Category Archives: Lascom

Importance Of Collaboration In Business

The key to succeeding in business is by collaborating with partners and co-workers. Collaborations have always been fruitful whenever employees work together to solve problems, and executives collaborate to increase business efficiency and customer satisfaction. It is also mandatory for market players to collaborate with their customers and clients, as it helps develop appropriate products based on these customer’s needs. Many businesses would collapse if there wasn’t collaboration in between.

What Makes Collaboration Important?

1. Creativity and Original Ideas

“Working alone doesn’t give you an opportunity to present even the greatest ideas to business partners” explains comms guru Karl Cheshire from Hampshire based business telephone system provider, Lascom. You may be sitting on a gold mine without knowing it, just because you aren’t ready, or do not have someone to share the idea with. Being open to other executives, for example, makes it possible for your idea to be discussed on and amplified into even something bigger.

This gives you an opportunity to grow and nurture your ideas. In addition to this, collaboration inspires creative thinking and original ideas. When like-minded persons start brainstorming on an original idea, they are able to improve an original idea and even modify it, making it something bigger that it was originally.

Collaboration is also believed to bring teams together, which makes it possible for them to solve even the hardest of problems. This helps propel the business into the right direction hence increasing customer satisfaction and productivity.

2. Makes Workplaces Fun and Increases Productivity

Working in a rigid organization run through a pecking order can be suffocating at times. It can even be more frustrating especially when one has great ideas but doesn’t have any voice in the business. This mostly happens if the ‘leaders’ aren’t willing to listen to your suggestions/ideas, or just brush them aside simply because you are the ‘smallest fish’ in the company.

Such instances are demoralizing and makes one lose passion in the job passion he/she is in. Working in a collaborative environment is however inspiring and motivating. This is because everyone is allowed to air his/her ideas/views and doesn’t need to feel intimidated. This not only makes the business environment livelier, but also helps increase their productivity. It also leads to a more educated workforce since employees, and their superiors learn from each other.

3. Business Fluidity

Most businesses do not produce their maximum output or even enjoy profits to the maximum simply because they aren’t flexible. Most business managers have an unbending attitude that doesn’t allow them to see when there is a need for a change, or to embrace the market as it is. They do not allow their employees air their views or even bring on ideas that could benefit the business in the long run.

Allowing collaboration in a business however allows fresh perspective and ideas to be brought onboard. This makes it possible for the business to keep up with technology and also pioneer or inspire new ideas. In the non professional’s language, winning and losing are better defined by collaboration

4. Vibrant Problem Solving

Problem-solving is one of the most important and influential purposes of collaboration. This can be better explained when one encounters a problem and attempts to solve it all by himself, and when the same problem is discussed between two or three persons in the same situation. Although you may be able to solve the problem in due time, collaborating with others makes it simpler to crack the problem.

This is because the problem will be analyzed in many people’s perspectives and angles. This means solutions from the same will be interesting, fool proof and even more dynamic. It also helps one open up on how to handle similar problems in the future.

Sharing a problem with a friend makes it less weighty as compared to carrying it on yourself.

The Value Of Collaboration In Business

By: Tulane Public Relations

In every modern business, collaboration is usually the fuel. Collaboration can be between executives aiming to improve efficiency, between workers trying to find the best way to get a job done, or between a business and its client to develop more popular and appropriate products. In the absence of collaboration, business as we know it would simply collapse. Business phone system specialists Lascom believe that collaboration in business is essential for progress. However, the question is what does collaboration do that makes it so important?

Thinking Creatively & Coming Up With Original Ideas

You may be just a single person sitting at his or her desk and have ideas floating in your mind. However, you have absolutely no way of determining whether those ideas are good or not. Having a person to share and discuss ideas with is important. It helps you see potential problems or flaws in your plan that you probably would not have noticed until it is too late.
Collaboration also encourages generation of new ideas as well as thinking creatively. Everything becomes more feasible if you have more minds floating ideas around. Your business partner may have an idea of modifying your original idea, improve on it, or take it to another level.
Collaboration’s very nature brings together different ideas, voices, teams, and views all aiming to solve a particular problem and develop something completely different. This is what will move your business from the bottom to being a dominant player.

A Workforce That Is Happier And More Productive

It sometimes feels a bit suffocating to be working in a rigid organization that is lead from top down. Even if you come up with some new suggestions or ideas, you have no room to express them because of the organization’s rigidity. Even when you express them, they are largely ignored and this can lead to reduced morale and even quitting your job.
In a work environment that is collaborative, the employees enjoy a stronger sense of community and everyone has a chance to float ideas without fear of being ignored. This makes people more happier in their jobs and happy people are more productive. Collaboration has an added advantage in that it leads to a workforce that is better educated since both employers and employees alike learn from one another easily and effectively.

Fluidity Of The Business

One of the major issues that can cause problems to a business or even result in complete liquidation is lack of flexibility as well as failure to move with the times. Any business that is impervious to change and stuck in what it knows is often the one that will be left behind, which is something nobody wants. Being open to new ideas, collaboration, and fresh perspectives ensures that your business remains fluid, keeps up with technology, moves with the times, and that it pioneers new methods and ideas. Simply put, collaboration is the difference between being stuck in the mud and winning the marathon.

Dynamic Problem Solving

One of the critical aims of collaboration discussed above is problem solving. When you are working in an office by yourself and you encounter a problem, it might take you a while to develop a solution. Once you do come up with the solution, it might work for a short while but fail in the end.
If you have a collaborative workforce or partner then you can take a multifaceted approach of looking at the problem. The multifaceted approach looks at the problem from angles that you had not even thought of and this allows for coming up with more interesting, dynamic, and foolproof solutions. It also splits up the workload and helps in opening up your creative problem solving abilities.

As people often say, a problem shared is a problem solved. Therefore, ensure that your workforce is collaborative today.

Important Communication Tips for IT Support Teams

By: GotCredit

IT support groups have to deal with irate customers quite often who blame the technical problems they’re having on the support groups themselves. After all, they’re the ones with all the answers right? And, of course, if something doesn’t go quite the way the customer expects, guess who gets the blame then as well? It’s not, however, the customer’s fault completely of course because these situations are rather frustrating overall. With all of this said, learning more about communication can help your IT support team or external IT support companies such as Convergence have an easier time handling situations.

Good Listening Skills are Key

IT support group members need to be taught how to actively listen. Yes, they hear tons of issues each day and have to work out ways to help people all the time. However, just hearing what a person has to say and passively helping them with some step by step method of instruction. Instead, the support person needs to listen attentively and actively by using what the person says to ask related questions to get to the answer more quickly and also be actively engaged in the conversation. This makes the person feel good about what is happening and like what they’ve brought to the table is important enough to the person representing the company. You also need to be able to give the customer an insight into what support you can give them.

Plus, you have to remember that when a person calls in with a problem, they don’t necessarily know what’s wrong and definitely don’t know everything about the situation or which solutions might work. They might just completely misunderstand everything and just be frustrated, so just passively listening won’t get you anywhere or help them.

Use Checklists

Customers won’t know certain important details, and it’s up to you to actively listen and fill in all the gaps. You can more easily do this by using a visible checklist so that you can refer back to this for certain topics and different scenarios. This is just to make sure you get the right information from them so it’s much easier to help them resolve all issues.

Anytime a support person speaks with a customer, the team members should always ask for feedback. This way the customer can vent instead of hold in their feelings, but they usually vent like this in a much nicer way. Furthermore, positive feedback is of course always welcome and nice to hear.

When IT people really get involved in what they are doing, their professionalism, courtesy and knowledge come to the surface. This is what customers need, not some confusing procedures that they can’t make sense of in the end. This will speed up the process too so that people don’t have to have long wait times, but engaged processes also make them more patient as they wait. It’s a win/win situation.

Managing Tasks

You must be able to listen to what’s going on and be able to separate different tasks so that you’re able to determine what is really going on. If you can’t move from task to task and make connections easy enough, then you’re not only going to take longer to solve the problem, but you’re going to frustrate the customer more.

Listen carefully to make sure what troubleshooting steps they’ve already tried. If you suggest things that they know already or have already tried, then you’re not helping them at all. As well, you might be in the middle of a hectic environment, but you’re going to have to be sympathetic about the problem and environment that the customer is in. You also need to work well with your other team members, sympathetic to their needs as well as the needs of the customers. You don’t want to be goofing off or taking a long break when there are customers to be taken care of. Communication is definitely key for everything to be running properly.

How to Improve Communications Skills In Your IT Support Team

When customers call into the help desk, they are already feeling frustrated. Their computer is blinking and no matter what they do, they can’t get the thing to work. The deck is already stacked against the person on the IT support desk who answers the call.

Customers know IT support personnel are responsible for keeping their computers running. When things go wrong with their computer, customers are quick to transfer blame to the voice at the other end of the line. If the situation takes time to resolve, the computer user becomes increasingly irate. Do you recognize this scenario?

Fortunately, it is possible to turn the situation around. When properly applied, these methods will actually add value to organization. The key is to improve communication skills and reset your customer service levels to quality all the way.

1. Listen Effectively

There is a rule in sales and marketing that states that customers are always right. Although the customer may be wrong, you, the IT support team, should lend the customer a listening ear and try to understand what the customer wants. It is by listening well to a customer’s woes that you can be able to pinpoint where the problem is, thus giving you an idea on what should be done to correct the main problem.

Listening passively to a customer’s woes doesn’t help either. You need to participate actively in the conversation by asking relevant questions to find a solution. Engaging the customer in an attempt to find a solution for his/her problems will help identify the problem very easily. Some customers may not understand what the problem is, but it is through asking questions and answering the client’s questions considerately, is the best way to pinpoint the problem reducing any more frustrations in the future.

Having a checklist on the most commonly reported problems in the IT support line can also help serve your customers much better. Customer feedback also matters a lot in IT support, and should be implemented to help identify problems that weren’t handled well, and which customers were satisfied with the service.

2. Share information on common issues

Sharing some important information in IT support does help a lot in reducing customer conflicts and mistrust. Some customer care attendants are very reluctant in sharing most of the information needed, which lands them in more problems later on. The IT support team should be able to weigh options on whether to share vital information with their clients or not. Brainstorming with other support staff on issues that cannot be resolved by one party, and agreeing to give helpful information on the root cause of their problems is one way to win customers over. Although some customers may not understand at that moment, they will be grateful to learn they were given true information unlike if told lies.

3. Weigh Options before Giving Them to Customers

It is important for you (the customer care staff) to weigh possible solutions before giving them to a customer. It would be best of you buy some time to give a lasting solution to a customer, thus giving them an urgent fix without any guarantee it will work for long. As stated above, this can only be achieved if you engage the customer well, make them understand how delicate the matter is, and give them an assurance and time frame under which the problem will be solved.

Openness is a virtual needed with customer care representatives. It is by being open to customers that you can serve them much better, hence reducing many of the customer conflicts due vague excuses. Hiding the truth from these customers is not realistic in any way, because the truth may come out eventually. The customers are human beings and understand that technicalities do happen. They should be able to understand if servers are down, or when a computer freezes up because it has been overworked.

Four Ideal Times to Review Your Telecommunications Strategy

Very often, small businesses evolve and grow organically. From simple beginnings – one person and an idea on a piece of paper – you may be awarded your first contract. You’ll employ your first member of staff or move your first office, and so on. Most small business owners have an overall strategy in mind – they know where they want to be in the medium to long-term. But along the way, situations develop and solutions are bolted on as and when they’re needed, a bit like a child’s wobbly brick tower as it grows.

From time to time, as a small business owner, it’s beneficial to take a step back and take stock to make sure you’re making the most of your resources. Your telephone systems and communications are a great place to start. After all, everything begins and ends with communication – if you’re not going about it the right way for your own business and customers, you’re likely to be losing time, money and potentially business.

Here are four critical times to take some time out to see how things are working (or not) and start planning for the future:

  • Coming up to the end of the financial year

As you begin to pull together all those bits of paperwork for the accountant, a pattern may begin to emerge. Your mobile phone bills may have been much higher than you forecast for the year. Perhaps you realise you’ve constantly been paying add-on charges for extra data on your broadband account. Or adding it up, you realise that you’ve lost multiple days of productivity because the phone systems were down or computers were offline. If you feel money’s been wasted unnecessarily, perhaps it’s time to review your hardware and the contract you have in place with your providers.

  • When you move offices

Whether you are expanding or downsizing, relocation is an ideal time to take stock of your phone and data systems. Are they adequate for your needs or have you outgrown them? Are there services you’re paying for that you don’t need any more? Could you benefit from switching your phone service from traditional telephone technology to VoIP (‘Voice over Internet Protocol’) and taking advantage of both lower costs and increased functionality?

  • When the business undergoes a change in direction

Every business deviates from its original mission at some stage. This can be as a result of something really positive, like winning a new contract that requires you to invest to deliver a new service. Alternatively, you may find that overheads for your premises are crippling you and you’ve decided to move from having a physical presence on the high street towards increasing your online sales. It’s a mistake to believe that things have to be done the way they’ve always been done. There is always room for improvement; and the current climate in the telecommunications and communications business means there’s very often room for manoeuvre within even the most rigid set-ups and contracts.

  • All the time!

Well, maybe not literally all the time, but it’s a really good idea to keep your telecoms and communications under review on a regular basis. Technology is moving on faster than ever before. If concepts like the Cloud for your data storage or VoIP are a mystery to you, you could well be missing out already. We’ll look more in depth at what’s available out there to save you money and increase your productivity in future blogs. But for now, the important message is don’t struggle alone when considering your telecoms. It’s enough to say that there could well be solutions you either don’t know or haven’t thought about. Why not contact us for a review of your systems and see how much we could save you in the long run?

Five tips for saving money on your telecommunications systems

It’s all too easy to set up direct debits to settle your bills and then keep paying each month without ever questioning what you’re being charged. But bear in mind, what can seem like a good deal at the beginning of the contract can become a millstone, especially if your business’s circumstances change. Everyone wants to save money while still profiting from the best deal available. So here are our five top tips to make sure you’re getting value out of your telecommunications package:

1. Consolidate to conserve

If you’re being billed by three or more separate organisations for broadband, telephone and mobile, then chances are you’re wasting time administering three separate contracts. You’re probably also wasting money: shifting to one provider for all your services will usually result in cost benefits on your bills too. It’s well worth looking for a provider with the resources to offer an integrated package. This can translate into a better overall deal, earning you discounts and saving you money on mobile, broadband and calling charges.

2. Have a policy in place for personal use

Most firms accept that staff need to make personal calls or carry out the odd internet search from time to time. However, without a fair usage policy in place, that can easily exceed reasonable limits. This can impact on staff productivity and the performance of your network, not to mention the cost of excessive call charges or data downloads. There are security issues too: misuse can increase the chances of viruses and malware infections, for instance, which can be costly to rectify. It is in everyone’s interests to know where they stand with regard to acceptable use.

3. Adapt to survive

It seems obvious, but it’s well worth reviewing how you conduct business on a daily basis. Has that changed since your company first considered its telecoms needs? Are you paying for unlimited mobile minutes you’re not using, while regularly being charged extra for exceeding your data allowance? Before embarking on a new contract, or renewing an existing one, review your immediate and longer term needs. Negotiate for regular reviews – every six to 12 months – to make sure you don’t get stuck paying for something that no longer meets your requirements.

4. …Yes, negotiate!

Don’t accept the first quote you get. We often find small businesses are fobbed off with a standard package. But there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution for every business. Ensure your provider wants to listen to your company’s unique requirements and is able to suggest solutions that are tailored towards them. The burgeoning number of telecommunications providers competing for your business means that you’re in the driving seat. If you’re not being offered the flexibility you need, don’t be afraid to hunt around to for a better deal elsewhere.

5. Read everything

Yes, it can be boring stuff, but it’s essential to ensure you’re not signing up to something unwittingly that could come back to bite you. Some providers, for example, will go to great lengths to keep your business by making the cost of terminating your contract prohibitive. And you should also check your bills as a matter of course too once the contract’s in place. This can alert you to changes in your usage or areas where you could possibly negotiate a beneficial alteration to your contract – investing in unlimited downloads may mean a short term increase in your monthly bills, but if your business is constantly exceeding your data limit, then it’s a worthwhile investment which will save money in the long run.

All in all, it’s worth staying alert to what you’re being charged; and what you’re getting in return. Why not speak to us about a comprehensive review of your telecoms? We may be able to help you save money in the future.