A CRM is an investment. And as with every investment, you’ll want to squeeze a much juice as you can out of it.
Here’s a new batch of tips on how to do just that, from real WORKetc users running their small businesses on the one end-to-end business management system.
Collaborate with clients on the WORKetc CRM customer Portal
We’ve now started using the Customer Portal more actively. Placing documents explaining our step by step processes and providing a constantly updated FAQs is very helpful for our clients. Letting clients see into the project tasks also allows them to follow the progress, which brings a level of transparency and comfort for them to know that their project is moving along. – Stan Zaslavsky, Eagle Vision
WORKetc’s customizable customer portal acts as the hub with which you can connect and collaborate with your clients.
Giving clients access to regularly updated knowledge base articles, as Stan suggests, can help decongest your support queue by giving your customers the option to try and resolve their issues first before they have to reach out to your support team.
You can even give specific clients access to specific knowledge base articles by using tags. A client who has engaged your digital marketing company’s WordPress development services, for example, will have little use for articles on Joomla troubleshooting, so you can make it easier for them to find the information they need by simply giving them access only to articles about WordPress.
You can also give your clients access to a special support webform. Your SEO clients, for example, can have a custom webform that they can use to submit tickets that are automatically assigned to your SEO support team.
Your graphic design clients, on the other hand, could have a webform that automatically assigns their tickets to your graphic design-focused customer support people.
All of the support tickets that your clients send in will also be available for them to track and view on the customer portal. And if you have any tasks in a project that requires approval or any other kind of input from a client, you can also assign it to them and they’ll see it on the customer portal.
Your clients can also use the customer portal to view, download, and even pay for invoices, adding another layer of transparency.
Tag old contacts as “Inactive” instead of deleting them
Use the “inactive” tag when employees or contacts move on. My instinct when a contact changed employers was to dive into her record in WORKetc and update it with her new info. I had to learn to restrain myself and instead apply the “inactive” tag to her old contact info in order to preserve old activities linked to that record. I then create a new record for her with the new job/employer where new activities will attach. – Bill Mullane, TechHelp Idaho
It’s easy to update contact details in WORKetc. Even more so if you have the WORKetc Gmail add-on installed, which lets you add new email addresses, street address, and phone numbers without even leaving your Gmail inbox.
This tip from Bill, however, makes a compelling case for NOT updating a client’s contact details after that client moves on to a new employer.
Let’s say you’ve worked with your client John regularly on a number of marketing campaigns for Acme Inc for years. He’s been quiet the past few weeks, and today you learn why: he’s moved on to another company, but he still wants to work with your digital marketing team for a campaign his new employer wants to implement.
By applying the “Inactive” system tag to John’s old WORKetc contact record—the one that’s associated with Acme Inc.—you can make sure all of the items on his activity stream related to all the work you did for Acme Inc. with him as the contact person will remain separate from any future items that will be created once you start taking on projects from his new employers.
You can opt to just update John’s contact details, of course, but keeping two contact records, one for each company he’s worked for, can make it much faster and easier to sift through information.
Request for discussion replies to keep things moving
We use discussions with the request feature a great deal. It keeps us from emailing back and forth and ending up with several of us connecting different information to a project or case. It also helps my staff tell me when they need me to know something or respond to something for them to get moving on there work. I hate being the reason work stops or slows down. – Donna Grindle, Kardon Compliance
Endless chains of back and forth emails between colleagues can be a pain. Before you know it, your inbox ends up flooded with emails that become less and less relevant to you with each new reply.
WORKetc helps solve this issue with its built-in discussion module, which lets you create forum-style conversation threads that can be attached to any WORKetc object so that every member of your team is kept in the loop without overloading anyone’s inbox.
The discussions module includes the ability to request replies from specific people included in the discussion. Just click on a name in the “Include” box until it turns red and a special notification will be sent to that person.
This is particularly useful for when you need feedback from a specific team member, especially if what you need is time-sensitive.
Let’s say you’re in a discussion thread with sales guy Jim about a client’s billing issues. You decide to loop in Pam from accounting to get additional information on the issue.
With a couple of clicks, you can request an immediate reply from Pam. She then gets a special notification asking them to reply to your post so Jim can quickly get back to keeping the client happy and satisfied.
Get the info you need fast with saved filters
We use the saved filter links. Our support tickets have so many emails that it’s useful to have a filter set up to show the Support cases, and then another to show Support + Email + Timesheets. I’m constantly flipping between the two. – Christina Fowinkle, Now Digital
WORKetc keeps a lot of information critical to your business. Saved filters help you quickly navigate through all of this information by showing you only those items you need to see specifically at any given time.
Think of it as an instant one-click filter that you can customize to suit your needs.
Creating a saved filter is as easy as 1,2,3: set your filter parameters, give the filter a name, and click “save”. Aside from the support screen Christina mentions above, you can also create and save filters on a contact’s activity history, the leads screen, and even the project list.
Let’s say you’re on the tech support team for a web development company. Since your main concern is support tickets, you can set up a saved filter on your clients’ contact records to show only those support tickets that are currently active, and then another one that shows those that are inactive.
With one click, you can quickly review any active tickets that a client has sent in. need to check closed tickets? Just click the inactive tickets filter you created.
These saved filters also stay persistent across other WORKetc screens. This means once you create that a saved filter on one contact’s activity stream, it’ll be available on all of your contacts’ activity streams.