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Coronavirus Update

Every day businesses rely on Focus Group to stay connected. But in times like these, it’s even more critical for us to keep things running smoothly – and we’re working hard to do that.

If you have any concerns regarding how your business may be affected please call us on 0330 024 2200.

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Focus Group continues to closely monitor the development of Covid-19 in the UK. We aim to keep our customers, our staff and community as informed as possible.

02.11.2020 - Working together through COVID-19 - Business Update

Following the announcement of further nationwide restrictions starting on Thursday 5th November, we wanted to reassure you that it’s business as usual at Focus Group, with many of our staff having worked from home since March. 

We are fully committed to supporting you during this next phase of lockdown, assisting your transition to home working and ensuring that you remain connected to your staff and your customers. 

Further communication will be sent detailing how to request changes to your services.

Thank you for your continued business during these challenging times.

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In light of the announcement of proposed National Lockdown starting 5/11/2020 we wanted to reach out to all our customers and colleagues to help support you through this period. 

We are expecting an influx of change requests into our service desk as more businesses move to full home working once more. 

To help us prioritise these case we are asking you to once again email into the holidayconfig@focusgroup.co.uk email address, including the product name (e.g. Horizon, LG, Mitel, Panasonic etc.) into the subject line of the email. This helps our ticketing system identify the best engineer for the quickest response, enabling us to redeploy resource from around the company to work specifically on getting your services up and running. Please give us as much information as possible, including your telephone numbers, numbers to divert to or schedules so we can deploy this rapidly. Please continue to use this for any other configuration changes that you may need.

If you have a service affecting fault and need an urgent response please do call into the service desk on 0330 024 2000. 

If you need any other support during this time then please reach out to our customer engagement team for any remote working solutions or equipment on 0330 024 2200

Thanks as always for your patience and assistance in these challenging times.

As we enter our sixth week of remote working we are looking back at the adjustment to our new ‘normal’, how we can continue to support our customers and work with suppliers and Industry and keep an optimistic eye on planning for when the lockdown measures are relaxed for businesses. We’re proud to have signed up to the C-19 Business Pledge whose purpose is to encourage businesses and universities to be a force for good by making a commitment to doing what they can to tackle coronavirus. If you are interested in the pledge more information is found here https://www.c19businesspledge.org/

Like many of you we have a proportion of our workforce furloughed. We are taking advantage of this time to help train our team in new products, also revisiting our core offerings to make sure that we are able to help and advise our customers quickly and efficiently. Our technical specialists are working on bringing new products to you, such as Microsoft Teams becoming your phone system and collaboration tool as we believe that the ability for flexible working is key to our customers. Watch this space for further information!

We’ve also been looking at how we can contribute to our local community and our in house catering ‘The Hut’ has redeployed its efforts to supporting both our nearest hospital with dinners, lunches and in the case of some local residents essential shopping items as well as a hot meal. Some of our furloughed staff have also been volunteering to help with the deliveries. We’re really proud of our colleagues helping in this way.

Our teams working with our suppliers and at industry as a whole to see if there are any ways we can offer extra support to our customers, if there are any ways we can proactively offer this we will be in touch with eligible customers directly.

Our Head of Service Operations has been planning ahead to make sure when businesses do return to their normal places of work or reopen that we can help make this as smooth as possible. We urge you to consider what you may need to help facilitate this, we’ll be putting information on the website shortly with questions to consider, self service help guides and information to help you to plan. Keep an eye out for a briefing to let you know when this is published!

As always thanking you for your support during these challenging times.

Support Desk

Our teams have been working throughout the last week to clear the backlog created by the increase in requests for remote working and reconfiguration. We are happy to advise that the number of support requests are returning to normal levels. We are very grateful to all those who helped to deliver record numbers of ticket closures every single day.

If you do have any further configuration requests for either COVID-19 mitigation or Easter please email holidayconfig@focusgroup.co.uk including the product name (e.g. Horizon, LG, Mitel, Panasonic etc.) into the subject line of the email. Please remember to put as much detail as possible in the email to help us turn the request around promptly.

To report a loss of service or an outage please call us on 0330 024 2000 so that we can prioritise service effecting issues.

Field Engineering

We are mirroring our suppliers in so far as prioritising customers defined as at risk or Critical National Infrastructure. We are also completing as many jobs remotely as is practical. We’d like to thank all the customers we have spoken with over the last week who have helped us by confirming the access, environment and necessity of the jobs we have in our workstack.

Provisioning

Our teams are able to progress the majority of our orders where our suppliers allow. If you have a new order, we will advise on the current lead times and any impact that COVID-19 may have on the delivery process. 

Our Suppliers

Openreach will be prioritising at risk and Critical National Infrastructure orders. All other physical infrastructure providers have followed suit with similar criteria. All providers are still accepting new orders and will complete as much work as possible without entering any premises deemed to be an unsuitable environment for their engineers. If you have a new order we will progress as far as possible with the final outstanding work to be completed as soon as appointment books reopen.

If you have a service affecting issue our suppliers will be focussing on restoring services with safe working practices and revised processes to further reduce social interaction wherever possible.

If you believe that your new order or repair fits either the Critical National Infrastructure criteria or your premises has no other communication (including mobile phone), please call in and speak to one of the team on 0330 024 2000 so we can help to prioritise accordingly.

We are working with our suppliers to see if there are any additional ways we can support our customers and will communicate these as appropriate.

Thanks as always for your patience and assistance in these challenging times.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, we are working with both our customers and suppliers to support services in line with the Government’s guidance. We’d like to update you with the new information and advice we have.

We are proud to say our Focus team are all working remotely with no interruption to service. All our normal contact channels are operational, if a lot busier than usual!

Support Desk

A big thank you to our customers who have been emailing their configuration requests over to holidayconfig@focusgroup.co.uk, this helps us keep our phone lines clear for customers with any service disruption/faults. You can help further by including the product name (e.g. Horizon, LG, Mitel, Panasonic etc.) into the subject line of the email. This helps our ticketing system identify the best engineer for the quickest response, enabling us to redeploy resource from around the company to work specifically on getting your services up and running. Please continue to use this for any other configuration changes that you may need. 

Our Support Desk continue to receive unprecedented ticket volumes, which they are working through. The team have achieved the highest ever ticket closure rates day on day for the last week, bolstered by resource from our Engineering and Technical Specialist teams. We are doing everything we can to assist as quickly as possible and thank you for your patience while we get to your request.

To report a loss of service or an outage please call us on 0330 024 2000 so that we can prioritise service effecting issues.

Field Engineering

As outlined in the government’s list of key workers, our field service teams continue to provide a critical service to our customers, and in many cases to businesses on the front line of the fight against coronavirus. However the safety of our team is paramount, so we are introducing additional measures including the need to review all booked appointments for their necessity, access and the environment in which our engineers would be carrying out the work. We are encouraging the use of remote support to assist you with a fault or when providing new services, including surveying premises remotely where appropriate.

Our Suppliers

The majority of our suppliers are currently unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak, albeit with some inevitable delays in supply chain of peripheral items. Our core equipment remains in stock and siloed where appropriate for our customers.

BT Openreach, who install and maintain the physical copper and fibre that your services run over, have declared a state of ‘Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control’ as of 23:59 24/03/2020. They are taking steps to prioritise their work as they are operating with a high volume of jobs and a reduced workforce of engineers and supporting functions. The impact is likely to be seen in;

New orders - If your new order needs an Openreach engineer they will prioritise Critical National Infrastructure above all. This includes NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food distribution outlets, financial services businesses and other categories defined by the government. After this they will prioritise buildings that have no other form of broadband or telephony (including mobile phone) and in this case look to provide a service remotely. They will then complete any new orders that do not involve a visit to a customer’s site. If your order requires a site visit and it is not possible to complete the work without entry into your premises, and you do not fit the above categories, the appointment will be moved back. 

Repair -  Once again Openreach will prioritise Critical National Infrastructure repair. Repair work will continue to be focused on restoring service with safe working practices, and with revised processes to further reduce social interaction wherever possible. 

If you believe that your new order or repair fits either the Critical National Infrastructure criteria or your premises has no other communication (including mobile phone), please call in and speak to one of the team on 0330 024 2000 so we can help to prioritise with Openreach. 

Please help us to make sure that every engineer, whether ours or that of one of our suppliers, is able to complete a successful repair or install. You can do this by letting us know if access to the site changes and by answering our questions in regards to possible COVID-19 exposure. 

Thanks as always for your patience and assistance in these challenging times.

Support Desk

Due to Government advice on social distancing and working from home, many of our customers need help with reconfiguring their systems for staff to operate remotely and to keep their customers informed about their own coronavirus strategy. 

For support with these types of requests please email holidayconfig@focusgroup.co.uk with your company name and what you need help with. Our team will get in touch as soon as possible as we are allocating dedicated resource to help deal with the volume of enquiries. Thank you for your patience.

To report a loss of service or site outage please call us on 0330 024 2000 so that we can effectively prioritise service effecting issues. 

Please also note that with the Easter break and Spring Bank Holidays are coming up, we’d normally be contacting you to see if you need any changes to your announcements regarding your opening times. Due to the increase in tickets caused by the coronavirus outbreak we are inviting people to confirm their change requests by 3rd April. For more details on this please see the information provided here www.focusgroup.co.uk/focus-group-coronavirus-update

Field Engineer Visits

We are continuing to try to deliver services as normally as possible. Where our customers require a site visit, we need to protect the wellbeing of our staff by asking you to respond to the following questions before we proceed with booking a visit or entering your premises:

  • Has anyone in the premises been diagnosed with COVID-19, been required to self-isolate, or been travelling to a coronavirus high-risk area or country in the last 14 days? 
  • Is anyone on the premises suffering from flu-like symptoms?

It is vital that we avoid exposing our engineers to risks of infection so that we can keep our engineers on the road and able to support customers.

Equipment Deliveries

We will always communicate if we are sending any equipment to your site for your install; this is usually sent in the two weeks prior to an installation. If you are not going to be able to accept a delivery to your site please get in touch with your Project Manager so we can reroute or delay this. If you are unsure who your Project Manager is please email projectmanagement@focusgroup.co.uk

Other teams 

All our other teams such as Customer Services, our Accounts department and Account Managers are contactable in the normal ways. 

Key-Workers & Critical Services

If your business is directly involved in assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic and you think we can support you in any way please get in touch at info@focusgroup.co.uk


Dear all,

As always our top priorities remain the welfare of our employees, as well as maintaining a high level of service and support for our customers.  That’s why, further to our communication sent last week, I want to share with you our response to the coronavirus and reassure you that we have robust plans and that we’re reviewing these on a daily basis.

Having taken steps to ensure that all our staff had the necessary technology to work from home a few weeks ago, and having tested our Business Continuity Plans last week, we were well prepared when the announcement came on Monday to advise people to work from home. Since the announcement we have seen an unprecedented volume of enquiries requesting us to support businesses in their efforts to implement remote working. We will continue to do everything we can to manage our customer’s needs by would ask for your patience due to the sheer volume of support requests. 

Tomorrow we will be carrying out a second Business Continuity Plan test based on ALL staff operating remotely. Our processes which are ISO9001 certified, mean you can be confident that you will receive the same quality of work from us no matter where our teams are working from.

We continue to work closely with our supply chain to ensure that they have equivalent plans in place and clear visibility of any potential challenges.

The only aspect of our services that may be impacted surrounds installations, where engineers are being prevented from accessing customer sites – slowing or even stopping onboarding processes and so frustrating both new and existing customers. We are working to scale up our assisted and ‘self-install’ solutions which combine desk-based engineers and remote training to help get customers up and running without needing to go onsite. Further operational updates will be provided and continually updated at https://focusgroup.co.uk/focus-group-coronavirus-update

Lastly – and we won’t list all our policies and measures here – please rest assured that our robust systems and processes will enable us to continue supporting our customers throughout this crisis and we are hugely grateful for the patience and empathy being displayed by our customers.

We are looking out for the health and wellbeing of our people as well as your business, as we all confront new challenges during this difficult period. Please stay safe and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our response to coronavirus or how we can work together to get through this difficult time. 

All the best

Chris Goodman

CEO

Configuration Requests

Covid-19 Planning and Easter/Spring Bank Holiday 

We have been inundated with COVID-19 configuration requests. With this in mind, please provide any changes required regarding your opening times, music on hold and messaging.

All requirements for the below Bank Holidays must be submitted by Friday 3rd April 2020. Any requests submitted after this date may not be actioned in time with the increased demand of COVID-19 requests.

  • Good Friday (10th April)
  • Easter Monday (13th April)
  • Early May Bank Holiday (8th May)
  • Spring Bank Holiday (25th May)

To update your opening times, music on hold and messages please follow the steps below. To make sure we get things done quickly and productively we require you to be as detailed as you can with your requirements.

STEP 1

Watch our video step-by-step guides.
Horizon users only.

STEP 2

Email us with all information
(see below)

STEP 3

Record your own message
(If required)

STEP 4

Send us your recording with your ticket reference number



*Information required:

- Days open/closed across the changing period

- Where you want your calls to go when open/closed (e.g. normal service and when closed, direct to a mobile)

- Destinations dependent on the day(s) closed

- All numbers or ranges of numbers you wish us to work on

All requests for both COVID-19 and Easter/Spring Bank Holidays will be prioritised and we will endeavour to support all requests during this busy period.

For those who DO NOT have a maintenance agreement, all configuration requests will carry a charge of £60 which will be billed per hour. A signed order will be required before work commences.

Should you have any questions or queries about any of the above, please email holidayconfig@focusgroup.co.uk.

We thank you for your patience at this time.

Many thanks,

Focus Group

Protecting Customers and the Focus team

Our number one priority is the health and safety of our customers and our people which is why we have implemented the following hygiene policies at all our offices across the UK:

  • Hand washing – we have ensured that all staff have hand sanitiser located near them and we have put up signage around the office reminding people to wash hands and sanitise regularly.
  • Constant communication – leadership teams are using collaboration tools to ensure they are keeping everyone updated on any health risks.
  • New cutlery - we have purchased new environmentally friendly disposable cutlery to ensure that people are not using teaspoons multiple times, spreading germs.
  • Sanitiser – all communal workstations and hot desks have had cleaning products provided to ensure all shared items are sanitised.
  • Potential Health Risk – any staff with pre-existing medical conditions highlighted by Public Health England are already being given the option of working from home.​​​​​​​

Focus Group’s Pandemic Response Plan?

For the foreseeable future, the Focus Group Executive Team and our Support Team will meet regularly to review our on-going Pandemic Response Plan (PRP). In the meantime, should a Covid-19 outbreak occur at one of our sites, we have already prepared to take the following actions:​​​​​​​

  • Quickly communicate potential access restrictions to staff and customers until a deep-clean can be completed
  • Remote working with all staff able to work from home or from one of our other offices, keeping everyone safe but still fully operational.
  • Laptops have been provided to all staff and VPNs setup to allow access to important applications and documents.
  • Cloud-based telephony is already in place across our sites however we have enabled Mobile Apps for all staff to ensure they are easily contactable when working from home.
  • Supply chains are being assessed to ensure that we have the equipment, engineers and tools to support your business.
  • Additional testing of our Business Continuity Plan outside of normal schedule to ensure all colleagues are fully versed and rehearsed!

Your business may be forced to function remotely...

ARE YOU PREPARED?


We can rapidly setup your business to enable your employees to work remotely, ensuring you stay connected, anytime, anywhere!

Call us today on 0330 024 2200

STEP 1

Call one of our specialists today on 0330 024 2200. Don’t delay, we are already dealing with hundreds of businesses to help them to continue to operate.

STEP 2

Roll out Focus Horizon cloud-based phone system enabling your staff to manage their calls wherever they are. If you are already on Focus Horizon, speak to us about enhancements to help you further.

STEP 3

Set up a VPN to give all your staff access to business applications and files, enabling everyone to keep on working efficiently. We can provide your staff with the necessary connectivity and hardware to ensure they can operate remotely.

Work anywhere with the Horizon Collaborate service

Bringing video conferencing and instant messaging to your cloud-based phone system. Stay connected, anytime, anywhere...


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