My my, aren't we popular? Just have a look at your contact list in your BlackBerry, quite a few right? Now check out your Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc, contacts. Let me guess, even more? I thought so. Most of us don't carry ALL of our contacts in our BlackBerry Address Book, it's a waste of valuable memory. Then again, having to log into your multiple accounts to retrieve the email address of your cousin Chester, twice removed, could be a hassle. That's just for personal use, in the business world, your clientele will continue to grow, and managing them all in your address book may become tricky.
Snap on your spandex and iron your cape. You're about to become a sidekick to a hero. Contact Hero, that is.
Contact Hero is a web based solution to combining and managing your contacts from all of your email account and mashy smashy them into one uber virtual address book. It's accessible from any browser - mobile or not. On top of that, Contact Hero can place your contacts on a map, schedule future email messages, create call reminders and more! Click on, True Abuser, and read about the adventures of Contact Hero!!
Making contact with your contacts
So, the first thing you should do is downlo... wait, it's web-based! Nothing to download, just create an account. As I said before, Contact Hero can be accessed from your computer or mobile. If you update any information from one location, you will be able to see the changes in the other. You'll never have to sync the two. There's also no need to worry about security as Contact Hero lets you view your contacts using 1024 bit SSL encryption. On your BlackBerry, you can either bookmark their site, or use the launcher application, just point your browser here < http://assets.contacthero.com/blackberry/contacthero.jad>
Once you have created an account, you are ready to import your contacts. On the Import Contacts screen, there are three methods you can utilize;
Online Services - plug in your Gmail, Yahoo! Or Hotmail email address and password (don't worry, they won't save your password after importing).
vCards - If you are using Macintosh Address Book, this method is for you. This option allows you to import a text file containing vCards.
CSV Files - If the application you are using doesn't support vCards (Outlook, Yahoo Address book), the CSV file method is right up your alley.
Using the Online Services method, all of my contacts appeared before me. I could then easily pick and choose which contacts I wanted to import. If you have a contact listed in more than one account, Contact will not create duplicate entries. When you use the Online Service method, your contacts are auto-tagged with Hotmail, Gmail, etc. You are also able to add a contact manually using your BlackBerry or computer.
Managing Contact Information
Contact information can be added or removed at your discretion. I find it easier to do so from your computer. From your BlackBerry you can edit the Basic information, which includes; Name, Business / Mobile / Home/ Phone numbers, email address, Company, Title and tags. The PC version expands upon this list, giving you the ability to include mailing addresses, websites, departments, spouse/family information and more. You're able to upload multiple photos for your contact as well, which can also be viewed from your BlackBerry. If you wish to further distinguish contacts, groups of contacts, or you just want to add pieces of flair, Contact Hero can do that too. You have access to over 500 coloured icons and flags to add to each contact, although I haven't been able to access any of the flags. They say that they are continually adding more, so I assume I have to wait.
Sorting through your contacts is quite easy. You are able to sort by first or last name, company or recently viewed. When searching by Name or Company,
Advanced Contact Management Features
Now we will get into the fun stuff.
On the Desktop
From within Contact Hero, you have the option to forward contact info via email. Open a contact, and select open via email. In the following popup, you enter the recipient's email address and add a message if required. Contacts that work for the same company will be tagged for quick searches. To the right of the screen, you will see the contact's list of co-workers. You will be able to click on their names and be taken to their contact information.
Take a look under the contact information. This is the history section where you can add notes, schedule a call or create an email to be sent in the future. The notes could pertain to anything- history of conversations, favourite movie, company size, etc. The notes are time stamped, you will be able to see a running history of information.
Scheduling upcoming calls and upcoming emails saves so much time. The call feature requires you to pick when you want to make a call, choose simple words (today, tomorrow at 4pm, next week) and add reminders for the topic of the call. The call can be added to your desktop calendar and the contact's history. The call history can be downloaded as a CSV file. Once finished the call, you can mark the call complete and, if required, schedule a follow up. Your complete call schedule can be viewed on a list organized by day or on a calendar. Within the calendar, click scheduled calls to see the contact's basic info. If the call needs to be changed to another day, simply drag and drop the call to another cell. Clicking on a blank cell lets you add a new call to the schedule, adding the contact's name and notes. Past due calls are shown in red.
On your BlackBerry
When you are viewing a contacts entry, you will be able to click on the listed numbers or email addresses and call or email them without having to switch application. Photos found on your BlackBerry can be uploaded and attached to a contact.
If you have an address listed, click the address to view their location via Google Maps. A listed websites can be viewed as well. A contact listed in Contact Hero can be downloaded to the BlackBerry address book. Calls can be scheduled as well- the saved call reminders will be listed in the history. Calls can be edited and marked complete. You aren't able to create notes or future emails on the mobile site. This is why you can click on Classic Site to be taken to the full web version. Though not optimized for your BlackBerry, you can now have access to most of the features, including the creation of notes and emails!
Contact Hero offers a solution for those who want their contacts easily accessible, but not tied to a specific computer or mobile device. It offers contact storage, scheduling and management for a busy family, social or business schedule. I found it easier to manage most of my schedule online and communicating through my BlackBerry. Contact Hero reminded me of sales territory management software I used in the past. Fortunately, Contact Hero can benefit everybody. Contact offers a free 30 day trial. If you feel like Contact Hero is for you, they're currently offering a special introductory price of $9.99 per month (no contract, no early cancellation fee).
For more information on Contact Hero, head over to www.contacthero.com