owen at owengreaves dot com

Posts Tagged ‘Support’

Are You Looking For Webhosting? – Get 2 Months Free!

newadvert-270x104Are you looking for webhosting? I’m not sure it’s talked about around the dinner table, but at some point, if you’re a blogger, a business owner, or a web designer…the list goes on, you will want a website, and you have to find a hosting company to put that website. I started a webhosting company in July 2007 called Billyhost.com, mostly because I was frustrated with the BIG hosting companies. I won’t go into details; just to say…even the big boys have downtime, and stuff breaks, but I haven’t had downtime with my current Data Center here in Canada.

Having said that, most problems come from growing that kind of business much too fast, when it grows faster than the support team can keep up with, or worst yet, when the system administrators can fix problems fast enough, service eventually suffers. You can ask friends and neighbours, even better….other business owners who they use, and what their experience has been like with company XYZ.

I’ve kept my hosting company small, mostly friends and clients, that to has it’s drawbacks, but mostly it’s an awesome experience serving and supporting good people. I’m grateful, the clients I have to date have been with my company called Billyhost since the beginning. I love solving the webhosting problem for the little guy, even the big guy…there is great reward in providing the best service possible, that one can offer on a personal level.

A Billyhost March Promotion – GET 2 Months FREE

If you’re looking for webhosting, I urge you to go to Billyhost.com – now and then, a special takes place, March is going to be a fun promotional month. Billyhost is offering 2 Months FREE Webhosting for new customers – there are three hosting plans to choose from, and they all qualify for the 2 Month Promotion. You need the Promotion Code….here it is 2MTHSFREE – it’s a 12 month commitment, no refunds, you must use all 12 months. Those are the conditions of the promotion, so make sure you read them when you are ordering, just before you CHECKOUT, there is a link to see them.

Billyhost offers cPanel for website management, there is basically one click WordPress Installation, and there are many, many cool tools and software programs in Fantastico 3 – over 600 of them, FREE!!!!!! Yep, it’s included in your hosting plan. Billyhost also offers a

WordPress Support Service

Billyhost will make sure all things WordPress go well for you! Billyhost will install WordPress if it is not already installed. Every month, Billyhost will ensure all updates and security patches for WordPress are installed. We will backup your WordPress content, and will ensure all plugins are patched and up to date when they are released. This service / rate is on a per WordPress install. ($25.00 USD Monthly)

The above is optional, so you don’t have to buy the service. But it’s nice to know if you find you don’t have the time, or know how to do it.

Yes this is a self-serving Blog Post, but I want to make sure you have a positive experience with webhosting.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and the team at Billyhost: admin@billyhost.com

 

Two Key Factors To Your Social Media Success

Technology is growing at an exponential rate; we truly have no way of keeping up via traditional means when it comes to tracking. Organizations struggle to stay focused, struggle to maintain, and struggle to provide systems and services that meet their business objectives. The shift in how business gets done is making it more and more difficult to maintain profit margins and business lifestyles that most are accustom to.

Today’s I.T. Strategic Planning is shedding its skin and taking on a new look and meaning. Ramping up I.T. staff is no longer the norm; reducing I.T. Teams and virtualization is; it allows organizations to be more financially responsible. CIO’s have a tougher time justifying their existence, the role is becoming more and more extinct, and is easily handled without the large investment in overhead. As much as it pains me to say that, I have to accept the new landscape of how Information Technology is implemented and managed. There’s still a need for CIO’s in large organizations but new companies are building streamlined teams, technology allows for startups to have fewer management roles. This new model allows for higher profits and less management of people.

Customer service is making a huge shift in what it means, Customer Service or Support is NOT fixing or adding a new feature, it is about Communication and Solving problems. This gap is hurting far too many businesses, they need to pay attention and listen to what their customers are saying about them, what they want from them.

Small businesses are literally taking a fetal position when it comes to understanding the change taking place, that the Internet is empowering the individual rather than the large organization. The power of the person has been lifted to a level no one saw coming, all because of the Internet. The Internet is the game changer; the Internet was and is clearly misunderstood by the smaller Mom & Pop businesses. The Internet solved the problem of digital distribution, this is an Access Based Economy where we click to get. The transition for small business can be easy to most difficult, undertsanding technology or how technology will help them is the key.

If there ever was a need in your local marketplace it’s helping those small business understand that they won’t be able to continue as they have and enjoy the life they hoped to build when they opened the doors. More importantly, those business owners need to learn about humility, be willing to say they don’t understand and do indeed need help with the Internet. Most small business owners had an Entrepreneurial Seizure, they thought because they knew how to do the work they knew how to run a business. I recommend reading Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Amazon Affiliate Link) to get a clear understanding of what I’m referring to.

Today a couple of things scream for attention in my humble opinion:

1.    Listening – Listen to what is being said about your brand and or business.
2.    Filtering Content is more important than creating it.

Listening & Filtering Content are two key factors to your Social Media success, small & big businesses at large still haven’t grasped these two concepts with any kind of clarity.

We are in an Extreme Reputation Economy, popularity is becoming a Social Capital, and it will be as valuable as real money in the coming months if it hasn’t happened already. How you present yourself, your product, and your business will generate a reputation, take the time to craft your reputation.

What do you think?

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0887307280?ie=UTF8&tag=owengrea-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0887307280″>The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=owengrea-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0887307280″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

I.T. Strategic Planning – Analysis: Key Success Factors

We looked at Markets in the 1st part of the Analysis section of our plan, and in this post I want to share with you about Key Success Factors you’ll want to identify for your I.T. Strategic Plan. Every business has them and some even know what they might be but many don’t, these are things that you believe you are delivering or close to delivering at 100% in your organization. These would indicators that allow the organization to have a high level of productivity. You might think hiring smart people would fit in here but they don’t, they actually fall under the next category in our Analysis called Core Competencies.

Think of this area similarly to fixed assets that can be modified or changed, (sounds like an oxymoron but…) here are a few to consider:

1. Application software availability approaching 100%

2. Network availability approaching 100%

3. Provide Infrastructure and tools for appropriate access to data by staff

Those may be reasons why your organization is able to function at a higher level of productivity, resulting in greater results and possibly profitability. Again, only you and your team can decide what these Key Success Factors might be, they are important to making your case when securing your next years budget. The entire I.T. Strategic Plan plays a huge role in your budget and your job security over the next 3 – 5 years.

Even having a rough draft of your I.T. Strategic Plan gives you a solid view of what your organization is doing and or shifting towards, and to meet customer demands. Consider how this allows you to see patterns and an opportunities, giving you ample time to make adjustments before delivering this plan to executives and board of directors. Regardless of who you have to deliver this message to, the exercise helps you and your team more, it’s a guide or a map of where you are going and what you need to do.

Your primary customers that can undo you the fastest are those you work closest with, staff and field staff, word of mouth there needs to be top drawer or you’ll have a short window of opportunity to do what you do best. Customer support on ALL levels has to be the best you can provide to prevent a change you can’t control.

In the next session I’ll touch on Core Competencies.

I.T. Strategic Planning – KRA's

Possibly the third step in your plan will be a category called KRA ( Key Result Areas). This area will be different for each organization, this is due to different infrastructures and software that may already be in place. This is more of an observation and desire to improve on existing services provided by your current I.T. team.

I have listed 5 items below that might be on your list under KRA’s, also keep in mind every experienced I.T. leader will view these items differently and might not agree so try to keep an open mind.

Key Result Area’s

1. Integrate Core Application – you may have multiple applications that don’t speak to each other and you want to solve this short coming.

2. Constituent Self-serve Via the Internet – you may want to give more and easier access to data via the internet to staff.

3. Realign and Train Existing Staff – an obvious one for improving the skill set of all staff members using core applications

4. Improve Support To Field Staff – if you have staff in the field, your goal should be to get them more connected to HQ or central office.

5. Provide a stable IT Infrastructure – this should be an ongoing goal from day one and never end.

I hope that helps you in designing your I.T. Strategic Plan, your list will look different based on organizational needs, but you get the idea.

Feel free to leave questions and comments below, until next time.

Customer Service That – FAILED!

MM850My Lawn Mower stopped working a few weeks ago, I was kind of happy because that meant I didn’t have to cut grass 🙂 The down side to not cutting the grass is that it got to a point where the yard looked like Hillbillies lived there! Weeds took over and gave the place a look I’ve not experienced before, so I had to solve the broken switch in my Lawn Mower STAT! Well, the switch was the most likely thing to be broken so I’m starting there.

Before I share with you my Customer Service That – FAILED story, let me share with you an experience I was impressed with when I broke my shoulder in the 1st week of July. As some of you know I was doing warp speed on the soccer field, a guy got a breakaway and my 20 year old brain (I’m 51) said,” you can catch him”, so off I went! Oh ya, I caught him, kicked the ball away and then clipped his back foot and down I went, what should have been a tuck & roll became a SPLAT! So there ya have it, I knew it was broken by the sting, I’ve had broken bones before so I knew how it felt. I took a slap shot between the eyes as a young hockey player once too, the guy shooting the puck was Gord Cochrane. Yep, the NHL goon back when he was just playing Junior in the 70’s but that’s another story for another time.

SAVE-ON FOODS STORY – Customer Service That PASSED!

After a couple weeks of cabin fever I took the risk of driving, had to wear a sling so it was interesting. This particular day I went to the grocery store, SAVE-ON FOODS just down the hill from me, about 6  kilometers. I went in early thinking I wouldn’t have to deal with a busy store, I forgot a quarter to get a cart so I went to the Customer Service desk and asked for one. Lorna at the desk asked me what happened to my arm, nothing I said, I broke my shoulder. She then asked me if I needed someone to help me get the cart, being a man I said NO! So I wondered outside to get the cart, low & behold there was Lorna coming out the door asking if I was OK. Yep, thanks for coming to check I said. Once I got in the store I started down a couple isle’s and at the end of one isle was Lorna, can I push the cart and help you shop? Now I’m not used to this kind of treatment from a local grocery store so I’m taken back a bit. I said no thanks and continued on with my shopping.

I got home and went on with my self-pity because I couldn’t lift things and do what I wanted so I called my wife to chat with her a bit. My lovely wife happens to work for a company where SAVE-ON FOODS is a customer, I shared my story of Lorna, my wife then told one of the big Kahuna’s at SAVE-ON about Lorna. I merely said that this is the way customer support should be and I would speak highly of Lorna always because she went the extra mile when most wouldn’t. Lorna works at store #904 in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada at the Sumas Exit, if you ever have to get groceries that’s the store that gets customer service right. I hope that the BIG Kahuna rewards Lorna far beyond what they normally do for their staff because Lorna deserves it in my humble opinion. I Thank You Lorna for blessing me with your kindness and willingness to serve.

BLACK & DECKER STORY – Customer Service That – FAILED!

Now, let me share my Black & Decker experience with you. I told you about the switch I needed for my Lawn Mower earlier, I went to Black & Decker’s website thinking I could order the part from them in ten minutes and I would be back cutting grass in a few days. WRONG! I was able to search and find the model of my Lawn Mower and was even able to add the part (switch) to the shopping cart so it wasn’t all bad until I tried to checkout. I clicked on the Checkout Button and I was sent right back to the beginning to search for the part again. I admit I did that three or four times thinking I missed something. Then I thought oh crap I must have really screwed up now and have to wait 24 hours before I can try again. Some carts in the past would force you to do that so I waited till the next day. Short story is it failed once again and did the same thing. As you can probably tell I was getting frustrated, I went to the FAQ’s and help part of the site which solved absolutely nothing, in fact it sends you to another company’s site for support. I also tried to use the Service Center Locator search tool on the site, it asks for the country and ZIP code, I click on the drop down list and select Canada and then put the Postal Code in. Guess what, it wouldn’t accept the Postal Code, it only accepted ZIP code’s, it did let me select the correct country though. At this point I had enough and decided to phone Black & Decker’s toll free number to try and buy this part. That did work 🙂

I got a cheerful lady on the phone with a nice southern drawl in her voice, I shared my challenge and she said I couldn’t order the part and they wouldn’t be able to ship it either. Say what? Why I asked? You are in Canada. OK, is there a place in Canada where I can get Black & Decker parts for my Lawn Mower? Where in Canada do you live was the next question, Abbotsford, B.C. about 40 miles East of Vancouver. Yes, we have a service center in Vancouver. I asked if there was one out in my area and she said no only Vancouver. I got the phone number of the location in Vancouver and proceeded to ask about the part, I got a guy named Dan on the phone, I then asked if they had a location in my community, why yes he said. I got the number for the location in my community and I was told they had the part! EUREKA!

Now the system on the Black & Decker site flips you back & forth with DeWalt’s site to actually get support and parts here in Canada. It may even do the same thing in the USD but I wasn’t able to test that today. I would suggest to Black & Decker that their website is a prime example of a site that fails in customer service. There should have been an error, a pop-up or a message that said something about what was happening. I should have been able to find a location using the Service Center Locator by letting me use a Postal Code and then a message telling me to contact Yadda Yadda in Canada instead of NOTHING!

I can’t imagine customers putting up with that kind of support and continue doing business with them, Black & Decker, you better pay attention and fix your failing system and failing grade because you won’t like what may happen to your business. I’m just one person who tried to buy a part for a Lawn Mower, I spent far too much time on the company website trying figure out how and why it wasn’t working and then 3 phone calls later to actually find a location that had the part. You are making your customers Work Far To Hard Black & Decker! STOP IT!!!!!