12/23/2011

Fun JibJab Holiday Card

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We would like to wish everyone a safe, enjoyable and a relaxing Holiday Season!

If you do happen to be in Orlando in January for Lotusphere 2012, be sure to stop by our booth (#529).

Best wishes to everyone in 2012.



Click on this image to hear "Feliz Navidad" and see Allison lead Jason, Dan, Nick and Frank in some Christmas celebration:

A picture named M2
http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/402seRPaJfXJNx3O

12/13/2011

2 New and Undiscovered Ways to be a Social Business

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From Wikipedia: The term Social Media refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue.


I would like to first say that Twitter, Blogging, Facebook and LinkedIn make us a more social business, and it is true to a degree. We have made many new connections via these social networks. They seem to be  used mostly as "micro-advertising" services, which serves a useful purpose announcing a product release or researching software fixes or people who you may be hiring.

There are two new and undiscovered social networking tools that we find to be extremely useful: Email and the Telephone. Yes, I know, we are talking 20th century here.  "Legacy systems". Tools that are definitely not hip or cool.

Email is only a one-to-one communication, is private and cannot improve Google rankings! It is also a time waster!  All true!  However, we have a unique spin on email, a rather radical one at that:  We publish our email addresses on our website. Crazy talk! We don't even do the frank at maysoft dot com thing.  I just write frank@maysoft.com There! I did it! Why people list 100 ways they can be found on their self-published blogs and yet don't list an email address if they want others to connect? Isn't that the meaning of social business, or did I miss its meaning, which otherwise would only be micro-advertising?


The second social networking tool is the telephone. Not for calling others, but for letting them call you. So, we also list phone numbers on our support website. More crazy talk? Perhaps. I personally am dumbfounded when a company spends all this time and money advertising, leading me to a website where I cannot find a phone number or email address!  If I hunt enough, I get a generic phone number and then get a recorded message that sounds like this: "Thank you for calling Micro-company! NoBody is here to answer your call, but if you leave a message, Someone will get back to you." Is this a script that they are required to follow? Who is Someone? In a bow to Odysseus, they should change "Someone" in the script to "NoBody".  NoBody will get back to you!

As a small business owner, we have always had a live human being answer the phone (being a living person is a job requirement here). That is a very social thing to do.  We also have the same live people respond to customer emails. Our customers can call and ask for people by name. There is no one here whose name is "Support". If a customer calls and asks for "Support", Allison (who answered the phone) says "Let me connect you to Frank". Very, very social. If that customer calls back, and has the temerity to ask for Frank by name, then they get connected to Frank. Scary stuff, almost radical by today's standards of "NoBody" support'.

I have often been asked "Would that work in a large organization"?  My very crisp answer is: "I have no friggin' idea! I don't run a large organization. Let them figure it out themselves". It works wonderfully for me. I had one prospective customer who asked me during Lotusphere "do you return support calls within 48 hours"?  I replied, "We normally take calls immediately during working hours. However, for you, I can make an exception and make you wait 48 hours if that's what you want".  This gained me a new customer.

So by all means do the "social networking" thing. But don't forget with all this "broadcast" micro-marketing, that at the end of the day, business is conducted not by two companies, but by two people who must connect by phone, email or in person.

Lotusphere

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Frank Paolino