Winners receive their weight in beer

We joined in this year’s World Cup football fever by running a Keepy-Uppy Challenge throughout the duration of the Games – the lucky winners were awarded their weight in beer.

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The challenge was run throughout the World Cup games, and the winners were announced on 16th July. Local businesses on the Greenham Business Park received a personal printed invitation to enter the challenge at Verbatim’s offices – entry sessions were held every Monday and Friday for anyone wanting to drop in and have their best keepy-uppy effort recorded by the Verbatim team. Winner Aman (above left) – a 23 year old employee of Norma UK Ltd, was thrilled to win the challenge after completing an amazing 75 non-stop keepy-ups at Verbatim’s offices just days before the competition closed. He was greeted at Windsor & Eton Brewery on Friday 25th July where he was given 14 cases of beer. Aman said…

“I was ecstatic to find out I was the winner of the keepy-uppy challenge. I took my friends from work along with me and we all had a go. Competition between me and my work friends was tough but I managed to leave with the highest. A few hours later I received a call that I had won! I was over the moon! I had only trained a day before attempting the challenge so was pleased with the result. Upon receiving the beer I was greeted very pleasantly by the Windsor and Eton Brewery where I was given a full tour of the factory and got to taste a variety of their beers! I even got up on the scales and did some keepy-uppy’s. In the end I received 14 crates, was extremely chuffed with my winnings!  I will most definitely be attempting this challenge again next year!”

Challengers could also post a video of their best keepy-uppy attempt on Verbatim’s Facebook page. Winners for this category were also awarded their weight in beer. Winners Richard and Carlos seen below receiving their 8 cases of beer.

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The winner of the £50 M&S voucher – for predicting the final score successfully is Richard White (below) receiving his prize from Graham Hill.

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More fun was had with Verbatim’s ‘Keep your eye on the ball’ challenge. Footballs were carefully (and sneakily) hidden within the 4 page quarterly printed newsletter that Verbatim sends to clients, and with some balls only being 3 mm in diameters this was not an easy ‘spot’. The winners – who spotted all 8 balls – were Hannah and Jane from Guardian Preservation Services who each received a ‘His and Hers World Cup Goodie Pack’ including a bottle of bubbly and luxury chocolates for her,and cider and crisps for him.

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Hannah and Jane receiving their Goodie Pack prize for spotting all 8 balls hidden in the Verbatim newsletter

Staff profile: Ann’s story – 16 years at Verbatim!

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Staff profile: Ann Davidson – 16 years working for Verbatim

In 1998 I found myself at home with a two year old son.  I needed to get back to work and answered an ad in the local paper for a job at Verbatim.

I got the job and started working 3 mornings a week and the odd Saturday morning.  We worked in an office on Main Street, Greenham Business Park and 6 of us sat cosily around a group of desks with our phones and notebooks with a fax machine in the corner.

We started off taking calls, noting down the clients id, typing up the messages and in nine times out of ten, printing the message off and getting up from our seats to manually fax the message over.  Early days and not very high tech but we did the job and the clients were pleased!

As AJ grew, so did Verbatim, we knocked a hole in the wall and moved into the adjoining office.  As AJ went to school I increased my hours to work around his school day and Verbatim, being the family friendly company allowed me work around him all the way through his school years.

We grew bigger and eventually moved into new, bigger offices at Venture West.  More clients, more staff and more hours to work but new technology including emails and texts and automated faxing!

A series of mishaps happened along the way with me, my mums passing and the death of my lovely husband Ken.  My extended family at Verbatim rallied round and supported me with love and compassion.  When times have been tough for me, Graham and the team have always been there and helped me through the bad times, as they do with all of us.

Moving on, my son has just turned 18!  I have now been here 16 years.  I love to chat with my clients and callers and have some great friends and colleagues here.  We always look out for each other through good and bad.  We laugh together, cry together but above all work together to make Verbatim what it is today.  The fundamentals of the job remain the same, answer my phone, talk to my callers in a friendly and professional way,  deliver the message and fulfil my client’s needs.  Job done!!

I cant see me leaving until pension day – which unfortunately is nearer than I would like!!!!

Ann Davidson

When schools face closure due to bad weather – what’s the plan?

No school written in the snowWith the UK weather being more unpredictable every year, schools are having to make immediate decisions about if and when to close. Often this decision is made out of hours, long before staff have arrived causing a communication issue all round, and for the Head Teacher the knock on effects of last minute closure are many…

Notifying the right people, staff, students and parents promptly is vital if the Head wants to avoid situations that cause massive disruption, not just for the school, but for parents who are forced to make last minute childcare arrangements. The key in these situations is to have a robust, tested and approved plan in place that utilises the best and most reliable technology to speed the process up, and eliminate hassle. But whilst most schools will have a plan, it may not be effective, which leaves them unprepared and liable to confusion about what response mechanisms are in place.

And with many schools now having on average 1500 students how you get the right message to the right people… quickly really does matter. Consider the scenario that happens in many schools across the UK today – The day starts unexpectedly, its 6am and the approach road to the school is heavily iced, not safe enough to keep the school open. The Head decides to close, and may rely on sending an e-mail, but many staff and parents simply won’t see it in time, resulting in them turning up to a school already closed. Who would be responsible (or have the time) to make the call to everyone who may be affected? Should you rely on social media? And of course someone has to inform the local radio stations, but who is that person… and more importantly where are they?

It’s a headache for the Head that’s for certain, but it doesn’t have to be!

These situations CAN be managed with an effective plan, one that every member of staff is aware of, understands and has practised. And there IS technology out there to make sure this plan works and is foolproof – every time. Announcement systems like EDGE-Care automatically deliver a message to everyone who needs to know about the situation as it arises. So when the Head makes the decision to close the school, he doesn’t need to worry about communication chaos, but can concentrate efforts on resolving the issue at hand instead. This has to be a better use of time surely!

What are your experiences of dealing with school closures and how do you think the processes should best be managed?

Call out engineers with our super hero………Captain EDGE

Captains log – Stardate 91759.74

Hi I’m Captain EDGE, Verbatim’s EDGE Care super hero and I ‘m so excited to be given my very own Captain’s blog!

One of my heroes is Deep Blue, IBM’s super computer who went on to beat international chess Grand Master, Kasparov, in the 90’s.

It got me thinking about how to apply 21st century intelligence to the business of calling out emergency maintenance crews to fix production line machinery and critical IT or power systems. We have come a long way from the early days of production but sometimes our response in a crisis can seem a little archaic. Calling around your engineers in the hope someone picks up.

Thanks to Verbatim, the phone answering service, I can now demonstrate how EDGE-Care can bring your response into the 21st century and how Captain EDGE can work with your emergency response teams to shorten your response time.

Just imagine the impact of down time in your business. The list is endless- lost production, late deliveries, reputation, financial penalties just to name a few.

Let me share the things that YOU WON’T GET with Captain Edge

Things like:

You won’t struggle to reach your engineers
You won’t struggle to get your engineers out of bed and then worry about them taking the important information down wrong
You won’t have to repeat your instructions and contact details
You won’t have any doubt as to whether the on call engineers have been contacted and are on their way and properly briefed.
You won’t have disputes about who called whom and what was said and at what time the notifications started.

These are things of a bygone age – with Captain EDGE you will get a super hero service

Things like:

You will have the phone answered in 3 rings – guaranteed
You will get all the information you need using a structured maintenance request form designed by you
You will be confident your maintenance crews have been immediately notified as well as any back up crews you require.
You will be able to guarantee to meet your customers’ SLA’s
You will have ISO compliant records – auditable and traceable
You will have voice recordings of the original request- great for verifying any points of dispute

Captain Edge Badge

Captain EDGE WILL:

  1. Reduce times to fix the problem
  2. Help you deliver better service levels
  3. Enhance your reputation

So the question is:

“Can you afford to ignore a fast, efficient and fool proof guaranteed escalation process from a super hero ………………………………………….?”

Captain EDGE signing off

Do you know someone whose flood-stricken business needs support?


Verbatim, The Phone Answering Service has thrown a lifeline to Berkshire businesses affected by the flooding with the offer to answer the calls of up to 20 stricken businesses for free until the end of February, by which time the floodwater will have hopefully subsided.

The offer is open to home based businesses that have been flooded or to business owners whose homes are flooded or threatened with flooding meaning they cannot be at work.

Verbatim based at Greenham Business Park in West Berkshire whose Founder & Managing Director lives 50 yards from the river on the upper reaches of The Thames, has first-hand experience of the rising flood waters at his home prompted him to make the gesture.

“Where I live west of Oxford we have been on flood alerts and flood warnings since Christmas and are surrounded by sandbags and while we have not yet been flood the water is getting closer and I know how important it is to stay close to home.

“I am lucky to own a phone answering service meaning I can work from home and be here to protect my property and family and still handle calls and clients; others are not so lucky and either have their workplace flooded or are away from work to protect their home and our hearts go out to those people and we hope this gesture will help them stay in business while staying at home.

“Answering phones for businesses effected by the flooding is a small gesture and a genuine way we can help the local economy.”

If you know someone whose home based business is down the drain due to flooding

“Here’s a free, absolutely no quibble, no moaning, lifeline for them”

Tell them to call this number to register their business – 01635 576060 – and we’ll handle all their calls until the end of February, absolutely free and with no obligation and no strings attached.

We’ll maintain their diary, take calls and sales enquiries, transfer urgent calls to mobiles, and give out info to VIP and key customers, leaving them free to sort out their family and home problems.

In times like this we all need to pull together and help those in urgent need, and helping businesses is what we’re about. My home is only threatened right now, while the business is high and dry, so we’re in a position to help those less fortunate.

Advertisers spend record £3bn online

Reported in the Daily Telegraph Monday October 7th 2013 by Roland Gribben and Nathalie Thomas

“Advertisers spend record £3bn online in the first six months of the year trying to reach Britons that access the web via their computers, smart phones and tablets

Britons now spend one in 12 of the minutes they are awake surfing the internet….

…More than a fifth of all time spent is for entertainment ( source Internet Advertising Bureau- IAB research by PwC)

Social networks and blogs account for 12% of time or one in seven minutes.

Mobile share is increasing

Continue reading

Customer Retention

Charlie

How To Win More Customers And Retain Them For Longer

Have you noticed that it’s those small details that can make the difference between winning a new customer, and losing them to the competition?

And you’ll be surprised at the difference your telephone manner can make.

In these tough times, lots of businesses are investing time and money to attract new leads. From social media to blogging to email marketing, they get their message “out there” – only to undo all the hard work by:

• Not answering their phone quick enough
• Letting calls go through to voicemail
• Failing to have the telephone skills in place to respond effectively to new enquiries Continue reading

Protected Time

You call - Our passion

Warning: Is Your Availability Undermining Your Business Achievements?

Do you feel you have too much to do but never enough time to do it?

Does your growing to-do list leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed?

Do you get frustrated by the amount of really good ideas you never implement?

If you run your own business, feelings like these are not uncommon. After all, time is your most valuable, but limited resource. It means you face the ongoing challenge of managing your day to ensure it strikes the right balance between:

• Dealing with the day-to-day tasks and emerging priorities alongside
• The high value work that will drive your business towards your longer-term vision

Continue reading

Here’s Why Smart Business Owners Answer Their Phone Within Three Rings

a stressed businessman answering call

Does this sound familiar?

You’re right in the thick of an important piece of work.

You’re in the zone. You’re focused and you’ve got a sense that you’re on the verge of something pretty significant.

And then the phone rings…

It’s frustrating. To start with your concentration is broken. In addition, there’s the risk you’ll lose your train of thought and never recover. You quickly jot down some notes to jog your memory and just as you pick up the phone, the ring goes silent – you’re too late.

It’s a double whammy. Continue reading

Did you miss Verbatim on TV?

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We were immensely pleased to be featured on national TV on Tuesday, in a high profile programme on Sky & BBC.

The programme features a great interview by our MD, Graham Hill, discussing the importance of effective business communications.

If you missed the programme, catch the repeat on Sunday May 5th at 11:30am, on Sky C212 and BBC’s business chanel on C401.

Alternatively, you can watch again here: http://www.executivetv.org/clients_corporate_communication.htm