Network Health Check….helping you avoid unnecessary downtime

Following the launch of ACCL’s new Network Health Check service we were asked to attend a site in London to resolve some ongoing network issues.

On arrival we were escorted to the Comm’s Room where the client explained he was having intermittent faults on his network…annoying things such as losing connectivity and crackly phone lines…

We initially carried out a visual inspection, which hi-lighted the problem instantly, see evidence below….!

We explained that the way in which the patch panel had been terminated did not conform to UK or European standards….not a good start 🙂

We also discovered that the cable which had been used was CCA grade cable (copper clad aluminium) which is also non-compliant with either UK or European standards. It can appear under the guise of Cat 5e, but is inferior to solid copper for a number of reasons. The obvious question to the client was who carried out the installation and whether any test certificates existed….

The client informed us that the install was carried out on his behalf by the main contractor who, in turn, asked his non-English speaking European electrician to install it…a challenge in itself as there were some communication issues (lots of gesticulation and arm waving!)

We carried out some tests, using Fluke testers to analyse the links aannnddd…..surprise, surprise, they failed! On a positive note these issues are generally easy and inexpensive to remedy.

The client then asked how the issues could be resolved and we have sent a proposal back which they have accepted, works are to commence shortly and we will update you once it has been successfully completed!

The moral of the story is that you should always bring in the correct team with the relevent expertise and experience when installing or updating your network to avoid any unnecessary embarrassment but fear not! our health check can easily identify and remedy any issues you may have with regards to your network, why not give us a call today?

ACCL Smashing Couch to 5k…….

Following the *ahem* success of the ACCL team diet, we are regrouping and gearing up for the latest fad grabbing the country by storm – Couch to 5k……the idea is to turn you from couch potato to Zola Budd, they *promise* to get you regularly running 3 miles in the space of just 2 months! Achievable? If I’m honest I have my doubts, but we shall see….. 🙂

The boss is giving this one a wide berth, having been the stand alone hero of the team diet I am only too pleased to hear it, one thing Wayne does have is willpower so he’d blow us all out of the water and if I’m totally honest I couldn’t bare any more of his smugness…! He is instead sticking to being careful about what he shovels into his gob… Personally, I think it has more to do with his fear of lycra 🙂

So the team consists of me. Obvs. Sally and Dee, also obvs 🙂 and the Lawrence…a very welcome, if not reluctant addition to the team!

In my youth, not so many years ago (don’t laugh!) I was a good middle distance runner, being told to try out for the county. I was however more interested in beer and boys at the time so it never happened…. Now as a grown up (debateable??!) I am ready to take on the challenge 🙂 This HAS to work, for those of you who followed my Clash of the 2 Tonnes blog will know, having started the diet at the beginning of the year with high hopes I failed at it. Miserably. Onion rings and red wine are my life and I just couldn’t manage without them.  I have gained another 1/2 stone since, which is a disaster…!  according to my mum it all goes downhill from the age of 40 anyway so I should just accept my fate! but I’m not ready to throw in the towel, just yet 🙂

Sally will be my jogging/walking partner a couple of times a week (her house backs woods, and we thought it only right that our attempts at getting fit should be viewed by as few people as possible, at least until we can jog without looking like someone in the throes of an asthma attack..) Sally’s diet journey was about as successful as mine, yep, that good 🙂 and she is determined to get out of the ‘fat’ wardrobe once and for all…!

Dee is following the plan to the letter (I bet she was teachers pet at school!) 20-30 minute sessions, 3 times a week, gradually increasing the amount of running she does (she has even downloaded the iPhone App, so she has someone talking in her ear, personally I get enough of that at home from my kids, so it’s not for me :-). Lethargy following ill health has been her catalyst for her getting fit, and age…..did I mention we are all women in the prime of life (ie our 40’s 🙂 )??!

Steve Lawrence, the man who laughed when we talked about the team diet is now finding that age is finally creeping up on him and with it comes extra poundage in the form of a spare tyre, ha! there is a God 🙂 Again, not wanting to scare the general public with his attempts at exercise, he is using his parents’ treadmill…. Personally, I think it’s just an excuse for him to go home and get his mum’s cooking 🙂 He is determined to lose weight though and as someone who avoided the diet at the start of the year I have no idea of his resolve…. he’s also watching what he’s eating (whilst CONSTANTLY talking about Nando’s – unnecessarily torturing himself I might add) One thing I will say here though is that it’s making him grumpy 🙂 well, more grumpy than normal if that’s possible… 🙂 He is telling us that he is jogging for 30 minutes, however, we have no way of proving this……video footage may be required and trust me I will upload it on here if we manage to acquire any 🙂

Network Cabling…..Prevention really is better than costly cure……

Whatever aspect of life you look at, it’s a well known fact that prevention is better than cure. The danger is always that we sit back and do nothing, why fix it if it ain’t broke?! Invariably something goes wrong and murphys law says its going to happen at the wrong time, when we least need it!  This means that everything then becomes a rush and mistakes can be made, quick fixes can be put in place which can end up costing more money and a whole lot of inconvenience!

Preventative maintenance is proven to save you money – a simple network health check can help you avoid problems and costly repairs to your network before the need arises by identifying any potential problems using the latest diagnostic equipment. In business, systems rarely stay the same, continuously being altered or expanded, over time this can gradually decrease the performance of your networks. Our Company will fit in around you, scheduling a time that is convenient for you and your business, with little or no downtime to the network infrastructure

Opt for our FREE 120 minute health check and we will provide you with a comprehensive visual health check which will tell you whether your network is running as it should be.

Our recent cable tidy at Southampton Football Club was captured in video by Data-Cabling-Expert-TV and shows how much work can be created if your network cabling is neglected. Check out the “quick” version of our weekend in Southampton http://goo.gl/188vn and let us know if you would like help with your cables before they become a real cause of concern, costing you time and money which with a little bit of maintenance could be well avoided.

Telephone Personalisation……what’s keeping your customers waiting?

We’ve all been there haven’t we? you make a call, get put on hold only to find out 20 minutes later that you’ve been cut off! GRRRR!  Thankfully this is generally a thing of the past with most companies opting for on-hold music or beeps, at least you know you’re still connected 🙂 but why not make the most of a captive audience by offering information about the services/products you provide? Granted, it can be a fine line, you don’t want to bore the pants off of prospective, or for that matter existing, customers! The aim should be to inform and entertain, leaving your customer understanding more about you and less likely to hang up! Research has shown that on-hold marketing increases sales and raises customer awareness whilst keeping your caller happy, safe in the knowledge that they haven’t been forgotten or lost in the deep recesses of the system…..

On-hold music although still popular is a tricky one to get right….you’re not going to appeal to everyone’s taste and let’s face it, it can sometimes be a bit naff, having Greensleeves playing over and over in your head long after the call has terminated does not make for a happy person (or is that just me..??!) A bit of ABBA never fails to cheer me up quite frankly, however, I do appreciate this won’t be to everyone’s taste…..!

Another personalisation feature available is auto-attendant, which allows callers to be transferred automatically without the intervention of a receptionist/operator. This is usually a simple menu system (1 for sales, 2 for customer service…you get the idea!) with the option to speak to ‘live’ operator (often by dialling 0) …if you so wish 🙂

…and what about mobile twinning…? This allows you to use your mobile the same way you would use your office desk phone, perfect for today’s business needs where you are required to be in 2 places at once 🙂

So, if you’re looking to upgrade your phone system why not give our friendly team a call (we do not have dodgy on-hold music, in case you’re interested!) we are always happy to help….

Essex lion? You sure that’s what you should be worried about…?!

Forget rampaging lions…..recession hit Britain has an even bigger problem in it’s midst. The current economic climate has seen life for the rat dramatically improve, gangs of ‘ASBO’ rats are known to be terrorising neighbourhoods, rummaging through uncollected rubbish, munching their way through the food we leave out for the wildlife we actively like to encourage into our suburban gardens….unfinished buildings and closed down shops in our towns just some of the places where they have been setting up home and with budget strapped councils having less money available to kill them, life for the rat is sweet 🙂

What is it about the little blighters that they feel the need to gnaw through EVERYTHING??! I’d sooner get my teeth stuck into a decent bar of chocolate, but hey, maybe that’s just me…! A significant problem is the increase in cable damage as the rat and squirrel population has gone into overdrive.

As we expand and improve our infrastructure to keep up with the latest technology, there is a lot more cable around for them to sink their teeth into, potentially causing damage to your business through loss of communication…..but fear not! help is at hand 🙂 if you’re concerned about the condition of your cabling, not necessarily just because you think rodents have been having a good old munch….call in the professionals, we can’t kill your rats but can assist with all areas of cabling 🙂 

Customer Call Buttons make a Fitting Customer Service !

It’s not very often that I get the opportunity to venture outside of the offices of ACCL, so I struggled to contain my excitement as Sally and I were allowed out for a ‘jolly’ to Stratford’s Westfield Shopping Centre for a training session on the latest retail advancement.

Call Button Technology, the most exciting thing to happen in retail since the invention of, well, shops! I’ve already blogged about my negative changing room experiences of times past but things are changing and this is where the future gets totes exciting!

Alert Technologies, a well established customer service company in the States were looking to bring their Call Button Technology product to Europe and found the perfect UK partner to promote and install it, yep, us!  Tried and tested in the US, it is now (finally) over here!

Taking Customer Service to a whole new level and giving control back to the customer, music to my ears!  The system works by you, the customer, pressing a call button from inside the fitting room, this alerts an assistant via a radio attached to an ear piece that you require help, the benefits here being that you do not need to open the door and indecently expose yourself.

Nor do you have to experience that annoying knock on the door or tug on the curtain when the eager assistant asks if you need help before you’ve even had chance to take your coat off!  No more do you have to wriggle in and out of clothes in a damp frenzied panic when you need an alternative size or fit, simply press the button and summon your own personal shopper.  Sold on the concept yet?

What was great about attending the training, apart from seeing the product in action, was seeing the buzz amongst the staff who were getting ready to use the system, the excitement at being able to give great customer service was tangible.  This system helps optimize a sales assistant’s job satisfaction by making them more flexible in their service to customers.  From their point of view they want to assist customers and don’t really want to be a nuisance so by being available to the customer when they call makes perfect sense.

We all know that customer loyalty comes with great customer service.  No need to be a rocket scientist to work that out! Retailers of the world need to take note, with most buying decisions being made in the fitting room, it pays to get this area right, we are entering a shopping revolution.  The customers are fighting back, taking control and demanding a better service.  Don’t let them get it from the internet!  Install call buttons in your fitting rooms and provide them with a service that the internet just can’t provide!

Illuminating the Home Cinema experience…..

Ambience has to be a key word when you’re looking at lighting for your home cinema, right? An all singing and dancing system requires subtle, or maybe dramatic, lighting for you to get the most out of your viewing experience….

Lighting brings with it the opportunity to create drama. There are lots of different options available, whether you choose LED lighting, recessed downlights, spotlights or wall lights, our expert design team are on hand to help you decide.

Did you know that a lot of todays lighting solutions can save you money by reducing your energy usage…great for the carbon footprint 🙂

For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to get tickets, imagine watching the Olympics from the comfort of your own home cinema, surrounded by friends and family (and possibly a few bevvies!) soaking up the atmosphere on the large screen.

Why not call FREE on 0333 900 0101 to see how ACCL can help you get the most out of home cinema lighting