Tony Raynor's Blog

The thoughts and ramblings of a small business owner

Telephone Systems Quickly Cost £s

September 6, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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Express Installation Pricing by BT

The telecoms giant has recently extended delivery times for phone lines. The question is whether they have an ulterior motive for such a retro step. Does their marketing department intend to evolve a premium pricing strategy for those who demand express installation? If so, how cute are they?

Both ISDN2e and ISDN30e used to take 20 working days from date of order but are now 6 and 8 weeks respectively. Businesses were never happy waiting a month for their telephone systems so worsening the wait to 2 months will not please.

Telephone Systems Iconic TowerYou can write to; The Chairman’s Office, BT-PLC, 81 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AJ but they are likely to deflect you by pointing out that their contract to supply is not with you. They will suggest that you raise your issue with the telephone systems reseller you chose. If you fail to win satisfaction immediately all is not lost. Telecoms firms are required to offer an ombudsmen service for when disputes remain unresolved.

Because OFCOM have insisted upon vendors offering formal complaints procedures they have cleverly sidestepped any need for themselves to be involved. The old British Telecom has avoided complainants by pushing out end users to the new distribution channel of resellers.

In summary we all know who is causing the delay but you can’t speak to them as they have no contractual obligation with you. Many will say that this is madness but the world of telephone systems comprehends how this came about. When OFTEL was formed they only regulated BT and how unfair is that? They were akin to boxers fighting with their hands tied behind their back. The shrewd thing to do was disperse the agro and retain profitable divisions. They aren’t stupid!

 

Phone Systems Text

August 29, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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What Business Can Learn from an Anorak

I suspect that most entrepreneurs are akin to me in that they amass knowledge to improve professionalism, even during their daily lives. In this short article I’m going to explore a specific instance of how an extreme hobbyist can often outperform the also-rans.

You see, I’m passionate about phone systems for a reason (I’ll reveal further on). In contrast our loyal customers only demonstrate passion when their telecoms equipment fails them. At Abbey Telecom we’ve always understood this and focussed on ideally positioning ourselves to cure faults considerably quicker than our competitors are able to. In our case this is simply down to one key building block and that is a 20 year effort to accrue ample monetary funding to deal with the unexpected.

Money can’t buy you love but it will make life easier when obstacles present themselves. One can’t predict random challenges especially in a technical field such as telecommunications. It is possible however to invest in healthy stocks of spares, training and diagnostic tackle.

Every industry has deplorable examples of those who only do the job half heartedly by copying elements of the true professionals and hiding behind that identity as imposters. “We maintain all makes of phone systems” is a classic example. It’s a blatant lie, how can they be all things to all men? They’d need a stockholding and staff development regime that would be unsustainable.

I’ve been lucky in that I have never been bitten by the car bug. In fact it breaks my heart to watch such depreciating assets losing value by the second. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the Range Rover driving fraternity as they alleviate my own tax burden in their quest to look a million dollars. However, I do suffer the dreaded 2 wheel fever and I’m attempting to justify it to myself with the mitigation of tiny depreciation comparatives.Phone Systems with oomph

As a self acknowledged obsessive it is not sufficient to purely own a motorbike, it has to be special. I ride a 2.3 litre Rocket III Roadster but it has extensive engine modifications by the UK’s “anorak” of superchargers. I like Richard Albans as a person but it’s his unparalleled enthusiasm to tune vehicles to go faster that is truly magnetic. You can smell his fanatical demeanour when you enter his CNC laden workshop at TTS Performance in Silverstone. He is the number 1 forced induction nut and now my bike has been chosen as a finalist in the custom show at Triumph Live this weekend.

I did promise to uncover the rationale for my fascination with phone systems and it emanates from a previous genre of communications. Back in the late 70s citizens band radios were all the rage and in the absence of FaceBook and Twitter it was our social network. Dissatisfied with 4 watts output I opted for a kilowatt burner and 500 watt pre-amp all feeding a motorised cubicle quad antenna. International conversations were common and this sparked my fire to purchase my inaugural cellphone which weighed so much that it caused me a hernia. The rest is history. So I put it to you that it is an unbridled infatuation that gives market leaders the horsepower to outrun those less serious.
Powerful Phone Systems Firm

Etiquette on Telephone Systems

August 21, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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Why Digital Industries Thrive in the North West

The answer to the disproportionate growth of digital industries is in the movie at the foot of this page. It’s about geography and markets. The main market for consumption in the United Kingdom is London. This is obvious as the population living inside the M25 is approaching 11 million people. Civil servant numbers are high as numerous public sector bodies are based there. As a result more businesses operate within the Capital. Put simply, it is the metropolis for everything from telephone systems to talcum powder!

Meanwhile, regeneration specialists in the northerly provinces are extremely adept at promoting the region as an attractive location. In reality our links to the majority of consumers are abysmal unless by telephone. Preston is over 200 miles from Buckingham Palace. The hard working economic development personnel of Lancashire have finely tuned systems that push our other pluses, such as labour pool, motorway network and recreational resources. They have had terrific success in attracting inward investment in spite of our distance from the action!

Many businesspeople are fully aware of our geographical impediment and have seized distant selling as an opportunity to expand. If you are distributing health supplements from a farm building in the heart of the Ribble Valley (example:. Health Rack) then you have to think beyond the normal boundaries. Holiday tour operators have known this for years (e.g. Gold Medal Travel & Airtours). Working on the telephone is something that Northerners excel at. E-commerce systems are just an extension of mail order.

A significant percentage of Lancs enterprises tend to mask their internet side arms. Discounted pricing strategies work alongside traditional operations but it’s frequently secretive. Unnoticed big players include www.ElectricalDiscountUK.co.uk (Harry Garlick – Barnoldswick) and www.TelephoneSystemsDirect.co.uk (Abbey Telecom = Blackburn). I wrote this post as I’m attending a discussion on this subject tomorrow morning with Motionlab and I believe that there is potential for expansion.

To develop, a little up skilling and more of the same is required. I say this because the “black belts” in this contemporary marketing reside here. Our creative brains are awash with innovative ideas because they are regularly used. The key skill set to improve is probably telephone techniques as Barry states in the video below.

Telephone Systems Traffic

August 15, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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If you are Serious About Internet Marketing …

I meet loads of folk who profess to be committed to web promotion but the event below should sort the wheat from the chaff. A free seminar with a twist is to be held at the top of Ben Nevis at 1300 hours on Friday 5th October 2012. It is the brainchild of London firm http://www.4psmarketing.com who have a reputation for innovation that sits comfortably with our similar profile as innovators in the field of telephone systems.

There will be four presenters speaking about; an exciting brand, 1 interesting technical media company, a motivational speaker and the final spokesperson is to be confirmed. Who knows it may be an expert in telephone systems if I have any wind left in my sails!

Being different is the key to getting noticed if one has a preference for hearing your handsets ringing off hook with inbound enquiries. We’ve done some wacky promotional stuff in the past but the stunt that gets the most mentions is below;

Telecommunications can be a tedious subject for anyone not working in telecoms themselves. My ambition is to simplify the process of researching, buying and living with office phones and systems. I’m well on the way to achieving this via Abbey Telecom’s big telephony site through its comprehensive utilisation of videos for; OfficeServ demonstration clips, Samsung programming tutorial movies and staff telephone training films.

The guys at 4Ps have a name to uphold of evolving some great gorilla campaigns. Check out their blog to discover their record. I’ll gladly take any calls on 01254 272000 if you fancy boulstering the numbers of Northerners ascending the mountain.

July 25, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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Keep Employment Law up to Date Without Breaking the Bank

Small businesses similar to our telephone systems operation seem to be drowning in a sea of bureaucracy coming from Europe. This irritates me somewhat as when I go to France they have no earth wire on their mains electric and persist in draping wires to the fondue across the restaurant floor. Worse still, you’ll often witness plugs to Christmas lights catching water from the melted snow dripping onto sockets. It’s hypocrisy gone mad that we are expected to perform portable appliance tests (PAT) on everything that is plugged in.

In employment law there is a myriad of new legislation that hits our telephone systems outfit annually. Recent changes include; substantial amendments to discrimination rules that cannot be ignored, sick note replaced by fit notes, introduction of Bribery act and verbal warnings trashed if favour of written ones. It’s a minefield that all has an impact on a firm’s documentation.Telephone Systems Contract

If your firm is swelling with surplus cash then you might be using a specialist like Peninsula who will relieve you of considerable coinage. The truly skint may attempt to muddle through the legalese themselves but should cross their fingers crossed as it’s akin to servicing your own car. It can be done but it’s not simplistic for a non-expert.

We hit lucky here at Abbey Telecom when we met a HR expert with the minimal overheads of a SOHO worker. Sandra Rolston of Select Human Resources Ltd has re-written our employee handbooks for an affordable fee and when I received the invoice I couldn’t pay it quick enough. A great job together with her Irish charm just makes me want to share my discovery.

So if you know that you need to correct your paperwork visit www.selecthumanresources.co.uk without delay.

Jumping For Joy

May 18, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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Me Too is Boring … Dare to be Different

Every business should aim to have a “unique selling proposition” but to manufacture a USP is not appropriate. It must be central to your ethos and run through your veins. Everybody has it in them because we are individuals but most suppress it in an effort to be conformist.

As an example, take the Hotel Sant Agusti which was once the Convent of Saint Augustine built in 1720. It’s where the dedicated staff of telephone systems installers, Abbey Telecom, will be hosting their Christmas party. It was chosen for its’ uniqueness by operations manager, Les Prenton. Otherwise known as Captain Holiday!

Telephone Systems Festivities

It all has to be done under the taxman maximum allowance of £150 including flights but our group of telephone systems professionals has a history keeping within budget. You can read about our previous festive jaunts to the likes of Prague, Dublin and Edinburgh in an earlier blog post entitled “Why a Xmas Party in Amsterdam is Justifiable”.

Spending a night in a former convent fits the bill of our non-conventional style. I have always challenged the norm but it is a relief to know that my culture has trickled through to other members of the team and has inspired this year’s booking to Barcelona. Everyone is hoping to soak up the sights and architecture. The Camp Nou stadium is high on the hit-list.

So why do this? It’s about differentiation. People go to work for more than money. Ensuring that employees are rewarded for long term loyalty and remain motivated is a principal objective. It gives a sense of pride to folk that have worked here since 1996.

It is also symbolic of my thoughts on leadership. I am one of those bosses who insist that nobody works beyond 5.30 pm (unless it is a telephone systems engineer who is compensated by overtime). Most telecoms engineers drive a van but ours get an air conditioned estate car. It helps them arrive cool and perform well for customers.

Some would call me a maverick but all of the above facilitates lower HR turnover so that clients have consistent relationships with our personnel. Happy workers are productive.

Telephone Systems Install

April 26, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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Telephone Systems Installation – a Video Training Course

In only forty seven seconds you will understand that telephone systems require a modicum of finesse when they are being installed.

Asking the receptionist for four sugars in your tea might just be acceptable, but using the wrong sort of tools, or not agreeing the precise location of the system could be detrimental to a satisfactory signature on the job sheet!

Unfortunately our heroes may not be covered under any insurance premium and their drill bit is somewhat oversized!

Watch them as they introduce themselves, carefully create a route for the wires and then provide in-depth user-training……..

Fortunately you won’t come across Fred and George causing havoc because they haven’t been on the rigorous courses our technicians have had. Also we’re proud to offer you on-site or on-line training. You can choose whether to take it all on board in a single session with our trainer, or at a more leisurely pace by accessing each of our video clips that lead you through individual features or aspects of the OfficeServ7000 series telephone systems.

When you have hundreds of customers scattered throughout the UK and you’re able to keep them all happy you appreciate it when they vote for you to win the trophy as SME Reseller of the Year. Ours did! We won!

Add to that our manufacturer – Samsung – they have accredited us with their highest accolade – that of Platinum status – and you’ll realise that you’ll be receiving top notch support and services.

What you would normally expect from a supplier with these credentials are higher prices – so you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that we give you a 25% discount – that’s up front with no argument. Furthermore, when it’s time for you to expand your installation, you’ll still receive the same level of discounts.

How do we do that you ask? It’s by keeping out overheads on sales and marketing in tight check. By investing in Internet sites we invite you to contact us, rather than by cold calling – that upsets people. If we’ve provided the majority of the facts you are seeking, then our aim is basically achieved. All we have to do is deliver and install what you actually need – not what we think we can sell you over and above that. That is our promise.

For more information get in touch with the TelephoneSystemsDirect team on 0800 652 8052.

Telephone Training Assists

March 23, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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A Clever Way to Get Inbound Links (Video)

Any webmaster of repute knows that any site linking to your own is regarded as a vote of confidence by Google. It is the method by which search engines are able to judge the human importance of your resource. After you have submitted to directories there is a general need to be mentioned in other areas so that there is a realistic blend of in-links.

Most people then turn to blogs to generate new visitors. It could be their own weblog of events or commenting on a topical blog. Forum contribution is another great vehicle as it allows interaction with other humans. From there we tend to move to article marketing where written articles are distributed to syndication providers such as Ezine. Subsequently, we would be remiss to forget web 2.0 properties. These are such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and umpteen more.

We are forever being told that current wisdom promotes ensuring that any activity is on-topic and this is the formula for success. The brainy part is to evolve a theme that satisfies all of the above criteria. In the ideal world your themes will be something useful and free. This will persuade individuals to promote, discuss and bookmark your resources.

Telephone Training Videos Attract Links

Free Telephone Training Clips are Sticky

Most industries regard their own businesses as being relatively boring to all but their own specific targets. This phone systems vendor fits within that profile. Their question was, how do they create a complimentary service that would be liked by their audience and encourage sharing. Cleverly they turned to the issue of staff telephone training.

After researching the subject thoroughly they wrote 20 top tips on how to best use telephones. Then they commissioned a professional actress to narrate each tip in video format. They went to a distribution outfit to syndicate their movies out to various hosts. It pays not to ignore; Vimeo, MetaCafe, Daily Motion, etc. Each is an opportunity to include relevant text and HTML in descriptions.

The audio-visual content can then be embedded inside your own URL and you are ready to begin tweeting, liking and blogging about your handy clips and pull folk in to look at your phone systems. Because this is a genuine facility with appeal to users there is every excuse to mention it across multiple platforms for others to embrace and recommend. It’s prudent to add a Squidoo Lens and HubPages is superb for disseminating your message.

 

The advice is to think it through before you rush in. You have to uncover a sweet spot of relevancy. It’s easy when you know what to do!

Phone Systems Precaution

March 13, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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The Condom for Business

Recession can be a good thing but it also exposes those without condoms. It is a natural selection process that encourages or eliminates the weak. Out of it comes strong companies who have honed lean techniques to lead their class.

Protectionism is paramount to the commercial mind and the true exponent has little time for entrepreneurs who fail to protect themselves and their creditors through excessive risk taking. Put simply this often translates that over borrowing is a no-no. Lancashire businesses have, in our records, suffered fewer failures due to their canniness.

It is always prudent to investigate the financial picture of a potential suppliers (especially for purchases like phone systems) if you desire agro free continuity. Pick unwisely and you may experience disruption of supply. Many already have and are suffering the consequences. It’s easy to view basic assets and liabilities on Company Check and it doesn’t cost a bean!

Even better, you could subscribe to services like Red Flag Alert and get a complete analysis of facts that will help avert catastrophes. Our Accrington based auditors, Mayes Accountants, have done a deal with Preston firm Begbies Traynor so our useage is discounted yet thorough stats are available. Cash is king and knowing who’s got it and who hasn’t puts you in a winning position.

So why do I think that Northern firms are so canny? I suspect that Northerners survived an industrial trauma that makes contemporary recessions appear trivial. I talk of the demise of the cotton trade and the economic devastation that followed. Coming from the blood of mill town workers means that Lancastrians are built of stern stuff. Our forefathers saw worse and we still went on to invent the jet engine!

Pennine operators do borrow but in moderation. The jargon refers to it as gearing and the majority are wise enough and moderate the dangerous habit. Failure to do this can be terminal.

When downturns arrive I predict that less of our Lancs brethren will be found to be “swimming minus trunks”!

Call Recording Software

February 29, 2012
by Tony Raynor
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The Best Way to Control What Staff Say on the Phone

Most business people are aware that the ultimate tool to monitor what employees are saying to your customers is call recording software. But that can cost more than the actual telephone system itself for smaller businesses. So I am going to reveal the way it can be done for nothing in real time.

OK with call recording software the conversations are actually recorded and archived for later interrogation. It is agreed that this is a truly powerful attribute but do you really need it? I accept that the price has tumbled since the millennium and they are more affordable than they ever were historically. However it does regularly double the value of an order putting this out of reach for almost all SMEs.

Before unveiling the free methodology let us first explore the usefulness of monitoring a conversation. To nearly all commercially minded entities their telecommunications hardware is their window to the world. It is the primary mechanism by which orders are cultivated if not literally closed. Sales departments flourish or wither in direct proportion to their telephony performance.

Even retail orientated operations depend on successful interactions in advance of a buyers visit. They want to know pricing, availability and product specifics before viewing a house or test driving a car. Think for more than a few seconds about it and you will concur that slick handling of prospects is paramount. Do it badly and revenues will suffer because you will lose out to your competition.

There are uncontested benefits to be able to retrieve a conversational record from 2 years ago. In legal disputes this can be an invaluable asset that brings you courtroom victory. This is the rationale for numerous existing clients of call recording software. It is commonly sparked by some disastrous court case and concomitant lawyer’s fees. It’s too late to reverse history but prevention is a wise consideration.

Standardisation of phone answering is highly desirable if you desire to evolve consistent quality from personnel. Policing this is a here and now thing and can be conducted live. You can have immediate post mortems to perfect your employee’s skills on the blower. Like I said, this is totally free provided that you didn’t install high end price-point kit from the States. Avaya invoice you for a “licence key” for features like “executive interrupt”.

If you follow this link to Samsung’s FREE “barge-in” demonstration video you will see how simple it is to earwig on your operators. You’ll soon correct any inconsistencies over your phones. You don’t have to expend a King’s ransom to gain the upper hand in management of your telecoms funnel. The capacity to “barge-in” has been a standard feature for a decade with the Korean manufacturer that we specialise in. In a future blog I will be providing telephone training MPEG clips so keep your eyes peeled!