, support plays a big part in the journey to success.

The excitement of a new year is often seen as a time for a fresh start. We naturally look to improve things, be it a new diet, giving up smoking or looking for a new job.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that arriving back to work after the Christmas break, a lot of the enquiries we have received are relating to new plans and new beginnings. Customers are organising office moves, upgrading old systems or welcoming new staff, who need a little guidance when getting to grips with the telephones.

We welcome it all and would like to take the opportunity to remind you that there is definitely more to Telcare than maintaining your telephone system.  We are happy to guide you through the planning of a new system, become a part of your moving team when relocating or simply provide assistance to new staff when it comes to learning how to use the telephone system. 

Savings are always top of the agenda when it comes to January.  It’s the perfect time to revise costs and see where there’s room for improvement.  A telecoms audit is a sensible idea and is a useful exercise in making sure you are only paying for equipment that you use.

If you have a telecoms query then feel free to ask, we enjoy helping people and won’t make you feel obliged in any way.

Christmas Greetings

Posted December 18th, 2017 by

As the festive season is upon us and our minds are full of to do lists and Christmas present shopping we would like to share these simple but effective words with you.

“Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”  Oren Arnold 

Our festive reminder to customers  Before you launch into full festive swing please do check that you have given thought to the necessary telecoms preparations for the Christmas period. If you plan to close the office for a Christmas lunch and wish to divert your calls please let us know in good time. Equally you may need to alert your customers to a change in opening times and need to amend your announcements. Bad weather may also create the need for diverts, so 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 5pm on Friday 22nd December and will re-open with a skeleton staff on Wednesday 27th, Thursday 28th and Friday 29th December at 9am – 5pm.  Normal business resumes at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.  For customers with 24/7 cover, our auto-attendant service will answer all calls during closure and will route to the engineers on call.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and all the best for a prosperous 2018

3 Digit numbers and helplines

Posted November 27th, 2017 by

Do you know the 3 digit telephone numbers to use for the various helplines?

Here’s the low down on the most popular used numbers.

999 is the traditional emergency number within the UK. This service has been operating for 80 years and caters for all life-threatening emergencies handled by Police, Ambulance and Fire & Rescue services.  This number is free.

112 is also for emergencies. There is no difference between 999 or 112 they both do the same thing.  112 is the result of a 1994 EU directive to standardized emergency numbers across Europe. The number is free.

111 This the NHS medical advisory service, which is a non-emergency service, to be used when the situation is not life threatening. The number is free.

101 is the Police non-emergency number. You should use this number if you want to report a crime that does not need an emergency response. Calls to this number are not free. The charge is currently 15p per minute regardless of the length of the call or whether you call from a landline or mobile. The charge for this call is made by the carrier not the Police.

105 is the National Power service number.  This is the number to call if you have a power cut or have questions relating to safety issues concerning power.  The number is free.

123 is the Speaking Clock. This service was introduced in Britain in 1936 and is still popular today, receiving more than 30 million calls a year. In 1936 a call to the Speaking Clock was just a penny but today it costs approximately 45p per minute when calling from a landline. This can vary depending on providers so it pays to check.

100 is the Operator. The service can help with all calling issues, reverse call charges and booking alarm calls within the UK.  Charges may vary depending upon provider.

151 is the International Operator. For assistance when making a call or when having difficulty reaching a number outside the UK. Charges may vary depending upon provider.

192 was the number for Direct Enquiries, however this was replaced by the 118 range (for example 118 118) and can be very expensive.  Always check costs if you think you need to use this number.

Ofcom's review leads to £7 reduction on BT's landline-only charges

Posted October 26th, 2017 by

Unfortunately, we have experienced cases where the elderly and vulnerable are suffering at the hands of the telecom giants, especially when it comes to overcharging, so we welcome the latest news from Ofcom.

It is estimated that there are 2.9 million landline-only customers in the UK. Many of these customers are aged 75+ and have probably never considered switching provider, meaning their misplaced loyalty has resulted in a proper fleecing. 

Overcharging those who rely on their landline as a lifeline is completely unacceptable and thankfully Ofcom has now stepped in to regulate the charges.

We don’t mean to suggest that these customers have been targeted, we feel they have simply become victims of a competitive market. Packages for complete services such as landline, broadband and TV have become so popular, that the desire to keep the bundle-favouring-customer happy has been top of the agenda, leaving the landline-only customer behind the times, unserved and overcharged.

Starting with BT, who supply 80% of the landline-only customers, Ofcom reviewed current standalone line charges and have announced there will be a reduction of £7 a month from April 2018.  If you know an elderly or vulnerable person who pays for just a BT landline, perhaps you can pass on the good news and help them to check their bills in the spring, to make sure they’ve received this reduction.

 

Sponsoring in September

Posted July 24th, 2017 by

We enjoy getting involved with the local community, there’s always so much going on and it’s great to be able to lend a hand. That’s why we would like to share two events that might interest you.

We are pleased to say that we are again sponsoring the Friends of Wisdom Hospice Quiz Night. It’s not until September so you have plenty of warning to dust off your encyclopedias and brush up on your general knowledge, to join us for an airing of the old grey matter.
If you have some bright sparks in your office, why not make up a quiz team and join in the fun and whilst we’re at it we can raise some much-needed funds for the hospice.

Did you know that one in three people have been touched by hospice care? When helping at previous hospice events, I have been overwhelmed by the personal stories relating to the support the public has received. The hospice really does an amazing job, but they need your help to continue to do so.

The event will be held on Saturday 16th September at 7pm. The location is Hook Meadow Community Centre in Walderslade, ME5 0TZ. Teams will be made up of 6 people and charged at £6 per person. All you need to bring along is the tipple of your choice together with some nibbles and a pen. To book a table contact The Friends of Wisdom Hospice 01634 831163.

Also in September, we have the pleasure of sponsoring The Independent Business Awards Kent. This is a splendid black tie affair held at the Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone. It’s a time when we come together and support the independent businesses in Kent by celebrating and awarding their achievements.

If you have received brilliant service from a local business that deserves recognition, why not nominate them for an award?
Perhaps you feel your own business efforts deserve acknowledgement? It’s most definitely worth having a go. The nominations are open until 11th August so get nominating and we will see you on the 29th September for the big night. http://iba-kent.co.uk

The Business Diaries - June's storytelling event

Posted July 11th, 2017 by

Looking back on June’s storytelling evening, I think it is safe to say it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. As someone in the audience said ”I just didn’t know what to expect”. Once we were seated there was no going back.
Our storytellers were superb, truly honing in on the theme, Decisions Decisions.


The journey started gently with a delightful story from Andrea Barker, sharing how she made a spontaneous decision to stand up to a certain someone at work. A decision that could have cost her job. How many of us would have the courage to do that I wonder?

Next up was Fiona Stephens, who told us how life changed for her after losing her husband. This is where the roller coaster took on speed with a few heart bursting dips. Just at the point where we could take no more, Fiona had us on the upward climb, laughing and marvelling at the realities of life. What an amazing woman, she has truly seen despair but has made some inspirational choices to move on to where she is today.

Hilary Steel’s story whizzed us through her childhood and told how her recent decisions very much link with her early days spending time in her parent’s restaurant and how she has always had a love of cooking and a desire to perform.

The Comedy Cook concluded, in true authentic Hilary style, that the only problem with that is “she can’t cook and isn’t funny” but we all know that won’t stand in her way!

There were a few twists and turns when Denise Wilton took to the floor.
She took us through some entertaining accounts where the right decision saved her from a career with an ‘Adult’ TV channel and after falling off stage, how her ‘the show must go on’ decision saved the day.

Don't worry Denise, your secrets are safe with us!

So, the end of the roller coaster was just around the corner and who knew what would happen next, especially as it was the turn of Paul Andrews!


Paul revealed an amusing story of how, as a 16-year-old, he made the decision to grab an opportunity which fast tracked his career. This wasn’t just a narrative, oh no, it came with a full set of actions that had us all giggling and steered the evening’s joyride to a safe and memorable end.

Enormous thanks go to the storytellers for crafting and sharing their stories so well.

Much gratitude goes to Shirley Eastley, Victoria Jones and Marion Edwards for meeting and greeting and overseeing drinks and nibbles. Their organisational skills were most appreciated.

One last vote of thanks goes to Al Frank Monk for taking some great photographs of the evening.

More photos can be found over at the Telcare FacebookPage

The next event will be 14th September at 6.45pm at the Medway Innovation Centre. The theme will be ‘Embracing Change’. Please do join us, tickets are available from Eventbrite
We will provide 5 storytellers, refreshments and nibbles and a guarantee that you will enjoy the evening.