#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.

Keeping Cool - Tips to prevent your Comms Room from overheating

Posted June 21st, 2017 by

Whilst we are revelling in the current sunshine and summer temperatures, there will be those struggling to cope and it’s not just humans. As the mercury rises our electronic equipment can become extremely vulnerable.

During periods of high temperatures, it’s very important to keep an eye on your hardware, such as telephone systems and data servers. The increase in temperature can lead to your systems overheating and when this happens the reliability of the equipment can be dramatically reduced. In fact, your business can be seriously affected if your servers suddenly give up due to the heat.

Of course, some equipment will be tougher than others, but if you aren’t fortunate enough to have the very latest technology and huge amounts of money to install a state-of-the-art air conditioning system, then you may find your equipment needs a helping hand.
Most businesses house their equipment in a Comms Room or Server Room and have some form of air conditioning to keep things cool. An ideal temperature range is thought to be between 64 – 80 degrees fahrenheit. It’s worth keeping a close eye on the temperature and making sure it doesn’t exceed these figures.

If you do not have the luxury of air conditioning, there are a few things you can do to try and keep things under control.

Don’t over load the room with equipment that is not critical to the business. The more equipment the more heat is generated.

Buy a thermometer and check the temperature on a regular basis.

Make sure there is adequate air flow.

Turn off unnecessary items such as fluorescent lights to reduce the heat.

Consider investing in a portable air con unit. The cost may be less than the possible expenditure that down time may lead to.

Can we help?

Posted May 31st, 2017 by

At Telcare, we have many years of technical experience and knowledge of the telecommunications industry and feel that reason, combined with our honesty and integrity, is what keeps our customers coming back.

We understand that while business telecoms systems and telephone systems maintenance services tend to fall into standard categories, your needs may not. We know that every customer has a unique set of requirements so a tailor made touch is what's needed in order to provide the telephony service you are looking for.

To give you an idea of our services, we can provide you with the following:

- Free audit with telecom solution
- Telephone system sales and installation
- Structured cabling
- Project manage your entire office move
- Order new lines and reduce the cost of your calls
- Reprogramme your system to accommodate your company changes
- Supply additional equipment
- Maintenance

Please do not hesitate to get in touch, even if you feel your question is a small one, we will do our best to help.

The Business Diaries - March Launch

Posted April 11th, 2017 by

If you experienced a funny incident whilst going about your day you are most likely to mention it to your friends or family that evening. You will reel off the sequence of events with no hesitation, share the humour and entertain your loved ones. Congratulations you've just become a storyteller.

Each of us has thousands of stories like that, maybe not funny but nevertheless a story. Our whole life is a series of stories and experiences that help build our knowledge and wisdom. We don't have difficulty in relaying them because they are true, they happened to us. Think about telling your friend over coffee the latest school run saga, did you need a script? Of course not.

When it comes to business, and it's time to sell ourselves and our product or service, we tend to find this a lot trickier. There's so much more going on in our head, we need to deal with the fear of not knowing our audience, the desire to be liked, relaying all the boring facts about our business, oh and don’t forget that nagging pressure of needing to make a sale or ten. How on earth can we remember the presentation we put together, let alone our 60 second intro!

The Business Diaries tries to bridge the gap, storytelling with a business focus. A story from the heart. Enjoy engaging with your audience; who after ten minutes of listening will get a very good idea of who you are, and will place you firmly on the ladder of 'the know me, like me, trust me' process.

On March 23rd, the Business Diaries was launched. A group of business men and women got together to practise the art of storytelling. This involved two simple skills, speaking and listening, both equally important. Six Storytellers entertained us with tales relating to a theme of Working Away. From a case of shattered confidence in Greece, being the face of TGIs and working in PJs, to taking a quick business trip to Chile, returning years later with a husband and two children. After the interval, we were treated to the tale of working from home, that actually meant working away from home, volunteering to be sawn in half and the anecdotes of accepting different cultures and what to do when your dinner starts moving around the plate. As someone said “It was better than watching the telly.”

What a great evening! Perhaps I’d call it “A very British Icebreaker!” As they say “People Buy from People” but what’s missed off from that is “..they know and trust” and we certainly got to know a few people a whole lot more! Don’t worry guys your secrets are safe …yeah right! Neville Gaunt

The Business Diaries was an inspired event. I was thrilled and honoured to share the floor with some fabulous, entertaining, funny story tellers. Fascinating to hear stories from people you have got to know through business, learning things you never knew about them, makes you see them in a totally different light. It was a wonderful opportunity to be part of something new, something that was not business focussed and yet still gave you a networking opportunity in a social and fun way. Aly Harrold

Thanks go to our six brave and amazing storytellers, Amanda Flanders, Molly Wright, Linda Garcia, Jemma Fairclough-Haynes, Aly Harrold and Chris Pollard. Much appreciation also to Al Frank Monk, the Business Diaries Photographer and Shirley Eastley, the Business Diaries Coordinator.

The next event will be June 8th at 6.45pm at the Medway Innovation Centre. The theme will be ‘Decisions Decisions’. Please do join us, tickets are available from Eventbrite