Monday, 30 April 2012

House Signs: House Signs and the Emergency Services

As the amount of 999 calls increases, emergency services are keen to encourage people to ensure that all their house signs can be clearly seen from the road.

How visible your house sign is may not be something that you have ever given any thought to but the recent pleas by the emergency services for clearer house names and numbers suggest that it is something that you should consider.

Studies suggest that over the last decade the amount of 999 calls have increased and with more housing developments being planned and realised, they look set to continue rising. It is for this reason that the emergency services are continuously striving hard for ways to improve the efficiency and speed of the service that they offer and they are concerned that vital seconds, and even minutes, are being lost in the speed of their emergency service by the fact that they often find it difficult to see house signs. As a result they have issued a set of guidelines to ensure that the house names and numbers are more clearly visible, which we have briefly outlined below:

1)      Make sure the house signs can be seen from the road by ensuring they are at least 80mm/3.5 inches tall.
2)      If possible place the house sign on a wall or gate post next to the road rather than on the door.
3)      Prune foliage regularly to aid visibility of your house sign.
4)      Make sure that the colours in the house sign contrast the background to ensure that the sign is more clearly seen.
5)      Speak to your neighbours about making their house signs clearer too as the emergency services will be looking up and down the street for your house.
6)      Speak to your local shops and ask them to include their numbers on their signs.
Remember: by following the above guidelines you may be helping save lives.

A History of House Signs and Names

It’s a sad fact that the majority of the time house signs are accepted as a part of our every day lives and so remain relatively unnoticed. If you are interested insigns, you will already appreciate just how important they can be. They are all around us, on buildings, at the side of roads, on houses and in too many more places to mention. In fact, when you think about it, it is difficult to imagine a world without signs. This is also because they are so firmly rooted in our history and have had significance within human society for thousands of years. So, where did the history of house signs all begin?

Carved signage has a history which spans back to the Romans. In Roman times, artisans chiselled lettering in wood and stone on their structures. Although the way in which we make house signs has greatly improved since these times, the reason behind the house sign remains relatively unchanged as a means of identifying where the occupants of the dwelling live. 

House naming may not be as old as house signs but it still has roots stretching back as far as 700BC. In England the naming of houses was primarily attached to the Upper Classes who named their estates as a sign of prestige and wealth. The names the gentry chose for their Halls, Houses, Manors and Castles would reflect their ancestry, location, fame and family titles. Many of these names remain unchanged today.

House numbers are even more modern than house names. The first street in England to be numbered was Prescott Street in Whitechapel in London in 1708. It was done by the residents of the street, concerned with deliveries. House numbering was officially introduced as a Parliament Act in 1765 as a means of better locating people’s properties but it was a long time before street numbers became commonplace. Odd numbers were usually assigned to the left of the street as you head out of town and even numbers to the right and in general this rule still applies. It also interesting to note that many streets, especially the old ones, omit the number 13 for superstitious reasons.

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Display Stands-Maximise your Selling Potential

Display stands are an ideal way to generate interest in your company and the products and services you provide. Whether you are launching a new product or simply trying to increase the sales of an existing product a display stand is the first step in achieving these goals.

Accessories to Compliment your Display Stand

Don’t limit the success of your campaign with letting the display stand do all the talking. To give your company an edge over all the other competitors it is essential to use all tools available to you to your advantage. Great ways to generate interest in your exhibition stand include:

  • Product Demonstrations-If you are launching a new product or simply raising the profile of an existing one it could help to demonstrate your product and highlight its unique selling point. Demonstrating to an audience can combat preconceived ideas that people may have about your product for example that it is difficult to use and show potential clients why your product is the best on the market.

  • Leaflets and broachers- Back up your display stand with additional product information that give potential clients a more detailed look at your product and provides them with information they can take home if they choose not to purchase on the day. Leaflets or brochures are a great way to supply potential customers with details of your website and increases the chance of generating sales through word of mouth.

  • Food and Drink-People love freebies and offering free samples or sweets is a great way to increase foot traffic to your stall. Have your logo imprinted on your sweet wrappers to remind potential customers of your exhibition stall.  

Use display stands along with additional promotional tools to optimize your selling potential, increase your exhibition presence and maximize profits.

Using Display Stands to Target the Right Clientele

In order to achieve maximum yield for a product it is imperative to target the right consumers and demographics. Display stands are a very efficient way of targeting an audience who are likely to be interested in the products that you have to sell.
When it comes to a marketing strategy, it is important to devise a method that is not only cost effective but which will also generate the sort of buzz and interest in your product that you are looking for. Display stands are one such method of achieving this goal and they have proven to be immensely popular with businesses of all shapes and sizes because of just how efficiently display stands can be used to target specific groups of consumers who are more likely to hold an interest in your products or services. Display stands, depending on the form used, will allow you to interact with your customer on a personal level and this invariably heightens the chances of converting an interest into a sale. Display stands are typically utilised to showcase products alongside a knowledgeable individual who can really sell the product once the display stands have served their purpose of attracting foot traffic.
Display Stands – First Class Advertising
It is easy to see why display stands have been popular for many years now amongst those businesses that are searching for the most cost efficient and effective means of marketing their services. Display stands are ideally suited to trade shows, shopping centres and various high street locations because of their eye-catching features and manoeuvrability and it is in this regard that most companies will utilise display stands in the remainder of 2009. Another good idea when it comes to display stands is to think about including brochures alongside the products because, even if the consumer doesn’t buy your goods there and then, there is a good chance that they will think of your business if they have a brochure to peruse at a later date.
Display Stands – Colour Considerations
One of the most important features to get right with display stands is colouration because this is invariably what will help you stand out from the crowd. Most companies utilising display stands will decorate them in their business colours and logos but this needn’t be the case and display stands really can be decorated to any specification. It is best practice to speak to experts in the field of exhibition, banner and display stands when it comes to ensuring that you get the right solution for your business requirements.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Call Centre Hardware Reinforcing Security

Security is an increasing concern in call centres – specialist call centre hardware is crucial for protecting against identity theft. To find out more visit

In today's modern world, security is no longer about security guards on the door – it's about security guards protecting your technology. Call centre hardware designed to safeguard your clients from identity theft or leaked information is high on the agenda for the contact centre sector.

The basic steps for secure communications include:

l  Investing in the appropriate call centre hardware to secure communications
l  Limiting the amount of staff that can administer the system
l  Ensure security safeguards like firewalls are in place
l  Ensure ports on the network are closed to stop hackers infiltrating the system

Call Centre Hardware – Get Secure

To achieve all these fundamental security steps with call centre hardware, a Unified Communications solution is on hand. Unified Communication systems use fewer ports, making it intrinsically safer. Open and enabled ports that are typically used in external IP-based systems make things more difficult for firewalls, leaving your system vulnerable. The Unified Communications call centre hardware are built on proprietary protocols – making it harder for hackers to access information.

Integrated Hardware – Stop Security Breaches

Using call centre hardware that also features a single software platform for all communication functions will also reduce the risks of malicious attacks. Using pre-integrated applications in one platform compared to a multi point system reduces the potential for a security breach simply because there are fewer access points. Using an applications platform rather than a hardware system is also a simpler alternative for contact centres thanks to the reduced amount of moving parts.

Secure Real Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)

The Secure Real Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a security system that offers standards-based encryption. Simply put, this means all calls to the contact centre (internally and externally) are encrypted – the call centre hardware ensures only the intended recipient can decode the data. Investing in the right call centre hardware and software like this is particularly crucial for contact centres and organisations that handle confidential data and voice traffic.
Call centre hardware and software systems designed to reinforce security is important to build customer trust and loyalty. Even those contact centres and firms that aren't bound by privacy laws or industry regulations and guidelines need to consider customer confidentiality and the voice traffic and data handled by their contact centre.

Customer Complaints and Mis-Selling to come under the Microscope

Obviously, mis-selling a product is an extremely serious offence and it is important that contact centres do all they can to avoid customer complaints stemming from the mis-selling of a product. Consumer watchdogs are clamping down on mis-selling in 2012. Call answering services that are informative could save you from hefty lawsuits by automatically relaying vital information to your customers.

Obviously, there are many circumstances that can lead to customer complaints and it is important to take all these complaints seriously, which is why various watchdogs across the UK are really beginning to clamp down on the mis-selling practices which are often found in many forms of business. According to a report from Ofcom, the one thing that led to more customer complaints than anything else in recent months was when a customer was changed to an alternative supplier without the knowledge or permission and this led to around 1,000 complaints per month over the last year and this is obviously an unacceptable volume of customer complaints. As such, watchdogs such as Ofcom have made it a priority to clean up the industry and make mis-selling of products a thing of the past. It goes without saying that customer complaints are justified if they receive false or deliberately misleading information from contact centres whilst purchasing products or setting up accounts.

Customer Complaints – Setting up Guidelines

It goes without saying that the overriding aim of watchdogs is to protect the rights of consumers and to ensure that customer complaints are dealt with seriously. One industry where customer complaints are fairly commonplace and which is being carefully monitored by watchdogs is the mobile phone industry and the introduction of a number of new guidelines are hoped to help stem the number of customer complaints pertaining to this industry. Ofcom have recently unveiled a new set of governing rules that have been designed and implemented with the intention of preventing misleading sales practices from taking place with the mobile phone industry.

Customer Complaints – Keeping Tabs of Mobile Phone Companies

The new legislation laid down by Ofcom with regard to the amount of customer complaints stemming from the mobile phone industry now means that communication companies are now responsible for keeping much better track of their customer interactions as this will allow for a much easier understanding of those businesses which commonly engage in mis-selling and give rise to customer complaints. It is hoped that before long the new monitoring and recording procedures demanded by Ofcom within the mobile phone industry will begin to yield results in terms of reducing the amount of customer complaints and stamping out mis-selling once and for all.