Is Your Company Properly Equipped for Home Working?

With the coronavirus situation worsening, it looks like it is now a case of when, rather than if, the UK government will ask people to self-isolate and work from home. Whilst some businesses already have good systems in place to allow employees to work remotely, there are a worrying number of SMEs that don’t.

So how can you prepare your business for such an eventuality?

1.) Acknowledge and accept that all or part of your workforce are likely to need to work remotely.

Unfortunately, taking a ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ stance, when it comes to the possibility of large-scale self-isolation and compulsory home working, is no longer an option. As it is now inevitable, putting sufficient plans in place now, could be the difference between your business surviving the pandemic and not!

2.) Evaluate which jobs and tasks can and can’t be carried out remotely.

Carry out a full analysis of all roles and duties and categorise them into 4 categories:

  • Can already be done remotely – Certain tasks may be easy to carry out remotely and may already be done remotely from time to time.
  • Could be done remotely, but changes would be necessary – There may be some tasks that couldn’t currently be done remotely but could be with some changes. For example, it may be that hard copies of invoices are currently posted out each day, but a switch to email invoices could be relatively straight forward and allow invoicing to be done remotely.
  • Could be done remotely, if additional hardware/software was in place – It may be possible to carry out other tasks remotely with the addition of new hardware or software, such as laptops and cloud-based software.
  • Can’t ever be done remotely – Whilst there will undoubtedly be some jobs that can’t be done remotely, these may be able to be carried out by a skeleton staff or put on hold, depending on the urgency of the tasks.

3.) Further investigate the additional hardware/software required.

Whilst buying new laptops and software isn’t usually cheap, weighing up the costs against the potential for lost revenue, may well still make it the most cost-effective option. In some situations, it may be possible for employees to use their own laptops and phones, but this can create a number of data-security issues, which should be properly considered beforehand.

4.) Set up a communications protocol.

It is important to have a good communications plan in place before any remote working starts. The plan should outline:

  • How to reach everybody
  • How employees are expected to respond to customers
  • How and when teams will coordinate/meet  

5.) Identify ways to measure performance.

Switching to large scale remote working at short notice, is inevitably going to present issues that may not have been foreseen. Additionally, it is also possible that some employees may see it as an opportunity to slack off, so it is important that output is closely monitored. This will allow managers to ensure that employees and systems are working as they should be and that any problems people run into are addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Close monitoring of performance and what has and hasn’t worked well, will also be useful to reflect on going forward, when the pandemic is over, and businesses return to normal. For example, you may find that certain things such as switching from postal to email communications has worked well and saved money, or that holding meetings over Skype rather than in person has saved unnecessary travelling time and could be kept in place.

QiC Systems are an award-winning IT support company, based near Winchester and servicing the whole of Hampshire. Specialising in Office 365 and cloud-based working solutions, we can help you to ensure your business is home working ready!

To arrange a free Home Working Audit, call us on : 01962 711000, or send us an email to sales@qicsystems.com

8 Reasons Your Business Needs Maximizer CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are becoming increasingly popular with businesses of all sizes and it’s not hard to understand why. If you’re a business owner and are looking for an organised and efficient way of managing your customer database and tracking your sales opportunities, then a CRM is the way forward.

QiC is a leading UK business partner for Maximizer CRM and have a wealth of experience in all aspects of CRM implementation. Maximizer can be deployed as a cloud-based or on-premise platform, which tracks and stores the full history of every customer interaction, helping you keep on top of leads, make more informed sales decisions and improve customer retention.

Maximizer can be fully customised to meet your exact business requirements. If you’d like to speak to one of our Maximizer CRM experts, please call QiC on: 01962 711000 or using the contact form found here.

8 Reasons Your Business Needs Maximizer CRM

  1. All your sales information at your fingertips – Maximizer provides a central lead management solution that provides instant access to the entire sales history of all your customers and prospects. Your sales, marketing and service teams can have access to all the documents and data they need wherever they are, via mobile, tablet or desktop.
  2. Lead management – with Maximizer CRM no sales opportunity will be missed. By managing client relationships, marketing communications and customer service records all in one place, you can capture the data points you need to generate more leads.
  3. Increase customer retention– An all‐in‐one CRM solution that includes customer service functionality, along with sales and marketing tools, can increase your customer retention. Automating and streamlining customer engagement to ensure every customer receives appropriate communication that improves their overall experience and satisfaction.
  4. Refine your targeting – with detailed visibility of historical data you can transform this into actionable intelligence on customer buying patterns. This allows for more accurate targeting and forecasting.
  5. Increased productivity – Maximizer streamlines previously time-consuming admin processes to give your employees more time to concentrate on closing sales and keeping customers happy.
  6. Marketing automation– sending out marketing communications that maintain customer contact and can generate new sales often gets increasingly difficult as your customer base grows, and resources become stretched. Maximizer’s marketing automation functionality makes it easy to stay in constant contact and uncover new opportunities for your sales team.
  7. Reports and dashboards – because all your sales history is stored in one place, it’s simple to produce reports so you can drill into your sales data and quickly spot trends and opportunities.
  8. Integration – Maximizer can be connected to MailChimp, Gmail, Outlook, Excel and more using pre-built integrations.

 

8 of the Best Tips and Tricks for Office 365

1. Real-time co-authoring: Save a Word document to OneDrive or SharePoint, so colleagues can work on it with you – you’ll see each other’s changes as they happen.

2. Use links instead of attachments: Sharing files couldn’t be easier. Simply upload a document to your Office 365 cloud storage, compose your email and insert the link to your file. The recipient will have full editing permission and you won’t clutter up your email with large attachments.

3. Tell Me: If you’re unsure on how to do something, whether it’s writing a letter, or creating a purchase ledger, the Tell Me function can help. It’s at the top of most Office 365 apps, including Word and Excel. Just type what you want to do in the search box, and it will direct you.

4. Focused Inbox: This has replaced the Clutter feature and splits your inbox into two tabs – Focused and Other. All your important emails will go into ‘Focused’, while the rest are easily accessible, but out of the way on the ‘Other’ tab.

5. Office Lens: Quickly and efficiently take more detailed notes with the help of the Office Lens app. Using a smartphone, take pictures of notes on a sheet of paper, or a diagram on a whiteboard and easily turn it into digital note form.

6. Sway: If you create a lot of slideshows, but you’re beginning to run out of inspiration, try Sway. Sway offers a wide range of templates, backgrounds and other features to help you create professional and eye-catching slideshows.

7. Use Pins: To gain quicker access to your regularly used documents, you can use ‘Pins’. Go to File, Open and Recent, then select the More icon next to the file you’d like Pin. Select Pin and this will add it to your Recent page.

8. Office Mobile Apps: This is included in your subscription. Simply download it from your Android or iOS device store and you’ll be able to use Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook and OneDrive, directly from your smartphone or tablet while you’re on the move!

If you would like to migrate to Office 365, or require support with your Office 365 subscription, call QiC today on 01962 711000.

6 Top Tips on Making Safer Online Purchases

Online shopping is the easiest and most convenient way to shop these days, but cyber criminals can take advantage of this and use it as an opportunity to steal your personal data.

Here’s our 6 Top Tips for Making Safer Online Purchases:

1. Watch out for fake websites
It’s easy for criminals to create websites that look exactly like other retailers, boasting incredible deals to entice you in. The quality of fake sites varies; watch out for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and make sure the URL looks correct. If you’re in any doubt go direct to the website – don’t follow links in emails, on other websites, or in pop-ups.

2. Consider paying by credit card
Credit cards give you protection. If something goes wrong like you don’t receive the goods, or they are faulty then you will be able to claim the money back, as long as it’s over £100, but less than £30,000. If the item was less than £100 you may still be able to claim the money back, so it’s always worth checking.

3. When using public wifi make sure your devices are secure
Wifi hotspots are now available in coffee shops, restaurants and shops, providing unlimited access to the internet almost everywhere, but if you use them, you should make sure your devices are protected with security software and avoid making any purchases. Cyber criminals can use these networks for cyber-attacks and can even crate fake hotspots.

4. Make sure that the site is secure
Never purchase anything that is from a site that doesn’t start with https at the start of the URL. By having https at the beginning of the URL means that the all communication between your browser and the website you are visiting is encrypted. However, it’ also important to know that Cyber Criminals will use https in the URLs for fake sites, so you still need to be vigilant (refer back to point 1).

5. Watch out for scam emails
Phishing emails are a common way for cyber criminals to try and gain access to your personal details. They are incredibly deceptive and designed to look like they’re from a trusted source, such as your bank, or favourite online shopping website. It may even take the form of an invoice for a purchase you haven’t made. These emails usually contain links, which you should never click on. If you receive an email you think may be a scam, check the email address and URL. Your bank will never email you asking for personal details. If you’re concerned go direct to the company’s official website and login to check.

6. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!
There will be a lot of genuinely good deals available during the sales, but if it seems too good to be true, then do your research. Check the authenticity of the website, call the retailer if necessary – don’t make yourself vulnerable to cyber-crime.

QiC are certified partners for Webroot EndPoint Security Products. We recommend Webroot to replace existing Anti-Virus, Malware and Ransomware protection. If you have any questions regarding cyber security or would like a free assessment of your IT systems call QiC today on 01962 711000.

What are the top 6 new features of Maximizer 2019?

We’re excited to announce the launch of Maximizer 2019 and if you’d like to know what’s new about the 2019 version of Maximizer CRM, here are the highlights:

1. New Leads Module – this allows you to manage the full cycle from leads to sales.

2. Quick Search enhancement – to help produce more accurate search results the Quick Search will now only search the name fields, unless other parameters are used, such as address or phone number.

3. Search in Notes Following tab – In the Notes Following tab, you can now search for notes in a selected entry and set various parameters for the search.

4. Outlook add-in – new to on-premise, in Outlook you can now mark the emails that have been saved to Maximizer entries using an Outlook category.

5. Notification manager – You can now receive notifications by emails. In Notification Manager, in the wizard page there’s a new option ‘Send an email when this notification arrives’.

6. Outlook and Word add-ins – A new version of Outlook and Word add-in is available with a cleaner interface.

If you would like to find out more about how a CRM like Maximizer 2019 can help your business move forward, call QiC today on 01962 711000.

8 Top Tips for Local SEO

With the majority of top ten Google search results now producing local websites instead of generic ones, local SEO is something that businesses can’t ignore.

If you want to help your website appear at the top of Google in the local search results, here are 8 Top Tips for Local SEO to get your started:

Google My Business – Create and verify a Google My Business Page. Encourage customers to leave reviews and respond to comments. Where possible, include the location of your business or service in the response.

Optimise – every URL, Title Tag, Header and Meta Description is an opportunity to be found in search results. Ensure your geographic location is clearly stated in each. When it comes to geo-targeted content, consider customer success stories and case studies from local businesses you’ve worked with.

Location pages – if your business has more than one location, create a page for each, including essential information such as address, hours of business, parking information. If you have one location, make the About Us page locally descriptive and include a Google Map.

Create local content – think outside the box, you don’t have to always write about what your business sells. If you’re hoping to attract a local audience, consider writing about local news and events.

Mobile friendly – local search and mobile search are linked. The majority of smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices. Ensure your website is mobile optimised and contact details and directions can be found easily.

Local directories – ensure your businesses is listed with local online directories and your contact details are consistent throughout.

Backlinks – inbound links to your site are a great opportunity to boost local SEO. Consider local sponsorship opportunities, writing a guest blog on one of your supplier’s websites and reciprocal links with your customers.

Social media – Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever. Share your Google My Business Page on social media and include regular geographic references in your posts.

QiC Systems provide managed IT services for businesses, including a range of flexible IT  support packages. For a full range of our services, please contact us today on: 01962 711000

 

How do I move my business to The Cloud?

There are some basic steps that businesses need to complete for a full Cloud migration and QiC can help.

Here are a few things you’ll need to consider when migrating your business to The Cloud:

Email – This was traditionally on your on-premise server, but most companies have already moved this into The Cloud, usually with Office 365.

Files & Documents – The majority of people we speak to still host files and documents on their on-premise server. Moving these into The Cloud with Office 365 has many benefits, including the ability to work seamlessly over multiple locations. It also takes another role away from the on-premise server.

Applications – Customers will generally have a number of business applications on their server(s). These could include accounts systems, such as Sage, CRM programs and other business specific applications. Most suppliers are migrating to Cloud-based applications and are offering these to people who use their program on-premise. Gradually moving over to Cloud-based applications is another step to getting away from the requirement for on-premise servers. Note that this step can take months or even years depending on the applications in use.

Active Directory – This is generally the last role that is left on-premise. This deals with the security of the network and controls user details and permissions. There are various options to move this role into The Cloud which can be discussed.

 

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of Cloud migration, please call QiC today on: 01962 711000

Maximizer CRM Case Study

We were thrilled that Maximizer chose our client, SSG Recruitment, as a case study. Find out how Maximizer CRM enabled SSG to streamline their business processes, by providing a centralised port for their customer data, which can be easily accessed from all their office locations.

SSG Recruitment Case Study

Help Your Business Grow With Confidence!

Maximizer CRM has launched their new brand message ‘Grow With Confidence’ and we think they’ve hit the nail on the head! With Maximizer CRM, you literally can watch your business Grow With Confidence.

Maximizer is a cloud-based CRM, which provides a fully integrated sales, marketing and customer service platform, allowing you to easily search for specific commercial information, and then use this information to drive the operational, sales and customer service efficiencies within your business.

At QiC, we use Maximizer not only to track customer data (recording your complete IT history, so that we can easily identify and fix recurring issues), but also for administering new sales prospects. Maximizer will remind you when to chase a quote or make a courtesy call; it tracks every call, email and document communicated between you and your customers. It is, in many ways, a virtual PA, and a great asset for business growth.

As a leading UK Business Partner for Maximizer CRM, QiC have a wealth of experience in all aspects of CRM implementation, and are ideally placed to customise and deploy Maximizer to meet the exact requirements of your business. If you’d be interested in finding out more about Maximizer CRM, contact us today on 01962 711000.

If you’d like to read more, find out how Maximizer CRM has helped our client SSG Recruitment.