Snow

Are you winter weather ready? Six things to consider

As the nights draw in and the days get colder it’s time to make sure your business is winter weather ready.

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Do you have a back-up plan?

When bad weather strikes it can cause havoc. Blocked roads and cancellations to public transport can leave you and your work force out in the cold in every sense! Broken heating and burst pipes can leave your office unusable. So, are you prepared should the worst happen? Will you still be able to answer your calls and access your emails?

VoIP services from Deep Blue all have back up options. Some, like Horizon and InBound, can even be pre-set to failover automatically if they detect a loss of service at your site. Make sure you know what failover options your set up has and how to invoke them if needed.

If you are not sure what failover options you have or if you want a refresher on how to use them then get in touch, a member of our friendly team will be happy to go through your set up with you.

Heating

As the temperature goes down, the thermostat goes up.

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming into a warm room on a cold day but while you may love the heating, your office electronics may not. Before it gets too cold, have a quick check of your office to make sure your equipment is safe.

If you have radiators, make sure you don’t have electronics stood next to or directly above them. Check to make sure leads and cables aren’t resting on any device that may get hot. Have a look at your comms cabinet, is there anything blocking the vents on it that could cause things to overheat? Now might also be a good time to give the vents on your PC a quick clean up to.

Oh, and if you are using portable heaters, just make sure when plugging them in that you don’t unplug anything you need (it happens more than you might think!).

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When the going gets tough, you can’t always get going.

How do your staff get to work? Have you thought about what you might do if there are road closures or disruptions to public transport?

Consider planning ahead with a carpool plan. Arrange groups or pairings who can offer lifts should other forms of transport be unavailable. Make sure that your car is winter weather ready too, check it is in good running order and consider popping some extra layers and snacks in the boot in case you get caught anywhere.

If the weather looks really bad, consider ways of enabling your staff to work from home.

Supplies

Supply and demand.

If you rely on deliveries, have you considered what might happen if these are disrupted?

Are there alternative jobs or projects staff can work on if you run short of anything? Can you order extras of anything to keep in stock to tide you over? Are there plenty of teabags and biscuits in the kitchen?

Contact

Don’t be a stranger.

You’ve had a think about how you can stay in contact with your customers but what about your staff?

A dedicated DDi number given to staff only will allow workers to call and let you know if they are running late or unable to get in. If you have to close for any reason you could record messages on here for staff to listen to to keep them up to date, this can be especially useful if you have people out in the field like drivers or care givers who may plan on popping in unexpectedly. Outside of winter it can be used for staff to contact you if they are sick or for you to provide general updates that you don’t want other people to hear.

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Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year when festivals and events can start to fill up your calendar.

With Christmas falling on a Wednesday it is worth thinking about what days and hours your office will be open. What will you do when the office is closed? Will you send calls to voicemail, leave a message to say you are shut or do you need to divert your calls for emergencies? Have you thought about how you will notify your customers of your Festive opening hours?

Many of our services offer a range of options to manage your calls during this time. Some like InBound and Horizon can even have schedules created so that numbers divert automatically. See our knowledge base guides for help with setting up schedules for Horizon and InBound.

If you use Horizon hunt groups, don’t forget you can easily add and remove users. That way if staff are away you can take them out of the hunt group until they get back.

Our staff are happy to talk to you about your options for managing your calls over the holidays. We also understand that you can’t always deal with these things by yourself, which is why we are happy to pre-programme any changes for you, we just ask that you please let us know as early as possible so we don’t get a mad rush last minute!

If this list has given you food for thought and you would like to make sure your business is winter weather ready then why not get in touch on 0333 240 9100 or by emailing theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

 

 

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VoIP – 9 reasons to make the change now

Making changes when you have an established business is always difficult, this is especially true when it comes to something as critical as your telecoms. Ifyou’re not sure whether you are ready to take the plunge with VoIP, here are 9 reasons that might persuade you that now is the time to make the change:

Flexibility

Freedom from fixed lines!

freedom, work anywhere, VoIP

Freedom from fixed lines

Take your numbers with you if you move site with no delays: simply uplift your equipment from one location and connect it in another. Choose your number; select the area code you want to use, set up blocks of numbers, add additional numbers whenever you need them.

Manage more than one business? Control all your calls from one place. Set up numbers and call plans for targeted campaigns and special promotions to track call volumes. Manage calls for your London sales office, your Leeds tech team and your Manchester warehouse all from one online portal.

Managed Transfer

With full training included as part of your setup, Deep Blue make sure that you hit the ground running when you switch to a VoIP system.

Pre-build and test set ups allow you to get your call plans in place before your numbers move. With options to have your telephone numbers migrated at fixed time slots or even out of hours, impact to your business is minimised.

Growth

Fully scalable solutions.

Systems that are designed to grow with your business. Get new staff set up quickly and easily. Adapt your call routing to suit your needs. Move users in and out of hunt groups with a few clicks to manage busy periods and promotions.

Security

Happy creative team making high five in office.Business,people and teamwork concept.

Concentrate on growing your business with the peace of mind that comes from a secure, feature rich VoIP solution.

Built in peace of mind.

Built in fraud protection monitors your call volumes 24 hours a day to keep you safe from potential fraud. Sending out alerts and even automatically applying call barring, it limits your exposure should the worst happen. Multi-layer security protocols and compulsory passcodes close off the hackers most common routes of access.

Features

With a range of features available, even on entry level setups, VoIP solutions from Deep Blue offer so much more. You can build call plans, create Hunt Groups, even create your own auto attendant. As your business grows, so too can your telephony. Call queue features and wall board integration make building your own call centre a breeze.

Need to be MiFID II compliant? No problem! Feature rich call recording keeps your customers and business safe.

By taking advantage of the option to self-manage you can control all your telephony functions in house. No more waiting around for engineers and call out charges.

Continuity

Get disaster recovery that kicks in automatically, rerouting your calls to keep you up and running. No need to rely on the local exchange or your onsite system to divert your calls.

Send calls to mobiles or alternative phone numbers. Change your voicemail message from your mobile or home phone to keep customers informed. Get new equipment delivered the next working day*.

Mobility

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Work from home

Free yourself from the desk.

Set up home workers with their own handsets so they can work as if they were in the office. Use desktop soft clients and mobile apps to make and receive calls wherever you are. Ma

nage your DDi with just a few clicks.

Your workplace is wherever you want it to be.

Cost

If your business grows faster than you expect and you need to increase your call capacity, traditional setups like ISDN can throw up all kinds of unexpected costs. Relying on Openreach to install, there are both activation and engineering charges which can quickly mount up. And that’s before you even get into the time costs.

With VoIP solutions from Deep Blue there are no activation fees for new SIP trunks and if you have a compatible set up, they can be up and running in a matter of minutes.

Withdrawal of the PSTN

Things are changing.

VoIP handset

Things are changing!

From 2023, Openreach will stop selling ISDN lines and from December 2025 it is their intention to fully withdraw the PSTN network: ISDN included.

While that gives businesses plenty of time to make the change, when you consider that 16 million lines and channels will need to be migrated to alternative products it’s worth start

ing to look at other options sooner rather than later. That being said, there is no need to panic or rush to make the change (as some providers would have you believe!).

Our article ISDN withdrawal – the key questions answered has more information about the withdrawal and it’s potential impact.

If all of this has got you thinking maybe your business is ready to take the next step then speak to Deep Blue. We’ll go over all the details with you, arrange a site survey if needed and give you all the information you need to make the decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*When ordered before 2pm, subject to conditions.

 

 

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ISDN Withdrawal – the key questions answered

In this article we answer some of the key questions you may have about the upcoming ISDN withdrawal and the wider closing of the PSTN.

What is the PSTN?

The Public Switched Telephone network or PSTN currently forms a large part of the UK telecoms infrastructure. It is made up of copper telephone lines, fibre optic cables, microwave transmission links, satellites, undersea telephone cables and mobile networks. It used for several functions, including the making of calls using analogue voice data and Supporting digital services such as ISDN.

Why is the PSTN being withdrawn?

According to Openreach:

‘the equipment which runs the PSTN is ageing and will reach its end of life by December 2025.  This means the analogue telephone voice services that are reliant on this network will no longer be available……. Spare parts are becoming out of manufacture and, additionally, many of the people who designed, built and operated the system are retired or close to retirement so skills are increasingly scarce.’

The current PSTN network will be replaced with a fibre and VoIP network.

What products will be affected?

The PSTN network currently supports a number of products which, when it is withdrawn, will no longer be available. The key one which will affect business customers is the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). Many companies have telephony systems which use either ISDN2 or ISDN30 channels to make and receive calls. Over 16 million lines and channels are affected by the swicth off and will need migrating prior to 2025.

When are the services being withdrawn?

Openreach plans to stop allowing the connection of new PSTN services, like ISDN, from September 2023. All connections will be finally switched off in December of 2025.

How will the switch off be managed?

This is still an ongoing discussion. Openreach are in regular discussion with Ofcom and the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) about this process. The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) is also involved in these discussions. As a member of the FCS, Deep Blue is part of the wider conversation about how the withdrawal will be managed for communications providers and their customers.

What alternative products will there be?

Openreach are currently in the process of introducing a range of new services alongside some of their existing ones to ensure internet access is available once the PSTN is discontinued. From there, call traffic will be handled as Voice over IP (VoIP). This basically means that your voice call is sent as bits of data via your internet connection. If you are using SIP trunks, Horizon or InBound then you are already making calls via this technology.

I’m using ISDN lines, should I make the switch now?

As always when big changes are happening, some companies use the uncertainty for their own gains. We have already seen customers who have received communications, both at their business and at home, implying their connectivity is under threat and they should move now before it’s too late! This, luckily, is not true. There is still almost five and a half years until the PSTN is deactivated so while it is something to start giving thought to, it is not a reason to rush to make changes.

There are, however, plenty of other good reasons to make the switch. Keep a look out for our article ‘ISDN to VoIP- is it time to make the change?’ coming soon. In it we will detail the many benefits of switching to a VoIP solution: like potential cost savings, resilience and features.

In Conclusion

Many companies are already taking advantage of digital services which will serve them now and after the switch off. For those that aren’t, there is plenty of time and plenty of options for them to make the move to. Openreach, the FCS and service providers like Deep Blue are all working closely to put plans and procedures in place to manage the switch.

Deep Blue customers can rest assured that we will be on hand to make the change as easy and stress free as possible.

Have more questions, want to get ahead of the crowd or keen to start taking advantage of VoIP for it’s many other benefits? Contact Deep Blue today on 0333 240 9100 or by email to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Horizon – 6 tips to make sure you get the most from your Horizon system

Whatever the size and shape of your business, with Horizon you have a wealth of features available to you. Ensure you are getting the most from your Horizon system with these helpful tips so your telecoms can be truly unlimited.

Horizon Disaster recovery

Don’t get caught out! There are many things can stop you using your office but with Horizon that doesn’t mean losing your calls. With pre-programmable disaster recovery you can designate an alternative number to automatically route your calls to in the event of your Handset losing contact with Horizon (for example due to a power outage).

Can’t get to your office? Control your call plan from anywhere you have an internet connection – even your mobile. Just login to your Horizon account and redirect your calls to an alternative number or update your voicemail to let callers know what’s going on.

Custom Hold Music

Did you know you can upload custom hold music on Horizon? Use free to air music or have special music created for your company with bespoke messages. It’s so easy to change. You can even have seasonal messages or advertise promotions or events. To find out more about formatting your audio files and changing your hold music, visit our knowledgebase.

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Horizon Statistics

Visit the Performance section of the Statistics tab to learn all about your calls. See where your customers are located; great for doing target advertising. Find out when your busy days and times are to manage staffing levels accordingly.

You can also view statistics for outbound calls. Get an overview for the whole company or use the search facility to view details for a specific user.

For even more detail you can view the Advanced Statistics section. See detailed information for all calls in and out as well as internal calls. Use the search boxes at the top to filtre your results by day, time, call type (inbound or outbound), call scope (internal or external) and user. Click download to export a csv file of all results.

Call Plans

Regularly review your Horizon call plans to make sure you aren’t missing important calls. Use the scheduling tools to send calls through to overflow hunt groups at your busiest time or add an auto attendant to get calls where they need to be as quickly as possible.

If you haven’t already, consider upgrading to full call queuing. Queue up to 25 calls at a time, offer callers the option press 1 to leave a voicemail and add your own custom comfort messages.

Company Blacklist

Missing important calls due to nuisance callers tying up your lines and staff? Getting harassed by problem callers? Use the Horizon blacklist tool to stop them from getting through. Any number added to the blacklist will get an unavailable tone whenever they try to call you. Visit the knowledgebase to find out how to manage your blacklist for call groups and user handsets.

Horizon Knowledge

Deep Blue customers get full access to our knowledgebase. It’s full of helpful guides on how to setup and manage many functions on Horizon, with images to help guide you along. You also get access to our friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to assist you in the management of your system. We even provide free refresher training on using the Horizon portal, just give us a call on 0333 240 9100 or email horizon@deepbluetelecom.co.uk.

Not a Deep Blue customer? If you think Horizon maybe the solution you need then speak to us today about moving your numbers on to it.

Already on Horizon? Speak to us about migrating to Deep Blue.

3CX UPDATE – The latest V15.5 Update – 6 – has gone gold

3CX Update

The latest V15.5 3CX Update – 6 – has gone gold. It’s an important update too, not only does it come with many new features & improvements but it also has updated SSL certificates that are required.

Check if you already have the latest version by looking at your license on your dashboard, it should end in 6.
 
SSL Security Updates

In the next month 3CX will be updating the security certificates on their servers, required for secure communication with 3CX. This means that you will need to go to update 6 as soon as possible. 3CX continue to add many security features under the hood to ensure safe operation of the PBX and secure communications.
 
For those of you who missed the release of V15.5, Update 6 it comes with some great new features. Amongst others, it includes a WebRTC softphone within the web client, smarter smartphone apps, SSL Security updates and more. Upgrading to the latest service pack is critical and we highly recommend you do so as soon as possible.  

3CX Version 15.0 and 15.5 Users

To make the upgrade process easy for you 3CX have prepared some tools which will automatically upgrade your PBX to Update 6 through all service packs. These tools can be used by all customers who are already on version 15.0 and 15.5 regardless if you have maintenance or not.

3cx Update
 
Back up 3CX to either your documents folder (preferable) or desktop.

Uninstall 3CX

Install version 6 – download the up to date version here: https://www.3cx.com/phone-system/download-links/

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Employee Leaving – seven things to remember

Employee LeavingAn 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.

 

 

 

Top Tips for a stress free Summer

Everyone looks forward to the warmer months, but in the business world it can be a balancing act between giving your staff the time off they deserve while still giving your customers the service levels they need.

Here are our top tips to becoming a summer sensation and recharging your batteries without compromising on service!

Prepare Your Customers Let your customers know in advance when you will be away, give yourself that time to really enjoy your break.

Put Marketing on Auto-Pilot Don’t go completely dark on the marketing front so people start to wonder where you are. Pre-schedule posts, blogs and other forms to stay connected.

Set Your ‘Out of Office’ Decide how often and when you plan on checking in, what date you will be returning back to work and how you can be reached in an emergency (if at all) and detail those Summer rules in your out of office announcement.

Intelligently Handle Incoming Calls Whether you close completely or reduce your hours, let a ‘Virtual Office’ take care of the day-to-day. From voicemail to call forwarding to auto-attendants, your phone system has the capability to intelligently handle incoming calls while you are away.

Deep Blue customers can log into our Knowledge Base to find assistance with setting these facilities or contact us for more information on a tailored system for your business

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It’s here! The Deep Blue Knowledgebase

The first few customers have received their logins for the Deep Blue knowledgebase and the feedback we have had so far has been really positive! Don’t worry if you haven’t received your login yet as we are rolling these out throughout the week.

When you first login, try typing ‘How do I use the knowledgebase?’ in the searchbox to find out how to get the most from the information available.

If you spot an error or can’t find the answer you are looking for please let me know at rachel.macleod@deepbluetelecom.co.uk so I can get it fixed, the knowledgebase is a continually growing and changing resource so we appreciate any comments or feedback.

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Avoiding Telecoms Fraud at Christmas and year round

With many offices closing or operating with minimal staff at this time of year, it is the ideal time for fraudsters to strike. Telecoms fraud is something that spoils the start of the New Year for companies year after year, but there are steps you can take to prevent your company from being affected.

Make sure phone systems and voicemails are secured with passwords that are changed regularly, if your system has remote access configured, make sure your network is secure.

If you don’t need to make calls to premium rate and international numbers, consider setting up outbound call barring for these numbers. If you are using Horizon you can do this yourself through the portal, for any other system just give us a call on 0333 240 9100 to get it setup.

If you get your calls through Deep Blue you get the reassurance of knowing that our systems monitor call traffic volumes and alert us if you hit your daily or weekly threshold to minimise your exposure if you are unfortunate enough to get hacked.