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Pioneer Business Systems
Making telephony simple, all you need as everything included as standard
Making telephony simple, all you need as everything included as standard


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New Infographic: History of Communication

Ever wondered how communication has evolved throughout history? Even in the stone ages, communicating with one another was essential, so how has the way we got a message from one person to another changed over the years?

Our animated infographic looks at some of the major communication changes and the key contributors.

#businessphonesystems   #communication  
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New job opportunity!

We're on the lookout for a new Video Producer! If you're looking for a role where you have the opportunity to be involved with projects at every stage of the process including motion graphics and editing, and working with copywriters and graphic designers then head to our careers page for more details about how to apply!

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What is net neutrality and why should you care?

An ongoing legal case in the US has the potential to impact the way you use the internet.  The battle surrounds the concept of net neutrality, but what is net neutrality and why should we care about it?

Net neutrality: the key points
 - Net neutrality is the idea that all web traffic is equally important and should be treated as such
 - Advocates say net neutrality is essential for fair competition online
 - The argument centres around whether some internet traffic genuinely is more important than others
 - ISPs in the US are angry that a central government agency will now govern their practices
 - EU net neutrality proposal has been derided by both sides

Net neutrality, as the name suggests, in the concept that everything online should be treated equally, regardless of who is providing the content. In short, whatever you are looking at online and whoever is providing it, your ISP should treat it exactly the same.

To give an example; let’s say you want to watch a video online and you can choose between a well-known provider and a far smaller, unheard of video streaming company. Net neutrality denotes that both content providers should have equal service from ISPs.  Without net neutrality, the experience you receive could be quite different.

Why are people arguing about it?

As you might expect there are some strongly held opinions about net neutrality and the extent to which governments should be involved.  In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has now classified high-speed broadband as a communications service, which gives it a great deal of power to decide if the service providers are operating fairly. In essence, this strips the service providers of their power to differentiate between different types of Internet traffic.

Unsurprisingly enough, the ISPs themselves are less than thrilled about this development and have already started work to appeal the FCC’s decision. Their main argument is that the FCC’s regulation will stifle innovation and development of their services and that they have overstepped the mark and will trigger ongoing litigation which will hinder the overall service provided to the end-users.

What about here in the UK?

It would seem we’re currently a way behind the US in terms of having enforceable rules. The EU’s telecom council have recently submitted a proposal that left nobody impressed. Their proposal included the idea of “specialised services” which would essentially leave the door open for sponsored content (the idea that content providers could pay ISPs to have their content given preferential treatment). Consumer groups have roundly rejected that idea.

Is it really that important?

Potentially, yes. Consider the impact of a tiered internet upon small business or those businesses looking to launch.  If you’re trying to enter a market with a number of established big companies dominating it, then online is one of the best ways to get your name out there. If these big companies sponsor all their content (e.g. their website) the experience they give their users online will be better straight away.  When you then consider that site speed is just one of the factors Google uses to rank websites in their search results, you can start to see the impact a tiered internet can have.

Your view

We’d be interested to hear your views on net neutrality, whether you’re for it or against it.

#netneutrality   #Internet   #Telecommunications  
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Tips to create a better call centre environment

We’ve seen a lot in the press recently about the negative perception of call centres here in the UK, ranging from a survey that has call centres as one of the least desirable places to work, through to a BBC interview which highlighted a negative, but not uncommon, experience of working in one.  These stories, whilst true, don’t reflect the environment we’ve created here, so we thought we would write a brief summary of how we’ve created an environment that our telemarketers enjoy and find rewarding.

Break up the monotony

Obviously making outbound phone calls all day, every day is a challenge. That’s why we break up the monotony with things like quizzes, theme days, group activities and days out. You may have seen our East 17 music video over Christmas, or maybe our Doctor’s theme day and these are just some examples of how we keep the guys on their toes regardless of how well they’re doing.

Accept the human element

If you’re managing a call centre, you have to accept you are dealing with human beings.  They are going to have good days and bad days, which is why you need to have good managers at every level. Our managers know how to get the best out of people each day and it’s clearly going to be different for each person. If you’re trying to treat everyone the same, you will struggle to create a good environment.

Targets are good if they are used well

If you tell a group the month target and leave it at that, they’ll look at it like a mountain that can’t be conquered. If you break that mountain down into much smaller steps the team becomes more motivated, especially if there are incentives along the way. We use things like go-home targets, as well as other rewards to keep people’s eye on smaller targets rather than leaving them with just the big target.

It has to be a positive environment

This comes back to the human element, it has to be a positive environment. We create that right off the bat; the TM’s (Telemarketers) receive an Audi A1 when they start and are constantly rewarded when things go well. There’s also a real team environment here where people genuinely encourage each other and push each other on. That said, when it doesn’t go well you have to handle it correctly. If someone has had a more difficult run, we’ll take them off the phones, listen back to calls, and most importantly of all we’ll listen back to calls when they’ve done well to remind them they can do it.

Training: don’t expect overnight success

When a new TM joins us we don’t put them on the phones straight away. Instead they receive 2 full weeks training which is then followed up by 1-to-1 training each fortnight and half a day each week of group training.  This is all provided by TM Managers who have all been TMs themselves, so they can relate to the people they are managing.

Provide progression

Progression is important in any job, but especially for telemarketers. We have a lot of people who have been excellent telemarketers who have then moved on to other parts of the business. Right now we have former telemarketers in the sales, maintenance, lines, installations and base sales teams as well as our TM managers. By highlighting these progressions our TMs see that there’s more on offer for them, if they want to go another route with their careers.

Bonus Tip: It helps to be offering something you believe in

We do have an advantage here in that what we’re offering is something we really believe in, which helps us keep things positive in a way that might be a challenge in other places. We’ve seen our business phone systems help companies up and down the country and we get a lot of great feedback which makes the job more rewarding and easier. So, as a final piece of advice; if you think you’d make a good telemarketer, do it for a company and product you believe in.

To wrap up; we’ve had a lot of success creating an environment people enjoy here, which is why we reached 12th in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For and also why we’ve had people from other departments join our TM team. These tips have helped us to create this environment and if you’d like to join us, head over to our careers page to see what we have to offer.

#businessphonesystems   #businesstips2015  
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Updated Case Studies Section

We've added our most recent case study to our website! Head there to watch or read about how Hedge End Medical Centre use our phone system's features such as Call Recording, Wallboards and On Hold Messaging to help them run their practice more effectively.

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New Infographic: How has the office desk evolved?

Did you know that an average office career will result in being at your desk for over 10 years? Even if those years were taken consecutively you would see some kind of office evolution, but how does the office change over a longer time span? We've put together an infographic to highlight how the office has changed over the past 40 years and made a few predictions about what's to come. See it here: 

#officeevolution   #businessphones   #uktelecoms  
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New Video: What can voicemail do for you?

Does your voicemail system make your business life easier? Our new video shows you everything that you should be able to do through voicemail, watch it and see if you're getting the most from your system.

#voicemail   #businessphonesystems   #phonesystems  
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New Quiz: Test Your UK Accent Knowledge!

Communication is a vital part of the business world, and can range from internal meetings and customer relations to chats with colleagues locally and across multiple sites and offices. With all these different places comes many different accents, but just how difficult are our everyday accents to understand, especially over the phone?

In recent times a number of high profile companies have moved their call centre operations back to the UK.  EE for example have moved to scale back operations in the Phillipines, creating new roles in Northern Ireland, Newcastle and Edinburgh, BSkyB have a major contact centres in Dunfermline, Leeds and Livingston, and our own contact centre is based at our head office in Bournemouth.  This is quite a shift from the state of play historically where many companies based their call centres in London and the Home Counties, then outsourced them abroad before moving them back to the UK more recently as customer care took a more central role. It’s clear then that we’re exposed to an increasing number of accents, so what better way to test you, the public, on your accent knowledge, than with a simple quiz!

The quiz consists of eight audio clips of people saying sentences you may hear on the phone. Carefully listen to the audio and select the city that you think that person is from.

To make this more difficult, we edited the audio clips to represent what the accents would sound like on a phone line. This has been achieved through equalization – removing frequencies below 400Hz and above 2000Hz to represent what a true phone line sounds like.

Before you get started, here are some accent facts:

- Historically, to be a Cockney you had to have been born within earshot of the Bow Bells. Now it refers to various neighbourhoods in East London;
- The Irish language lacks words that translate directly to ‘yes’ or ‘no’, so English spoken in Ireland sometimes follows this pattern, with people repeating the verb from a question they were asked to indicate their response. Examples:
“Are you coming home?” – “I am!”
“Is that your phone?” – “it is!”
- Some Scotticisms include ‘a dinnae ken’ meaning I don’t know, ‘Och aye the noo!’ meaning oh yes, just now – this is an overt Scotticism rarely used in serious contexts, but does lead on to perhaps the most famous: ‘aye’, meaning yes
- The Manchester accent avoids Ng-coalescence. In laymans terms this means that the ‘g’ in ng is often pronounced: ‘singer’ rhymes with ‘finger’, ‘king’ and ‘ring’ end with a hard g

And now… try the quiz! Good luck!

#ukaccents   #businessphones   #businessphonesystems  
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New Case Study on Our Website

Kestrel Alarms are a security solutions company based in Horsham, Sussex. Their Managing Director, Hugo Sanderson, explains how they came to be a Pioneer customer and their initial experiences with us, “I had seen e-mails from Pioneer and decided to invite them in to give me a quotation. That was a very good decision for me because I saved a lot of money within the first year. Within a month I halved my expenditure on mobiles, so the entire package of 15 phones was half of what it was before.

Our phone system is now linked to our database, which links any customer telephone activity with their files and records. When somebody calls in, their records come up straight away, so we’re immediately into their details without any wasted time. This means that we can get into actual facts, as opposed to going away finding out some more details and then having to make another phone call. We can see who has been to see a client last, so when they call in we try to connect them with that particular engineer as they will have familiarity with their situation.

Engineer Ben Valentine, gave an example of their old operation and the way they now work with a Pioneer business phone system, “The way it used to work, the girls used to have to take the number down and we would try and call them back, but sometimes they wouldn’t answer as they didn’t know it was us, so it’s great to just get straight through to them now. Essentially, issues can now be resolved over the phone, which is great for the customer if they need to speak to someone straight away rather than waiting for us to finish something and get back to them.”

Kestrel also make good use to the call recording software, as Hugo explains, “If a financial situation were to arise with an invoice where a price had been quoted on the telephone but then everyone had forgotten about it, then we can head straight back to the recording, you can play it back to them and explain that this is what was quoted to them on the phone. We should state that we do take the customer off of call recording if we were taking payment information.

Susan Goldsmith, Kestrel’s Systems Manager, has also been impressed with the CTI platform that comes as standard with our phone systems. She explains, “There’s a lovely 4Sight (CTI) set up where you can message each other, very casually, just to ask them if they could please call someone which then means it’s there for them when they come back from lunch, or it can save you from having to shout across the office and disturb everyone. It’s a really quick way of getting in touch with someone if you’re not sure if they’re available.

Hugo has also been impressed with the support provided, “The beauty of our system here is that a Pioneer engineer can dial into our system, take control and fix an issue without coming out which is valuable to me.”

If you’d like to see if we can help your business by providing a new phone system at no extra cost, please contact us
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Huawei: The Global Company Challenging for your Mobile Attention

There’s a chance you’ve never heard of Huawei, but if you’re considering a new mobile phone this year, you’ll no doubt come across them thanks to their rapidly growing presence in the UK.

Huawei have a storied history; they’re one of the largest network equipment providers in the world, and used to build white-label mobile phones for their carrier customers to sell under their own name. You may also recognise the name Huawei from the US controversy where they were effectively banned from tendering for Government infrastructure projects as the US believed they were a front for Chinese government spying.

Away from the infrastructure market though, there’s no doubt that they’ve set their sights firmly on the mobiles space; as evidenced by their marketing moves such as becoming Arsenal’s mobile phone partner last year. Will 2015 be the year of Huawei in the mobile phone industry? Will 2015 be the year of Huawei in the mobile phone industry? Let’s take a look at how they reached this point.

Why did Huawei opt for mobiles?

As we noted above, Huawei have a wealth of experience in the telecoms industry, and will have witnessed the varying quality and price of the mobile phones available, providing them with plenty of strategic options to enter the market. The mobile market also represents the straightest path to introducing their brand on a global scale, and there is no doubt they’ve already succeeded on this front with strong sales in their native China and India in particular.

Their range of mobile phones has proven particularly popular in markets with lower spend per device.  That’s one of a number of reasons why Samsung will be more worried about them than Apple. Whilst Apple has its own Operating System (the iOS), and has prices that reflect a more premium/high-end strategy, both Huawei and Samsung use the Android Operating System and provide models at a range of different specifications and pricing.

What’s next?

The most interesting part to all of this is how Huawei progresses in the market.  With their networking experience, they might be the best placed of all the mobile providers to make the best use of future technologies such as 5G when it arrives. That, coupled with their existing strong relationships with carriers across the world, could give them an invaluable inside edge in what is an ever-escalating race for dominance in the global mobile arena.

Should you consider a Huawei mobile?

Absolutely. The reviews of their latest range of phones (the Ascend Mate 7) were mostly positive, citing good usability improvements over previous models and improved battery life amongst other aspects making it a contender. We offer a range of Huawei mobiles ourselves and have seen their popularity increase over the past 12 months, so there’s certainly a growing awareness of their credibility in the mobile market. In short, we would advise that you give Huawei the consideration they’re due if you’re in the market for a new mobile phone this year.

#mobilephone   #ukphonesystems  
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