The Networker's Networking Event

Posted September 27th, 2018 by

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

Posted August 29th, 2018 by

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

Posted July 16th, 2018 by

 

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

Posted June 14th, 2018 by

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

Posted May 30th, 2018 by

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

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.