OneTap, a great way to avoid driving distractions

http://globalnews.ca/news/1836536/calgary-based-company-releases-onetap-app-to-combat-distracted-driving/Driving along in your own cocoon should be an ideal time to think beautiful thoughts and enjoy the scenery as you pass. Unfortunately, many of us are almost addicted to leaving the cell phone open and can be distracted at any moment by what may look like a priority. It is not only destroying your peace of mind, but could well result in your death or serious injury if you overlook what is happening around you. if only someone could intervene and monitor all of those attempts to divert you and handle them in the most appropriate way. Continue reading “OneTap, a great way to avoid driving distractions”

Online Stores Growth: An Opportunity Not Be Missed

ampersand online storeIf you need any confirmation of where the sales action is, an IBM report comparing Cyber Monday 2012 with Cyber Monday 2011 provides some interesting reading.

Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales increased 30.3 percent over 2011.

Mobile Shopping and Mobile Traffic Increase: On Cyber Monday more than 18 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, an increase of more than 70 percent over 2011. Mobile sales reached close to 13 percent of all sales, an increase of more than 96 percent over 2011. Continue reading “Online Stores Growth: An Opportunity Not Be Missed”

4 Reasons Why Virtual Offices are Winners

your smart phone office

This article is contributed by Ryan Phillips.

In tough economic times, companies are always trying to think of new ways to reduce costs. However, they are also concerned about any negative effects this may have on the growth of the business. Expanding a business, while reducing costs, has always been one of the corporate world’s biggest challenges. Thankfully, there are tools that can be used to achieve that particular goal. Virtual offices are one of these tools and here are 4 reasons why running virtual offices is in every company’s future. Continue reading “4 Reasons Why Virtual Offices are Winners”

4 Locations Where QR Codes Work the Best

pretty girl qr code
This is a guest post written by Mathew Ronald.

When it comes to QR code marketing, one cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of location. Get it right and you will be able to draw in large number of people to scan your QR codes. However, get it wrong and you will find that people are not too keen on scanning your QR codes. Following are 4 locations where QR codes work best: Continue reading “4 Locations Where QR Codes Work the Best”

Fast Service For Your Ipad Customers

proud ipad user

The big news in 2012 has been the almost explosive growth in sales of tablet computers such as the Ipad.  What has also been noted is that the people with these mobile devices often use them to make purchases.  For example, according to a survey by comScore, the rapid adoption of iPads and other tablets is speeding up the growth in travel bookings on mobile devices.  In the first half of 2012, the study estimates that 61% of tablet owners made a purchase on their device in the first half of the year, while 34% booked travel.

This suggests real opportunities for product marketers but there is a fly in the ointment. Continue reading “Fast Service For Your Ipad Customers”

How Good is Customer Service from the Canadian Cell Phone Companies?

Just getting through isn’t enough.

An earlier post discussed the customer service provided by the Canadian cell phone companies, Bell, Rogers and Telus. It was based on a remark by Peter Mansbridge on the CBC TV Nightly News. He said all three were low on the customer service scale as measured in a study they had done. You can now read more on this in CBC Customer Service Survey.
This describes the details of the process:

Working with the CBC Research Department, we developed a unique set of standards that evaluate everything from the interactive voice response system that answers most calls these days, to the time you’re left waiting on hold. We also measured the effectiveness of the operator – how well they understood the caller, how well the caller could understand the operator, and their demeanour.

We called each company three times: once during a weekday, once at night and once on the weekend. Our call researchers kept detailed notes of each call and then scored the company’s performance out of 100

The actual rankings were as follows:

  1. Sears Home Repair Retail 90.9
  2. Bank of Nova Scotia Visa Credit 90.3
  3. Aliant Telephone 86.8
  4. Fidelity Investments Brokerage 86.6
  5. TD Waterhouse Brokerage 86.6
  6. Flight Centre Travel 85.7
  7. Cogeco Cable Cable 84.6
  8. RBC Visa Credit 84.2
  9. Shaw Cable 83.9
  10. Globe and Mail Media 83.2
  11. American Express Credit 80.5
  12. SaskTel Telephone 80.0
  13. Sears Catalogue Retail 78.3
  14. Canadian Tire Retail 75.2
  15. Microsoft Computer 75.1
  16. CBC Media 74.8
  17. TD Canada Trust Visa Credit 74.8
  18. Aeroplan Travel 73.6
  19. Telus Telephone 73.6
  20. Bell Sympatico Computer 72.8
  21. Rogers Wireless Telephone 72.3
  22. WestJet Travel 70.2
  23. CIBC Visa Credit 67.0
  24. Chapters Indigo Retail 65.7
  25. Expedia.ca Travel 64.4
  26. Air Canada Travel 64.2
  27. Rogers Cable Cable 64.0
  28. Dell Computer Computer 60.4
  29. National Student Loans Government 60.4
  30. MTS Allstream Telephone 58.0
  31. Rogers Yahoo Internet Computer 57.7
  32. National Post Media 57.1
  33. Telus Internet Computer 56.2
  34. BMO Bank of Montreal Mastercard Credit 53.2
  35. Bell Mobility/Home Phone Telephone 52.7
  36. Sun Life Insurance 51.3
  37. Great West Life Insurance 50.0
  38. Canada Revenue Agency Government 49.0
  39. HBC Retail 48.3
  40. President’s Choice Financial Mastercard Credit 22.8

Certainly it’s surprising that the telephone companies are not higher in using their own technology, the telephone, to provide customer service. As the author of a post on the survey in the CMA – Canadian Marketing Association – Blog commented, he or she had some reservations:

There is one area that leads me to want to ignore the findings of this survey. The size of the sample of the survey was too small. They called the businesses once during the day, once during the evening and once during the weekend. They based their entire satisfaction rating on 3 calls. Most of these businesses will receive millions of calls each year. The sample size is simply too small to make an accurate rating on the level of service provided by these organizations.

Your level of satisfaction with a company has everything to do with who you reach when you call. We all hope for a minimum of fast and excellent service and are satisfied when we receive it. Unfortunately this is not realistic in many cases. Even the highest rated call centres achieve satisfaction ratings in the 80% area. That means 20% of customers are not completely satisfied at any given time.

In fact customer service in general is even worse than these figures show. If you read the small print, you will see that this was only measuring the customer experience. This is just whether you can get through and communicate intelligently with an agent. For that the small size of the samples is not quite so critical. These figures do have some relevance and they are confirming that the telephone companies don’t do too well even on this.

If you do manage to get through, the true measure of customer service is whether the client is satisfied with the outcome. On that it would appear that the Canadian cell phone companies are again falling down as measured by the chatter in the blogosphere. There are a number of reasons for this but the gotchas in the complex rate plans seem high on the list. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the politicians who are usually seeking popularity and votes would take a highly popular decision and open up the Canadian cell phone market to increased competition.

Related:
Real Competition Coming To The Canadian Cell Phone Market
Bell Canada Website User Experience

Mobile Web Canada

Mobile Web Canada almost an oxymoron

Mobile Web Canada should be a sector of the economy with massive potential. The Federal Government may proudly proclaim, “We’ve Gone Mobile!” Unfortunately it’s unlikely that any of the citizenry can afford to follow them.

As today’s Gazette headline points out: Prices Too High – Lack of competition in Canada threatens mobile Internet. The article by Michael Geist points out that Even Third World and Eastern European countries are more advanced than we are. Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa so he’s someone we all should be listening to.

Mobile Rates

As he points out, if the Apple iPhone was introduced in Canada, the rates would be prohibitive. Rogers ? Canada?s sole GSM provider and therefore the only telecom company currently equipped to offer the iPhone ? offers a starter data plan that provides 1.5 megabytes of data per month for $15 (each additional MB is $21). Since that is not even enough data to download a single high-resolution photograph, most consumers presumably choose more. The company?s biggest data plan provides 500 MB, yet costs $210 per month, far beyond the reach of most consumers. Compare that with the rates charged in other countries as shown in a table from the article. This pricing is comparable to plans found with Bell and Telus and destroys our international competitiveness.

This message is not new. Back in April ThomasPurves.com had a striking illustration of the cost differences.

Thomas Purves Mobile Rates

It would seem unlikely that this is the most sensible pricing policy for the telecom companies to reap the richest rewards. More importantly it shuts down this sector as an economic opportunity for Canada. It is no surprise that Alec Saunders finds that Really cool mobile data applications pop up all the time in Europe, the US, and Asia, yet Canadians are regrettably absent.

Contrast this with what is happening in the US. Google declares its commitment to open broadband platforms.

So today, we’re putting consumers’ interests first, and putting our money where our principles are — to the tune of $4.6 billion. Let me explain.

In the U.S., wireless spectrum for mobile phones and data is controlled by a small group of companies, leaving consumers with very few service providers from which to choose. With that in mind, last week, as the federal government prepares for what is arguably its most significant auction of wireless spectrum in history, we urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules to make sure that regardless of who wins the spectrum at auction, consumers’ interests are the top priority.

It’s not exactly the same theme but involves similar players and similar missed opportunities for consumers.

Since it is in all our interests to have vibrant Mobile Web opportunities in Canada, perhaps Google could put a little effort in here too.

Smart Advertising On Cell Phones

The next major competitive arena for advertisers is clearly cell phones and they seem to be leaping into the fray with enthusiasm. Sprint was the first to offer this but others such as Verizon and AT&T are not far behind. Even Google is teaming up with Orange on a new cell phone that will undoubtedly have its share of advertising.

Naturally the marketing world has been abuzz on these developments, with much of the commentary negative. Rather surprisingly a major Montreal marketing agency has also come out against this new channel for advertising. Of course they’re now sporting a new name (Sid Lee) and a new philosophy so perhaps that’s the explanation. As they explain on their Conversational Capital blog:

We’d like to argue against unrestrained mobile advertising from another perspective. We’re against networks selling unsolicited exposure on the networks consumers are paying to build and maintain.

Unless this is a clever campaign to generate extra conversational capital, it would seem to be a somewhat simple view of the situation.

Clearly the most effective advertising is acceptable to its targeted audience. That was the truism that the J. Walter Thompson Company enunciated early in 2005 when it was reborn as JWT. Their ideas were set out in a JWT Trendletter in May 2005 (PDF). That included the following message:

We create ideas for our clients that people want to spend time with. We believe Time is the new currency. The more people who spend time with a brand the better.

Pull marketing uses ads I want to see.

They were picking up a theme that had then been around for at least five years. A variety of phrases have been coined to describe it but Permission Marketing or Pull Marketing are particularly apt. It all links in with the notion started by the Cluetrain Manifesto and culminating in Time Magazine nominating us all (“You“) as Person of the Year in 2006. In other words we the consumers are in control. Advertisers must be smarter to attract our interest rather than triggering our irritation. Anyone proposing old-fashioned Push Marketing that just pushes the ads ‘in your face’ should be laughed out of court.

If advertisers can be smart and create ads that we ‘want to spend time with’ and the cell phone service is thereby cheaper, then we are all the winners.

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Crossing the Digital Divide on the Mobile Web

The Digital Divide is a distressing problem for those on the wrong side of the Divide. The term “digital divide” was coined in the 1990s to describe the perceived growing gap between those who have access to and the skills to use ICT and those who, for socio-economic and/or geographical reasons, have limited or no access. Access to the Internet is an enabling technology leading to improved knowledge, skills and well-being. The term was used for example to describe the challenge faced by a large section of the school population in the U.S. Equally or even more important is its application to the problems of the Developing World.

At the W3C Mobile Web Seminar held today in Paris, France, St?phane Boyera, one of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative staff, gave a presentation entitled, Mobile Web to Bridge the Digital Divide. There is some fascinating information to confirm the power of the Mobile Web to improve the economic lot of the Developing World. Mobile Devices are in general much cheaper than Desktop PCs and they can be readily to hand for people on the move. Here are some of the data from the presentation:

Mobile Phones are there

  • India: Penetration rate of PC: 2% stable – Mobile Phone 11% increasing 47% per year
  • China: Penetration rate of PC: 8% – Mobile Phone 30%
  • Morocco: 4 fixed-line/100 people (4 in 1995) – 24 mobile lines (0 in 1995)
  • More than 2 billion people have access to a mobile phone
  • Number increases by 1 million/day with 4 billions expected by the end of 2010
(Sources: World Bank, “Africa: The impact of mobile phones – March 2005” – PDF, “Market Trends: PC Penetration Data Highlights Market Maturity, Gartner April 2005” and “Universal Access Report by GSM Association, October 2006” – PDF)

The W3C is pursuing Improved Web Access in Developing Countries. There will be a Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries on 5/6 December 2006 in Bangalore, India. All credit should go to those who are getting involved in this.

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Is Radio More Mobile Than TV?

The Internet is causing societal changes in how we all live our lives. Newspapers are under threat from the Internet and lose significant parts of their audience each year. Those who watch the explosive growth of the mobile Internet world realize that this is an even bigger factor than the traditional Internet. Just read the flow of posts in our associated blog, StayGoLinks, to get a sense of this momentum. Younger people even more than older people are migrating to this mobile world so the pace will quicken.

A subtitle in the Montreal Gazette by Mike Boone might therefore seem even more ludicrous than he suggests. “What sane person would give up television for the cutting-edge broadcast medium of the 1920s?” He’s commenting on the possibility that Nancy Wood, CBC National’s Quebec Reporter, could be a shoo-in for the position of host of CBC Radio’s Daybreak, since Dave Bronstetter has left the show after 11 great years. Boone points out that television is running scared under the competitive threat posed by the Internet and wireless technologies. So perhaps a move to radio has a certain logic. In addition Nancy Wood has family reasons that could tip the balance

I would go even more strongly on a resurgence of radio given the move to the mobile Internet. There’s a limit to the amount of TV content you can get on to your mobile device. In addition the rates that the telecom companies are charging for TV content could well throttle any demand there is. Couple that with the difficulty of viewing TV content when you’re on the go and the arguments seem irrefutable. Radio has a resilience that means it will be there for the long term and it’s equally good via either version of the Internet.

So like Mike Boone, I hope Nancy Wood will move to the thinking person’s radio station as he calls it. We all will benefit.

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