Archive for the ‘News’ Category

 

News from Ofcom

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Today’s news from the telecom’s watchdog, Ofcom, regarding the capping of directory enquiry call costs, is most welcomed, although in our view, somewhat tardy and still expensive!

The capping will bring prices down to £3.65 per 90 second call, a reduction on the current £20 average cost for the same duration but this won’t come into play until April 2019.

For most of us these days, if we want to find a number we will turn to the internet and find it within moments therefore steering clear of the rip off prices.  However, those without internet access are paying the price.  Research has shown the majority of people using the directory enquiry services are likely to be over 65. They use the service in good faith unaware that they are incurring massive costs. Of course, this results in bills that many cannot afford to pay.

We have received reports from two customers saying they had been charged £78 and £92 for using the 118 118 service and could not understand why it was so much.  In both instances they had agreed to be put through to the number they were looking for. The charges are ridiculously expensive. Not only were they paying high fees for the initial enquiry, but they continued to pay premium rates for the entire duration of the call.  A 30-minute phone conversation could easily cost you £150 and much more if calling from a mobile.

If you must use this service, NEVER let them connect you. Write the number down, hang up and dial the number yourself, it may be slower, it may be less convenient but one things for sure, it will be cheaper.

It may be useful to know that there is a special service for people with disabilities. 195 is a free service offered by BT for people who cannot read or hold a directory due to disability or illness. You will need to complete a form and get it signed by your GP to use this service. You can apply by calling 0800 587 0195 between 9am – 4:30pm Mon – Fri to request an application form.

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.

The Networker's Networking Event

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

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.

 

Staying Safe

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

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

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

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

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

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.

Charity Quiz

Monday, February 5th, 2018

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

Friday, January 12th, 2018

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 ...

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

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.

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

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

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.