Mystery Caller – October 2014

This month our mystery caller is interested in tablets for his business. He has heard all the hype about Apple tablets but knows there are a lot more options out there. Traditionally his mobile staff have been issued with a mobile phone and a laptop, after complaints of having to lug a huge piece of kit around all the time and the natural upgrade cycle about to expire he is wondering if he will still be able to get the same out of his staff if they have tablets instead of laptops. What are the compatibility issues he needs to worry about and what kind of lifespan can he expect from a tablet over a laptop? 


I was greeted by a friendly voice that belonged to a Jamila. She said she could offer me some advice on which tablets were out there and how they might help my business. Good start! Normally I have to jump through a few hoops and be passed around a few times before I get what I need. Jamila said they stock a number of devices including two of the most popular ranges the iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy range.

I asked her if she thought tablets were a suitable replacement for a laptop these days and she simply said it really depends on what you use them for. Basic things like emails and web surfing were fine but if we were remotely dialling in to a server in the office we may have a better experience using a traditional laptop. In fact she wasn’t sure this could be even done so she said she would find out for me.

I wanted to know what kind of support they offered with equipment like tablets but I got a rather disappointing response. They do a one year guarantee and they can offer support contracts but it is generally a case of them taking the tablet and passing it on to the manufacturers. They don’t repair any of the tablets themselves which means they don’t control the turnaround times for repairing devices. Usually manufacturers work to a ten day SLA which isn’t really ideal if you need your device in a hurry!

On the compatibility front Jamila didn’t seem to sure but said the Microsoft Surface tablets would be good if we use Windows in the office because of common files etc… although she had to go and check they actually sold Microsoft too. We ended the conversation with me taking Jamila’s email address and she asked me to email her and she would ping me back a few options I may like to consider.


Helpfulness – 3/5     Manner – 3/5     Knowledge – 2/5     Understanding – 2/5     Sales Technique – 1/5     Clarity –3/5

Total – 14/30 

I really wasn’t crazy about this call. Jamila was the person who answered the phone which probably means she was either a receptionist or in sales. I hope she was the receptionist. Asking a potential client to email you first is never going to do you any favours, unless this was some sort of in-house technique to weed out the less serious enquiries. She had some knowledge but it wasn’t what I was hoping for, she even had to ask a colleague if they sold the Microsoft range…this is interesting as they specifically mention the Surface Pro on their website as a great alternative to a laptop. Know your portfolio!


Your Company Mobiles

Garry picked up the call first of all and was immediately positive about the request. He was sure they could help us out and he would just need to check with suppliers as to what they could offer. As I started with my questions Garry felt there would be someone else in the company better equipped to answer me so he transferred me to Lee.

Lee was polite but to the point. He said if we were just looking for hardware then there wasn’t a lot of point going through them as the margins were so small. As the conversation progressed Lee said if we were also looking at connectivity, aka SIM cards, then perhaps we could do some business but if were weren’t then he said we were better off going down to PC World and buying the hardware.

Lee said he was struggling to see what the benefit for us buying from him would even be. He mentioned they can offer a twenty four month guarantee on Nokia tablets with a next day swap out if anything goes wrong which a lot of businesses would go for but still it wouldn’t be worth it unless we wanted connectivity or a UC platform to sit on top of it. He said they were there to add value and it can be difficult to do that if all we want is hardware.

I receive an overview of the company and what they started out offering to where they are planning to go. He set up the company five years ago just selling mobiles and now are partners with Vodafone and sell their One Net solution, he also mentioned they are about to start a joint venture with another company so they can offer IT support and will be offering Office 365 in the next month or so.


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

Total – 21/30

Despite not really getting anywhere and being told to get myself down to PC World I actually really enjoyed this call. Lee was refreshingly honest and although it wasn’t really worth his while doing business now he gave me a great overview of his company and left the door open to do future business. He also opened up the whole UC and Office 365 conversation which took us in a slightly different direction than I intended. On the whole a decent call.

After giving a few details to the receptionist I was put through to one of the most enthusiastic individuals I have ever met! On the scale of enthusiasm Shelly was operating at eleven! Shelly wasted no time in saying it would be a good idea to take a look at some data cards to go with the tablets and they could offer us some two year contracts on a wide range of tablets.

On which tablets would suit the business Shelly said it really depends on what we are currently using, for example if we were all Apple addicts then perhaps we should think about the iPad. The only problem with the iPads is they tend to be quite expensive and aren’t always as compatible as other devices out there. Shelly’s recommendation was to go with an Android device as moving files around is a lot easier and we don’t have to run everything through iTunes.

Shelly spelled out what a typical contract would look like if we went for an iPad for each user. I was looking at around £40 month which would get me 5Gb of data too. I asked about the new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet just out and Shelly said they are a great transition from a laptop to a tablet but they are incredibly expensive! Plus you have to buy the keyboard separately which is about another £100!

Shelly wasted no time in getting into what mobile contracts we were currently on and said they could supply us with all the major networks. I had to play dumb a bit here as I was in danger of Shelly taking over my whole mobile setup! Shelly took some email details from me and put some prices together for me to have a look at.


Helpfulness – 3/5 Manner – 4/5 Knowledge – 5/5

Understanding – 3/5 Sales Technique – 4/5 Clarity – 3/5

Total 22/30 

Wins it by a whisker. Shelly was excellent on the phone and really got into the nitty gritty of what we would need and how much it would cost. She not only answered my questions she went beyond it and found out what our general mobile landscape was like in the office. I have no doubt shelly does well in a sales environment.


Round up

It was an interesting month to ask about tablets, the Surface Pro 3 has just been released (expect a review in the next issue) and has been touted as the laptop killer. Interestingly not many of our companies were pushing it hard, but that may be a price issue rather than a performance one. I was delighted to hear Lees honesty when he quite literally said there wasn’t a lot in it for him if we were just after the hardware. He gave be a good run down of his company and explained what they could offer around the tablets and our IT setup in general. I do wonder how many resellers have this problem where they are having to reject certain business because it just isn’t worth it. Perhaps they should be taking it as a signal to get that important foot in the door? People may only be asking about tablets today, tomorrow it could be something else! In the end I had to give it to Shelly for her pure enthusiasm and how she got me from just asking about a few tablets to discussing data contracts and mobile contracts for the entire business. She saw the wider opportunity and took it, albeit in a friendly manner.


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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine