WorldWideWeb Register scam

Guia Telefax Anuario Professional in Spain has mass mailed a letter which smells like a scam. Businesses are invited to update their website details in the WorldWideWeb register. If you update the form and mail it to them the fee is 877 Euros. They say you can update the a free entry online. I say it is a scam because businesses I know which have been sent the letter are not even listed even though the letter says they are. I’d recommend people stay away from this.

Missing the stylus

I lost the stylus from my mobile phone and am having to punch my pudgy fingers on the screen to type in text messages and use it’s other features on which I rely.  Ugh!  This is the second stylus I have lost in the last couple of months.  While I should have taken more care, it’s a reminder that no matter how good technology us, it’s the usually most basic item, like the stylus, which makes it useful.

Adding to our electronic platform

Following the successful launch of our new electronic voucher platform for newsagents – the means by which our users can sell electronic voucher product such as mobile phone recharge, event tickets and licences from directly within our software – we are working further expansion, bringing additional product to the offer. We’ll announce the new products in a couple of weeks.

Now that we have the highway to the point of sale established and proven, we’re ready to exploit it for the benefit of our customers. We continue to do this work without accepting a commission on sales – this ensures maximum return for our users.

En route to Christmas

Ten people are on plane flights or about to board flights to Melbourne for our Christmas party tonight. All up we have just over ninety converging on the venue we have booked. Cocktails start at 5:30pm followed by a dinner.

As with other years, the only formal part of the evening will be our Kris Kringle event. Devised by Gary Hall around ten years ago, this involves people choosing a gift from the table, unwrapping it publicly and then risking having the next recipient taking that gift over a wrapped gift at the table. It’s a bunch of fun.

The challenge for the office Christmas party is to ensure that people who do not know each other – from interstate and partners – have a good time.

Our evening will end around 11pm and those so inclined will kick on. It’s been a busy year and I don;t begrudge anyone an opportunity to relax and socialise with colleagues.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work.

Being accountable

A client of ours installed broadband a few days ago. They followed advice from a mate and did it themselves. While they got broadband running, various security and other settings, about which they made assumptions, caused their system to disconnect from their supplier world.

Today, with so many suppliers connecting with retail partners in many ways, installing broadband is a project to be navigated with care and an attention to detail. While we have good advice sheet on this, people often ignore it – broadband is pitched as easy to install. While it is easy to install, there are changes made, behind the scenes, which can impact many parts of the business. This is why we recommend care is taken to undertake the project carefully and with thorough planning.

When our client called with a problem, we had no idea broadband had been installed. they didn’t tell us because they saw it as a simple change – which on the surface it was. It took three calls to discover this and once told, we were able to quickly work on the real problem.

Transparency in action

Below is a list of free user meetings and group training sessions we are running over the next three weeks. At each session we’ll deliver training in the software, preview our next update and answer any questions. While the sessions are for our users, anyone is welcome to attend – watching us interact with our customers is a great way to evaluate Tower Systems.

Perth: 28/11 at 2pm – 5pm (open day)
Perth: 29/11 at 9:30am – User Meeting
Melbourne: 30/11 at 10:00am – New Owner
Melbourne: 30/11 at 1:00pm – User Meeting
Geelong: 3/12 at 10:00am – User Meeting
Albury: 4/12 at 11:00am – User Meeting
Sydney: 5/12 at 10:00am – New Owner
Sydney: 5/12 at 2:00pm – User Meeting
Coffs Harbour: 6/12 at 10:00am – User Meeting
Canberra: 7/12 at 2:00pm – User Meeting
Brisbane: 11/12 at 10:00am – New Owner
Brisbane: 11/12 at 2:00pm – User Meeting
Rockhampton: 12/12 at 10:00am – User Meeting
Hobart: 17/12 at 11:00am – User Meeting
Launceston: 18/12 at 10:00am – User Meeting

Book your place by email.

Melbourne Cup

Every year I think it’s odd to take a day of for a horse race, but we do here in Melbourne … so be it. We ran a sweep in the office and filled the field three times over. I missed out on my tip – Purple Moon. Oh, well.

This is the second year we have not opened on Cup day. For years we did and found that not only Victoria stopped but the whole country apparently. So, we’re taking the opportunity and have our after hours access numbers available.

Incense and fishermen

In Macau yesterday we were fortunate to visit a 400 year old Buddhist temple down by the wharf. Inside and around the grounds people were making offerings and praying. It was fascinating to watch the rituals. Inside the main old temple we saw these long coils of incense.

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The idea for the photo was Nathan’s. In the temple with 50 or so of these coils burning, it was amazing even though that word does not do the experience justice.
Choosing home delivery software

The line up

Our sales trip to Hong Kong moved to Macau yesterday. First stop was the Lotus Flower statue, a gift from the Chinese Govermnetn to mark the handfing over of MNacxau from the Protugese to the Chinese. While the statue was interesting, I thought this photo was more interesting:

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Nathan in the foreground, Andrew committing the image of the statue to memory, Luke next and finally Tim.

Customer appreciation from Qantas

I booked a meeting room in a Qantas Club lounge earlier this week for an hour. What used to be a free service now costs – but I digress – ten minutes after the hour was up I was asked if I wanted to pay for an extension. I said I had an email to send – the frown I received in response led me to pack up and leave right away. Outside I could see that five other meeting rooms were empty – Qantas didn’t need the room back, they weren’t losing revenue. This was a Qantas employee enforcing the user pays rule.

While the time I paid for was up, Qantas should take a whole of relationship view. This is what good customer service is about – respecting the whole relationship and not just today’s transaction. The best example of this at Tower Systems is how we handle calls from people about hardware not purchased from us. We provide initial advice no cost. This initial advice fixes most problems. We have done this for years out of respect for the broader relationship.

Good customer service is about delivering the unexpected and not charging for it.

Maybe Qantas could pay for the times they are late and it is in their control – like not having enough staff to man the air bridge on arrival and leaving passengers waiting on board for an extra ten minutes? If you complain about this they will ignore you or send and off then self response which points fingers elsewhere.

Qantas is not the airline it used to be.

Kudos from Google adwords

We now have four companies buying ad space through Google when people search for Tower Systems using the Google search engine. I guess it means we’re popular – that these four companies want to be associated with us. We’re flattered, we think…

Rejecting AWAs

I heard on the radio today about another study which shows that the the use of Australian Workplace Agreements has contributed to driving remuneration in several industries down by 30%. I refuse to use AWAs.

Road works make work difficult

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This is the scene outside out office this afternoon – after the road works are over for the day. Our building, the green one in the middle of the phone, is all but blocked off during the day. We usually ship between 25 and 40 boxes each day so you can imagine the problems for the couriers let alone our team and office visitors having to navigate what looks like a war zone.

I’m frustrated with the works because the project relates to pedestrian works away from us – they are using space in front of our office as a staging area for heavy equipment and for storage.

The project is behind schedule and the council cares little for the impact on our and other businesses in the street.

Well deserved press coverage

doveton.jpgIt’s good to read about customers enjoying success.

Chris and Julie Leonidas of South Eastern Distribution Services have built a very successful business managing newspaper home delivery in Doveton, Endeavour Hills, Hallam and Dandenong.

We’re thilled to serve them with our newsagency management software – the relationship began many years ago when Chris and Julie

Chris and the team were named Australian Distribution Newsagency of the Year at the ANF Conference on the Gold Coast two months ago. The newspaper clipping is from the local Berwick News. It’s great to see coverage like this – especially with our connection to the business. Good news all round.

Seeking a Sage CRM expert

We’re looking to contract a technical expert in Sage CRM to help us refine our internal system. These people are rare so I figured a blog post might flush someone out of the woodwork. Email me for details.

Dancing with the stars

WeddingDance3.jpgAndrew’s wedding to Miriam in Sydney yesterday was wonderful.

Six of us from work participated in the most wonderful, boisterous and exciting wedding ceremonies and receptions you could imagine. Most of all it was happy, very very happy.

For many of us it was our first Jewish wedding.

In the past, with co-workers, we have celebrated Polish, Croatian, Italian, Greek and Russian weddings. Each one adding to the cultural experience.

Yesterday taught me something about community – it was amazing to see how well they celebrated the nuptials – and that they celebrated as a whole. They were happy in a way many weddings miss.

Some of us who steadfastly refuse to dance had no choice but to join the celebration. Guys danced with guys and we were dragged up to join in. For the second round of dancing we were there of our own accord. This was most fascinating – you couldn’t help but be caught up in the rapture. We enjoyed it but we also owed it to Andrew. And this is where, personally, it was a cultural lesson – the joy of celebrating and respecting the traditions surrounding such a wedding were wonderful to see and participate in.

The photo above best captures the energy of the reception. Andrew, the groom, our National Marketing Manager, is riding high on someone’s shoulders.

This was one of the best wedding celebrations I have been to.

That such a wonderful cultural experience came to us through work adds to what is is to be part o the community here.

The Blackberry beep

My 6:05am flight to Brisbane this morning was delayed by what we were later told was a Blackberry giving off an alarm of some sort. After leaving the gate on time, the plane stopped on the way to the runway and returned to the gate. The offending Blackberry was found and we got under way more than an hour late.

The cost is lost time and fuel to Qantas and the passengers would be considerable – all because of the Blackberry user. It made me think back to travel ten years ago and how scared we have become – out of necessity I guess. That a forgetful passenger and their Blackberry can hold a planeload to ransom is a marker of how fear rules our world.

Thankfully, Qantas held my connecting flight to Townsville so the whole incident cost an hour.

High speed, what high speed?

Speaking of Boradband (see earlier post today) I am tired of paying $29.95 for “high speed” broadband access in my hotel room and having to wait forever for even mid size files to download. First up they should not sell high speed when they cannot guarantee that high speed is what I will receive. Further, what they charge ought to be at a fair mark-up to their cost. I suspect that I am paying $29.95 for what is costing them a few cents.

My most recent complaint relates to the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney. Their “high speed” was so slow I gave up working and read a book.

More free user training: Melbourne and Sydney

We have scheduled more free training sessions in Melbourne (Elsternwick) – July 19 and Sydney (Miranda) – July 26. Both sessions will start at 10am. These sessions are free and will run 3 hours. We will cover at least three topics in detail and leave the second half of the session for your questions. Please book by email at bookings@towersystems.com.au. Places are limited. These sessions would be ideal for anyone new to our software in the last 12 months.

Help desk vacancy

We are looking for another person for our Melbourne Help desk. If you know of someone with exceptional IT skills and experience with our software I would love to talk with them. We will not be advertising the position until next week so if they get in before then they would have a greater chance of being noticed.

Vale Mal Pollard

Mal Pollard was a gentleman in the true sense of the word. He was honest, hardworking, loyal and cheerful.

It was my pleasure to know Mal for the last twenty years. He was a customer and a friend. It saddened me to find out this morning that Mal passed away last week.

Mal bought a newsagency in Malvern, Victoria, with his mum in 1986 and they put in our software. Back then my business was tiny and, well, rocky. Mal helped us many times and in many ways. He was what people now call an early adopter. His contribution to Tower and how it operated was felt for years.

I and everyone in the Tower family is indebted to Mal.

Trading off our name (again)

Further to my post about Access POS running a Google AdWords campaign based on people searching for Tower Systems, I note for interested people that it is live again. Go to Google, type in Tower Systems and their ad comes up on the right – unless they reach their budget for the day.