Press1 Blog 
 

Severe Disturbance Sunday 14/05/2012

We had a severe network disturbance on Sunday 14/05/2012 which affected all of our services.

The disturbance was due to equipment failure on the edge of our network.
The disturbance lasted from approximately 08:00 on 14/05/2012 to 01:45 on 15/05/2012, during this period phone service and website access was intermittent.
The long duration of the fault was due to the complexity of the failure, working with the equipment manufacturer it was advised several parts required replacement.

Once the outage report is completed we will be reviewing measures we can take to prevent a similar re-occurrence.

All systems are now back to normal. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

VAT rate increase

On the 1st of Jan 2012 the standard VAT rate increased from 21% to 23%.

The VAT increase will be applied to all charges.

If you are UK VAT registered this VAT change will have no effect as your account will have zero VAT charged.

Q. Why are you charging 23% VAT ?
23% is the new Irish VAT rate where press1 HQ is based.
There are special rules for telecommunications, broadcasting and electronically supplied services.
In the case of business to consumer services are taxable at the place where the supplier is established.
In the case of supply to UK VAT registered businesses no VAT is charged.

UPDATE: SECURITY ANNOUNCEMENT 16/12/2011 – Password Reset

Update 19/12/2011

On full investigation the source of the suspected security breach was discovered to be an internal application and NOT an external threat.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by having your password unnecessarily reset, however it’s an important precaution to protect your account when a suspected breach is detected.
Thank you for your understanding.

————————————————————————-

We had a compromised web server on our network this morning (16/12/2011).

We are still investigating the source of the breach, only systems affected were the account web-login platform.

We are not aware that any password data was compromised, however as a precautionary measure we have reset your web login password.

You will need to use PASSWORD RECOVERY to get access to your account.  If you have any problems please contact the support desk.

We will post any further information updates here.

Call Disturbances 07/11/2011 (Resolved)

Total outage was from 14:29 to 15:48 (1 hour 19 mins- our longest outage to date). The outage affected all calls into the press1 system. The route cause of the problem was a faulty router with a carrier partner in London, this issue has now been resolved.

We apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience caused.
We will be putting measures in place which prevent re-occurrence.

The fault history posted to our blog remains below.

07/11/2011 14:30

We are having some call disturbance issues with inbound calls – engineering are investigating.

07/11/2011 15:10

A problem has been identified in London switching – we don’t have an estimate for repair time yet. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

07/11/2011 15:40

Continued apologies for the inconvenience. Our carrier partner is working to resolve the issue.

07/11/2011 15:47

Traffic has been restored, we’re waiting for confirmation from Engineering that all tests pass.

How much does it cost to call 0844, 0845 and 0870 from a Mobile

After our last post on the cost of 0844, 0845 and 0870 number series we got questions regarding the cost of calling from mobile phones.

So we took some time digging on the main mobile websites  (and with the mobile operators you seem to have to dig deep) to find the cost of calling any 0844, 0845 or 0870 number.

So here’s what we have unearthed to help you choose which 08 number you want for your business.

*We did our best to get accurate pricing but this is just meant as a guide and prices may vary from plan to plan, some destination may be included in bundled minutes. For accurate pricing information it’s best to contact the mobile operator directly. Charges were obtained at time of post.

For comparison, the cost of calling a standard UK landline *prices may depend on plan
Vodafone pay-monthly: 35p a minute
Vodafone pre-pay: 21p a minute
O2 pay-monthly: 35p a minute
O2 pre-paid: 25p a minute
Orange pay-monthly: 25p a minute
Orange pre-paid: 25p a minute
The cost of calling 0845 from mobile
Vodafone pay-monthly: 35p a minute
Vodafone pre-pay: 25p a minute
O2 pay-monthly: 20.4p a minute
O2 pre-paid: 25p a minute
Orange pay-monthly: 20.4p a minute
Orange pre-paid: 40p a minute

The cost of calling 0844 from mobile
Vodafone pay-monthly: 35p a minute
Vodafone pre-pay: 25p a minute
O2 pay-monthly: 20.4p a minute
O2 pre-paid: 25p a minute
Orange pay-monthly: 12.3p a minute
Orange pre-paid: 40p a minute

The cost of calling 0870 from mobile
Vodafone pay-monthly: 35p a minute
Vodafone pre-pay: 25p a minute
O2 pay-monthly: 20.4p a minute
O2 pre-paid: 25p a minute
Orange pay-monthly: 20.4p a minute
Orange pre-paid: 40p a minute


What’s the difference between an 0845 and 0844 number ?

After our last blog post “What does it cost to call an 0844 number ?” we got some questions relating to differences between 0845 and 0844 numbers. We thought we would share this via our blog as it’s obviously of interest.

Here’s some Q&A’s which should help you decide what’s right for you

What’s an 0845/0844 number ?
Both 0845 and 0844 are in a range classed as NTS (number translation services) and designed for businesses, government departments and ‘other entities’ using services like press1 at national level.

0845 are known as ‘local NTS’ because call rates are similar to local rates from a BT line.
0844 are known as ‘fixed rate NTS’ because rates are the same at any time of day or night.

Is 0845 or 0844 better for my business ?

Both 0844 and 0845 are widely used by all types of businesses. The fact that 0845 is slightly cheaper and sometimes bundled with free minutes means that the general public may favour calling 0845. However from our experience neither 0844 or 0845 have a ‘stigma’ which prevents calling (like the 0871 which is used to generate revenue share).

What’s the cost of calling an 0845 or 0844 number ?

BT rates at the time of posting are as follows but charges from other networks will vary.

0844 – 5.1p (Daytime) 5.1p (Evening) 5.1p (Weekend)
0845 – 4p (Daytime) 1p (Evening) 1p (Weekend)
(charges include VAT and are rounded to nearest 10th of a pence)

For comparison Virgin Media prices are

0845 – 10.2p (Daytime) 10.2p (Evening) 10.2p (Weekend)
0844 – 10.4p (Daytime) 10.4p (Evening) 10.4p (Weekend)

*note that some call plans will bundle destinations with free minutes

How much does 0845 and 0844 cost to call from my mobile ?

Each mobile operator dictates their own pricing to these number ranges and charges may vary based on your price plan. Cost per minute for 0844/0845 are normally between 20p and 40p per minute if not bundled with free minutes. Often call plan rates are printed on the reverse of your bill. If you are in doubt contact your mobile provider.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages of 0844/0845 ?

- 0844 and 0845 numbers are national so you can bring your number with you if you change location.
- 0844 numbers are generally not available when calling from abroad.
- Some pre-paid calling card providers block all calls to 08 numbers.
- 0845 numbers may be cheaper to call than a local geographic number, depending on calling parties operator and location.
- Calling from mobile may be expensive depending on calling parties operator and bundled plan.

Emergency Maintenance scheduled 15/06/2011 – 23:00

Emergency Maintenance is scheduled for the following window
Start: 15/06/2011 – 23:00
End: 16/06/2011 – 04:30
Duration: 5.5 Hours

During this window we expect there will be a total disturbance of 60 seconds to inbound calls.

What does it cost to call an 0844 number ?

A question we get asked at Press1 all the time is “what does it cost to call an 0844 number?”.

An 0844 number is known as a Fixed Rate non-geographic number. This means it’s the same price for the caller at any time of the week.

Ofcom (the telecom regulator) issue several price bands for the 0844 number range, the highest being the ’5p per minute’ band. This is by far the most common 0844 type in usage and the type we issue at press1.

This means that the caller always pays the fixed call price of 5.1p per minute when calling a press1 0844 number from anywhere in the UK on a BT landline. You, as the 0844 number holder, do not pay anything to receive the call.

Calls to an 0844 number from a standard BT landline line will cost the caller (including VAT):
5.1p (Daytime)
5.1p (Evening)
5.1p (Weekend)

(price correct at time of post – see http://www.bt.com/pricing/current/Call_Charges_boo/1632_d0e5.htm)

The price of calling from other providers (than BT) will depend on the individual operator and price plan, calls may cost more or less than BT.

It’s important to note that 0844 numbers MAY not be reachable from some countries abroad.

6th-Oct, Call Disturbances

On Wednesday the 6th of October For periods of upto 30 minutes in every hour between 06:30 and 11:30 there were difficulties in processing traffic. From an end user perspective – this would have been characterised by some long delays reaching the switchboard and sometimes call failure. The problem relates to unexpected CPU usage on our gateway caused by foreign traffic. Steps have been taken to ensure the same problem does not re-occur.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

For periods of upto 30 minutes in every hour between 06:30 and 11:30 our SBC experienced difficulties in processing traffic. From an end user perspective – this would have been characterised by long delays in call setup and sometimes call failure.

More new features and improvements on Press1 switchboards

We’re delighted to announce some great new features and improvements on our Press1 virtual switchboard.

  • Custom Call Whisper Recordings
  • Call Forward with Confirmation
  • Pressed Digit Included in Voicemail
  • Improved Notifications
  • Google Analytics Integration

Custom Call Whisper Recordings

Call whisper is a feature which allows the called party hear a ‘line announcement’ before the call is answered, allowing the caller prepare for the call.
Previously the line announcement was fixed at “line 1″, “line 2″ etc.. and you needed to remember if “line 1″ was sales or support…

We’ve updated this  feature to allow custom recordings for each ‘line’

How to use it:
Login to your Press1 control panel and scroll down to the end of the ‘Recordings’ page. You will see recordings labeled “Whisper x:”, upload recordings here for the appropriate whisper depending on the menu option chosen by the caller.

Upload recordings for call forwarding with whisper

Call Forward with Confirmation

This is a new feature especially for forwarding to mobiles with voicemail active, when the called party answers the phone they will be prompted to press ’1′ to accept the call. If the called party does NOT press ’1′ the call hangs up and the call is processed as if it was never answered.

This feature is especially good for ‘hunting groups’ ie. when you want to ring one mobile, followed by another, followed by another and so on. Previously there was a possibility the first mobile would be off or unreachable and the call would go to straight to voicemail, the press1 system would consider the phone answered and it would never ring the next in line. Now using confirmation the voicemail will answer the call, but because confirmation is not received, the next phone in line will ring..

How to use it:
When building your call flow, select “Forward to Number (confirm):”.

Forwarding using confirm

this feature also includes call whisper

Pressed Digit Included in Voicemail

Previously when you received a voicemail you had no idea which menu option had been pressed. Now the last number the caller pressed is included in the voicemail text.

How to use it:
This feature is active by default, you can see new title ‘Pressed’ in the email content.

Improved Notifications

Notifications are now more flexible, we’ve left the original notification when call answered (you might have seen a new ‘label’ on your notifications indicating “call”) but you can now also add notifications anywhere in your call flow and include ‘labels’ so you can identify where the notifications originated. You can also set individual email addresses which means notifications can go to anyone you choose.

How to use it:
To use this feature simply select the action ‘Send Notification’ when building a call-flow,enter the email address you would like the notification to go to and the label which will be used in the email.

To give an example of how this might be used. Let’s say we have two people answering phones in a ‘hunting group’, firstly the call goes to Alice, if Alice is busy or unavailable then the call follows on to Bob, if Bob is unavailable then the call follows on to voicemail.  We want Alice and Bob to get notifications of the calls they miss.

Here’s an example of how this setup might look.

Example of using notifications

Google Analytics Integration

You can now plot your callers activity on Google Analytics.  This is perfect if you are using your switchboards to track add campaigns or if you just want to see graphically how many people choose a certain option.

You simply add analytics tracking anywhere you wish in the call-flow using a unique label to identify where in the switchboards call flow has been visited.

How to use it:
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to getting started.

1) Setup an new domain on your analytics account called YOURNUMBER.user.press1.co.uk  (Where you replace YOURNUMBER by your switchboard number)
2) Take the analytics account code (begins with UA-) and enter it in Press1 on the ‘Account Details’ page.
3) There are default tracking points which will start collecting immediately ( ‘call’ – when call arrives,  ‘open-call’ -routed to open menu  and ‘closed-call’ ) – You can also optionally add additional tracking points in your call flow with action ‘Google Analytics Track’, enter any label which relates to the position on the switchboard (for example 1-open when caller presses ’1′)
4) Wait for your data to come in (should be updated after about an hour)

TIP: Your analytics domain status needs to be ‘collecting data’ on the Overview page (in Analytics),  if it’s failing to start collecting click ‘Edit’ , then in the top right ‘Check Status’

To view data in analytics select  ‘Content‘ from the Analytics menu, each label you entered will be  represented as a ‘page title’ and ‘page views‘ (not Visits) will represent the number of times the tracker has been ‘hit’.

Do post or email us if you have feedback.
Press1 team