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We save business owners employment costs and help them to achieve a fully skilled workforce.

Doing business with us will give you a great customer service experience and also guarantee higher productivity in your staff.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Now is the time to train your teams.

I hope you are enjoying what's left of the 'Indian Summer' and are gearing up for the autumnal months.

Since our last training news issue there has been a steady increase in business and I have to say that August and September have by far been our best months ever - I'm so pleased and it's all down to our wonderful clientele (grovel, grovel).

I'm constantly reviewing our services as I am hot on customer satisfaction and would be keen to get some feedback from you, so if you have any ideas for future articles or would like to discuss anything relating the courses themselves and even how we price them then I'd love to hear from you. I would like to think we are very competitive but if you think we're missing something please do let me know! Take a look at our current price list and tell me what you think.

This month we've added a new course called Managing Stress by Sarah Beckitt and you can read her article below.

Happy reading and if you would like to discuss anything to do with training please do not hesitate to contact me on 01252 758575.



Stress Busting

You are not immune from stress, but then who is these days? Life often seems overwhelming. Constant deadlines, ever-increasing responsibilities, things that take twice as long as you thought they would. The pace of work gets faster and faster. Tempers get shorter and people get frantic. Is this any way to work or even live?

Stress has become such a way of life that most of us consider it to be a normal state of being. Just as individuals suffer from stress - so do organisations. It is estimated that 40 million working days a year are lost due to stress related issues at a cost of £4.5bn! Alcohol related absenteeism, which is associated with stress, costs industry around £100m a year.

However, some people don’t appear to suffer from it, in fact they thrive on stress. The amount of stress we’re subjected to affects our ability to perform well. Too little stress and we don’t summon up enough energy to perform - too much and we become too emotionally stirred up to be able to achieve our best. Somewhere between these two lies your optimum stress level at which you can perform at your peak.

Take a quick test now to determine your stress levels:

• Do you feel drained at the end of the day?
• Do you feel tired when you wake in the mornings?
• Have you lost your sense of humour?
• Are you socialising less?
• Do you skip breakfast or lunch?
• Do you feel your brain is at full capacity?
• Have you suffered more than one physical complaint in the last 6 months?
• Are you becoming more short-tempered with those around you?
• Do you sometimes ask yourself “what’s the point?”
• Are you less able to rise to the challenge of extra work?
Assess your stress level:
• If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 7 questions, it’s likely you’re on the way to burn out and need to take action now.
• If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 5 questions, you're probably starting to feel overwhelmed and under pressure. Something needs to change.
• If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 3 questions, this indicates stress signs that should not be ignored.
• If less than 2 ask yourself how you would benefit from understanding how to continue to keep stress under control and achieve you goals.
We feel it’s essential for staff at all levels to have an understanding of how to recognise and respond to the signs and consequences of stress. We’re delighted to offer a one day workshop enabling you to take control of stress rather than let it control you.

Email us fosva-enquiries@fosvatraining.co.uk to claim a £50 saving on this course before 31 October.

Know How or No Way?

Knowing how to do something is much more likely to boost your confidence than not knowing how to do it and just muddling through.

How do you know? - By learning!
How do you learn? - By someone teaching or showing you how!
It's really quite simple.

How much productivity do you think is lost by NOT training your staff or not brushing up on your own skills?

Not training people to do their jobs effectively will result in you spending far too much time working in the business cleaning up others' mistakes (or your own) and thus losing valuable time that could be spent working on producing results.

Often training is put on the back burner due to budget restraints but this could have an adverse effect on your bottom line long-term. Even the larger organisations are guilty of this and they usually have the biggest budgets! So if you don't want to throw money down the drain along with your staff morale then put your training plans into action.

We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our training programs whereby if you are not completely satisfied we will repeat the program for you all over again at no extra cost - what do you have to lose?

Do it now - invest in your people - invest in your business - invest your profit when you see the results!

As a special incentive, until 31 October (yes Hallowe'en, it's not that far off) we'll give your company a special in house price (at your company site) of just £175/delegate for all personal development and management training programs. That's a £50 saving per delegate.

To find out more call us on 01252 758575 and mention this article.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Now you've got your CRM System what are you going to do with it?

I hope you're enjoying the summer holidays despite what's happening in the news at the moment. I'm certainly looking forward to a break early September it has been a very long and busy 8 months.

We have another new starter this month. Hannah has joined us part time and will be scheduling our courses as well as doing other adhoc office tasks.

Other news is that I have recently revised our prices so you should be able to make a few savings on our old prices.
Telephone Selling & Customer Service

Last month in our virtual offices edition of the newsletter we focused on CRM systems and knowing your target audience and how to keep in touch. How many of you make follow up calls to potentially new clients or keep in touch with your existing customers and if you don't what is the reason? Could it be you're a bit nervous on the phone or that you just don't have the right techniques, or both? If you're a bit reluctant to pick up the phone maybe you (or your staff) need a little push in the right direction by attending a telephone techniques or telephone selling course.

Selling over the phone (or cold calling, telemarketing, telesales) doesn't always come naturally but our trainer Alan is here to help you overcome these fears and lack of knowhow so that you'll be confident in taking the first step to gaining new clients confidently on the telephone.

Telephone techniques, for those of you working in call centres, reception or customer service roles is another area where you need to be able to confidently take ownership of a call through to resolution so that your clients get a great customer service experience. Again, these techniques can be learned and Jo our customer service trainer will teach you. See what some of our delegates have already said about attending this course.

I hope you find the rest of the contents of this edition helpful and if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01252 372824.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Do your target audience know who you are...

Wow, what a week last week was! Hectic was not the word! How was yours? If you're anything like me you thrive on being busy, albeit stressful at times, but it's better being busy than sitting twiddling your thumbs with no work to do. We're getting more and more calls from our clients' customers so that must mean you're all busy too which is great news for all concerned - unless you have links with the News of the World in which case, maybe not!

We have another new lady who started last month in our virtual call centre and her name is Zarda. A very busy, well established mum, with a degree to her name but she has spent the last 14 years bringing up her young family and very well I might add. I don't know how she does it as I only have 2 dogs to worry about! Anyway, Zarda has been with us for a couple of weeks now and has been let loose on the phones and I have to say has picked it up very well and has become a very valued member of our virtual team in a very short space of time. So she will be attending to your clients' calls Monday to Wednesday mornings - let us know how she's doing!

I've also just uploaded our new on line brochure so take a quick peek. This was created by Stephen Haxby, of Business Proposals. If you need his contact details, let me know.

Customer Relationship Management

How to you find the right contacts and how do you go about reaching your target audience once you have found them? What do you do about keeping in touch and communicating regularly or do you just think about gaining new customers and forget about your existing ones? A lot of people forget about their current clients but fail to realise that your existing clients are your best asset. They have already bought from you so you know what they need so surely it's worth keeping in regular contact to see how you can further help their business? Some ways of keeping in touch would be:

• A telephone conversation - just a courtesy call to see how they're doing

• Newsletter - sent by email using email marketing software (like I'm doing today) - which is a very good way of keeping folk informed

• Snail mail - send a good old fashioned mail shot in the post of any special offers you may have

• Skype/MSN - if you're on the computer all day and a bit shy of the telephone, why not send a PM to break the ice?

• Forums - there are many on line networking forums you can join and connect with other small businesses like you

• Networking meetings - a great way to meet new people and get known in the business world - remember to focus on 'relationships' and how you can help your fellow networkers - not so much how much you can sell to them!

If you need help cleaning a current database then we can certainly help to do this for you by way of a data cleansing exercise meaning if you have a list of existing contacts and you need to make it current, we will call them and update a spreadsheet with the correct information. We can also help manage your email marketing campaigns using this data - you send us the newsletter content and we'll do the rest.

Here are a few ways of getting in touch with us:

• By Email

• Call us on 01252 372824

• Visit our website

I hope you enjoy this edition and we'll be back next month with our training news. Read on for a few more tips.

Yours sincerely

Anne Donnelly

Managing Director

PS - Find out how we can get your database up to date for just £20/hour. Book your time before 31 July and benefit from 20% discount.

Friday, 17 June 2011

How many of you as managers feel your employees are not meeting their pay grades?

It seems a long time ago since our last newsletter. The reason being I have decided to do alternate between our training and virtual office newsletter each month so you get each every 2 months.

We have just moved into our new office in Farnham, although we will not be offering training here, but clients and colleagues are free to come and see me here at anytime (subject to appointment of course!) to discuss any training needs or just for a cuppa and a chat.
Also this month I have taken on a new lady called Zarda who will be helping with administration and handling our calls. She is based remotely in Manchester so this means we have more resources for our north westerly clients.

What could you possibly do to help your employees - or do you feel it's not down to you?
Last month we talked about different ways of teaching and learning. Jo gave you a good insight on how to get the best from your trainer. This month we're going to touch base on how to get the best from your staff just by setting out clear objectives!

Most of you know how to do your jobs. Some of you do them extremely well and are given good processes to follow, have great managers who know how to get the best from you but then there are those of you who want to do a good job but the work processes and possibly your managers are letting you down in that they're not given you great advice or guidance and procedures to follow.
Most of you will perform much better if you have a clear outline of what your manager wants you to do - even something as simple as a job description will help you to identify what is expected of you.

Case Study - Management and Staff Performance Issues

An events company, a couple of years back, asked me to come in and help run their office for a while. After a few days I was pulling my hair out as there were no proper processes in place and everyone was expected to know everything about everything.

No clear guidelines were laid out for anyone. The guys on the road who had their jobs given to them were often disputing with management and the coordinator with such things like "that's not my job," "I dont know how to do that," "can't he do it?" or they'd simply go in blind and mess up the job only to be reprimanded later - often publicly (which should never been done if you don't want to undermine one's confidence).

There was no stock control system in place so things were going missing or equipment just wasn't available for jobs that were booked in. The result of all these failings was a very badly disorganised, dysfunctional workforce and regular complaints from clients.

In an effort to improve things, I set out some process guidelines for the office staff and created a simple stock control database for which the warehouse staff were then responsible for upkeeping. I then gave each employee a job description and sat down with each of them individually and went through it.

The first lad looked as though he had a weight lifted from his shoulders as I went through his expectations with him. He immediately had a clear understanding of exactly what was expected of him and I could see the difference in him straight away by his newly found confidence. Beforehand he had just slumped at his desk, complained a lot about management and his colleagues and was regularly late for work. He turned up on time the next day with a 'can do' attitude.

All of this worked well for a while. However, after I left, unfortunately, it all fell back into chaos. So unless you as a manager implement and maintain good processes and procedures and communicate effectively with your employees, your staff just won't feel valued and you won't get what you need from them. They will either underperform and do the job incorrectly, or just lose interest altogether which will in turn affect the whole team's morale.

To find out more about how to get more from your teams and manage your staff effectively, book on one of our management training courses where you'll meet Jo. We've already had some excellent feedback from these training programs.

How do you...?

We introduced the Q & A sessions recently but we've not had anyone ask us anything! Does this mean you all know everything you need to know about training? I'm sure some of you must have at least one question about management, computer training or personal developmnent? For instance:

•How do you create a pivot table in Excel?

•How do you deal with a difficult person at work?

•How do you give a great presentation?

There are lots of questions we may well have the answers to so please email them to us and we'll publish your question, with answers, next week - so come on, don't be shy!

Which Course?

Most of you will have an idea of what course you need to attend but if you're unsure of what training course will best suit your needs, then please contact us on 01252 758575 or by email to discuss your requirements especially if you're looking for in house, 121 or a tailored solution.

We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all our courses whereby if you are not completely satisfied we will run the course for you again free of charge with the same delegates utilising a different trainer. We also offer a 'match price' guarantee for all scheduled courses on a like for like basis and in the same county. You will also get support options.

Special promotion for this month - buy one, get one free on ALL open courses. Just quote 241JUNE when enquiring. This is valid until until the 7 July so make sure you book before then to take advantage of the savings.

Anne's Top Tips

Customer Service

•Always smile on the phone - this comes over in your voice and thus gives the caller a sense that you're actually interested in what they have to say

•Always answer good morning/afternoon, the company name and something like "how can I help" or "Jane speaking" etc.

•Never leave a caller on hold indefinitely - always go back to them every so often and apologise for keeping them holding.

•During a call always repeat back the information you take - read the number out to them after you have taken it and a summary of the other information they have given you Eg. So it's Mrs Smith from Smith and Co, and you would like to know the amount of your last invoice.

•When finishing a call - especially with a caller who has an issue - summarise what you are going to do with the information you have taken and how it will be followed up. eg. "what I'll do is get a call logged for you and a member of our support team will call you back shortly."

•Always sound professional and have a 'can do' attitude. Remember the customer is always right even when they're wrong.

•When selling it's a good idea to get up and walk around as that will exude confidence.

•Never argue with a customer - listen to what they have to say, without interrupting. Let them get it off their chest and then offer a solution.

•Even if it's not your problem, take ownership of the call and follow it through to resolution. Even call them back to make sure the person in question has been in touch with them. This will give you lots of brownie points!

If you would like to attend our customer service course or book an in house session then get in touch by email or call us on 01252 758575.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Large organisations can benefit too...

Well with Easter and May Day bank holidays over with we're back to the grind stone. I enjoyed the time off I have to say and weren't we lucky with the weather? I spent a bit of time with my dogs Scooby and Topsy. Scooby, one of my faithful German Shepherds, has a new mobile walking frame that seems to have given him a new lease of life since we've started using it. He can now walk much further than he could previously without collapsing at the end of it - in fact it's me trying to keep up with him now! He still hasn't got the hang of his 3 point turns though! Good old Scoobs!

Employment Agencies vs Virtual Office Services

As a virtual business I'm keen to bring the virtual PA to the High Street and this is my aim for 2011. It's tough getting one's head around the virtual office concept if you're not open to it. Small businesses are already benefiting from using a virtual PA or virtual office service but what about the larger organisations that still tend to rely on temps from employment agencies? Do these organisations realise what they're missing out on or are they just opposed or reluctant to change?

There is a lot to be said for hiring a temp from an agency and having a physical presence in your office, but are you really making the most of your budget by doing this? Using a virtual temp would be far more cost effective. With an on site temp, or even a permanent* staff member you would have to pay for:

•Minimum wage
•Set number of hours
•PC, desk space, telephone and contract provision
•Maternity/Paternity leave*
•Employer contributions & agency mark up
•Notice period*
•Agency placement fees if they go permanent*

Why fork out when you don't need to? With a virtual temp (also know as Virtual Assistant, Virtual PA, VPA) you don't have any of the above issues to contend with. All you have to worry about is:

•A set hourly rate agreed in advance of every task

That's it!

So why, if you're responsible for hiring temps for a large company, are you not reaping the benefits? Everything a temp can do we can do better! I'm talking from experience as I was a temp for a lot of my 20 years working in Corporate. I know what's expected and that temps are often thrown in at the deep end and left to fend for themselves or more often than not given the jobs that no one else wants. We don't mind getting the jobs no one else wants - we thrive on it!

We have a virtual temp for any eventuality each with their own specialist skills; so anything you need, anytime of day, we can deliver.

When you're ready to explore how the wonderful world of virtual working can work for your organisation, be it large or small, all you need to do is:

Email us
•Call us on 01252 372824
•Visit our website

As a bonus for all new customers this month, I am offering 2 hours for the price of one until the end of May. So any hours you pay for this month, we'll double! You need to act quickly though as it's only applicable during May - ie the hours can't be carried over to next month. Just quote NEW241MAY.

Don't worry if you're an existing or previous client - there's something for you too! Come back to us and spend £60 or more and I'll give you a 50% discount on any training you book with us during May (there is no time limit as to when you can take the training, you just need to book and pay for it during May). Quote RETURN50%TRAINING to qualify.

Both these offers expire 31 May 2011 so don't sit on your laurels!

I hope you enjoyed pondering the pros and cons of a virtual temp and I look forward to catching up later in the month with our Training Newsletter.

Yours sincerely

Anne Donnelly
Managing Director

PS - Find out how we can give you and your customers a great customer service experience by investing in a virtual office.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Finding the right course is one thing, but how will you get the best from your trainer?

Not long until Easter and 2 long weekend breaks! Have you planned anything nice? I am looking forward to a well earned rest and the odd day trip out. Our trainers have been relatively busy over the last few months so will also be welcoming the time off.

Easter is a quiet time for training so we haven't scheduled any open courses during this period. As a tribute to our hard working trainers I'm going to do a spotlight on them over the next 2 issues which you can read further down the page.

How do you know you will absorb and remember what you have learnt?

We discussed last month about choosing the right course for you but how do you know the trainer will be up to scratch? Do they have the right credentials, experience and attitude to deliver an all emcompassing training session so that you get the best you possibly can from it? Sometimes the trainer makes all the difference. People learn in different ways so trainers have to compensate by knowing the different learning preferences. Here's what I mean:

Visual Learners

People who are 'visual' learn through 'seeing'. That means they take more in by watching the facial expressions and body language of the trainer. They will also have a tendency to write lots of notes. Typically these learners will like to make use of diagrams, pictures, presentations etc.

Auditory Learners

Those who are 'auditory' learn through 'listening'. Meaning that they will get the best from attending a lecture, or other type of verbal discussion. They will have a knack of interpreting the underlying message by the sound of the voice, tone, pitch and speed of what is being said. Typically these learners will use tape recorders or read out loud to take in information.

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners

'Tactile' or 'kinesthetic' people find they will learn best by 'hands-on' interaction, by way of of touching, doing, moving and exploring what's around them. Typically these people will have a short attention span and be a bit figety in a classroom (such as myself!) and need to 'get stuck in' especially when learning a new job role.

These different preferences are part of the VAKOG model: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory, gustatory. We will explore more about learning preferences later on. In the meantime, read on for an insight into who our trainers are and how they can help you.

Trainer Profile

Josephine Pelle - Speciality - Management and Personal Development Training

Josephine has facilitated Management Development Training since 1990.

She has qualified in psychometrics, NLP, transactional analysis, training and counselling skills for the development of learning. Jo is passionate about helping people to build their confidence and increase their personal effectiveness at all levels.

Jo is responsible for delivering all of our management training courses and also our personal development programs both scheduled, in house, 121 and tailored solutions. Every session that Jo has taken since joining FOSVA Training in 2008 has had excellent feedback from the delegates.

Personally, I find Jo to be an exceptional trainer and amazing person. I am in awe of her when she's doing her stuff - quick witted, quick at evaulating and responding to questions and issues that delegates put to her and she knows her subjects inside out. I don't know how she does it but she does it very well!

If you would like to attend one of Jo's sessions, or indeed ask her any questions about how she may be able to help your learning, then get in touch by email or call us on 01252 758575.

Ask Jo

We will be doing a 'question time' for our trainers on a regular basis. This month and moving forward you can ask Jo anything you like and we will post her responses in the next issue. As this is a brand new section we have no answers to individual questions yet so Jo has this question for YOU:

Question: When addressing different learning preferences how can you tell if the trainer is actively influencing the learner?


Next time you attend a course, pay particular attention to the language used by the trainer - and note the mix. Did they say stuff like "Can you see yourself doing that?", "Is that not just like music to your ears?", "How does it feel?"

Language is an important medium to convey your message and tune in to your audience back at work.

1.What style did I finish on?

2.What is your preference?

3.What about your staff - do you adapt your conversation to suit them or just stick to your favourite speech all the time?

Next month we'll have another 'question time' so please feel free to send us any questions on any of the course subjects or related queries in the meantime and we'll list them with the appropriate trainer's response next time.

Anne's Top Tips

Well it seems no one needed any help with anything since our last issue so I'll have to rack my brains for some helpful tips again this time:

Tip 1 - Telephone Techniques

To stop an irate caller getting more irate, let them rant and get it off their chest - they will then calm down. If you try to interrupt this will only exacerbate the situation.

Tip 2 - Telephone Techniques

If a person wants to chit chat and will not get off the phone then just be silent at the other end - they will soon get bored. The more you entertain the conversation, the more they will continue to talk!

Tip 3 - Time Management - Meetings

When attending a meeting, to help it run smootly, make an agenda with a list of subjects and required outcomes with a time scale attached to each subject. Make sure you circulate the agenda ahead of the meeting to give people time to prepare. Get the minutes out within 48 hours.

I will have a few more tips for you next time. Remember my door is always open if you have any questions you need a quick answer to.

Tel:  01252 758575