New feature: Ability to save reports

Our reports are very flexible in that they allow you to build a large variety of reports, by specifying the exact criteria you want to select your data by. That’s great. But entering the criteria every time can be a pain!

We knew that and many of you have raised this with us. It’s painful. We’ve listened and we started working on the ability to save reports, view them and be able to re-run them easily: point-and-click re-runnable reports.

Today, we’re proud to announce we’ve delivered this functionality. Let’s walk you through it via a few screenshots.

First of all, after you build your report, you will notice there is a new button called “Save As”. We’ve circled it in red in the screenshot below. Click that button when you’re ready to save the report.

Clevertim CRM_Save Report

When you click the “Save As” button, you will be asked to name your report and a description. This is some information that you and, if you decide to share the report with everyone, others will see. It’s a good idea to add a short but descriptive few sentences, as it’ll help refresh your memory next time you run it. You can also select who should be able to view this report: Everyone, just yourself or one or more groups.

Clevertim CRM _ Save Report Name

 

When you click Save, the report will be saved and available to re-run, either by you or whoever else you chose to share it with. You will then see the report available in the Reports tab (see screenshot below).

Clevertim CRM_Save Report Details List

 

There are a few elements here worth mentioning:

  1. The “London contacts” report will appear under “All reports” and also under the “Contacts reports”, given it’s a reports that shows contacts
  2. The London contacts link is clickable and it will re-run the report every time you click on it
  3. The lock icon shows you the visibility – who can view it (Everyone, just you or a set of user groups). Clicking on the lock icon will bring up the visibility dialog that will allow you to change this visibility – for example if you have marked the report as visible just to you but you want to make it available to Everyone
  4. It shows you the description you’ve entered but also additional information about who added the report and when, and also who modified it last and when

If you don’t need the report anymore, for any reasons (e.g. it is out of date), then you can delete it by clicking the Delete button.

We hope this will make it easy for everyone to create and re-run reports going forward!

Emailing from the contact management system

A while back we’ve added a feature that allows users to send emails to their contacts from within the contact management system. It’s a convenience feature which we’re planning to expand into more: analytics, clicks/opens tracking, bulk emailing, etc.

Here are a few things about this feature…

1. It sends the email via the Clevertim email servers but users will see it as coming from your email address – that is the email address that you used when you signed up for your Clevertim account

2. Because they see it as coming from your email address, any replies will go back to your email address – into your inbox (that could be gmail, yahoo, outlook, depending on what you are normally using to read your email). It will not come into Clevertim, so it means replies will not be automatically updating your Clevertim account. Use the Email dropbox feature and forward those replies to your dedicated email dropbox address to file them into Clevertim.

3. You can CC/BCC only users within your own companies (your own colleagues using Clevertim with you) or contacts working for the same company (relies on the Company field being populated for the contacts). This is to minimize the risk of sending emails to the wrong people.

4. Similar to notes, for emails, you can attach files from your local drive or from Dropbox or Google Drive and they will be emailed as attachments with your email. Dropbox and Google Drive give you two options:
a) grab a snapshot of the file from Dropbox/Google Drive and send it along as an attachment (your contacts will see it as any other file you attach from your local box – they will not need access to Dropbox or Google Drive)
b) send it as a link to Dropbox/Google Drive – this means your contacts will need access to your Dropbox/Google Drive for that file. This has the advantage that you can continue to update the file and your contacts will see those updates.

5. If the email bounces back because it cannot be delivered to one of the recipients, you will see a ‘sad face’ icon next to the email address that couldn’t be delivered to. A blue happy face means the email was delivered successfully to that email address. When a bounce happens, you will also see the reason for the bounce when you hover over the ‘sad face’ icon. You will also get an email telling you about the bounce.

6. Certain email providers disallow this type of sending emails on their behalf, so if you’re using a @yahoo.com email address or a @facebook.com email address, this feature will not work properly, simply because Yahoo and Facebook have disallowed it.

7. Any problems with this feature, don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re here to help.

 

Two businesses, one Clevertim account

I run two separate businesses, can I use one single Clevertim account to manage both of them?

Short answer: Yes.

There is nothing to prevent you from doing so. We certainly don’t place any restrictions like that. What’s in your account is up to you and the way you run your business(es) is again up to you.

Long answer:

Just because you can do so, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good idea to do so. One question you have to ask yourself is: Will I be able to tell which contact is for which business? And also, if your business grows and you bring in help in the form of new employees, personal assistants or virtual assistants, or if you decide to outsource parts of your business processes to a third party – will they be able to tell? Will it be manageable going forward?

One way to keep everything separated would be via tags. You tag everything with either: Business1 or Business2. You can change the names of these tags of course, but maintaining the tags, ensuring they’re correct – it’s a lot of work.

The next question you should ask yourself is why you are trying to keep your contacts into one Clevertim account? Is it to save money? We are already one of the most competitively priced contact management solution out there.  Is it because you think it’ll be more convenient to have a single login? You could use two separate browsers – for example you could use Chrome for Business1 and Internet Explorer or Safari depending on your platform for Business2. This still means you can remember logins in each browser, so you don’t have to type the password every time.

If you decide to go with two accounts, one thing to keep in mind is that you will need two separate users and each user needs a separate email address. So you will need two separate email addresses. And you need to keep them separate – for example, you should not enter email1 as an additional email address in the account for email2. Doing so will confuse the Dropbox feature that allows you to attach emails simply by CC-ing, BCC-ing or forwarding your emails to a dedicated email address. That feature is designed to identify you by your email address and it could start attaching notes to the wrong account if you start mixing and matching emails and accounts. If you have any employees working on both businesses, they will need to keep emails separate in same fashion.

How does the Dropbox feature works under the hood

The Dropbox feature explained in a nutshell is this: each user gets a dedicated @clevertim.com email address, which they can use to:

  • CC on emails they send to their contacts
  • BCC on emails they send to their contacts
  • Forward emails they sent to their contacts but forgot to CC/BCC
  • Forward emails their contacts sent them
  • Automatically get emails replies if their contacts hit Reply All and the dropbox dedicated email address is on the Recipients

When an email is received to that dedicated email address, the contact or contacts (and this can be companies too) will be looked up in the system and the note attached under those respective contacts.

How does it know which contacts to attach the note under? It’s simple. It looks up the contacts by email address. Your contacts’ email addressed are generally in the emails received to the dropbox. But not always, and that’s when this Dropbox feature doesn’t know what to do.

If you forward an email to the dropbox address, make sure you keep the Fwd headers, that bit at the top that contains the email address of your contact.
If you don’t want all that information, just make sure your contact’s email is there in the text somewhere – if not, you can add it manually when you Forward. When you CC or BCC, you don’t have to do that, as the email address for the recipients will be already in the email.

The dropbox feature will collect all the email addresses in the emails it receives and it will look up contacts for each one of those and it will attach the email as a note under those contacts. If a contact doesn’t exist for one of the emails, it will be created automatically. This is a convenience feature that allows you to easily add new contacts and file new emails under those contacts without even having to log into the system. Straight from your favorite inbox. Just CC, BCC or forward emails to your dedicated email address and the job is done.

But the dropbox feature doesn’t give you just one dedicated email address. You also get one for opportunities, where an opportunity is created too, in addition to the contact. You also get one for cases, where a case is created, in addition to the contact, and you also get dedicated email addresses to allow you to add tasks easily straight from your inbox.

How does it deal with spam?

First of all, the dropbox feature will reject any emails sent to it from non-recognized email addresses. In the Email Dropbox menu (accessible from the upper right Settings menu), you can define all your recognized email addresses. That means, if you use multiple email addresses, you can define them all in there and the Dropbox feature will happily accept emails from it.

If this is not sufficient and someone discovers your dropbox dedicated email address and sends you unsolicited email – for example, they could email you and the dropbox, and then the Dropbox feature would accept email, as your email address is on it (it would be considered a reply from one of your contacts) – well, in that case, you can always re-generate the dedicated email address. Needless to say, don’t over advertise this dedicated email address, as that might spam your Clevertim account.

Data entry from within your inbox

A contact management system is only as good as the data that goes into it. To realize the benefits of a CRM / shared contact management system, everyone in your team must adhere to the clear rules of entering sales, marketing and customer support data into the shared CRM system (CRM stands for customer relationship management and it builds on the concept of contact/client management). That means entering notes and emails into the system whenever important data is exchanged, communicated and agreed with your prospects and existing customers.

That sounds great in principle, but sometimes people forget to enter the data, sometimes they don’t understand the importance of the imposed discipline. As a small business owner you should try to get people to buy into the vision by explaining the benefits of sharing the data and the efficiencies that brings. It makes everyone’s lives easier and the users can focus on selling, marketing or customer support, without having to worry about where the data is, about scrambling to put it all together just before a deadline hits.

On our side, we’re always looking at making the data entry simpler, more intuitive, effortless, in order to encourage users to do it and to make the whole process as efficient as possible.

The personal dropbox is part of that effort. The personal dropbox is just a set of dedicated email addresses that users can forward customer emails to or they can CC or BCC on emails sent to their contacts. This automatically attaches that email as a note under the respective contact. If the contact is not in the CRM, the contact will be added.
How does the system know which contact to attach the note to? It auto-detects the contact by their email address. So, it’s important to add all the known email addresses for your contacts into the CRM.

The other dropbox emails are for adding cases, opportunities or tasks. They work in a similar fashion. You forward, CC or BCC emails to these email addresses and the system will add cases, opportunities or tasks respectively, with the details in the email.

Customers, maps and postcards from Google

If you have a local small business, you must consider Google Places. This will show your business on google maps when your customers type a related search in google maps. A lot of customers search local businesses this way and you don’t want to miss out on that.
It will also help with your SEO (search engine optimization).
It is a free service and Google will even send you a postcard … to verify your address. No wonder, they want to keep it spam free.

Tip of the Day: CRM systems are what you make of them

A lot of companies invest in a CRM system or maybe just a contact manager – be it an online, cloud stored, or a desktop/server in-house solution – and they hope their customer relationships will automatically improve. This is generally the case, as using any CRM system will introduce some structure in the way you talk to your customers and in the way you manage the relationships with them.

However, CRM systems on their own will not work on their own – your sales, marketing, support employees, partners, associates, etc. need to fill them with quality data. A contact manager will only be as good as the quality of the data in it – it gives you the structure and the analytics, you provide the data. It’s vital everyone is trained into using the CRM system and it’s vital the vision about how the system is supposed to be used is shared with everyone. Most importantly, everyone in your company must buy into it, rather than the new system being imposed on users.

What can you do about it?
Write a one page (not more as not everyone will read it) document about your vision for improving the customer relationships. Add a set of rules to ensure everyone fills in notes when they communicate with customers and promptly fill in sales opportunities and use the system to track their tasks. Add a section about the quality of data you expect. Circulate it to everyone and include it in the onboarding documentation you give out to new employees. You might have to keep an eye on the quality of data and ask for improvements where you see the rules are not being followed.

If you’re consistent in your commitment to data quality, this will ultimately reflect in the quality of your relationships with your customers and your business will be much more succesfull as a result.