Thursday, 2 August 2012

What to look for in a phone answering service

An increasing number of businesses are choosing phone answering services to field some or even all of their calls, before clients are passed on to the appropriate agent.

There are some significant advantages to this if you find the right service, so here is what you should look out for:

24/7 phone answering service
Making your company accessible 24 hours a day could increase sales and enquiries hugely and there are firms offering this as a service for you.

Calls directed properly
Make sure calls get put through to the correct people as part of a great customer service experience and to increase the efficiency of your business.

Never miss a call
With an answering service you can ensure that your firm never misses a call – ever.

Excellent customer service
A phone answering service can help improve your customer service standards and this in turn should bring in more clients.

If you are interested in a call handling and phone answering service follow this link for more information on the benefits.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement – Reading The Warning Signs

In terms of keeping on top of finances, many experts suggest we are ‘financially illiterate’ and that there needs to money management lessons. Many people in debt will use an individual voluntary arrangement to tackle money woes.

Many who find that their debt problems have gone too far and have become unmanageable will rely upon an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) to help tackle their debts. A report by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), however, is calling for a drive to tackle what they term as ‘financial illiteracy’ in the UK. They hope that by addressing this issue, the numbers who face bankruptcy through poor debt management will fall.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement – Staying debt free as easy as ‘A, B, C’?

Debt in the UK results from a number of facts but the BBA believe that by educating consumers on money management matters will have a profound effect on preventing more from falling into debt. The report conducted by the BBA found that a substantial proportion of the UK population were incapable of handling their finances in an effective manner and that action must be taken to remedy this fact. Experts in the finance industry often suggest that an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a good way to tackle debt problems if they have gone too far and need to be addressed right away. The BBA are hoping that through re-education, they can intervene before things reach this stage.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement – Making A Debt Management Plan

For those who are serious about breaking free from the shackles of debt, one of the key steps that needs to be taken is to start living within one’s own means. There are an ever increasing number of cases where people are spending more on credit card payments and expenditures than they are earning each month. When it gets to this stage, it may well be advisable to seek a financial resolution such as an individual voluntary arrangement which is a legally binding agreement between an individual’s creditors and themselves and presents a pre-determined timeframe to pay back debts at a level that is financially achievable to them.

Commercial and business signs: What they say about you

If you are thinking about getting a new commercial or business sign, make sure you choose carefully

As a businessman, have you ever stopped to consider what your business sign says about your company? Commercial and business signs have a lot more impact on people’s impression of your company than you may think. If you think about it, we make judgements subconsciously or consciously about names all the time; we are probably all guilty of making prejudging a person simply because of what their name is; there may even be situations when we actively choose certain people over others because we think they have a better-sounding name.

When it comes to commercial and business signs and health & safety signs, we are no different. That’s why it’s important if you are a business owner to look objectively at your sign and graphics to see whether they convey the image you want. Commercial and business signs are one of the main ways that passers by become aware of a business. In fact, small, independent businesses will pretty much rely on this as a way of getting noticed, so it’s vital that the business sign reflects not only what sort of company you are, but also the type of work culture you have.

It goes without saying that you whatever type of commercial or business sign you have, you should always keep it well maintained and looking smart. Your business sign is the first thing that customers see, even before the front door, so it should be kept clean and cared for at all times. Having a shabby, unkempt sign in front of your building will tell customers or clients that you don’t care about your business, making a good impression or paying attention to detail.

Commercial and business signs – what you should consider

Whether you are starting a new business and you need a business sign or you are assessing the efficacy of your current commercial sign, here are some general points to consider:

  • Target audience - A sign with a business name only is designed to create awareness of the company and to identify its location, whereas an “On Sale Now” banner outside a retail location is designed to attract shoppers.
  • Purpose – What is the sign for? Is it to direct people to the business’ offices or is to raise brand awareness?
  • Image - a law firm typically wants to project a conservative, stable image, while an advertising agency will want a more creative, even whacky, image.
  • Restrictions – Check any restrictions that the local authority may have put on sign sizes and colours etc. You can get information on sign ordinances by calling the building or permitting department of the local authority.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Telemarketing and Breaking the Code

Companies need to ensure their telesales and telemarketing techniques abide by the DMA Code of Practice, or risk a damaged reputation. Consumer data must be protected and leads must be obtained in an ethical manner through companies like

Telesales and telemarketing can be intrusive if done poorly, alienating customers and causing upset. The Direct Marketing Association regulates contact centres ensuring they comply to the DMA's Code of Practice. And to achieve the stamp of approval from the Direct Marketing Association, members need to complete the Annual Member Compliance Forms. The telemarketing agency Wye Marketing based in Hereford however did not hand in their compliance forms for the year ending 31 December 2007. As a result, the telemarketing company's membership to the Direct Marketing Association (UK) has been terminated.

Telesales and Telemarketing Industry Abide by the Code

James Kelly, the managing director of the Direct Marketing Association underlined the importance of telelmarketing and telesales firms to complete the annual compliance form: “Our Code of Practice is the cornerstone in our efforts to build and maintain political, commercial and consumer faith in direct marketing.” It's vital telemarketing companies therefore show they are abiding by the Code by completing the annual compliance forms.

Wye Marketing Telemarketing Group's Membership Terminated

Being expelled from the DMA UK could be damaging for a telesales company. Wye Marketing were given 'every opportunity' to complete the compliance paperwork. But the company failed to respond to requests to complete the forms. The Direct Marketing Commission then reviewed this potential breach of the Code of Practice. After giving the telemarketing group two more chances to submit the forms, as well as sending out a final letter, the DMA finally decided to terminate the telemarketing group's membership.

Compliance to the Code

Compliance to the Code demonstrates to the telemarketing industry that practitioners are meeting the highest standards (outlined by the Code) when it comes to their direct marketing activities. Non-compliance is taken seriously and the expulsion of the Wye Marketing telesales group was hoped to send out a message to the industry. Matti Alderson, chairman of the Direct Marketing Commission said that compliance to the DMA Code is a, “prerequisite of responsible business practice.”

Buying a Digital Camera – what to look for

A brief guide to what to look for in your digital camera and how to decide what’s best for you. To find out more visit

So, you’ve decided to buy a digital camera, but you take one look at the variety available and panic. How will you know what you want? Here are some things that you will need to take into consideration.

Before you buy a digital camera, think about what you want to use it for. If you are simply replacing the normal camera you use on holiday, then you can probably go for a compact or supercompact digital camera that will fit in your pocket or your bag and where you can take snaps that can be downloaded onto your PC and re-produced as standard 4x6 prints. These cameras are lightweight and have reasonable features and picture quality, and don’t cost the earth the buy.

If you want to be a little more adventurous with your pictures, you will need something with more features, optical zoom and more megapixels. The number of megapixels determines the quality of picture you end up with so although for basic photography, 2 or 3 megapixels will give you the quality you want, you’ll need 4-5 megalpixels if you want to produce good quality cropped pictures or use them for websites or professional literature.

More serious photographers who have been used to standard cameras with zoom lenses and F-stops will want to look at the more serious digital cameras – those that look like standards, and that definitely won’t fit in your pocket. They’re a lot more expensive – going from serious cameras at around £500 to digital SLRs costing thousands – but they have masses of features that will help you to take outstanding pictures.

Even if you’re buying your digital camera on-line, take half and hour to go and try some out for weight and feel – check that they’re comfortable to hold and that you can easily reach the controls. Before you buy, check about battery type and life – most digital cameras come with rechargeable batteries, but check that they also come with a charger and get some spare batteries so that you’re never stuck without power. Also check that the digital camera is compatible with your PC and that the download time’s reasonable, and think about getting an additional memory card or stick so that you can store more photos.

Prevent Breakdowns with a Stress Free Guide to Printer Maintenance

If you are looking for affordable printers or parts, the chances are your printer has broken down. This can be detrimental to a company and can be the cause of unnecessary costs. Here is a guide to avoiding future breakdowns by keeping your printers in tip top shape.
Regular maintenance under a printer lease with companies like Paragon Document Solutions can help to prolong the life of your printers; here are three tips to keep your printers in top working order.

Printer jams-If you are experiencing printer jams on a regular basis, there could be a number of reasons for this. Many printers are often in need of repair due to the inability to handle a paper jam. Paper jams can be avoided in many cases simply by reading about your printer. Often the wrong size paper is used or it is being fed into the printer incorrectly. If a paper jam does occur, try turning off the power and switching it on again before you attempt to remove the paper. If this does not work, attempt to remove the paper with care and be careful not to use too much force.
Don’t dry out-If your printer is performing poorly it could be because the ink is drying out. However, there are ways to stop this from happening and you can do this simply by using your printer on a regular basis.
Cleaning-In order to ensure your printer is performing well you must clean it on a regular basis. Make sure the exterior is free from dust and particles as this can affect the print quality.

Teeth Whitening, Boob Jobs and Sheep

If you’ve won the lottery you’ve definitely got something to smile about – it’s not surprising teeth whitening is one of the most common procedures that the big winners opt for. To find out more visit

If you won the lottery what would you buy? The mind boggles. Millions of us who buy a lottery ticket every week will indulge in that very thought. And the answers will be as diverse as the unique individuals we are. A new book on how lottery winners spend their money certainly reveals this to be true – with everything from a new pair of knees to a flock of sheep on the shopping list. But there are a few things that remain consistent for many winners: property and teeth. The majority of winners all buy a new home or invest in a property abroad. But they also invest in themselves, splurging on cosmetic surgery – the most popular of all being teeth whitening.

Teeth Whitening – Top of the List

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that teeth whitening procedures are such a popular option for those who want to spend a little money on their well being. Unlike other cosmetic procedures, teeth whitening is non intrusive and non surgical. It is relatively straightforward but can have an enormous impact on a person’s confidence and smile. And let’s face it; if you’ve won the big bucks you’re going to want to love smiling – a lot!
People often dream of what they’d buy if they won the lottery, but teeth whitening and property are inevitably on the top of the wish list. But there are some more unconventional purchases than holidays, designer clothes, luxury homes and cosmetic dentistry. According to the book ‘We Won the Lottery’ the most unusual things bought included a Robin Reliant, a flock of sheep, a pair of new knees, a whisky factory and a ‘Lady’ title in order for the winner to get a seat in the best restaurants!

Cosmetic Procedures – Living the Dream

Other bizarre stories in the book include that of a grandfather who used his winnings to take his great grandson to the school prom in style – in a helicopter. One winner opted for a less materialistic approach and bought a wood. But one in four winners will spend some of their winnings on cosmetic surgery – teeth whitening, breast enlargements, liposuction and eye laser treatment were the most popular treatments.
The book also revealed that winners on average take a month off to come to terms with their new found wealth before splashing out on a luxury shopping trip, buying presents for friends and family and taking a holiday in the Caribbean.