4 May 2020

Staying socially connected in times of social distancing

Since social distancing started being enforced in recent months, it has been hard for many of us to figure out how to keep in touch with our family and friends when we can’t physically see them.

Even though we’ve had to cut back on the visits with the grandkids and the coffee catch ups with our friends, we are fortunate that in today’s era, modern technology makes it that much easier to stay in contact from afar.

Keeping in touch with loved ones in times of isolation is critical for our mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s going for a walk around the park with a mate or chatting over video conference with your relatives, staying socially connected is important, no matter what your age is or where you live.

That’s why we wanted to share with you some tips and tricks to stay socially connected in times of social distancing!

Our top 4 rated free video calling apps to download

Zoom

Zoom has quickly emerged as the go-to video conferencing app of the moment. No matter what you use the app for – group yoga or fitness classes, playing charades with multiple households or simply watching the same TV show with a friend – it’s an easy and straightforward way to connect over video.

When you next decide to try it out, why not make it more fun and give yourself a silly background? A quick Google search will reveal plenty of free, funny backgrounds to download. It’s also good to be mindful that there are different plan versions, with the most basic having a time limit on group calls. If security is a concern for you, read some handy tips on how to make your Zoom catchups more private and secure.

Houseparty

If you’re looking for a bit of fun with your video chats, Houseparty has become a hit amongst the younger crowd. Houseparty offers standard video calling alongside fun games – such as trivia, heads up and quick draw – which you can play with other members of the call.

The app also lets you expand your social network by allowing friends of your friends to join the fun and games too. Fancy just having a one-on-one conversation instead? It’s easy to enable your privacy settings to restrict visitors.

Facebook Messenger

With Facebook recently announcing you will soon be able to video call with up to 50 people – even if they don’t have a Facebook account – there’s no better time than now to download the Messenger app if you don’t already have it. Currently, you can video call one-on-one with a friend, but with the group video call feature set to have no time limits (a nice luxury compared to other apps), this may be the perfect opportunity to have one big virtual family reunion!

WhatsApp

Last but not least, allowing you to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos and documents, WhatsApp is a great and well-loved way for communicating with loved ones near and far alike. Like Facebook, WhatsApp recently unveiled a nifty new feature of their own, where you can now have up to 8 people on a voice or video call. WhatsApp is another fantastic app for keeping in touch with those locally and in another country.We make it easy for new customers to join us – all you have to do is select your mobile plan of choice, sign up online or over the phone, wait for your SIM to be delivered, activate it online or over the phone and.. voila! A great new mobile phone plan, all at a great-value price.

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Fun things our staff did this week

Rebecca, a member of our marketing team, usually does karaoke with her friends on Friday nights, but since her favourite karaoke place is temporarily closed, she jumped on Zoom with her singing buddies and did virtual karaoke instead!

18 May 2020

Cure your board-dom with our board game suggestions

Along with puzzles, crafts and video on demand subscriptions such as Netflix, board games have become another one of the most sought-after forms of entertainment during this current time. A sure source of fun for various generations, the ability to play board games digitally has proven to be a great way to connect with family and friends, no matter where they are in the world.

With these free online versions of classic board games, you can either face off against strangers from other countries or take on your loved ones in a fun competition – the choice is yours!

Our top 4 rated free board games to download

Scrabble GO

The ‘Scrabble GO’ app has reimagined this classic board game for the digital era. You can play the standard Scrabble game you know and love or you can test your skills in four new word games. Whichever mode you choose to try out, ‘Scrabble GO’ lets you personalise your playing experience through a range of customisable tiles. It also contains a practice mode, plus a way to track your stats.

Allowing you to easily play against family and friends while also giving you the opportunity to test your skills against strangers, your brain is sure to get a workout no matter who you go up against!.

Chess – Play & Learn

Speaking of brain workouts, chess has been one of the most intellectually stimulating forms of fun for well over a thousand years! Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced veteran, the ‘Chess – Play & Learn’ app has something for everyone. With over 65,000 tactics puzzles to solve, along with thousands of videos and interactive lessons from top Grandmasters, this is a great way to cure your boredom.

‘Chess – Play & Learn’ boasts over 10 million members worldwide, meaning you’ll never be short of competition to go up against. Like ‘Scrabble GO’, this chess app also lets you customise your playing experience, with over 20 themes for boards, pieces and backgrounds.

Connect4 – Classic Board Game

Want something a little more relaxing? Try out the ‘Connect4 – Classic Board Game’ app. This family favourite can be played by two people on the same device or online against friends or other players from all over the world. There’s also a virtual player you can go up against to test your skills.

Easy to use with a straightforward and colourful design, Connect4 is a fun way to spend a few hours with the family. You can even collect achievements along the way for that extra bit of enjoyment.

Fleet Battle: Sea Battle game

Remember Battleships? It’s now online – and more fun than ever! This strategy game classic of many childhoods lets you play against the computer or your friends as you rise up the ranks from ‘Recruit’ all the way to ‘Admiral of the Navy’, collecting new ships along the way. You can also earn different colours and designs as you progress through the game, meaning there’s always something new to discover.

Want to play with someone in another country? The app handily features voice-over and text in many other languages in addition to the default English. Featuring 3D graphics to go along with realistic sounds, the ‘Fleet Battle’ app immerses you in the action. With medals to earn and leaderboards to climb, what are you waiting for? Get ready for combat, Commander!

Enjoyed this article? You can find more of our articles in the Library.

Fun things our staff did this week

Here at Pennytel, we all love a good board game, but with social distancing still in effect, our staff have taken to playing board games over video calls with their friends!

28 September 2020

Switching Telcos is now easier than ever!

We don’t always realise it, but customer service plays a larger role than we anticipate in our everyday life. Whether it’s at the shops or over the phone, any form of ‘service’ is always much more pleasant and gives a positive feeling when done right.

No matter if it’s your first or fiftieth interaction, we often remember the customer service we were given more than the product or service we acquired in the process. This can especially be true today, where getting through to a customer service staff is sometimes harder than necessary.

  • Does the following process sound familiar to you?
  • You wait on hold for what seems like hours.
  • Someone answers the call, but you get passed from person to person.
  • You’re told the relevant individual is unavailable and so you wait for a call back.
  • Finally, by the end of the week, your issue is resolved (if you’re lucky!).
  • What happened to the good old days of customer service? The days when customers mattered, where you’d speak to a real person and weren’t left on hold for 30 minutes at a time?

    Here’s the four hallmarks of great customer service that you should look out for in every company.

    Quick and efficient

    We all know the struggle of calling customer service and having to wait so long that by the time you get past the cliched hold music and repetitive message of ‘all our staff are currently busy’, you’re so frustrated that you’ve probably forgotten what it was you were calling about to begin with. This also happens in-store, where the one time you actually need help finding something, it’s close to impossible to find someone to assist.

    The way to a resolution should be easy for customers – they shouldn’t have to hunt around for someone to ask or call again and again to get an answer. It’s all about putting the customer first and trying to relate to them as much as possible.

    Talking to a real person

    It’s become an all-too-common part of life that we just expect to speak to robots when we call up our bank, our electricity provider or our telco. When did it become normal to suddenly be greeted by an electronic voice, asking you to “in a few words, explain the reason for your call”?

    Most times you just want to talk to a real person, but all you get is a pestering chatbot on a website or a robot on the phone asking you to press different numbers as it attempts to direct you to the right department. People value human to human connections a lot more than the ‘convenience’ of robots.

    Service with a smile

    Perhaps one of the most overlooked parts of delivering great customer service is in the friendliness of the staff. Someone smiling at you, asking how you are and offering to help can sometimes mean the difference between buying something at that store or walking out before you even browse.

    A helpful attitude and a positive approach can go a long way. Think about the last restaurant you went to, for instance – what stands out more, the food you ate or the way the waitstaff were attentive, timely and informative? People have long memories, so customer service needs to be done right the first time.

    Empathy

    One of the cornerstones of customer service should always be empathy. A good customer service experience will leave you with a sense of being understood and heard. That’s why it’s so important that organisations listen to their customers, whether they have a positive experience or a negative one to share, whether they’re asking a simple question or requiring help with a complex situation.

    Workcation

    “Great value, good communicators, faultless and fast service with coverage on the Telstra network. I would highly recommend Pennytel as an alternative telco provider to anyone wanting a better deal.”

    Ross from ProductReview.com.au

    28 September 2020

    Switching Telcos is now easier than ever!

    If you were going to create a list of fun things to do, we doubt that ‘switching telco providers’ would make it on the list. Often thought of as a stressful and frustrating process, many people simply don’t switch providers for the fear of it being too complicated, too time-consuming or not worth the hassle of just saving a few dollars.

    However, we’re here to show you that it’s actually much simpler than you think! Has one of the below reasons stopped you from switching? Read on to find out why switching telcos is now easier than ever.

    Keeping your number

    A lot of people are understandably worried about losing their number when switching to a different telco. Just like when you change your email address, it’s a hassle to have to update all your friends and family and there is always the fear that you might miss out on updating a loved one with new details.

    When you transfer your number to a new mobile provider, this is often referred to as ‘number porting’. It is now a common and widely practiced process, and most mobile providers – Pennytel included – will give you the option to do so when you sign up. If you wish to get a brand-new number, that is also a possibility.

    You can read more about keeping your number on the ACCC website.

    Locked in a contract

    If you’re in a contract with your current telco, not to worry – it’s important you check the Critical Information Summary (CIS) for the terms of your contract, when the contract ends and any exit fees if you leave early. Once you are equipped with this information, it will be much easier for you to plan for the right time to sign up with a new telco.

    Reading the CIS of the plan from the telco you’re trying to switch to is always beneficial, so you are fully aware of everything. You may even be pleasantly surprised, as many great plans these days are no lock-in, like Pennytel’s own great value plans.

    Don’t let being locked in a contract stop you from shopping around and switching telcos.

    SIM-only plans

    Many people expect mobile phone plans to be bundled with a new phone, especially if it’s from a provider that offers both. However, that’s not the case these days! You’re able to get a SIM-only, post-paid plan, which means that you can just pay for the mobile phone service and keep your existing phone.

    If you’re switching to another provider, you don’t need to get a new phone and this applies to whether you’re keeping your existing number or getting a new one. All you’ll need is a SIM card, provided by your new telco of choice, and you’re good to go.

    With all of that to consider, it’s no surprise that some people are reluctant to switch telcos! But remember, switching to a different mobile provider really can be a simple process, especially if it’s anything like Pennytel switchover process!

    We make it easy for new customers to join us – all you have to do is select your mobile plan of choice, sign up online or over the phone, wait for your SIM to be delivered, activate it online or over the phone and.. voila! A great new mobile phone plan, all at a great-value price.

    Enjoyed this article? You can find more of our articles in the Library.