Like it or not when it snows here in the UK it does seem to have a paralysing effect and businesses can struggle to function as workers stay home and the forecast always seems bleak.
Indeed if the Daily Mail is to be believed we are only ever a few minutes away from the worst snow storms since time began! However, here at Verbatim, The Phone Answering Service, we have yet to be troubled by snow – although during that last bad spell we did have someone trek in on skis!
We have always had a can do and get it done attitude and that means we know how to help businesses blighted by a white out. If your calls are diverted to us we can connect them to the relevant member of staff wherever they are stranded courtesy of the British weather.
We have kept the home phones ringing with work calls for clients who cannot get into the office through to simply answering overflow calls when a business is short staffed due to the weather.
Some of the best feedback we have had comes from businesses who have told us their clients had no idea the snow had closed their physical office as they never had a problem getting through on the telephone.
Here’s what Gary Perkins, MD of MAS in Worcestershire said
“This service has been of tremendous benefit to us, particularly a few years ago when we experienced a lightning strike in 2009 and all calls to MAS were quickly diverted by BT to Verbatim, The Phone Answering Service, whilst we had to source and install a new telephone system.
Then again in the severe winter of 2010/2011, this service proved enormously beneficial as even getting into the office sometimes took longer than normal. I am sure that having the team at Verbatim, whom we know well, helped to ensure that our ability to service our customers and giving them the knowledge we were operating (almost) normally created confidence to our overall level of service.”
The same approach that allows businesses to use The Phone Answering Service to cover holiday absences or other pinch points that can be anticipated and planned for, so can it be used when snow, or indeed any severe weather, frustrates running a business.
So, before your business struggles, why not explore how using the professional phone answering approach of Verbatim can stop you being frozen out of the marketplace when the snow does eventually fall on Berkshire and beyond.
Please contact Graham Hill at Verbatim Call Centres on 0800 656 9590 or learn more about its Business Continuity services
Filed under: Business Networking, Member Offers, Members News
When corporates want to test the layout of their webpages, they set up labs with volunteers and measure eye movement – called ‘eye tracking’. But for smaller companies, this is far too expensive. A good more cost effective alternative are heatmaps synthesised from a mass of eye-tracking lab results and one of the best of these is Feng Gui. To see what heatmaps are please visit this example (opens new window / tab).
I have bought 20 credits with Feng Gui and offer Refer-On members a set of reports for any page on their website: The home page or main landing page (maybe the same thing) would be a good choice. This offer is strictly on a first come first served basis and closes at 23 March if the credits are not all used before then. Two Refer-On members who have already taken advantage of my offer are Graham Penson and Helen Isacke – please contact them if you are in any doubt of the usefulness of these heatmaps.
This offer is going to be opened up to the 2,000 companies on my eNewsletter mailing list very shortly, so a quick response is recommended.
Why am I being so magnanimous? There must be a catch! You won’t find one because there isn’t one.
I’m making the offer to celebrate the fact that Google.co.uk now considers Living Streams to be a top 10 UK ‘internet consultancy’ and one of the top 20 UK ‘internet marketing companies’ – Google search either phrase and you’ll see. In addition, it now considers Targeted WSI Web Solutions (aka WSI Thames) to be in the top 3 WSI consultancies in the UK – just Google ‘WSI’ and see.
It was an early start.
All of us did our 60 seconds presentations. I found that I still need to work on my 60 seconds pitch! I need to put more oomph into it! Because as such it still does not cover my USP!
Tim Butler then showed us a demo of Microsoft 365 Cloud computing product that his company is providing as a service.
My first impressions about this Microsoft product was that it has the backing of a big software house such as Microsoft but that in itself can be a drawback since in the past Microsoft has been difficult to work with at times.
I would have liked a bit more of what Tim Butler and his company provide apart from providing the license from Microsoft. There wasn’t much along those lines due to lack of time.
In my view Microsoft is a big name and the offering seems to be very much affordable on the outset – but it would be the value add that Tim and his company provides that would determine whether this solution would be worth it or not. Hence I would have liked a bit more coverage of what Tim and his company provides covered in the presentation.
The venue had a large overhead projector which was used for the presentation – the Crowne Plaza Hotel, please make note. It was also demonstrated that this product can be demonstrated on different types of devices – using the Wi-Fi network available at the venue Tim demonstrated that the same presentation can be simultaneously viewed on iPad as well as other Android devices such as my EeePad.
The setup here in Clare Foundation was really good for making presentations – though the breakfast that followed was a bit of disappointment for me – there was no vegetarian option – as I can not eat Bacon or Sausages, I had to make do with bread and fried egg.
Overall it was a good experience.
My morning today got started with a very productive meeting with several new people at the Burnham hub.
It was a very good short workshop where we all had a go at our ‘Elevator Pitch’ – we had very good pointers from John Welburn and though we spent only about 20 minutes, we came up with answers to “Why you? What makes you special?” and we used a testimonial or a story to illustrate our points. Ms. Jane Herrick managed to get a good starter of a line out of me! She has promised me that she would type it all in an email and send it to me – so eagerly waiting for that.
The only regret is – 20 minutes were too less for this whole thing – which I felt should have been a two way exchange – I did not have any time to ask Jane any questions about her to arrive at a line for her to use in her ‘Elevator Pitch’ – I felt I had been a bit selfish as I seemed to get all the help while she wasn’t!
Later on I spent some more time using a Mind Map software and added a bit more into the ’60 seconds pitch’
If anyone is interested I would be glad to share this mindmap with them through the Refer-On website.
Here is what I came up with:
I am Vivek and we are Embedded System Integrators.
We integrate hardware, embedded and desktop computer technologies to provide integrated solutions using diverse technologies.
My solution has helped HID Global, Jetnexus and Speakerbus increase their market share with innovative integrated new approaches. The diverse worlds of Embedded Linux and Windows were brought together to provide manageable enterprise devices.
I am looking for Companies who are facing problems due to incompatible hardware and software and we aim to provide innovative integrated solutions to solve their business problems.
I am Vivek and I am an Embedded Systems Integrator. We integrate diverse innovative technologies to solve your business problems.
I’m Bill Spragg of WT Spragg Ltd an independent consultant in the fields of energy, reliability and maintenance. I’m a mature chartered engineer with a long career in industry, the last 30 years of which in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
I set up my consultancy 3 years ago and took on some nice contracts setting up or improving maintenance operations and systems. These jobs were obtained from old colleagues who were now in new companies and who knew my strengths. I am often shocked by the wastage that occurs in industry with over specification of plant, lack of well thought through maintenance and just plain lack of care. I am a strong believer in sustainability and that we should be using the earth’s resources carefully and wisely hence I am moving more towards energy management consultancy.
My business plan is to provide freelance energy management consultancy to premises based businesses in the Thames Valley area; firms that aren’t large enough to have their own energy manager on the staff. There is a lot going on in the energy world and it is awash with initiatives, regulations and, a plethora of terms and acronyms such as CRC, DEC, EPC, green deal, M&T, and GHG. Feel free to contact me if you want to know what any of these mean and whether they are pertinent to your business.
Many large companies with their strong finances and social consciences are engaging with energy and carbon reduction programmes. Marks and Spencer to name a significant one. However, it is notable that the subject has barely hit the consciousness of SMEs and I would like to change that. Apart from the rising cost of energy (it ain’t ever gonna go in the other direction) and the spectre of power cuts SMEs do have good reasons to reduce demand (not just price). For example, if they want to be supply partners with government or large companies they often have to have demonstrable sustainability programmes in place.
WT Spragg Ltd
Filed under: Business Networking, Members News, Refer-On News
As of October 20th 2012, phase 2 of a multi-phase web site development plan was released. The main changes being about the second stage of Refer-On development.
As of 9pm of May 24th 2011, phase 1 of a multi-phase web site development plan was released onto the internet and work on additional features and functionality is already being tested behind the scenes that will ultimately enhance the benefits available to not only Refer-On members, but users of the web site as a whole.
Phase 1 is reasonably straight forward and involved moving the existing site onto a new software platform to enable future development plans to be realised and in some cases actually make them achievable. This has now been completed and the result is what you are seeing now!
Although the previous Refer-On site had it’s own content management system (CMS) it was still a relatively static site in terms of content and didn’t carry the functionaliy to enable two way communications with Refer-On and web site users, or do much to embrace social networking.
These are the main concepts that have been addressed with the release of phase 1 as it now contains it’s own blog that will carry Refer-On and general networking news, as well as being available to Refer-On members, becoming a very powerful members benefit. The blog has also been linked to various social networking sites so new blog posts get published to a far wider audience than simply web site visitors. The site is also now much easier to use with simplified navigation and styling.
Development and testing of future site updates are already underway and will include even more social network integration, online Refer-On member profiles, direct registration, booking and payment for Refer-On events, an online Refer-On members forum and access to an online CRM system to help Refer-On members manage their customers and contacts.
The Refer-On management team would very much like to receive feedback and comments on the new site so please register and add your comments below!