Tag Archives: twitter

Building with B:Web

Many months ago, someone, I can’t remember who, retweeted something from a chap called Jeremy Paul Baumgartner, it led me to his website www.jpb.com, where the first line was, and still is, “The secret to creative thinking is to start with good problems”.

I was at that time embarking on a new journey as a director of Callmaster Mobile and I knew there were many things we did well as a business because we had solutions to customer problems, however we also had things that troubled us and distracted us from our plans to grow our company.

Jeremy’s words made me determined to turn one of our problems into a productive idea, I had no idea it would lead to the launch of a whole new business.

One problem came from wanting to do the best and that was that our account manager’s we’re committed to providing the best advice to their customers, when this meant recommending a handset there were hundreds to choose from but good questioning could help reduce the list of potential choices making it easier for the customer to pick.

When it came to accessories and ancillary products there are tens of thousands, we had guys spending hours trawling through supplier lists and websites looking for the right products, once the customer had decided they could process the sale and the £1 profit would ring through the till for their hours work. Unfortunately bad business.

As a team of directors we knew this had to change, so we decided we could review all the recommendations we had made to customers, get a list of those products from the suppliers and list them on our Callmaster Mobile website as a reference point for future requests.

It snowballed from there really, firstly we thought why not have an enquiry box so if other customers saw it on the internet and wanted to also buy one we could get in touch. That moved to seeing if they could just buy through the Callmaster Mobile website, to then having a separate website for chargers, headphones, car kits and cases. The story behind the name More Than Just Mobiles will be saved for another day.

A few discreet conversations with people we knew in the mobile industry quickly highlighted that there was a lot more to the accessories business that just cases and chargers and that there was a clear business benefit to get involved.

What was clear though was that we needed someone, who knew about eCommerce, to not only build us our website but to educate us about the online sales world. This is where the power of Twitter kicked in, I had followed Zoe from B:Web because she was something of a local celebrity having been in an article in the Daily Mail and then on This Morning in a short space of time :) Reading her tweets it became apparent she knew her stuff about websites and eCommerce, hell, she even ran sellout conferences about it, at the very least I was going to ask her for some advice.

Now, 6 months later, www.morethanjustmobiles.com is being built and we hope to bring you a unique insight from both the designer and the customer viewpoint during the process, across this blog and also on www.bwebsites.co.uk/blog.

Please do let us know what you think, and do what social media is designed for you to do, interact with us.

Keep talking #GetTheHeraldDigital

“For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination
We learned to talk”

Pink Floyd, 1994

Now this isn’t an advert for you all to use your mobile phones more, they are probably glued to your ear or your fingertips most of the time already so relax.

It is more of a request to businesses on Twitter to interact and talk to people rather than just broadcast your latest sales message.

A number of months ago I noticed the twitter account for our local newspaper “The Farnham Herald” (@farnhamherald) simply broadcast messages relating to the stories it was running in the next print edition. I mentioned it to them on Twitter but they didn’t acknowledge or reply. It doesn’t follow anyone, it doesn’t interact or enquire and to me it doesn’t consider local people and businesses an important resource for interesting articles. The cynic says they just want money to advertise when we don’t have anything to advertise but a good story to tell.

Since the explosion of social media, newspapers and other media outlets have found it incredibly different to break the news, Twitter has stories (and a whole lot of unsubstantiated rumours) well before the newspapers can print or the TV stations report, even with 24 hour news channels. It takes seconds to Tweet and at least minutes to set up a live video feed or hours to send a story to print.

There is a solution, I don’t have the necessary skills to make it happen but Farnham is full of awesome, digital experts who can help with these things. It may require a budget and that takes planning so in the meantime, keep talking, humans like to interact, it is what makes us special.

A few mentions of @farnhamherald and #GetTheHeraldDigital may be enough to get them thinking. And don’t forget to support your local paper by buying it on Thursday :)

Callmaster Mobile’s Top 3 Last minute Mothers Day gift suggestions

Did you know that Mothering Sunday is this weekend? Of course you didn’t, because you forgot again, didn’t you? You could run to the local florist and pick up a last minute bunch of flowers for mum, but really, that’s a bit more hassle than it’s worth, isn’t it? Everyone else has also forgotten, so you’re going to have to be fighting the crowds and dealing with bad-tempered florists who are stressed out because people like you who have left it so late in the day to order!

Besides, flowers only end up dead, don’t they? It’s the pointless gift that mum has to throw away within a week. So, you should buy her something that will last a little bit longer than that.

Let’s face it though, every time you try and buy your mum a present, she fakes that she loves it because she’s your mum, and that’s her job – but really, she’ll never use it. So, if you’re going to get her the wrong gift that she won’t like anyway, why not get her something that YOU can at least have some fun with?

1. FREE new iPad 16GB Wifi & 3G – All it costs you is £33.40 + VAT per month (just over £40) and we give you the data SIM and allowance (1.5GB) included – think about it your Mum spent more than £40 a month on you for a lot longer than 24 months :)

2. FREE iPhone 4S 16GB with 300 minutes, 250 texts & 1GB data access all for just £30 + VAT per month – Give Mum the ultimate present to keep in touch when you need that lift or a last minute babysitter :)

3. FREE Nokia Lumia 710 with 300 minutes, 250 texts & 1GB data access & Xbox 360 4GB for just £30 + VAT per month – Mum’s love playing with their kids, especially Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3 online and you can spend Sunday afternoon creating her Xbox Live avatar :)

For details of how to get any of these offers please go to http://www.callmastermobile.co.uk/content/contact and get in touch with us. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee delivery of these gifts before Sunday but what the hell, paper IOU’s have worked for years havent they!!

Special mention to Sheree at SundownerVA for the inspiration for this blog, follow her on Twitter @sundownerva for great tips and ideas for social media for your business. http://www.sundowneradmin.com/

My hopes for the Kinect for Windows PC

For Christmas in 2010 I caved in to my eldest’s demands for an Xbox with Kinect, after all I had seen the rumours online that one of the games being worked on was  a fully fledged, lightsabre wielding, force crushing version of Star Wars, with that in mind I made my son make all sorts of promises about keeping his room tidy, and that we would see what Santa brings.

14 months later, I love it, I play it more than he does, even though Star Wars still hasn’t been launched.

Now the news breaks that a version of Kinect is coming for Windows PC’s, and despite a lack of hard information in the press releases (check out the BBC website here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16836031) about what it will actually do and also it will cost twice as much as it’s Xbox older brother, I want one.

I like the idea of getting rid of my mouse and just sitting back and waving my hand at the screen, maybe I can even sit there and say “Computer, Twitter please” and it will automatically switch the explorer page to Twitter, “Computer, Twitter update” and then I can tweet. It all sounds very exciting.

For the Sci-Fi fans amongst you, do you remember the scene in Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, the crew of the Enterprise have travelled back in time to 1986 to collect some Humpback Whales to help save them from an alien probe in 2286,  and Scotty is at a plastics firm showing them how to develop a technology that will help them dominate their market, he picks up the mouse and talks to the computer as if the mouse is a microphone?

Well it looks like those scriptwriters weren’t that far off reality 😉

 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – as long as you have a “Snow Plan”

I follow @Mcallistersrcvy on Twitter, mainly because their MD @markamcallister and the rest of the team provide excellent real time updates on road and traffic issues around Surrey and Hampshire.

This week Mark and the team have been providing #SurreySnow updates and according to their latest tweets, and I quote “Models today continue with cold suggestions. Next Fri & Sat poss 20 inches of snow & max temps of -4 deg c” there is the potential for some serious snow and the conditions could be worse than we saw in December 2010.

My new year’s business wish was for a fast start for 2012, January has been excellent but we want to keep it going in February and the last thing I think any business needs right now is the chaos that the cold, fluffy, white stuff seems to bring to our lives.

So last year we invested in technology that enables us to work wherever we want to, no matter what snow or erupting volcanoes want to throw at us.

I am not going to bore you with the full details but obviously I have my smartphone (A Nokia Lumia 800, running Windows 7.5) and my laptop, a 3G data connection, my critical business applications are run by Microsoft Office 365 (email, video & voice conferencing and collaborative working through Sharepoint) and all my customer details are hosted with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

This means that whatever I want to do I can get full access on both my phone and laptop to whatever I need, and more than that our entire team of 7 people can access all the same documents and details from wherever they are too.

If the snow comes we will hold our sales meeting via Lync (the conferencing and instant messaging part of Office 365), we will be able to share our sales forecast in Excel on everyone’s device of choice at the same time and any one of us can edit it accordingly, once we are done we can save it to Sharepoint ready for the week after.

Now I am sure there are many of you that can already do the same via a number of different systems and set ups, but there will also be a huge number of your clients, business partners, family and friends who cannot.

We would like to help these people, all you have to do is put us in touch.

Should you knock on your neighbours door?

The digital age has connected us to other people in ways we probably didn’t really think of 10 years ago.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and many others play a constant role in our lives.

We are connected to people on the other side of the world in seconds, but quite often we don’t know the person next to us. Is this right?

We moved into our new offices in late August 2011, and thought it would be a good idea to celebrate with our customers as a way of saying thank you, after all who says no to a free drink and nibbles session when we can fit it in.

As we were organising the date, food and the wine someone said “shouldn’t we invite all our new neighbours? It is the polite thing to do, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely right” I said, “what better way to say hello than with a drink in our hands”

We then sat down and thought about how we would invite them, letter? email? phone call? – we couldn’t decide, and once again that single voice chirped “just knock on their door and hand them an invite, they are only over the road” BAM! The sky turned black, the thunder clapped, the lightning flashed and I am sure I heard the opening bars of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana reverberate around the room.

The response was swift, “Knock on their door? People don’t like door knockers anymore do they? We will get told to go away and fornicate because they are busy won’t we?”

“Surely they will understand once you explain” replied the brave chirper.

So we did it, we were met with a mixture of responses, lots of smiles from an existing customer and  from the lovely guys at thebluedoor, the rest of them were either suspicious, nervous, unsure and one was outright stunned that such an invite had been handed out. Oh well, at least everyone had an invite and knew that they were very welcome to pop over on the day.

The day arrived and we had apologies from our customer that poorly children would prevent their attendance, we partied with thebluedoor but sadly we didn’t meet a single one of our other neighbours.

Obviously there could be a whole range of reasons why, but I always think back to that warm September day and think, did we make the right approach?

I welcome your comments.