Cool Software | A David Creation- Part 5

A Follow Up Program for Mobile & Gmail Users

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Does this sound familiar? You sit down to check your email inbox and realized that 75% of your emails do not need an immediate response? If you are using Microsoft Outlook, you can quickly “flag” or create a follow up/reminder for the emails that you can respond to at a later time. But what about for those of us using Google Apps, Gmail and a mobile device such as a Blackberry, iPhone or a Droid?

I get emails almost every few minutes during the day. Prioritizing, setting reminders and follow ups are crucial for me so I don’t waste time. Thanks to a new program called Followup.cc, it has made my scheduling and responding to emails easy and a major time saver. Now when I get an email on my phone or Gmail, I don’t have to respond right away. I just use the Followup.cc service, which sets a reminder for when I want to respond. I mainly use this free service when I’m “mobile” so I don’t forget anything. It is easy for me to view an email and then forget to respond.

Here is how Followup.cc works. Lets say I get an email from my credit card company saying, “Your Bill is Due on April 22nd.” Well, I don’t need to pay it right now, so I will use Followup.cc to remind me of this email at a later date. To set a reminder for April 20th, I will click “Forward” and type in “April20@followup.cc” and hit “Send.” I will then get a reminder email on April 20th to pay my credit card bill. It’s that simple.

Now, with any program I use these days, I have a wish list of things I’d like to change. Instead of having to type in an date or time @followup.cc I’d much rather have a simple application that does the dates and times for me. In other words, I’d like my phone or Gmail program to have a calendar and time dropdown menu where I can select when i want to be reminded instead of hitting the forward button and manually typing in everything. However, Followup.cc is a good start for mobile users. Once you get use to the program, it is pretty easy.

A Review of Zoho CRM for iPhone & Desktop

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I’ve been keeping a close eye on a cloud computing CRM program called Zoho CRM for a year or so now.Zoho CRM is a lot like SalesForce but is a lot cheaper and has less features. However, it may not be long before Zoho because a possible threat to the expensive Salesforce giant.

Benefits of Zoho

If you are looking to go to the clouds for your business (online applications as opposed to software installed on your desktop) and you do not need a lot of bells and whistles, Zoho CRM will pretty much do the job. It is free for up to 3 users. I’d recommend the enterprise version, which is around $25 a month and gives you four unique users. You can access your data from anywhere around the world in real time. It also has a good email add on, integration to Quickbooks and syncs with Outlook. Zoho CRM also syncs with a Google Apps account. By the way, I’d highly recommend Google Apps for your business, IF you are trying to get away from Microsoft Exchange and a dedicated server.

The New iPhone and Android Version

For over a year, Zoho has promised Zoho CRM on an iPhone, Blackberry and other mobile phones. They have finally pulled through and created a Beta version. It is not an “App” but a mobile-browser version: m.zoho.com/crm#

The application, as I expected it to be is quite buggy. However, it is also awesome! It does not work well with Google Calendar at the moment and some of the functions are a little “sticky” or don’t work well yet, but I expect in a few months, Zoho CRM for iPhones and Androids will be a great tool for small business users. I do not foresee a Zoho CRM iPhone App in the near future, as that would be very expensive and this company is slow at developing.

The Bottom-line

I really wish I could fully recommend Zoho CRM for my customers both for mobile and online usage. If you happen to be tech-savvy and don’t mind overlooking a few minor bugs, then you should try this program out. It is an excellent start. I’ve already submitted a few of my request to Zoho, so we’ll see if they begin to fix those bugs. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

Jott Appointments, Reminders & Notes with Your Voice

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I recently decided to give the voice to text application, Jott a try, and so far, I really like it. I am fast at typing on my computer and iPhone. However, when I’m driving my mind thinks about a lot of things: reminders, appointments, follow ups, ideas, etc. I cannot always get out my phone and type everything down the moment I think about it. Now, with Jott I can voice what I want done and in seconds, my voice is recorded, turned into text and recorded in the proper place. For example, if I want to set an appointment on my Google calendar with a client for 1:00PM on a Friday, I call the toll free Jott number, Say “Google Calendar” and after the beep I respond with “Marketing Meeting with Client Today at 1PM.” I then hang up…and in a few minutes, my Google Calendar displays “Marketing Meeting with Client” at 1PM.”

Jott is a great way to send yourself reminders and voice memos via email or right on your calendar. So instead of texting while driving, use Jott on your mobile phone. Oh, and you don’t need an iPhone. It works with just about any device. The cost is around $3.95 a month. If it saves you time, it is definitely worth it. Jott also has a more expensive subscription for Salesforce CRM users. This price is $25 a month. To me, it is very steep, and I don’t know who would use it as Salesforce alone is already pricey at $65 per mobile user.

Using Your Phone As a Credit Card

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I recently purchased a $.99 App for my iPhone called Swipe that makes receiving credit card payments easy while on the go. I am testing this App to see how easy it is to use for mobile users. I thought this would be a great tool for service companies. With a few simple clicks and entering a credit card, a Swipe user can accept payments in seconds and email receipts. So far, I’m very impressed with this new App. For Blackberry users, try this free Credit Card App.

Most paint companies I work with request an up front deposit. Getting the deposit can be difficult if you don’t do it on the spot. If you had a mobile credit card application for your mobile device, the customer has no excuse but to pay right away.

It might look something like this, “Mr. Franklin, I’m really looking forward to working with you. All I need is a signature approving our proposal and what method of payment you wish to use for the deposit?” if they don’t write you a check which would be great then you’d say, “Oh and by the way, we take VISA, MasterCard and American Express, and I can run the card right now and send you a receipt. What card would you like to use?”

The major complaint most folks have with Credit Cards is the transaction fees. The second complaint I hear often is, “I can never collect a deposit in a timely manner.” Well, even though there is a transaction fee, you might want to at least consider pushing the deposits on a credit card. It is easy, and you get your money typically in less than 24 hours.

Oh…and depending on the types of services you perform, Swipe makes it easy to type in a list of services and pricing. So, for Painters, you can have a “Color Consultation” $95 fee or “Painter For a Day (full day) $500 etc.

The setup for Swipe was very easy. The hardest part was looking up my merchant account from Authorize.net.

Access Your Desktop Computer From Your iPhone

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Ok, so maybe I’m getting a little to nerdy for most of my clients regarding technology. However, there might just be a few of you out there who would like to try an incredible App for your iPhone. Let’s say you run out of your office for an appointment and forgot to send an important email before you left, or forgot the address of where you were headed. Using this cool little application on your iPhone, you can login to your desktop computer, Mac or PC, take over your computer as though you were right in front of it, send your email or get the address you forgot in seconds! It’s called “Ignition” by LogMeIn. The application is an expensive app: currently at $30, but hey…if it saves you a trip back to the office, it pays for itself! Also, there is not subscription required. If you access only the computer that are yours (multiple ones too: office and home) it is free! The paid versions are more for computer technicians.

I’ve been playing around with this nifty app and love it! It works great! Watch the LogMeIn Video.

It’s Finally Time to Ditch the Blackberry

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The Blackberry was once the leader in Smartphone technology. The phone was excellent for organizing your emails, contacts and calendar. It is still a great tool for those three items…oh and checking the weather. Besides that, the Blackberry has finally begun to be outdated and lagging behind the new leaders: Google and Apple. I had several Blackberries for a few years and enjoyed the basic functions. That is until I switched to the iPhone. I recently helped a customer troubleshoot his Blackberry and realized just how sluggish a Blackberry continues to be! He had a Storm 2, which is new!

From a developing standpoint, it is far more difficult to create business apps and mobile websites for a Blackberry. This is why the iPhone has over 150,000, Google has 40,000+ (?) and the Blackberry has….probably less than 20,000. Apple and Google have made it easy for nerds to create apps for their devices while Blackberry continues to be difficult.

The reason I believe it is time to ditch the Blackberry is because the Apple and Google phones are great for business users. For example, within a few months, a technician can take an iPhone with him to a job site, do a repair, type up an invoice, take a credit card, swipe the card, receive payment and email a receipt. How cool will that be? You can manage and schedule appointments from multiple calendars from an iPhone, not from a Blackberry. The ways you can run a business remotely and easy on an Apple or Google phone are far more powerful than a Blackberry. The phones are also a lot more faster to operate, search the web and easy to use.

If you are holding on tight to your Blackberry because you don’t want to switch to AT&T or you don’t like Verizon’s Droid, hold off just another month or so until the Nexus One hits the stores. You can’t go wrong with an Apple iPhone or Google’s Nexus One! BUT…if you just want to keep life simple: email, contacts and calendar: stay with your Blackberry.

Book Appointments using Facebook

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As I mentioned recently, I’ve been looking into a program called, “BookFresh” as a powerful online scheduling program for service contractors. So far, I’m impressed. It works great on a mobile device too. If someone books an appointment, it send it to your mobile device and you can accept or decline the appointment! It is that easy!

I forgot to mention one other benefit to BookFresh. BookFresh has a widget you can install on your business fan page on Facebook. If you are already using Facebook to market your business, why not add BookFresh to your page! If someone stumbles upon your fan page, they might want to book an appointment at the same time! You just never know.

ValPak For iPhone

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I recently downloaded the new ValPak App for the iPhone. I’ve never been a big fan or user of ValPak only because I’m not a coupon guy! It’s not that I don’t like coupons. I don’t like carrying coupons around with me. However, with the ValPak for the iPhone, you can view coupons online and/or present the coupon when needed to the service professional or business right from the phone. What I’m not sure about is if the businesses who advertise with the ValPak mailers have to pay extra to be listed on the iPhone version.

How many users will actually use the ValPak app and carry around/use coupons? It is too new to tell, but it is a cool idea. If a company can afford it, go mobile! I think mobile websites and applications will become the standard quite soon!

Personalized and Professional Voicemail Greeting Alternative

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Thanks to my awesome web designer, David Guy, for turning me on to a cool program called “Snap Recordings.” If you are tired of recording your own voicemail messages and greetings, or if you just don’t like hearing your voice, have Snap Recording do the work for you. Snap provides professional voice talents to create your custom messages for your phone systems. Their voices really do sound great! The prices are reasonable $50-100. You can even have them add music to the messages. All you have to do is write the script!

Give it a try: Go to SNAP RECORDINGS website.

Schedule An Estimate Online

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Many professional painting contractors have begun to offer their prospects the opportunity to schedule their own painting estimates online. They install a button that says something like, “Schedule Online Now,” the homeowner then selects the date and time that is best for them and receives an email to confirm the appointment. So far, this scheduling solution has worked well for most painters.

The only draw back with the software available is it is not very mobile friendly. Most painters and contractors are in and out of the office with a very busy schedule that changes often. The programs they have been using are more manual and require the person to be in front of a PC to make changes to their schedule. That is until now! I’ve been researching an online scheduling program that seems to “beat all.” It is called BookFresh. It integrates with Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook and is mobile-friendly! You can make changes from your mobile device. In fact, they have an iPhone application for all the Apple fans.

To learn more about this amazing online scheduling program, visit their website: BookFresh. If you are a painting contractor, especially a member of Summit Services, contact me to learn more.

Schedule your free 30 minute marketing call. Contact David Today!