Using Tech and Staying Human

December 12, 2014

Person typing on computer keyboardAdding new technology to your business – whether it’s an app, a site, or a new tool – can make it a lot more convenient for your customers to learn about your business, shop, or buy. But some businesses hesitate, either because the technology replaces a process that’s been in place for years (and “worked”) or because they’re afraid technology will make their business less human.

Small and medium-sized businesses especially rely on great customer support and great interaction to find and keep their customers. Fortunately sites, apps, and personal touches aren’t an either/or question; they can complement each other very well.

Use technology’s strengths

Any technology you add to your business can enhance the customer experience you already have; it doesn’t have to replace it. Websites, apps, and other tech tools are great at some things that may be hard for a person to do, and they may reduce the risk that something’s misunderstood.

Imagine you’re ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. Calling the restaurant is great, but it can be tough to guarantee that the person taking your order understood it correctly. Maybe he thought you meant an entrée instead of a side. Maybe he forgot to ask what kind of dressing you’d like. Or maybe the phone cut out just as you were saying your name or number.

Online takeout ordering makes things easier for both the customer and the restaurant by using technology’s strengths to help the restaurant. The customer can see all the options available and review their order before they place it. The system can also automatically total up the order so that the customer knows exactly how much change to bring when they arrive.

When the customer arrives at the restaurant, that’s where the human experience – the interaction, the rapport, and the confirmation that everything’s as expected – can take over and shine.

Use technology to make the human part easier

Technology can also give your business new ways to start or continue the conversation you have with your customers. With targeting on social media advertisements, you can find exactly the customers you think would be interested in your brand. Adding tech can also give you more information about what your customers want and how they behave. And tools like Facebook’s Graph Search let you interact with your customers in new ways. (Twitter’s search is great, too.)

Think about ways technology can help make life easier for your customers, and let the people at your business – whether you’re a one-person shop or you employ thousands of people – focus on those personal aspects of your company that separate your brand from the competition. It can be a win-win for helping your business succeed.

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Justin is one of the developers at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

Offline Cell Phone Use

December 2, 2014
A sign in T16 R8 WELS in Maine on a hill that had cell phone service.

A sign in T16 R8 WELS in Maine on a hill that had cell phone service.

Most of the time, people assume that without a signal, your cell phone is useless. I used to think the same thing, but lately, my opinion is changing.

Genesis of an Idea

At Sephone, we are not your stereotypical geeks. Actually, few developers are. Nowadays, our group hails from different backgrounds and embodies different worldviews, styles, and hobbies. I lean towards the outdoor backwoods stuff, which leads me to remote regions without cell service and also I use a GPS device often. One day, I was flipping through a Cabela’s catalog and saw the Garmin Monterra. It’s more or less an Android device with a primary function of navigation.

So I got to thinking, if Android makes a suitable platform to built a GPS device, why can’t my phone be a good offline GPS device.

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Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

Mobile E-Commerce – Cyber Monday Edition

November 26, 2014

It is no secret that mobile is a rising trend in the online world, and we have been talking about it for some time now in this blog:  (http://blog.sephone.com/?s=responsivehttp://blog.sephone.com/mobile/).  Nowadays, everyone from your cousin’s kid to your Grandma has a smartphone and they are all using them more than ever.  So what does this mean for you and your business? read more

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Brady is the voice on the other end of the phone line when you call Sephone. He graduated from the New England School of Communications in 2009 and assists Sephone in building and maintaining our sites.

My “Not-SO” Love Affair WIth LinkedIN

November 14, 2014

LinkedIn isn’t sexy or at least I don’t think so.  Especially in the beginning, more than 10 years ago, it was even more “tech” looking than it is now. It made me feel like as a marketer that I didn’t belong there.  I dabbled in it because Sephone is all about techy. It is what we do. We also help with marketing and social media, we have customers that ask us questions about it.  Now we use it along with many other platforms. read more

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Kelly's been known as the Marketing Maven since before the term was hip. (That means she's old.) As a natural Community Builder, she loves to get people together, bring resources to the table and solve problems!

Friday Freebie: QR-Based Business Cards

November 7, 2014

QR Business CardWe’ve all seen those QR codes, those square barcodes. Normally you scan them with your phone and are whisked away to some website. On this blog I have written about the basics of QR codes. In this post we are going to take a step further in examining a specialized way to utilize QR codes.

Using QR Codes as a Business Card

Instead of just using QR codes to redirect mobile devices to websites, one of the more fun uses is storing some data in a QR code for quickly saving to a phone. Some examples include calendar events and business cards. We are going to focus on the business cards. read more

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Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

How Many Different Types of Apps Exist ?

October 30, 2014

We live in a world of “apps”. Do you ever get confused on what all the types of apps (or applications) are? We aim to educate you on all of the types of apps that are in mainstream use and as brevity allows.

Mobile Apps

When people say “app”, there is at least a 2 out of 3 chance that they mean mobile app. A mobile app is an application that gets installed on a mobile device. Then you have an icon to use it on your home screen or from your all applications area. Generally they are installed from an app store, like Google Play, Apple App Store, or Amazon Appstore. read more

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Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

Why Choose Google?

October 23, 2014

Over the past few years we have been slowly making the transition to Google’s business class services, Google Apps for Work, here at Sephone.  We have become a Google Apps Authorized Reseller, and work with our clients to help provide them with Google’s full suite of cloud based services.  These services include things like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more.  As an authorized reseller we work with Google to provide you with these services. So what does that mean for you?  Well, you get better services backed by Google, and the same awesome customer service you have become accustom to from Sephone.

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Brady is the voice on the other end of the phone line when you call Sephone. He graduated from the New England School of Communications in 2009 and assists Sephone in building and maintaining our sites.

Two-Step and Apple Pay: the Future of Online Security

October 16, 2014

Apple PayWith the launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s new contactless payment method on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, I’ve heard a lot of people asking: what’s wrong with the payment process we have now? It doesn’t take that much time to pull out a credit card.

The real issue Apple Pay solves is security, not convenience. And it’s one member of a new generation of technologies to keep your personal information safe.

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Justin is one of the developers at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.