Mystery Caller – February 2016

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This month our Mystery Caller is after a mobile phone refresh for the office. Last time around he was persuaded to go with Apple products but after a bit of investigation he reckons there is just no reasonable reason why he needs to pay a premium when there are products half the price which will do the job. He has a list of functions which he needs the handsets to include and beyond that he only cares about price. However, our caller has the same affliction that many a CEO/ MD get when they want a new smartphone; he wants to keep his premium Apple product and make the savings on his phones for his staff! There are several brands that are popping up from the Asian market which he has never seen before, he wants to know more about them.

Synergy Business Mobiles

After chatting to the delightful receptionist I was put through to Keith. I was asked a bit about my current set up but mostly what we were trying to achieve as a business. I explained I was looking for devices at the lower end of the market (in terms of cost) that could still do the job. Keith launched into a story about a customer that used a Samsung S5 devices but because they were heavy users the devices often ran hot and ran out of battery quickly! That customer had since moved to Lumia 635’s which did the same job for a third of the price. His point was that to get the job done you don’t need the latest and greatest but rather something that is fit for business purposes. It was a bit of an unnecessary story as I had just asked for something at the cheap end, but I get what he was trying to achieve.

Unfortunately this is where Keith’s knowledge started to wane as he was clearly looking through a website to try and find me devices that suited my requirements. He said the Lumia’s were good as they were great for editing Office documents on the go which other smartphones couldn’t do.
Keith had a grand plan to get me a device with a large screen. He said if we went for a flagship device which was a few years old then it would be cheap and would easily do the job. He mentioned the Samsung Galaxy S5 was only £240 now… after his earlier story that didn’t sound particularly attractive to me!

Keith went on to talk about tariffs, he said their best deals were with O2 and EE. He asked me about usage in the company and he told me it was important to consider business data usage and most people use large amounts of data for personal types of tasks. This is where things started going wrong for Keith, his internet had gone down on his computer and he was shouting across the office to a colleague who was looking up the prices.

Keith clearly loved to talk… slowly. Unfortunately this technical fault had slowed his conversation down further, I had to get away before I slipped into a coma. Before I could hang up Keith started talking about device management which they provided called Microsoft Intune through O2. It would help us protect our data, control the usage/ apps of the phones and only cost about £2.60 per month/ per user.

Scores
Helpfulness – 4/5
Manner – 4/5
Knowledge – 2/5
Understanding – 4/5
Sales Technique – 3/5
Clarity –4/5

Highlights: Helpful, Pushed fit for purpose philosophy
Lowlights: Reading information straight from a website

Total 21/30 – I wanted to love this call more, Keith was a big advocate of pushing business phones which did the job well rather than selling shinny top end phones which do far more than most businesses need. Aside from testing my patience, and my smartphone battery, Keith actually addressed some important issues.

CommsXchange

I have called CommsXchange previously but I feel it’s good to check back in companies from time to time so I can see how they are getting on. Spencer picked up the phone and listened to my request. After assuring me I was definitely in the right place he started asking me about the business and what type of IT setup we have in the office. He wanted to know if we used Microsoft 365 because if we wanted the ultimate integration then a Windows phone would be a good bet, if we didn’t use 365 then it wouldn’t be the end of the world as these days most people get by with either Android or iOS.

I mentioned a few manufacturers that I didn’t know much about (Huawei and ZTE) and wondered if Spencer was selling many of those devices. Spencer was honest and said they didn’t sell many Huawei and he wouldn’t recommend them, he said we would be better off going with an established brand like Samsung which had the reputation behind them. His personal recommendation was the Samsung Galaxy S5 which had the large screen we wanted and because it was a generation older it wouldn’t cost the earth.

We got onto tariffs next and Spencer asked me several questions regarding who would be using the handsets and what sort of allowances they would likely need in terms of data, minutes and texts. Spencer said we should probably go for the £25 month unlimited texts and unlimited calls with 2GB of data from Vodafone which would give us everything we need. They would review our usage after a month to see if we were in the right package and they could adjust it if needed. I did ask did that include going down in price and was told it is easy to go up, but not really feasible to go down in price for lower tariffs.

Scores
Helpfulness – 4/5
Manner – 4/5
Knowledge – 4/5
Understanding – 4/5
Sales Technique – 3/5
Clarity –4/5

Highlights: Very thorough, helpful & good knowledge
Lowlights: Didn’t discuss many other manufacturers

Total 23/30 – Spencer had some excellent knowledge and I could tell he was a safe pair of hands. He listened to all my requirements and could instantly recommend a device that he thought would suit. He said he would send over a proposal with some other suggestions within a few hours too!

Mobiles4Business

After looking at the Mobiles4Business website I was quite impressed, it was clean and simple and had some handy videos which explained what they do. James answered my call and explained that they were part of the ULM Group and as they were independent of the networks they could provide us with a non biased approach and even give us some incentives for choosing them.

James went through what Mobiles4Business did and said they can basically offer us any phone on any tariff, he said they work with companies of all sizes all over the country too. Once we had agreed to go with them they like to continually monitor usage and evolve their service to suit ours as we grow as a business. For example, if we found we were making more calls abroad they could introduce a service to cater for that to make sure we don’t overspend.

I was asked a little about the business and where we were located but James said really we would need to set up a meeting to discuss our needs exactly. I wanted to find out about the handsets they could offer and James told me one of the other brands in the ULM group was Unlocked-mobiles.com. Apparently from there we could have any phone we wanted and they would pair it with the right tariff. I wanted more from James on the handsets and so I asked about a few brands that were coming in from the Asian market and he simply told me they hand all the brands and they would put some different ones in a proposal which we would have in the next 24hours.

James noted down a few of the features I needed the handsets to have and some of the daily tasks I would be performing with the devices. He took me through several questions about number of connections needed, and what we currently had in place. He said he would give us a proposal and then we could go from there in terms of discussions.

Scores
Helpfulness – 3/5
Manner – 5/5
Knowledge – 4/5
Understanding – 3/5
Sales Technique – 4/5
Clarity –3/5

Highlights: Good explanation of services offered
Lowlights: Not enough on the actual handsets

Total 22/30 I liked this call more than the score would suggest. James explained why I should be looking to go with his company over a network directly and took me through how they would help me as a business. Although it wasn’t quite what I was after it did strike me as a good approach. James got all of my details and was pushing to organise a meeting… good job!

Round upThree very different calls this month. Keith at Synergy highlighted some important issues, he didn’t try and shove an iPhone down my throat at any point and went to great lengths to make me realise I should be looking at business function rather than getting mesmerised by shinny top end gadgets. Resellers often whine about how little margin they make from selling the Apple range, good on Keith for championing the lower end of the market. He was also the only caller to mention Mobile Device Management which was going above and beyond in my opinion. Spencer from CommsXchange covered just about every stone in his call and across the board was the best caller this month. His knowledge was unmatched and he knew his tariffs inside out.