Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ 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.

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.

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.

Don't get locked in!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

We recently met with a company who have a Siemens phone system, just like the ones we install and maintain. I asked how much they paid for maintenance, they weren’t sure but it prompted them to look into it. It turned out that the person who organised the install of the system and its ongoing maintenance no longer worked at the company. I knew for a system of their size (they had approx 15 phones) we would charge in the region of £500 per annum, obviously subject to a survey.

A few days later I received an email with some shocking figures. Their maintenance costs were more than doubled compared to ours but here is the worrying part; they were locked in to a very lengthy 7 year agreement!

At Telcare we do things differently. Our maintenance agreements are for 12 months, and cancellation, should you wish to leave us, is easy. All you have to do is notify us 60 days prior to the expiry date.

Maintenance costs are determined by the amount of equipment you have, for example a main control unit and handsets.

There are different levels of service too, for some a standard agreement providing cover for the 9 – 5 working day is quite sufficient, however, there are businesses that work around the clock and need 24 hr assistance.

We realise that not every customer has the same requirements so we always try to come up with a flexible plan to suit your business needs.

Here’s the best part, when you call the Telcare helpdesk you get to speak to a real person, and it’s very likely that you will get to speak to the same person the next time you call. We are proud to say that we have formed great relationships with our customers over the years by offering an honest, practical and friendly service.

Moral of this story, don’t get locked in, do a little research, the good guys are out there!

Know your telecoms set up

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Do you know your telecoms set up? This may sound like a strange question to ask, but you’ll be amazed at how many people don’t. And while you may not think it is important right now, should your telephone system fail, you’ll wish that you did – especially when you ring a maintenance company for assistance!

Here at Telcare we’ve produced a checklist that you can download here – completing it and putting it somewhere accessible (for example, on the wall next to the main system) means that, should your system fail, you should be able to get the problem resolved a little quicker.

It also means that if the one person who knows the answers to all the questions is away, the problem can be sorted easily.

Here we look at what you need to know (and why) in a bit more depth. You can also refer to our Troubleshooting Guide too, here, in case the problem is something you can resolve yourself.

  1. What is the make and model of your telephone system? Often this is a difficult question, most people can tell you what it looks like but we seldom find they can recall the make. If you look at the base of your handset it's likely to have the make and model there.
  2. handsets – what model are they and how many handsets do you have?
  3. where is your main system located? Some larger businesses may have a Communications Room, whereas smaller businesses may have them in a cupboard or in the kitchen. You’ll need to know this as one of the first questions you’ll be asked if there is a problem is “are there any lights on?” If there are not any lights on, it could be something simple like the power has been switched off – perhaps by the cleaning lady!
  4. How many phone numbers do you have? List your phone numbers, including any DDi's and fax numbers
  5. what is the size of your system - as in lines and extensions (for example, two phones and four extensions)?
  6. who installed the system? If they are still in business, then they may be your first port of call
  7. how old is your system?
  8. if you have a maintenance contract, what is the telephone number of the system maintainer?
  9. what types of lines do you have – analogue, digital or IP?

10. who is your telephone line provider? (eg BT) The fault could be on the line and not with your system

11. what is your account number with your line provider and their contact number?

12. what else is connected to your telecoms system – for example, do you have call recording? Is there an alarm connected?

13. finally, if it is necessary to divert your telephone lines, where would you like them diverted to? (They can be diverted to a company mobile phone for example).

While this may sound like a lot of information to collate, you only need to do it once and it means that you’ll have everything to hand should you need to call someone for help – meaning your system should be back up and working quickly.

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!

Phone system maintenance – Frequently asked questions

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Here are some of the questions we regularly encounter on the subject of phones and system maintenance.

Why is such maintenance necessary on 21st century systems?

Certain aspects of modern business telephone systems may not have changed much from telephone systems that existed centuries ago.

Wires are still prone to work loose over time, dust can accumulate in circuits, however much filtering is undertaken and parts may still only have a specified life expectancy before replacement might be advisable.

Attending to these things and many others like them, may help reduce the likelihood of you experiencing system problems or even total failures.

Why can't I do some of the maintenance myself?

You can.

We typically will be only too pleased to offer you advice and guidance as to what routine maintenance you may wish to personally undertake in order to keep your system in good order.

However, realistically, only qualified personnel with appropriate training and tools may be able to safely and efficiently undertake certain telephone system maintenance tasks.

There are certain areas where it may not be advisable or even safe to adopt a DIY approach; in fact, in some cases you might invalidate warranties etc. by doing so.

What should we do in a problem situation?

It may be safe to predict that you will want the fastest possible answer to your question or remedy to your problem.

That is why we have a professional helpdesk which you can call to record your problem or ask your question. One of their several responsibilities will be to ensure that your question or problem is tracked and managed to the speediest possible resolution.

Will someone always have to visit our premises to fix the problem?

No. In some cases the helpdesk may well have seen your problem before and may be able to advise you of a very quick solution over the telephone.

In fact, a lot of our fixes are done remotely (though, of course this depends on what type of system and the software). We do have remote access to most of our customers’ systems and just dial in and make the change – meaning less “down time” in your business and minimal costs.

What happens if the help desk don't have an answer?

Their role is to provide or manage the provision of a solution to your particular problem.

In some cases, it is perfectly possible that they may not personally be able to diagnose or remedy your problem. What they will then do is to narrow down the area of the trouble and to call upon specific expertise in that area to assist diagnosis and eventual resolution.

These principles may be documented in the form of a business phone system maintenance contract that may also contain what is called a service level agreement component. Those two things together clarify for you how your support services work, what you need to do in the event of problem and the principles of the service levels you should expect to receive.

What is cheap telephone systems maintenance?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

If you have a relatively modern system, you may be wondering quite why you even need to worry about cheap telephone systems maintenance?

The theory

In fact, it’s not obligatory that you do – but it might be a sensible step to take.

The reason for that is simple and it is to do with a common misperception about warranty periods versus cheap telephone systems maintenance contracts.

If you have a new or newer system, it may be covered by a combination of manufacturer’s and possibly provider’s warranties.

Some people believe that the warranty will take care of everything and that it effectively absolves the system’s owner from all responsibility from problems, at least until such time as the warranty expires.

In fact, that’s typically not the case.

The manufacturer’s warranty typically covers only defects and faults in their product – it is not a total blanket guarantee that everything will be resolved irrespective of its cause.

What else can go wrong?

Modern business telecoms systems require a little maintenance from time to time.

Just as with a new car it is still necessary to periodically check the oil and water etc, in the case of business telephone systems, it is necessary to check their performance statistics and log files etc. It may also be important to check routine things such as that all of your wall sockets have been correctly fastened and are functioning well with the devices plugged into them etc.

This sort of servicing is not typically covered under warranty and it may be even more important if your system is out of warranty.

Taking no chances

Given the sums you may have invested in your technology and its criticality to your daily operation, it may not be wise to take chances and skip this sort of preventative servicing.

Of course, what is cheap to one person may not prove to be cheap to another and selecting an appropriate servicing contract may require a little thought. Certainly, it may be advisable to find one with guaranteed services and it may be possible to incorporate that into a support agreement (for problem resolution) also.

At Telcare we provide a section of guaranteed, tailor-made and cost-efficient telephone systems maintenance services to suit every need and every budget. To find out more, please get in touch.

Telephone systems maintenance in Kent

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Are you based in Kent or the South East? Well, if you’re considering telephone systems maintenance, then Kent and the surrounding areas are covered by our expert engineers.

Yet perhaps you’re wondering if telephone systems maintenance in Kent (or wherever you are) is a sensible investment of your money.

Protecting your investment

Business telephone systems, much like a motor vehicle, require periodic maintenance in order to reduce the chances of failure.

They may have comparatively few moving parts but periodically they need to be cleaned and checked, looking for signs of wear and potential faults etc.

Given that some office telephone systems may represent a significant investment of your capital, it may only make sense to protect it.

Protecting your business

If your telephone system fails, it may be that regular maintenance may have prevented it.

That may be a lot more than an irritation to you – it may seriously damage your daily operations. If you have external clients, they may not try too many times to reach you and fail due to your system being down, before they decide to go elsewhere.

Trying to recover lost customers is not easy nor is success guaranteed. It may be something better avoided.

Protecting your establishment

If you are, for example, an educational or other non-business establishment, your office telephone system may be just as important to you.

Your students and parents may need to contact each other urgently if an emergency arises. Your staff members may need your telephony infrastructure as an important teaching aid or simply to efficiently contact each other to check or make changes to plans etc.

Although you may not have customers to lose, as such, you may well find that your professional reputation suffers considerable damage if your phone system is not functioning correctly.

Cost-effectiveness

It is typically accepted that it costs considerably more to fix a technical problem once it has arisen, than to prevent it happening in the first place.

In our experience this is perfectly true.

The relatively modest costs typically associated with routine maintenance may be considerably more cost-attractive that those associated with needing to call out engineers to deal with what should have been a preventable problem.

So, if you are looking to find out more about telephone systems maintenance in Kent, please don’t hesitate to ask us. We endeavour to offer tailor made solutions to meet your requirements – and your budget!