Business fun stuff

Communication modes for the 21st century

Just rang to book my car in for a service. After navigating an auto-attendant and then  holding for some time I eventually got through to a receptionist who was clearly not at the department I’d navigated to. Ok. It happens. Phones get busy etc etc.

She asked me if I’d like someone to ring back which is fair enough. I do want to get my tire tyre pressure sensor system sorted out. It’s annoying being told that one of your tyres has a problem when it doesn’t. I readily gave her my mobile number and said my name was Tref (actually I pronounced it Trev but it doesn’t matter for the purpose of this conversation – I don’t want to complicate the spiel). What she really wanted was my surname which in case you don’t know (she didn’t, obvs) is Davies.

She then politely referred to me as Mr Davies and said someone would get back to me. Fine.

It’s interesting though how people communicate isn’t it? I’m not particularly having a go at the dealer. It’s an honest enough business (did I really say that?) earning a few hundred quid for doing not that much to your car because you are hamstrung by having to use a dealer for the particular problem.

It’s interesting how we, the business community, communicate with people, our customers. I didn’t really want to talk to someone at the car dealer, other than I wanted at least a ballpark understanding of how much they were going to charge me for the service. I’d rather have been able to book online or chat to someone via IM.

I want to be able to go to someone’s website, see that a relevant agent is available to chat to me, be shown a list of available time slots I could book for the service by that agent, see the range of charges and then agree to book the car in. This might be an interface through the Facebook page of that organisation, where there is a ready made IM system, or it might be through another platform – Google+ say, or Skype or it may be all of them.

I as a punter would clearly be willing to share some of my personal details with that business by virtue of the fact that they would now have my Facebook/G+/Skype address (etc). After all I’m willing to let them have my mobile phone number to call me back. From a business perspective this is great. It’s what with it’s social media integration is trying to get at. Lots of information about customers.

From a punter’s perspective it would make things a lot more convenient than having to hang on the phone. I could be waiting in a window whilst doing something else. I could always escalate the conversation to a phone call if needed once connected.

Back to my immediate needs this car dealer, a substantial business in the East Midlands, was not on the front page of a Google search for Lincoln car dealers – not even for “Jeep car dealer in Lincoln”. I didn’t bother looking on page 2. So it has some way to go before understanding how to navigate a web orientated world. It looks therefore as if I will have to continue to use its existing booking service as long as I have to use that dealer. An hour or more later I still haven’t been called back.

Now before anyone starts thinking about leaving a comment re how Timico works (it’s happened before) hold your fire. Whilst I’m happy to be proved wrong I suspect that nobody has the system I have just described, yet. We do have web chat as do many other companies but it is not integrated with any social media platform. It can’t be far off general realization though and I do accept there are a few stumbling blocks such as the fact that people may not want to open up their Facebook selves to third parties.  But it  has to be the way ahead1.

As far as being called Mr Davies it doesn’t sit comfortably with my inner kid. My business card, such as it is, mentions only my twitter handle @tref and my websites. It’s not a Madonna-like branding thing. It’s just that I’m not a formal kind of guy.

That’s all for now folks.

PS my tyre pressure sensor system has needed doing for a while. I’ve been putting it off because I know it’s going to be expensive. Call it an early Christmas present!

1 Specifically irksome as I very specifically don’t trust Facebook. It doesn’t have to be Facebook. It could be LinkedIn or Google or Microsoft et al. None of them are really trustworthy  but you have to go with one of them. It’s unavoidable unless you want to pick up that plain old fashioned telephone and wait…

End User social networking

How do I manage Android phone based interruptions from social media alerts?

pink roseI’ve just realized that my Android phone is interrupting me now as often as the toast popup (or whatever it is called) on the laptop that tells me when a new email is in.

I’m getting notifications for new Google+ alerts, Twitter mentions, follows and Direct Messages, Facebook replies & messages, LinkedIn endorsements (lots of those for some reason), profile views, replies, messages, likes, invitations to connect and comments, email alerts from multiple accounts and plain old fashioned text messages. There is another symbol that I regularly get but can’t remember what that is at the moment. I rarely get a notification from Pinterest mind you (fwiw).

Whenever one of these alerts comes in my phone whistles or vibrates. I then look at it and often follow up by looking on my laptop/Chromebook to see the same information.

We are talking social media overload here. I can live with looking at my phone under the sheets during the night so that my wife doesn’t see the glow but daytime alerts are getting a bit out of hand.

I need help. Help! 🙂

PS inset photo of a rose is purely because when I was looking for a suitable image for this post I came across it and thought it looked nice:)

Apps End User social networking

social sharing toolkit snippet

This morning I found that one of my blog posts had the word “bookmark” inserted at the beginning. Weird I thought. This afternoon I did another post and lo and behold it was there too. In fact it was on every post I’d ever written. Very weird.

So I went down to see Ian Ward, one of our resident web design gurus and we both started fishing about to see what the problem might be. Perusing through the plug ins we noticed that “Social Sharing Toolkit” had an  upgrade available. This was to fix a problem where the plug in was “inserting words” into blog posts.

We clicked “upgrade” and hey presto, problem over. I must have subliminally upgraded the plug in first thing this morning. The watchful eyes of the wordpress community spotted the problem and now it is fixed.

End of story. Interesting eh?  Eh??

End User social networking

aargh another social network – WAYN

Campsite at Hillend, Rhossili, Gower August Bank Holiday 2011Had an email overnight from someone at – “the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social network” – sigh! The email source address was I checked. WAYN now has 19,720,691 members.

Good luck to him. I wish WAYN and all who travel with him well but I have to say farewell, adios, auf wiedersehen, goodbye, waving tearfully from the jetty and turning my back slowly on the departing entourage as it moves off on its travels around the world wide web.

I’m sorry but I am not ready for another social network. WAYN has budget mind you.

charitable Cloud datacentre End User social networking surveillance & privacy

The social media summary of the world record attempt

UK trending for @tref & #comment24 on twitter The world record attempt started at 6am on Thursday 5th Feb and ended at 6am the following day. There are three stories to tell here. The first is the charity fundraising aspect that was covered on Friday.

Second is the social media story. This was an event largely promoted using the #comment24 hashtag on twitter but the story was also posted on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. The effort also caught the imagination of a good number of friendly journalists as the list of names in the table of top referrers for 5th Jan illustrates.

referring site

# visits


time on site

1 (Twitter)





























































In all according to Google Analytics there were 162 referring sites over the 5th and 6th January. A Google search for