AKA Custom Views Part Two - to read part one please click this link
In your lead management, you will have leads at the various stages your organisation uses. Some will be cold or lost, others might be warm or even hot, near to being a done deal. Instead of simply aiming for the closing sell, you can use OpenCRM to create documents to manage your leads at each stage of the customer journey. If a typical lead to sell involves 8-10 points of contact with the lead, it makes sense to use contact material relevant to where the lead is at a particular point in time. You can focus your efforts according to which stage the lead is at. A lot of customers are not ready to buy when they first encounter you. They may be doing some preliminary research. Treating them to the hard sell at this point is not likely to result in a sale, as the pushy approach probably won’t work.
Using the ability to create different views in OpenCRM, you can view a list of your leads at each sales stage with a click of a button. You can then apply the appropriate action to that group – another click and you can send the records listed in a particular view an email - this interaction with your leads as appropriate to their stage in the sales cycle is likely to have far more positive results than the hard sell.
Remember, within OpenCRM you can prepare all the necessary views and email templates beforehand. The correspondence with your potential customers can be run from the Campaigns module. This gives you the added benefit of having tracking tools in place that can tell you amongst other things how many emails have resulted in click-throughs to your site, and how much business you have generated from each Campaign.
Our aim is to help you save time and energy by offering tools which can do the hard work for you.
Part of the project package that we offer with OpenCRM is a very high level of customer support.
We get told time and time again that its expensive to find new customers and this is of course true and that’s why we invest in our existing ones by providing this exceptionally high level of service to our subscribers.
I know that what we do is well received because our clients tell me so, but it is easy to become blasé about what we do…. Not because we allow our standards to drop, but by assuming that others offer a similarly high level of support also. Well I am here to tell you that in many circumstances this is just not the case, or at least that’s my personal experience.
Due to the consultancy side of our business and a fast pace in developing concepts within OpenCRM I have had cause over the last few weeks to purchase a number of products and services.
Just to qualify what I mean, these products and services have all been from technology related companies and/or include software products.
These products and services have all been chargeable. I mean these have not been trails or freebies, but have had commercially agreed terms with money exchanging hands.
I appreciate why some trail periods are not going be as supported as paying customers, this is a decision made by the supplier but in all of these recent cases I WAS a paying customer.
I had reason to contact a VoIP software vendor to ask a ‘conceptual’ question about how I could use their product. In fairness it was a question I raised during the pre-sales period and was clarifying because I was finding it difficult to achieve the desired configuration that I had been promised, so although I was raising it with the support team it should have been an easy answer.
The response I got was brilliant, creative to the point of frustration. My question was answered by referring me to the manual. The manual was not available on the web site where I had been told I could get hold of an electronic copy. When I followed up I was sent a link to the manual which did not work, subsequently I received (after another exchange) the right URL link. I turned to page 54 to see how the paragraph suggested would help me, only to find that it said (and I quote verbatim)…
“This feature is available for certain firmware version please contact support for more information”
At this point you start to consider what you said in the first email exchange that upset the support technician so much that he felt I was worthy of such a prank? But trust me, having gone over that ground there was nothing that could have been misunderstood.
If this was the only episode of poor support, or answers that lack any substance, I might have let it go, but over 3 weeks, 5 support cases raised and 5 support cases still open (well lets come to that in a minute) all have no resolution.
I have actually solved 4 of the configuration problems I was having myself and am loathed to share this information with the support teams, but that’s just me being peevish. On the point of Open cases – I fully understand that tickets have to be closed once they are dealt with, but on more than one occasion I received the close ticket email without any response from a support technician!
So you see I know what we do is great and believe me we want to do even better. You can rest assured we will be doing everything possible to support you properly because we fully appreciate how frustrating problems can be and how damaging to the long term relationship, you see I (or our business and any professional contacts which I might influence) won’t be buying from any of these poorly performing companies again.
AKA Custom Views Part One
Custom Views are an essential component of OpenCRM. This is a flexible tool which has multiple uses, so I have split the subject into two blog posts. Here is Part One, please watch out for Part Two coming later in the week.
A great way to encourage all-round adoption of CRM is when members of your organisation realise how much time and effort it can save. One of these great time-savers is the creation of custom views. A custom view is a pre-saved display of a particular set of records in your CRM solution. For example you could select to see all new Leads that have come into your system in the past week. Or you could want a view to show all outstanding Sales Orders. Or perhaps you want your Helpdesk module to show all tickets which are set as Urgent.
This tool is perfect for the sales person on the road as it a quick way of displaying relevant information. Instead of having to search through data, that sales person can access their list of jobs to do, or open opportunities etc. with a couple of clicks rather than a search procedure. This easy shortcut of the system is one aspect which customers love. Other examples of views which you could set up are overdue invoices, or at-risk relationships – accounts that you have had no interaction with for a certain period of time.
There are some other cool features to further personalise your system such as adding your company logo, or the ability to rearrange the tabs on your system to show your data the way you like it. We have some really exciting news from our developers coming soon that will allow customers to further customise their systems – watch this space. The aim is to create a system that can be adapted to work the way that suits you.
A CRM solution can not only save money and time, but it is also a great way of economising on resources. This is both within your office environment, and outwards with your client interactions.
Much of the traditional internal paperwork can be virtualised within CRM. Instead of folders and cupboards bulging with files, you can neatly attach documents to records in your CRM solution. There is an added benefit here that you can attach a file to more than one place e.g. to a company and to a specific contact within that company, as well as to a particular Helpdesk ticket, Project or Contract. Not only are you saving paper and space, but you are establishing a filing system far more sophisticated than a traditional cabinet.
You can also add material to your Knowledge collateral as PDF documents. These can be stored within your system, and be made available to your staff, contacts and customers. Doing so helps you save on postage, despatch time and the materials and resources you would need to print all the documents – ensuring that your material is only printed out as and when necessary by the end user. And if someone in another time zone decides they want to read your documentation there and then, there is no waiting involved for someone to send them a link or a package out, they can simply go onto their CRM system and download the document required. This means that your leaflets, brochures, manuals and other materials are always published, available and - as long as you make sure of it - up to date.
Sales Pitch: Using OpenCRM you can use eSign to sign Sales Orders online. This is a fast and secure method of signing Sales Orders. For more information please watch this video tutorial
Increase Information, Education and Experience – Use Your KnowledgeBase.
The OpenCRM Knowledge Base is of benefit to you and your customers on two different levels.
Firstly, you can consult our KnowledgeBase to search for replies to any questions you have about your OpenCRM system, for example “How do I add a logo to my system?”
Secondly, you can also build up a Q and A section for your OpenCRM system and build up a FAQ library for your organisation and your clients to benefit from.
Creating an FAQ hierarchy will save you money and time in the long run. As well as creating “how to” posts of your own, you can document and record solutions to any customer issues that arise. This can help you prevent similar situations from arising in the future as well as providing an instant reply to a query instead of having to carry out the problem-solving again.
It is impossible to store the answers to all the problems in your head – even issues you have come up with time and time again. Why even try when you have a KnowledgeBase that exists precisely to relieve you of this burden. With the resources available on your CRM system, this means the information is available across your organisation, giving everyone access to solutions at any time – no need to hunt down the colleague that has come across the same problem before.
Using some classification you can retrieve the answer you are looking for quickly and easily; linking solutions to Helpdesk tickets is a great way of dealing with issues that crop up frequently.
By publishing certain FAQs and making them available to clients, you can save time for both you and your clients by providing solutions to problems without the need for your support desk to become involved.
In an ideal world this will also highlight the existence of your Knowledgebase and perhaps encourage your customers to further explore some of the great features you have to offer.
Your FAQ can be presented in all manner of formats – test, image or videos, as shown in the link above or this one here.
And when you have built up a good collection of information, you have a powerful self-service module for customers to interact with you 24/7. Let the OpenCRM KnowledgeBase take the weight off your shoulders.
Is it a coincidence that we work in an open-plan office here at OpenCRM? Like our office set-up, a CRM solution helps break down walls and silos that are found in a traditional business model. Divisions between sales and delivery are a cause of higher cost both financially, and in terms of human resources. And not only that, but these divisions are just old fashioned and that won't do now, will it?!
With the global market both growing and shrinking at the same time, the ties between sales and service delivery have never been more essential. Yep, you read correct – getting bigger and smaller at the same time. The business market is spreading across the world. Areas such as Services and IT education not to mention manufacture have become a truly global phenomenon. As a result people are doing business, consuming and communicating on an increasingly worldwide level. But the popularity of social networking has taken this international arena and brought it right back down to a local level. It has empowered people across the board - consumers are savvier than they ever have been. This means that poor delivery of a product at any stage from pre-sale right through to customer support is highly likely to have serious consequences if any dissatisfied customers feel like voicing themselves using the means they have available - Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, you name it.
Sales Pitch: Your hosted OpenCRM solution is the perfect tool to help dodge these pitfalls. Your delivery and service teams are on the ball right from day one, benefitting from a direct line to what the sales and marketing guys are doing. You can harness the information that is coming in from across the world and use it to service your customers both near and far. It puts everyone in your organisation wherever they are based into one common location – your virtual open plan office.
It happens in the best of businesses and services – an unsatisfied customer turns up. Yet given the current climate you can’t really afford to ignore the unhappy customer. The reason for their dissatisfaction is irrelevant – if you don’t do something you are going to lose business.
Here’s the good news – your CRM solution provides you with a multitude of tools to identify and analyse the problem areas and then to help you provide long-term solutions. What’s more this applies not only to vocal dissatisfaction – those calling your helpdesk and service line – but also the silent customers who may be scaling back their business with you.
Using reports you can analyse sales patterns, and identify when regular customers are buying your products or services less frequently. When you have established this you can then set the mechanisms in place to put a smile back on the customer’s face – a promotional offer or even a greetings card – working on regaining that regular business.
Your Helpdesk is the vital key to general problems. Firstly the fact that it is there and is implemented correctly gives the customer the reassurance that care continues beyond the sales stage. That way even if a problem arises, the client knows the issue will be dealt with in a professional and friendly way.
Using Helpdesk reporting you are also able to identify any recurring issues. This gives you the means to take corrective measures before a problem becomes widespread and has a negative effect on your customer loyalty. As your CRM system gives your entire organisation a 360 degree view of records, your sales personnel can also be made aware of resolved issues, and can take necessary steps to regain customer faith and business.
Sales Pitch: With OpenCRM you can deal with all manner of customer queries and issues as well as pre-empt future problems, with your whole organisation from marketing to sales to helpdesk aware of issues and equipped to deal with them. Turn those complaints into compliments by resolving potential trouble-spots before your clients even notice them.