Archive for the ‘Business Telephone Systems’ Category

 

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.

Keeping Cool - Tips to prevent your Comms Room from overheating

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

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.

Intermittent Line Faults

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Intermittent faults can be very frustrating for everyone involved. Trying to trace and resolve the fault is as difficult for the engineer, as it is for the customer who is trying to convince the engineer that there is definitely a fault!

Line faults often lie with the provider but it’s not always easy getting them to accept liability. An engineer’s visit will only consist of a 15-minute test and the likeliness of the fault occurring during this time is not high. This will then be classed as a failed visit and you, the bill payer, will be charged.
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We understand that aside from the irritation it can be disruptive to your business too, so we are always keen to find a solution as quickly as possible.

We have found that by collecting accurate and detailed information of the fault is very helpful. We ask our customers to record 5 examples of the fault with as much detail as possible, such as the date and time of the call, whether it was inbound or outbound, where the call has come from and the issue experienced. This can highlight trends, which makes it easier to pin point the cause. We have designed a spreadsheet to help, which, once completed can be sent on to the line provider, who will then have more information to work on.

Tips for using voicemail

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Recording your message
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 if you are away.
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Let the caller know what you expect them to do.
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, reference number etc

Update the greeting regularly
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 message 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!

De-clutter your mailbox
Get in the habit in 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.

Check it’s working
Every so often listen to your message 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.

Telephone System Repair

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Having access to a professional telephone system repair service may help your business avoid calamity in the event of a technical problem.

This type of service comes in all shapes and sizes so it is well worth checking what is available and what would suit your needs before disaster strikes. You may be looking for some assistance on an ad-hoc basis or perhaps you would prefer a more permanent agreement.  Do you require cover for standard office hours or are weekends just as important?  Clearly, if you and your customers work at unusual hours then your maintenance and support engineers will need to be available likewise.

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Of course, the cost of these support contracts may vary depending upon the level of support you’re asking for. If you want support that means engineers arrive at your site very quickly and at unsocial hours, then that may cost a little more than a contract that’s based essentially upon standard working hours i.e. Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Having a maintenance provider on board can also act as a preventative measure. Regular attention can help reduce the likelihood of your system failing.  Your supplier may even give you and your colleagues a few tips that you could carry out yourselves with a little training and familiarisation.

Electrical Work

It is an unfortunate fact that some business telephone systems may be so obsolete they are virtually unsupportable. In some extreme cases this may mean that in the event of a major crash, the system cannot be restored. It may be a case of it not being economically worthy of a repair and some maintenance suppliers may refuse to take it under cover.

In such a situation, it may be highly advisable to consider a full system replacement – an investment that may pay for itself quickly, not only in terms of the additional functionality provided but also through reduced service and support charges.

We understand that many businesses are under financial pressure and the temptation to economise on telephone systems support and maintenance may be strong. However, before surrendering to those temptations, it may be worth thinking what it would do to your business if you were without phones and your other business telecoms services?

Brushing up on Security

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the last few years you’ll be very aware of the ever increasing threat of online fraud.  Computer hacking, identity fraud, credit card theft you name it. In fact there’s even a fraud relating to fraud!

Criminals are working on new scams daily so we really do need to keep on our toes to stay one step ahead.canstockphoto22826038

Unfortunately telephones haven’t escaped the long list of fraudulent activity and sadly hacking into an organisation’s telephone system is big business.  Fraudsters have developed a way to hack into telephone systems and then make multiple calls to premium rate or international numbers. Unsuspecting businesses are often not aware of this until they receive a huge telephone bill.

Here are a few tips to help prevent this type of fraud.

  1. Voicemail features are often the route the hacker uses to gain access to your system. Do not use the default passwords like 0000 and 1234, choose a personal number and change it regularly.
  1. Ask your maintainer to bar overseas and premium rate numbers being dialled from the system. If you need to use them occasionally then you can change the restriction easily (this might depend on the arrangement you have).
  1. Restrict outgoing calls when the business is closed. Bank holidays, evenings and weekends are prime time for hackers to strike.
  1. Monitor call reporting and call logging features or any similar software that might be working alongside your telephone system. Open ports to your telephone system are like an open door to your house. Any unusual activity would be worth pursuing.
  1. Look through your telephone bill each month in order to identify any suspect use and expenditure.

A point worth remembering is that the responsibility for call usage lies with you, the customer, so be vigilant and make your staff aware of the situation.

Is it time to spring clean your technology?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

They say that 2014 is the year that IT expenditure will increase significantly worldwide.  Spending on cutting edge devices are on the up as more and more organisations are ditching their dated systems in favour of smarter ways of working.  

It can be a daunting prospect having to keep up with the latest technology but the fact is times are a changing and our customers know it.  Today it’s all about convenience; just ask the younger generation they’ve got an app for everything!

There are multiple ways to bring your technology into the 21st century and plenty of features to choose from that can make working more efficient and cost effective.

You can make and receive calls these days from a host of devices, telephone numbers are no longer geographic, calls are significantly cheaper and it can all be managed online.

If you are hanging on to a telephone system that quite frankly belongs on the Antique Roadshow then it may be time to find out about some up to date options. You’ll also be pleased to know that Unify (formerly Siemens) are offering upgrade incentives until October 2014 to customers who are considering making the change.  If you would like to find out more, we would be happy to help.

You can contact us on 0800 376 8484 or at info@telcare.co.uk


Why choose Telcare’s productivity boosting software?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

At Telcare, we always ensure that we offer the most complete telecoms solutions, so that they work hard for you and are a real benefit your business.

Here is a quick reminder about call recording and call management options which are available, designed to boost your business in terms of the customer experience, employee training and evaluation, and overall productivity.

We offer a number of solutions that can be tailored to your own individual business needs. As with all our products and services, we’ll assess your systems, your set up and your budget, and recommend a cost-effective solution that can be merged with your existing telephony systems – as well as allow room for expansion in the future.

While space does not permit a full description of what each product does, here is a taster ...

Call Management

From having the ability to add important information to a recorded customer call that can be delivered in a report, to sophisticated call logging systems, these services will give you an in depth understanding of what your customers need and want.

How may it help your business?

This will enable you to streamline processes and see any “gaps” that may need to be filled in terms of staff training and business communications (such as information on your website, within brochures etc).

Digital Recording – including mobile phone calls

The service provides tamper proof telephone call recording across a number of PBX brands and telephony conventions. Recording can be made over a combination of digital, analogue or IP phones and can be set up to interface with almost any combination of recording inputs and media output requirements. Mobile phone calls can be archived along with voicemails and text messages too.

How may it help your business?

Call recording may be mandatory to comply with government regulations in some industries (such as personal finance) and which will help you achieve your compliance and risk management objectives.

Recording calls can save you time if there is a dispute over “who said what” – as well as being a very useful staff training and development tool.

PC Screen Recording and Performance Management

PC screen and voice recording work simultaneously to see how accurately information is keyed in while an employee is dealing with a telephone call. Performance management packages offer a number of ways in which the handling of calls are monitored – without the need for you to sit in silently on a live call.

How may it help your business?

These services enable you to effectively monitor employee performance, as well as customer satisfaction, helping with training and evaluation. Good customer service helps retain customers while training staff increases productivity.

Speech Analytics

This is an audio search engine which can phonetically search for and retrieve individual recordings to assist with your business needs.

How may it help your business?

Speech analytic software is designed to increase operational efficiency, improve productivity, and aid a rapid response to market conditions. It provides real time access to valuable intelligence about clients and staff.

Call Handling

Designed for contact centres, there are two solutions, offering inbound call-handling and queuing services, providing auto-attendant functionality and increasing outbound call services.

How may it help your business?

These systems can reduce employee idle time by speeding up the outbound calling process as well as call progress analysis and call scripting.

So, if you are looking to improve all or any of the following - customer service, staff performance, capability, and competency – and from proven technology, then why not get in touch today? We’d be very happy to tell you more.

Telephone Etiquette

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Telcare’s Guide to Telephone Etiquette

No matter what your position within a company, the way you answer and deal with a customer telephone call will reflect on the whole organisation. If you answer the phone, you really do have to remember that you are offering a service. Being professional and helpful will make the customer feel appreciated, valued - and more likely to stay with you.

On the other hand, being disinterested, rude and / or unhelpful when answering the telephone will probably drive customers away! They are obviously calling you for a reason, so do your best to help!

Of course, while it is common sense to be professional and polite on the telephone, it can often be easy to forget the “rules” - particularly so if we are distracted or busy, or if you have work experience staff in the office.

Here at Telcare we share some tips on the Do’s and Don’ts of telephone etiquette ...

  1. DO smile when you answer the telephone – it really makes a difference to how you sound to the caller
  2. When answering the telephone, always identify yourself and / or the company – saying just “Hello” means the caller will have to ask if you are such-and-such a business
  3. The above point is particularly important for people who work from home – DON’T let children answer the telephone - or get a separate work-only telephone line installed
  4. DON’T answer the telephone if you are eating / drinking / chewing – no one likes to hear munching and slurping on the other end of the phone!
  5. DON’T say that someone is in the loo / making a cup of tea / missing etc if they receive a telephone call. Say that they are in a meeting and take a message – much more professional!
  6. If the person the caller wants to speak to isn’t in the office today, DON’T ask them to call back tomorrow. If you cannot help them yourself, take their name, telephone number and a short message - and make sure you pass the details on
  7. DON’T use slang; swear; or carry on another conversation in the background
  8. DO listen – many of us are guilty of not fully focusing on a telephone call!
  9. If taking a message, DO repeat it back to the caller to make sure you have taken it down correctly
  10. DON’T let the telephone ring more than three times if possible
  11. If you need to put someone on hold, ask their permission first and thank them
  12. DON’T interrupt a caller - and never engage in an argument. Always be polite and sympathetic
  13. DO return telephone answerphone calls and messages promptly. If you are apathetic dealing with a customer, they will take their business elsewhere
  14. Finally, ensure that any new or temporary members of staff take a look at these tips before letting them loose on the phones!

We hope these reminders will be useful to you. Whether you are the receptionist or the Chief Executive, the office telephone is a shop front to your clients - so make sure you portray the most professional image possible!

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!