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Contact Hero – Your Productive, Anywhere Contact Manager

By Ryan Blundell on 5 Nov 2008 04:26 am EST
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Contact Hero

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>

ContactHero
list of imported contacts

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,

ContactHero
a look at details and actions

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

ContactHero
Contact List, BB Style!

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.

ContactHero
call right from the contact details

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!

ContactHero
switch to Classic View

ContactHero
Classic View

Conclusion

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

Pros

  • SSL encryption
  • Call or email directly from the contact's info
  • Personalize with pictures, icons and flags
  • View location using Google Maps
  • Powerful sort and search tool

Cons

  • Couldn't access flags

Reader comments

Contact Hero – Your Productive, Anywhere Contact Manager

10 Comments

A marketer? Far from it my friend. If you have bothered to read any of my reviews from the past year or so, you'll see that I write it as I see it. I've given both good and bad reviews.

Now I do agree that the cost is steep, but it gives you more than just access to your contacts, just read it once more.

be nice...it's my birthday today....

... and not have to deal with all this crap.

Who the hell cares if it's your birthday anyway... You should be honest at the beginning of your article by mentioning the flat-rate price FIRST!

Having looked at the review and visited the website, I can see that Contact Hero is not an app or service for everyone. It fills a niche market for those that have hundreds of contacts in different places, on several devices or phones, with several email addresses/phone numbers/mailing addresses/birthdays and the like, but don't want to mixed these contacts on any one place or device. But they do want one place to store these contact to have remote access to these contacts.

So the avg phone owner or person with a couple of throw away email addresses aren't going to be the target users for the service.

So if the service is one you like but don't wish to pay for, why not start up a free service for doing the same thing, and open it up to the public to use. Just make sure you have the bucks to host the service and the programming needed to make sure it's secure and doesn't lose data for any reason, can be accessed 24/7 all for free.

If I were a person that wanted to keep up on birthdays and anniversaries, phone numbers and email/snail mail info to send post cards and greetings while traveling, but didn't want this info on my phone or pda (using memory), I might use such a service like Contact Hero.

Luckily for me, I just back things up on my computer and hope I don't need info not on my phone until I get home. ;)

I'm used to paying for online CRM. Have done so for past 4-5 years. The usual cost for a single user is ~ $30/month. And the feature set is almost always overkill.

Been using Highrise for past 6 months. It is $30/month and does not integrate well at all with the BB. This one looks like it will do everything I need, PLUS, give me access to my contact data from my BB.

Believe me, this is a much needed void in the CRM world. Simple and available everywhere, including my phone.

I'll give the free trial a spin and report back. paying for contact management works, as long as those contacts bring revenue.

Does this program still allow you to sync as normal to the computer?

I am using Missing Sync on my Mac. It is working smoothly right now, I would be hesitant to try anything that will destabilize it....