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Employee Leaving – seven things to remember

An employee leaving is often a stressful time – and if it’s not a happy split could cost your business thousands in lost revenue or expenses. Here are seven tips you can take to protect your business and make the employee leaving as hassle free as possible.

1 Numbers

Did the leaver have a DDi? Don’t miss a call by recording a voicemail message to say it’s no longer in use or forwarding the number on. Learn how to do this for Horizon, InBound and iPecs.  If the employee leaving was part of any Hunt Groups make sure to edit these.

2 Email

Change the password on any email accounts the employee leaving had access to. Consider how you are going to manage the closing of that email address. Shutting it down too quickly may result in customers and suppliers not being able to reach you, or worse, new business opportunities being missed. Use options like forwarders to send any emails to alternative addresses and auto responders to let people know that that email is no longer in use.

3 Infrastructure

If the leaver was involved in the management of your telecoms systems, IT infrastructure or any other technical systems you have, make sure these are reviewed. Change login details, review user permissions and update security settings. Find out how to make changes to your Deep Blue provided services at our knowledgebase.

4 Portals

With workers moving away from the traditional office environment, many systems now have online portals. These can be accessed anywhere at anytime. Take time to review portals to make sure that they are up to date and that only those who should have access, do. To find out how to manage your Deep Blue provided services visit our knowledgebase.

5 Suppliers

Suppliers are the lifeblood of many companies. If the leaver dealt with your company’s suppliers make sure they are updated. Tell them of the employee leaving and who their new point of contact will be. You can update your Deep Blue approved contact by completing our Contact details form.

6 Training

Arrange training for new staff so they are ready to take over from the employee leaving. At Deep Blue we provide free refresher and new starter training on Horizon and InBound. Specialist training on other systems with one of our highly trained engineers is also available. To learn more or to book email theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk or call 0333 240 9100.

7 Leaving do

Plan the party safe in the knowledge that everything else is taken care of (whether you invite the leaver is up to you….)

As business communication specialists Deep Blue are available to support you – whatever the situation. Not yet a customer? Speak to us today about moving your services to Deep Blue.

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Bank Holiday Call Plans on Horizon and Inbound

Horizon

Use Call forward and Divert options to send calls to mobiles. Set up Voicemail to email alerts so you get copies of your Voicemail messages sent to your email for you to listen to where ever you need to. Use the Hunt Group schedule facility to plan your call plans in advanced.

Horizon Call Forward Hunt Group

Send calls to your mobile or home phone using the Hunt Group Call Forward options. Go to Call Groups>Hunt Group, click Edit next to the Hunt Group you wish to forward. To send calls directly to your Divert number, go to Advanced Settings and use the call forward option (make sure to hit Save whenever you make changes!).

To forward to another number after first ringing on your Horizon handsets go to Options and Use the Forward after x seconds option.

Voicemail to Email Hunt Group

Receive an email notification whenever someone leaves you a voicemail, including the date, time, callers number and a copy of the recording. Go to Call Groups>Hunt Group and click edit next to the number you wish to make changes to. Go to the Voicemail tab tick the box for ‘Notify me at this address’, type the address you wish the email to be sent to and click save.

Hunt Group Schedule

Add Bank Holidays into your call Schedule. Under Advanced settings, click Edit Next to Schedule, then click the plus sign next to Additional Routing.

Name your Schedule and click Create. On the Add Event screen give your event a name and specify the start and end dates (these are displayed in month/day format). If you untick the box marked All day event you can specify your start and end times.

Once you have set your date and time you can then click create. You can add further events by clicking on Add event again. Once all your events are created, close the window. Finally, click Save.

Not sure

Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Bank Holiday Horizon Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

Inbound

Create a Bank Holiday call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them, when you need them. Add in a Divert node to build additional destination numbers if your main destination is busy or unavailable. Use the ‘Schedule Activate Option’ so you can build your Call Plan in advanced, knowing it will activate when you need it to.

InBound Date and Time Control Nodes

These nodes allow you to set different termination points on different days and at different times (e.g. one for Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and one for evenings and weekends). When you add these nodes into a call plan two boxes appear, one called control and one called default. Click on the control box to specify certain days and times and then drag a destination node onto the box to specify your termination number. Drag a destination node onto the control box and any days/times not listed on the control box will follow this routing.

InBound Divert Node

This allows you to set alternative destinations if a destination number is busy, not answered or suffering from a network error. Simply drag a divert node onto a destination node and then add destinations for each of the three options.

InBound Schedule Activate

Once you have built your call plan, instead of clicking Activate, click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears specify the start date and time for this call plan then click Done. Your call plan will appear as if it is already active but if you go back to the call plan list it will show your call plan with the date and time it is due to activate next to it.

Not sure

Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Bank Holiday Inbound Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

Stay Scam Safe

Stay Scam Safe with our top tips

Telephone scams, which target both business and residential customers, are always a nuisance. Here are some top tips to help you stay scam safe:

Don’t trust the number on the display

Scammers are able to present numbers to make it appear like they are calling from the company they are claiming to call from. A legitimate company will always be happy for you to end the call and call them back.

If you answer a call and it is an automated message giving you the option to press a key to call back: don’t!

You have no way of verifying what number you will then be connected to. This leaves you unable to verify if you are being connected to the organisation or company that the call claims to be from. You may also end up with a large bill – many scams use this method to route you on to a premium rate number which generates charges that go straight into the scammers pockets.

If you do decide to call a company back, ideally call from an alternative number

If this is not possible then it is best to wait a while before using your line to dial out. Scammers have been known to keep lines open so you think you are dialing out to the legitimate organisation, but instead are still talking to them. They have even been known to play dummy dial tones down the line.

Never allow these callers to talk you through installing anything on your computer

Deep Blue and many other companies do, on occasion, use remote desktop facilities to carry out work on customer’s behalf. We will never contact you out of the blue to do this. This is only ever done on a prearranged basis. If remote works are needed we will agree a date and time with you in advance and give you details of the engineer who will be contacting you.

Deep Blue will never call you asking for immediate payment over the phone

If an invoice should fall overdue we will send notification to the registered accounts contact advising them of this, along with details on how they can pay.

Deep Blue will never threaten to immediately cease your service due to payment or usage issues.

We always endeavour to work with our customers to resolve issues before they reach the point of having their service suspended. On the rare occasions that we do have to suspend a service we always provide written notice of this before it happens, along with details of how to prevent this from happening.

Use the resources available to you to Stay Scam Safe

If you are using a landline: make sure you have registered for TPS. This can’t stop all nuisance calls getting through to you but it can reduce the number. For customers on the Horizon platform, the blacklist can be used to block nuisance numbers. Check with your provider to see what kind of fraud protection services they have in place. At Deep Blue we work with our carriers to provide a range of added safety services on our lines as standard. These services monitor your call traffic and can alert us to any suspicious activity. They can even automatically apply temporary call barring to limit your exposure should you get hacked or scammed.

To discuss your telecoms, contact us at theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk or on 0333 240 9100. If you would like to know more on how to stay scam safe, the Met police have a number of resources available like their Little Booklet of Phone Scams.

Bank Holiday Call Plan – InBound

Create a Bank Holiday call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them, when you need them. Add in a Divert node to build additional destination numbers if your main destination is busy or unavailable. Use the ‘Schedule Activate Option’ so you can build you Call Plan in advanced, knowing it will activate when you need it to.

InBound Date and Time Control Nodes

These nodes allow you to set different termination points on different days and at different times (e.g. one for Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and one for evenings and weekends).When you add these nodes into a call plan two boxes appear, one called control and one called default. Click on the control box to specify certain days and times and then drag a destination node onto the box to specify your termination number. Drag a destination node onto the control box and any days/times not listed on the control box will follow this routing.

InBound Divert Node

This allows you to set alternative destinations if a destination number is busy, not answered or suffering from a network error. Simply drag a divert node onto a destination node and then add destinations for each of the three options.

InBound Schedule Activate

Once you have built your call plan, instead of clicking Activate, click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears specify the start date and time for this call plan then click Done. Your call plan will appear as if it is already active but if you go back to the call plan list it will show your call plan with the date and time it is due to activate next to it.

Not sure

Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Bank Holiday Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

Bank Holiday Call Plan – Horizon

Use Call forward and Divert options to send calls to mobiles. Set up Voicemail to email alerts so you get copies of your Voicemail messages sent to your email for you to listen to where ever you need to. Use the Hunt Group schedule facility to plan your call plans in advanced.

Horizon Call Forward Hunt Group

Send calls to your mobile or home phone using the Hunt Group Call Forward options. Go to Call Groups>Hunt Group, click Edit next to the Hunt Group you wish to forward. To send calls directly to your Divert number, go to Advanced Settings and use the call forward option (make sure to hit Save whenever you make changes!).

To forward to another number after first ringing on your Horizon handsets go to Options and Use the Forward after x seconds option.

Voicemail to Email Hunt Group

Receive an email notification whenever someone leaves you a voicemail, including the date, time, callers number and a copy of the recording. Go to Call Groups>Hunt Group and click edit next to the number you wish to make changes to. Go to the Voicemail tab tick the box for ‘Notify me at this address’, type the address you wish the email to be sent to and click save.

Hunt Group Schedule

Add Christmas, Easter and other Bank Holidays into your call Schedule. Under Advanced settings, click Edit Next to Schedule, then click the plus sign next to Additional Routing.

Name your Schedule and click Create. On the Add Event screen give your event a name and specify the start and end dates (these are displayed in month/day format). If you untick the box marked All day event you can specify your start and end times.

Once you have set your date and time you can then click create. You can add further events (such as New Year) by clicking on Add event again. Once all your events are created, close the window. Finally click Save.

Not sure

Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Bank Holiday Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

23

Predictions for 2021 and it’s all about speed

The Year Covid Hits 2020

Nobody could have anticipated the events of 2020 and the impact the pandemic would have on our everyday lives. Indeed, talk at the beginning of the year was all about our breakaway from the European Union. Then along came Covid and one thing is for sure that businesses in the main will not be going back to the working practices prior to March of last year.

The year of Covid has taught us a great deal about the kind of connectivity both companies and consumers will demand. To say lockdown proved just how much the UK needs high-capacity fibre is a bit of an understatement, moving forward. 

April 2020 and a change to working habits

From 23rd March, 20, lockdown one; if you can work from home, do so, was the Government’s instruction. Demand for solutions to enable this went through the roof and we were never busier in catering for the wants, needs and requirements from our existing customer base. This, in turn, led to a rise in new customers seeking solutions their providers were struggling to accommodate. Taking VoIP phones home, Horizon Collaborate, Zoom and Microsoft Teams were in huge demand for immediate deployment as businesses looked to connect armies of remote workers to cloud based services and video conferencing.
With a lack of decent broadband in many areas problems began to occur. We are sure many of you would have been on numerous video calls and experienced a problem on most. Someone would freeze mid-sentence or stuttering audio sound. Someone else might drop out altogether and be required to dial back in. 

Moving forward – 2021

It is inevitable that Covid will leave a lasting impression on the way we work, with hybrid working models – whereby, employees spend some of the week in the office and some of it at home – set to become the norm.

We will need more bandwidth, and lots of it. Openreach’s decision to retire the legacy, copper-based infrastructure by 2025 should accelerate the pace of fibre roll-out which cannot come soon enough for many.

UK Fibre providers, historically, have been able to focus on bandwidth requirements at business centres during the day and residential suburbs in the evening. Now, business districts are all but silent while residential areas hum with almost continual digital activity. 

While businesses continue to take advantage of the various grants available to invest in high-capacity leased lines, remote workers will increasingly need FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) internet connectivity. Your need for speed will depend on what exactly you do, but in the new world of work there may be more than one home worker in any household. FTTP speeds of around 100/300Mbps are probably more than enough for now, but it is not too much of a stretch to imagine data-hungry multi-homeworker residences requiring 1Gb connectivity in the not-too-distant future. Most end-users with fibre, at present, will be getting a maximum download of 80Mbps on FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) – the green box at the end of the street. 

In conclusion

Deep Blue can source and supply the best deals from the likes of BT, Virgin, Vaioni, Talk Talk, SES, Gamma, Zen, City Fibre to name but a few. With Government-funded grants available why not give us a shout and find out what works best for you…it’s all about speed.

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6 Steps to hit the ground running in 2021

In 2020 the rule book has been torn up and we have all had to adapt and change in order to meet the unique challenges that have been thrown at us. As the year draws to a close, it’s time now to take stock, evaluate and start looking ahead to 2021.

Reflection

While we hope 2021 will be different, there is still a lot we can take away from the last 12 months. Reflect on how your business has adapted, what changes you have had to make. What have you done well? What areas could be improved on? Where did you fail?

Do you plan on reverting back to pre-Covid working ways or will you be carrying forward some of the changes? Some level of home working has had to become the new normal for many of us. There are pros and cons to home working, both for the individual and for the company. A careful weigh up of these will be needed when deciding whether to continue with some level of home working or not.

Reflection should not just be limited to your company but also to the market you work in. How has that changed? Do you expect a post-Covid bounce back or a long term impact and how can that be managed? Should your focus next year be on driving for new business or retaining existing business?

Try to keep your analysis honest and accurate. While it’s fine to try and make predictions, try to avoid pre-conceptions because, as the last year has taught us, anything can happen.

Understand your market

Understanding your customers, their needs and the challenges that they face is important to any business. It should inform all areas of your business from stock and staff levels to marketing strategies. Even if you have a pretty clear idea of what your market looks like, after the last year it is good idea to re-evaluate how things may have changed.

Talking to your customers is a great way to keep a feel for the market and understand how businesses are doing. Who’s hurting and who’s thriving, where are people spending and where are they cutting back.

Make SMART goals

Whether it’s sales targets, consolidation or expansion plans, marketing strategies or any other plan, make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound).

You may decide that you want to improve your customer service, but an improvement will have different definitions to different people. This also is difficult to attain as improvement is something we want to strive for continually. Instead be more specific and measurable e.g. to decrease complaints by 20% or to increase your customer ranking from four stars to five.

By making your goals measurable you increase your chances of achieving them, and give your team the boost of being able to see things ticked off.

When planning your goals, make sure all the relevant teams are involved. A customer service goal for example, may need input from other departments as well. If delivery times are an area generating complaints then logistics need to be part of any plans. If people aren’t hearing about your latest offers then marketing need to join the discussion.

Actions and Tactics

The actions you take now will shape the future of your business so it is important that they not only reflect the current climate but tie in with your plans for the future.

With COVID restrictions still in place and looking to be around for a while longer yet, it is important that the actions we take now and in early 2021 are realistic. If you usually rely on and budget for face to face events like trade shows and expos, have a good think about how likely any of these events are to take place and be well attended. It might be time to invest that money elsewhere such as by increasing your online marketing or building a new website.

Budget

The last year has had a financial impact on many business and sectors. In the year to come, planning your budget will be more important than ever. While many businesses will be looking to make savings, it is important to not cut corners. Using the plans and goals you make will help in deciding exactly where your resources need to go.

Track your results

While conducting reviews are great, they can only tell you what is and isn’t working after the event. By tracking your results you can see how things are going as they progress and make tweaks and changes much faster.

To Finish

If 2020 has taught us anything it is how to be adaptable. As we move into 2021, there is hope of an end in sight, of a return to normality but there will still be a lot of challenges to overcome before we reach that point. And even when we do come out the other side, somethings will still be different: just because it was the normal way to do things before doesn’t mean it was the best way.

We would like to close by thanking our amazing customers for their support and patience during an unprecedented year. As you can imagine, when the first lockdown was announced we had to help facilitate a lot of people in the move to home working in a very short space of time. It is only thanks to the patience of our customers and the hard work of our team that we were able to achieve this.

Is it time to put your system out to pasture?

There’s never been a better time to switch to VoIP

At Deep Blue we currently have funding to offset the cost of new Horizon hardware. Couple this with the Connectivity+ Voucher scheme and there has never been a better time to switch to VoIP.

Funding is available for both existing and new Deep Blue customers, whether you are currently on VoIP or not.

Making any type of change to your business can be a daunting prospect, especially in the current climate. This is why we have put together the following guide on the key points to consider and debunked some of the common myths around SIP.

Is it time to put your system out to pasture?
Is it time to put your system out to pasture?

What to consider

Company Structure

What is your company’s structure? Are you all based in one location? Or do you have multiple sites or homeworkers? How do these sites need to be managed?

With Horizon you can choose how you manage calls at different sites and adapt and change them whenever you need to.

Department Needs

How do each of your company’s departments operate? Are they desk based, out in the field or a bit of both?

Do you have a receptionist or gatekeeper?

Do some staff deal with calls from multiple departments or numbers? Do they need to be able to move in and out of these hunt groups?

With Horizon you can mix and match hardware and apps to give each staff member exactly the setup they need. A handset with side car for reception, laptops with video calling for training, seamless integration of desk phone and mobile app for sales.

The easy to use Horizon online portal allows you to manage your hunt groups at the click of a button. You can move staff in and out of Hunt Groups, re-route calls, add voicemail without the need for an engineer appointment.

The Weaknesses of your current setup

What does your current setup do well and where does it fall short? What are the issues that cause your colleagues problems? Are you missing functions you really need? Are you paying for extras that you never use?

Once you have identified what your main issues are, your Horizon system can be tailored to truly meet your company’s needs.

Cost

They say time is money and in business this is particularly true. Not only are VoIP systems like Horizon cost effective, they can also be setup quickly.

Our fastest turn around was for a company who found out their sales team needed to be able to record calls for compliance. They contacted us at 10am and by 2pm they had three sales staff making and taking fully compliant calls on Horizon.

Adaptability

What changes will you need to make over the coming months? Is your business impacted by seasonal peaks in call volume? Will you need to support staff in working from home as well as the office? Are you potentially going to need to move site due to changes in needs or the end of a lease?

We understand not everyone wants to get into making changes to their phone setup, which is why our support team is on hand to assist you in any tweaks you may need doing.

But for those companies where adaptability is key, Deep Blue provide full training on your Horizon portal so that you are fully in control of your calls.

Present different numbers for different departments. Move staff in and out of hunt groups in response to demand, for example if you are taking more calls due to a promotion. Schedule your calls to route differently at the busiest parts of the day. Feel fully in control with full call stats and analytics.

Still not sure if you want to change?

Deep Blue has secured funding for both new and existing customers to help offset the cost of your new Horizon system. For many businesses, this will make your new handsets completely free of charge.

The Connectivity+ Voucher scheme can also help if you need to upgrade your broadband connection to make full use of VoIP. Our post on the Connectivity+ Voucher scheme has more details.

Service Quality

If you have never used VoIP before you may have reservations about the service quality. Here are some of the key myths debunked.

The call quality is lower than that of fixed line

For many of us, our first experience of VoIP will have not been a good one. Tinny, distorted sound; delays, packet loss and that was if the call got through in the first place!

Early VoIP was subject to many limitations. The broadband connection it ran over, the hardware it used (often built in speakers and microphone on a PC or laptop), the software powering it.

But things have come a long way and modern SIP call quality is more than comparable to ISDN.

It will be expensive

Often the latest tech comes at a price, usually a high one. But SIP is a very cost effective solution. Unlike ISDN, you are not subject to the same engineer costs should you need to expand your system or make changes.

We offer Horizon bundles with inclusive minutes so that you can know what your bill will be each month.

Add in the lower upfront cost of SIP vs ISDN and the savings soon add up.

It is an unproven technology

SIP technology is trusted by thousands of companies, big and small, across the UK. Deep Blue have been running our offices off SIP for more than 10 years.

With the approaching end of life for ISDN, more and more companies are making the switch every day.

The Horizon development team are always working to expand and further develop the service. Taking on feedback from users to constantly improve the platform and it’s functions.

It will be too much hassle to change

Changing phone systems used to be a resource intensive process, often resulting in disruption and extended downtime. The migration to SIP is surprisingly easy and quick.

You can even run Horizon alongside your current system to keep downtime to a minimum.

At Deep Blue we manage the migration process for you, taking the hassle out of the switch to SIP.

What next?

Ready to make the change? Whether you are already on SIP and are looking to improve your system or are looking to jump from traditional telephony, our friendly team is on hand to help you get started.

Still not sure? Our knowledgeable team can answer any questions you may still have. We can also provide demos of Horizon so you can see what the service is like before making any decisions.

Contact us today on 0333 240 9100 or theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

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Connectivity+ Vouchers

The Connectivity+ Voucher scheme is offering funding of between £500 and £3,000 to help local businesses cover the cost of upgrading to faster, more reliable digital connections or broadband.

As a company based in Wetherby and providing services to many businesses in the surrounding areas we know all too well how inconsistent broadband speeds can be around here. An office at one end of the street may be enjoying super fast fibre, while just a few doors down, they may be getting by on a 3 Mbps ADSL connection.

We’ve worked hard over the years to try out many different ways of delivering connectivity to our end users and we are pleased with the improvements we have been able to offer to many local companies. But we know that many of these solutions come at a cost and, particularly in the current climate, this may leave faster broadband still out of reach of some businesses.

This is where the Connectivity+ Voucher scheme comes in. They are designed to help cover some of the costs of upgrading your connection.

Vouchers can also be used to cover other costs associated including:

  • The actual cost of the installation i.e. the cost of the physical connection, including excess construction costs to reach a network
  • Hardware related to facilitating the connection e.g. a firewall, router, receiver/antennae (for wireless connections)
  • Virtual servers and software licences (subject to limitation of upfront costs only)
  • Internal ethernet network cabling
  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony
  • Consultancy/project management cost to install a connection – capped at 25% of the value of a voucher

They can even cover some, or all, of the cost of the first years rental of a connectivity solution providing the first year is paid to the supplier in full at the start of the contract.

Connectivity+ Vouchers are intended to help businesses upgrade to higher speed business grade broadband. They can be used to get your speed over 30 Mbps if it is currently under that, or to double your speed if you currently get over 30 Mbps.

To find out more about what options maybe available to help your business take it’s connectivity to the next level, contact us today.

recording calls

What kind of call recording is right for your business?

Whether you see call recording as a box to tick on your compliance checklist, a training tool or as part of dispute resolution: with Horizon it is quick and easy to get started.

But which version of Call Recording is right for your business? Our helpful chart shows the key differences between Horizon standard and enhanced call recording to help you choose the product that is right for your business.

To find out more about Horizon call recording or to order speak to one of our friendly team on 0333 240 9100 or at theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk