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

tips on home working

Tips for home working

The team at Deep Blue have been using remote working for years. With that in mind we have put together some of our top tips for home working for people starting on it for the first time.

The Workspace

Having a workspace is really important. This might not be a room. It may just be a desk or a corner of the kitchen, but it should be a space dedicated for work. This helps you get in the work mind set while you are there but also, crucially, helps you to step away from work at the end of the day. This is especially important if we do have any kind of lock down period. A lot of our time is going to be restricted to the same space so designating areas of that space to different tasks can help us feel less constricted.

Try to make it a space that you want to work in. If possible set up near a window to give yourself plenty of natural light and fresh air. Have a family photo or a plant there just as you would at work.

Try to get everything you need to hand, paper, pens, etc. If you have to keep getting up to get things it can be distracting and time consuming.

The Structure

Structure is important when working from home. It helps you to stay focused and keep the distinction between work and home life.

Get dressed! As tempting as it is to do a few emails in your pyjamas, getting dressed again can help with defining the working day. You don’t need to put on your best office wear but try to find something that makes you feel in work mode. This can apply to the end of the day too. If the first thing you usually do when you get home is get changed into your joggers and sweatshirt then do that when you finish at home.

Plan breaks. It can be easy on your own to lose track of time. Make sure you keep an eye on the clock. Get up and move around, take breaks when you would normally. Plan a lunch hour. If you usually share the task of making tea/coffee in your office, it can be easy to forget when you are on your own.

If you usually make a lunch to take to work with you, you may still want to do this. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you want to use up your break time prepping food.

The Work

Just because you aren’t in the office, doesn’t mean you need to be cut off from you colleagues. Keep in touch. You may want to do weekly or daily conferences calls so everyone knows what they are doing. Use calls and emails to keep each other up to date. If you have Horizon collaborate, use the instant messaging function to chat in real time. Send through the odd link or funny picture to keep everyone smiling.

It can be hard to tell if someone is struggling when you aren’t face to face with them, regular communication can help with spotting this. If you are the one struggling, speak up. It may be to your manager, it may be to the colleague who always helps you out, it may be to a relative or partner. Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you are working alone.

Remember that with emails it can sometimes be hard to judge the tone of what is being said. Try to make sure that your messages come across as intended, use more casual language or emojis for internal emails if this helps with tone. If in doubt, pick up the phone!

If you have children at home with you, don’t get stressed about them interrupting an important call or try to cover up your situation. Be honest. People are very understanding, especially at times like this when everyone is working under different circumstances.

The Benefits

If you usually aren’t allowed within ten foot of the office radio, enjoy being able to put on the playlist of your choice! Music is great for concentration. Vary your playlist depending on what you are doing. you might even want to put together a playlist to share with your colleagues.

If your day usually starts and ends with a commute, use this new found time for you. Throw something into a slow cooker in the morning so you know dinner will be ready when you finish work. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Workout. Watch an extra episode of you favourite show.

The Transition

The change to home working can be difficult, especially if you have spent a lot of time in the structured environment of an office. Hopefully these tips for home working will help make the transition a little easier.

Deep Blue are on hand to support you and your business when you need us, just call 0333 240 9100 or email theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

New Office

New Office – A moving story

Just imagine: it’s your first day in a brand new office. The desks are in place, the PCs up and running, customers have been informed – but your phones aren’t working. This is a major crisis for any company that depends on calls or the internet for its business.

If you’re moving to a new office, there are 101 things to organise, cancel, pack and arrange but your phone lines and numbers are one problem you can be totally relaxed about.  Deep Blue is experienced in ensuring a smooth transition between locations, taking over the communication with Openreach and ensuring all your services move with you.

With a range of continuity options, project management and experienced support we take the stress (well some of it at least) out of moving office.

Just let us know when you are moving, where you are moving to and which lines and services you will need and we can do the rest. Any additional costs are quoted in advance and we will keep you informed of any engineer visits and installations.  So if you are moving or adding new offices contact us today for valuable advice.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery – One less thing to worry about

Why is disaster recovery important? Well did you know that 80% of businesses affected by some kind of disaster either never recover or close within 18 months of reopening?

Or that the average time it takes for a business to get back up and running after a disaster is 9.4 days?

Statistics like these are the reason Disaster Recovery is something all businesses should think about.

This is why Deep Blue provide a range of products and services which ensure disaster recovery measures can be put into place quickly and easily. They can be set up in advanced and because they are controlled through an online dashboard, you can manage them from anywhere with an internet connection.

With the Automatic Failover features in Horizon and InBound, you can put measures in place so that if there is a problem with the normal line, such as a fault, outage or damage, the system will automatically divert to your specified failover, such as a mobile or alternative landline.

You can also set up invoked plans so that if your office is rendered inaccessible, such as by heavy snow, roadworks or strike action, you can have your calls routed to another site at the click of a button.

Customers with Horizon or InBound- Contact Pro also have the option of setting up a staff emergency number, which can be used to inform of the effects of any disaster. If your area is affected by something such as flooding or heavy snow, you can set up a recorded message on the emergency line which staff can then listen to, to find out if your site is open before making the journey there. This is also a useful tool for schools who can set the number up for parents to ring.

Disaster Recovery measures allow you to prepare for many of the obstacles that can hinder the running of your business. Floods and heavy snow are now common features of winter and cost businesses millions of pounds every year, severe roadworks and strike action which impede staff getting to your site can bring your business to a standstill. But with features rich hosted telephony you are always prepared.

Contact us today on 0333 240 9100 for a complete review of your company’s disaster readiness.

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Christmas Call Plans – Call Forwards

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With the Horizon and InBound platforms, it is quick and easy to re-route your calls over Christmas.

InBound

Create a Christmas call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them and 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

Daytime

 

 

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. So in the example below, the calls route to destination Y Mon-Fri 9-5 and destination X at all other times:

Call plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

InBound Divert Node

divert

 

 

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, instead of click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears to 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.

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!).

Screen one

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

Screen Two

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.

Screen Three

Hunt Group Schedule

Add Christmas, New Year 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.Screen FourName 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. In the example below the event covers from midday on 24th Dec to 5pm on 28th, after this normal routing would apply:

Screen Five

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 info@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Christmas Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

 

 

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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.

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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.