Teamwork is the cooperative and coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause. While the concept is simple, the execution of effective teamwork poses challenges. Team members must know what the common cause is. We must rely on one another to be vocal and supportive, to each carry our own weight. Our uniqueness and expertise must be valued and respected. We must know and understand our processes and be accountable to one another. Teamwork is the primary core value here at BlueChannel—one we bring to every project in which we engage, one we integrate with every service we provide.
Guidance as a concept tells us when we act as a guide we intentionally direct or lead. It’s about helping people make choices and solve problems. It’s about influencing decisions. About taking our knowledge and experience and offering it up as a platform from which you can leap and make informed choices. This entails great responsibility, and BlueChannel doesn’t take that lightly. It’s a question of maturity and knowing who we are and what we do best. We guide in our clients’ best interests even if it means a solution may not reside with us. This awareness of what it means to be a responsible guide while respecting your expertise in your industry is what sets us apart.
Stanford professor emeritus in psychology Philip Zimbardo writes, “Heroes are people who transform compassion (a personal virtue) into heroic action (a civic virtue).” At the very center of BlueChannel, you’ll find real people. Good people. Virtuous people. It’s no accident. We value it within our team, and appreciate it in those with whom we work. Small acts of everyday heroics are a part of our normal work. Often, these acts go unnoticed, but they’re happening all the same. And it’s this voluntary, above expected engagement in our work and in our lives which make us heroes. We hope to lead by example, to show that all these little good things add up to leave a positive legacy and result in win-win scenarios for BlueChannel and our clients.
01/24/17 – One of our clients reached out needing help putting together a sales tax report from a CS-Cart site we developed for them. He explained the painful manual process he went through each time he needed the report. Data exports were timing out, he had to manually remove certain sales; in short, it was a nightmare. I put on my thinking cap and wrote a custom script for him to automate all the manual processes. He was so happy when he wrote after using it he called it a “heroic sales tax report” – how could I not add it to our Heroics section?
09/12/16 – It’s great when clients take an interest in their own websites – especially those built on CMS platforms like WordPress or cart platforms like CS-Cart. But, there are times when mistakes are made and the site ends up a little messy or the client loses their access to the admin. When a client reached out to me on a Sunday asking for back end access to be restored, I quickly fixed his issue hoping to keep him invested in his site and not frustrated by it.
07/20/16 – What’s the difference between working with a small development company vs an individual? Well, one advantage with the company is you get a diverse range of skill sets and experience, and the team works with many clients thereby giving that team more touchstones to what’s going on “out there” on the web. When a client asked me about free image editing software, it jogged my memory because another client had recently told me about some free photo editing software he was using. I searched me email and found the reference and was able to provide it to the other client.
06/16/16 – Because we’re a web host as well as a development company, there are times when what benefits us will also benefit our clients. A good example of this is when I learned of a security vulnerability on one of the eCommerce platforms we host and have developed on. I didn’t want our servers to be compromised, so I patched the software. The clients on that platform received a “free upgrade” and their sites didn’t get hacked.
05/30/16 – We understand that business doesn’t stop just because it’s a holiday. That’s why I decided to help one of our clients get their half-sent newsletter 100% sent out even though it was Memorial Day weekend. I had logged into my email and saw their cry for help. Thirty minutes later, I was on my way, their newsletter was out and we’d earned the gratitude of yet another client in need.
04/01/16 – When a local client was moving from one company to another, we just so happened to host both companies’ websites. She asked if there was a way to move her mail from the old company’s domain to the new. There is a time-intensive, manual way to do this via Outlook, but since both domains live on our server, I was able to perform the task in just a matter of minutes.
03/02/16 – Walking from my office to the gym, I received a call from a client having email configuration issues. They were on the way, so I popped in, sat down, configured their email and went on my way. These face-to-face interactions are great and make me appreciate where I live and work.
02/03/16 – I love living and working in Steamboat Springs. I can walk to some of our clients’ places of business and provide in-person support and consulting. The face-to-face time means a lot. Recently, I was on such a call when I realized the client had called me in to help her with her Mac Mail connecting to Gmail. Even though neither product is a BlueChannel product or service, I helped her out anyway.
01/29/16 – When a recent update caused some instability on one of our servers, we worked round-the-clock to restore service to 100%. Most clients don’t even notice these types of issues, but some do. Some call or email. Some more than once. When I felt one client in particular was feeling anxious, I moved his site to another server. It was good for us, too, because his site is a high-load site. So, he got instant resolution to the instability issue and we got to lessen the load on the server with the issue in the first place. Win-win!
12/31/15 – While we at BlueChannel do observe holidays and take personal time, we understand businesses – especially web-based businesses – really operate 24/7/365. So, on New Year’s Eve, when a client wrote they were having trouble sending out a promotional email via a 3rd party system we hooked up to their site, I didn’t leave him hanging. I logged in, made sure things were set up correctly and helped get the email out.
11/19/15 – While we do try to keep fairly normal business hours, we realize there are times when situations arise requiring swift action regardless of the hour. So, when a new client needed me to restore some old links on her site, I got it done – even though it was 8pm. She was able to save some face with her superiors and I was able to exemplify what sets BlueChannel apart from other companies.
10/16/15 – Maybe you are the computer geek in your friends and family circle or maybe you aren’t, but you most likely know who IS the computer geek in your circle. Recently, a long-time client called concerned links to email addresses on his website weren’t working. They didn’t work on any websites, in fact. Turns out, they had no default email program assigned. I used TeamViewer to log in and showed him how to set up a default email program on three of their machines. Sometimes people don’t have a computer geek to call on, I guess, and since I had the know-how, I thought I’d fill the role.
09/01/15 – A long-time client informed me he was hiring an SEO company (a big one…) who intended to set up a new domain to develop content and drive traffic. Only problem is, when the client decides working with this big company is no longer worth the money, the content and traffic will not be owned by him and will no longer provide value for him. Sometimes I can’t hold my tongue. This was one of those times. I gave my free, unsolicited advice. We’ll see what happens.
08/26/15 – A client I’ve worked with since the early 90’s requested I set up his new site on our server and handle the domain transfer from old to new. This was while my mother was visiting. And it was dinnertime. I did eat my dinner, but I also helped my client and friend. History matters.
08/21/15 – A client’s site on a shared server was experiencing more and more frequent outages. We migrated the site to a new server, alone, to see what the real hosting requirements were. Realizing the demands were quite significant, we worked with the client to upgrade their hosting package, thus stabilizing the site. When one migration-related issue was reported to us late on a Friday afternoon, we dropped everything, troubleshooted the issue, and made a fix (related to a third-party WordPress plugin). Happy Friday!
7/24/15 – One of our clients forwarded us a notice of upcoming changes from a 3rd party service used on their site to generate postage on-the-fly for their products. The original integration meant hours of custom programming, so the upcoming changes could’ve meant the whole system would break. To ensure things went smoothly, I came in early the day the changes were to go live. I worked with the 3rd party’s support team until after six that night, as well. We’re invested in our clients and want to ensure their downtime is kept to a minimum even when sometimes changes are outside of our control.
7/11/15 – I picked up an email from a client who has some real-time metal pricing set up on his jewelry website. The feed changed and all of a sudden all his gold pricing was returning zeros. Even though it was Saturday, I did a quick check and found gold had no floor price set. This hadn’t been an issue before, but after the change floor prices were necessary. I informed the client, made the change and we all had a better weekend.
06/10/15 – I recently had a client reach out asking for us to transfer their WordPress site to us for hosting. A lot of hosting companies would run this type of request blind and let the client know when the request was completed. I took the time to check out the files and found hundreds of them to be compromised by hackers. I cleaned the hacked files, notified the client and signed them up for our WordPress update service to avoid hacks in the future.
04/30/15 – Recently I had a request come in from a contact at one of our client companies. She asked for us to make a change on a notification email sent out from a 3rd party application we manage for them. Unbeknownst to her, another contact at the company had been working with us to terminate that application and replace it with another. Because I was in the know, I was able to connect them so the notification email change could be made in the right place.
05/01/15 – I was performing a scheduled on-site email migration for a not-for-profit, very easy-going client. As I was working, questions were raised about internet speed, router configurations, etc. Even though I contracted for a certain amount of time to deal with specific email migration related issues, I stayed an extra 2 hours to help them through some general IT issues.
3/13/15 – A client of ours has a pretty slick set-up which pushes content from WordPress to ConstantContact for mass emailing to certain lists. Usually, content is created and sent with no issues, but recently the client made an error and sent content to ConstantContact prematurely. He was able to stop it from mailing out, but the content he had pushed got flagged in the database so it couldn’t be sent again. He was under a deadline, so I quickly manually removed the flags in the db so the system could allow him to resend the content.
03/09/15 – While BlueChannel does have set business hours, we try to remain connected well before and after. Recently a long-time client of ours had some issues with her computer affecting her ability to send and receive mail and I stayed late to help her get it sorted. That same night, Mick helped a client restore his site after hours by fixing an issue with the .htaccess file. It’s not always possible for our team to stay late, but we understand that while our business hours may be closed, some of our clients still need to be able to conduct their business which is why we try to make every effort possible to accommodate our client’s needs.
12/24/14 – A client emailed us on Christmas Eve having noticed a lead-in to an event they were promoting on their site was incorrect. I happened to pick up the email over the holiday break and the change was a quick one so I went ahead and made it even though I was technically off work. Our clients become our friends and it makes decisions like these easy to make.
12/22/14 – While developing a new site for a client, he sent us a PowerPoint presentation requesting it be added to the site. The PPT was a little lacking in terms of aesthetic appeal so I suggested we take a stab at recreating the information as an infographic. The results is much more “fun” and visually appealing. It also shows the client is a little more progressive and hip. I understand it’s currently being used in the sales process for in-person meetings as well.
12/11/14 – A client requested we make some changes to a plugin she was using on her WordPress site. After reviewing the requested changes, we realized they would involve making hacks to core code of the plugin. This makes keeping the plugin current and up-to-date more difficult down the road. Although it was work within our skill set, we cautioned the client against having us do the work since we’d probably have to do it all over again when the plugin was updated. It meant a little lost revenue for us, but we couldn’t lead our client down that path.
10/17/14 – One of our clients forwarded an email from an overseas company with meta tags to add to his site for “improved” search engine optimization (SEO). A lot of development companies would just do as the client asked without reading the meta text and bill for the time. But when I read his, I told him it was full of broken English and wouldn’t represent his site very well. He agreed and provided new meta text a few days later.
10/17/14 – I saw a user registration come in on one of our client’s WordPress sites. It was from a company in China and didn’t seem quite right given the nature of the client’s site. I notified her and her team and confirmed it wasn’t a valid registration. We discussed options and implemented a solution to keep it from happening again.
10/7/14 – A client had a contact form that was supposed to submit the results to two email addresses. One of the email addresses was bouncing as undeliverable so we checked the form settings and saw that the second email address was missing a character. We fixed the email address, and the client was able to receive the form submissions at both accounts.
09/29/14 – When a client directed us to move his web hosting to us, but to not move the DNS, I was skeptical. As a precaution, I checked DNS records and determined that the old provider was indeed handling the DNS zone. If I had left the DNS intact, as the client insisted three times in writing, when that client stopped paying his previous provider, his website and email would have stopped working completely. I took the time to explain the situation to the client, insisting we could safely move and host the DNS without downtime. He was relieved I had not done exactly what he told me to do. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
09/22/14 – One of our clients asked us to address an issue on his site and wanted us to work against pre-purchased hours on file. We dug into the task and realized it was a rabbit hole (a task that, on face value, seems simple but, in reality, is time-intensive). Instead of burning through his hours without explaining the issue, I communicated that the task was likely to take longer than expected. The information helped him make an educated decision about where to allocate his resources.
10/10/16 – DNS can be confusing – even when you know what you’re doing. We received a referral recently from a local company. The new client had about 30 email addresses with issues and domain problems. They weren’t sure who was handling what and they were confused by the language everyone was using. I stepped in and spent about an hour sorting out what lived where and how to change their DNS to fix their issues. Sometimes you need someone experienced to just step in and get things sorted.
08/19/16 – The beginning of any relationship is probably the most important time because it sets the stage for how your future interactions will go. Recently some new clients (husband and wife) called me up separately and asked, essentially, the same questions of me. Instead of being frustrated by the experience of having to repeat myself, I learned from it and asked them to stop by the office together the next time they reached out. Having them both in the same room saved time and the meeting was productive. I also helped them set up several Gmail accounts and ensured they were set up correctly so their BlueChannel accounts used Gmail as a mail client.
06/24/16 – One of our long-time clients contacted me needing to schedule some work to be done over the weekend during low usage times on her website. Because she gave me ample notice, I was able to accommodate her and put in some early morning hours over the weekend.
05/24/16 – Because I spend a lot of time on the computer, there are some things I see that the average user might not. When a client popped by for help setting up his email in Outlook, I noticed quite a few incorrect settings on his machine not necessarily related to the services we provide. I pointed them out and showed him how to correct them. Just a little bonus for working with us – you get our support, knowledge and help.
02/29/16 – A client stopped by my office for help with email on her phone. Her account is hosted at Rackspace where they impose a 1GB account limit. I suggested migrating hosting over to us and warned the limit would likely become an issue. Three days later, sure enough, she’d reached her limit and decided to migrate to us. I temporarily downloaded her mail off of Rackspace so she could use her account again until we performed the migration.
03/11/16 – One of our long-time clients emailed on Friday evening having issues with Outlook – sent email seemed to have “disappeared” as well as all her contacts. I responded and kept the conversation going well into Saturday morning. While the issues were Outlook-related, I provided information about best practices for managing email with Outlook including links to instructional videos. I also made some suggestions for things we could here to help circumvent these types of issues in the future.
02/19/16 – I had just finished up my day and was getting ready to leave the office when I received word from a local client he was having trouble getting his email set up correctly. As it happened, the client’s office was on my way home, so I offered to pop in and take a look. Ten minutes after arriving, his email was set up and his thanks and appreciation sent me off happily into my weekend.
01/30/16 – I saw and email from a client on a Sunday morning. Her site was behaving oddly and I knew we’d been working on that server earlier changing some config files. I did some digging, found the issue and resolved it even though, technically, I wasn’t working that day.
12/23/15 – I stopped by the office on Christmas Eve to check on a couple of things and give a quick glance at my email. I saw a request from a client for a few site changes – some of which were time sensitive. Instead of ignoring it and making him wait for four days, I quickly made the changes, shot him an email and went on my way. Made Christmas merrier for the both of us.
11/25/15 – At BlueChannel, we have daily tasks and workload assigned but the nature of our business also means we receive unexpected client requests or we must address technical issues. The days leading up to a holiday are no exception. When a client called the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving to schedule a DNS change for later that same day, we agreed and got the change completed instead of making the client wait 4 days.
10/26/15 – Jeff sent me a request to look into an issue reported by one of our clients where a user had sent through an inquiry on a diamond but that user was an internal person and swore she hadn’t been on the site. I poked around the logs and looked at the code and reported back I saw no issues. Jeff kept pushing. Asked if there was any more information we could provide…any clues. I mentioned we could maybe find the IP address of the user who’d made the inquiry. I did. Jeff sent the info to the client. The client figured out his internal resource has mistakenly given her login credentials out to one of their users. Mystery solved! The back and forth and creative thinking were the keys. It took us all working together.
09/19/15 – I was logged in on a Saturday making some quick changes for a client and finishing up some internal tasks when I saw an email come in from one of our clients having issues logging into his email account. Turns out he didn’t realize the password was case sensitive. He appreciated the help on a Saturday.
09/05/15 – I’m on my computer a lot…even on the weekends. So, when I saw one of our clients SSL certificate expired on a Saturday, I logged in and renewed it. The result was about 7 minutes of security warnings instead of a whole weekend. The client was very appreciative.
07/27/15 – We love working with entrepreneurs. There’s something exciting about taking concepts and turning them into reality. Sometimes in that iterative process, as concepts get more fully realized and the code base takes form, we realize our original best guess about how to approach something might need some course-correction. This happened recently with one of our clients’ projects. When we brought him another idea/approach to consider, he appreciated it and agreed we should go in the new direction. He didn’t ask for it, but BlueChannel credited his account with a block of hours to offset the loss of productivity. It’s one way we here show our clients we are invested, reasonable and accountable.
06/25/15 – Recently a client asked me to change a date for an event he was promoting on his website. He pasted two URLs for pages where the content lived. I happened to be familiar with the site and knew the event was referenced in two other locations as well. I made the change in the four places and notified the client. He was appreciative I’d caught the other two.
06/03/15 – We have no problem supporting our products and services and enjoy lending a hand when our clients need some help. Often, the lines get blurred between where our support should technically stop and when another service provider’s support should begin. Case in point, a client called to discontinue an email forward from an account we host to an account at Yahoo! No problem. One the same call, I helped him set up Outlook and his iPhone with the email we host. Still no problem. When he asked for instructions on how to set up his Yahoo! account in Outlook, I reminded him I wasn’t a Yahoo! or Microsoft representative. Still, I ran a couple searches for him and sent him links to the information he was after.
5/1/15 – We recently replaced a 3rd party application for serving up content on one of our client website with another. We also provide the client with Google Analytics reports. When the change was made, we brought it to our client’s attention that the new 3rd party solution would need to be modified to allow us to continue with the reports. Had we not brought it to their attention, there would’ve been a big hole in their analytics.
04/26/15 – We like to think we go above and beyond for our clients. For our email clients, we have systems in place to notify us when things go wrong. Recently I noticed an email address for one of our clients kept bouncing back as undeliverable. I checked the client’s mailboxes and, sure enough, that email address had never been set up. I wrote to the client and notified them of the situation and we got it all cleared up. Most hosts wouldn’t even have known about it, let alone done anything about it.
03/31/15 – One of our clients has a weekly report which is automatically generated. Data is pulled from a database and dumped into a spreadsheet, then used to populate the report. Usually the system runs smoothly, but recent spikes in data actually exceeded the spreadsheet’s inherent limitations. We found a workaround and implemented it for the client without requiring them to first ask for the fix. And, we did the work for free.
3/15/15 – We recently completed a project for a client who wanted to demo it to a group of interested parties. He requested help uploading product information, images, and supporting documents late on a Friday and his demo was early on a Monday. While we usually request clients give us a little more lead time to help out, we understand sometimes things happen outside of client control. I ended up working Saturday and Sunday to get the site in shape for the demo.
02/19/15 – I was asked by a client to remove a form from his website. It was a PDF file and he linked me to the page referencing it. Instead of just blindly following instructions and removing the PDF form and link, I dug in a little deeper. The page content also mentioned the form and there was a Spanish version of it, too. I modified the page copy and removed both the English and Spanish versions. It’s this kind of attention to detail and thinking things through that sets us apart.
01/15/15 – One of our clients hired us to work on their large WordPress site. They had many areas on which to focus and they asked us to provide flat-fee quotes for the work. After a lot of back and forth, they hired us to perform a certain list of tasks related to their responsive CSS. We wrote up an agreement and outlined what we were to work on and what was excluded. When the project kicked off