Introducing Business Card Scanner App for Zoho CRM

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Card Scanner App IconEntering data manually into any CRM app is not fun. Any solution that helps automate data entry is a win for CRM users. That is the idea behind our new mobile app for Zoho CRM – Card Scanner.

Card Scanner is an iPhone app that extracts contact information from business cards and saves it into Zoho CRM as Contacts or Leads. Take a photo of a business card and the app extracts information from it and automatically populates the information into the appropriate fields. You can save the extracted information as a CRM Contact or Lead if you are logged into your Zoho CRM account within the app. Read more

Utilizing Employee Referrals in Your Recruiting

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I had a roommate in college who, like many students, put a lot of importance on his social life. He went to parties on the weekends — even the occasional weeknight — joined a number of organizations and went out of his way to meet as many people as possible during his four years of undergrad.

One day he was leaving for another meeting when I made a comment about how busy his schedule was. Just before walking out the door he turned around and said, “it’s not the grades you make, it’s the hands you shake.”People waiting for job interview

Despite sounding like an excuse to not take school work very seriously, the comment made a lot of sense; however, it wasn’t till after graduating that I fully realized the truthfulness of his statement. The most recent example was three and a half months ago when I was working on a freelance project from home and a chat window opened in the bottom right corner of my laptop screen with five words in it.

“Interested in a new gig?”

The message was from another friend of mine from college and the “new gig,” was a writing job in the marketing department at the company he worked for — Zoho.

A few emails back and forth, some research, two tryout articles and one interview later, I landed the job. And while I still believe you have to have the necessary skills and adequately prepare for the interview, it was the hand I shook back in 2007 that got my foot in the door.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

To some degree, this old mantra is very true. Think about all the jobs you have had in your life. From waiting tables to working as a lifeguard during summers at the public pool and even starting your career, there’s a good chance that you got one of those jobs from knowing somebody who already worked there.

Turns out, employee referrals is a common way of recruiting not only talent, but also trustworthy employees who fit your company’s culture. In fact, according to Jobvite, the online employee recruiting firm, employee referrals make up 40 percent of hires across the nation.

Referrals also speed up the hiring process. Jobvite also found from their research that it took an average of 29 days to hire an applicant from a referral — 10 days quicker than a job board and 26 days quicker than a recruiting site.

The Top of the Resume Pile

iStock_000017600891XSmallThe concept of “who you know,” is nothing new for the hiring process, but it has become increasingly more advantageous, especially during the recent recession.

In a January article from The New York Times, writer Nelson D. Schwartz says there is a, “fundamental shift in the job market…big companies are increasingly using their own workers to find new hires, saving time and money.”

For the global service firm Ernst & Young, employee recommendations make up 45 percent of nonentry-level jobs, a 28 percent increase since 2010. And like any job, getting to the top of the resume pile is one of the biggest challenges.

“A referral puts them in the express lane,” said Larry Nash, Ernst & Young director of experienced and executive recruiting, to The New York Times.

Additionally, a new study by three economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York also found that an employee referral was twice as likely to get an interview. And of the interviewees, the referral has a 40 percent better chance of getting the job.

Finding the Right Balance

Of course, not every hire comes from, or should come from, an employee recommendation. It’s about finding the right balance between recommendations and also potential employees through applicant tracking and recruiting software.

At Ernst & Young, their goal is for 50 percent of hires to come from employee recommendations. Other companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car want to make sure they don’t get past that halfway mark to make sure others still have a chance.

“I think if you begin to creep up to 50 percent or higher, you start to worry about people not getting the opportunity to talk to us,” said Marie Artim, vice president for talent acquisition at Enterprise Holdings.

Using employee recommendations can be very beneficial for your business, but it really is a balance that is unique to your company. Find what works best for you and get the employees who will take your company to the next level.

View Customer Info from 3rd Party Apps with Custom Related Lists & Gallery Scripts

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Recently, we introduced Custom Related Lists that gives you a holistic view of your customer’s information from Custom Apps and third-party applications right within your CRM system. Today, we’ll explain it more in detail.

Imagine this situation – Charles Stone heads the sales team for Zillum Corporation. Apart from assigning sales targets and forecasting he reviews sales expenses, travel plans and meetings with prospects. Since his sales reps travel extensively and the expenses can’t be reported on a daily basis, they enter the travel details and expenses using Zoho Creator’s Mobile App.

crm-desk-mobile

This data is in turn linked to each prospect and displayed contextually in the Contact details page in Zoho CRM. So, Charles no longer has to toggle between tabs or sign in to different applications. With all the information in one single place, Charles can analyze the return on investment for the deals won. Needless to say, there is also an overall increase in the entire team’s productivity and time is made use for more sales follow-ups. But, there’s more to this!

Contextual Integration with 3rd party Apps
To kick-start, we’ve integrated with third-party applications, like Contactology and Saasu Invoices. Just select the service from our Gallery of pre-defined functions, and instantly get the customer information from the app within your CRM.  And, of course, we’ve more integrations in line. We’ve also contextually integrated with Zoho Recruit.

Developer Tools For Programmers
If you have a flair for programming, we encourage you to write your own Deluge function. You can use it for your own purpose or we will work through the function and help you share it with the user community.

Sounds interesting? Then try out this feature and leave us your comments below.

- Vaishnav

Customer Spotlight: After Long CRM Search, Stott Marketing Finds Success with Zoho CRM’s Ease of Use

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stott marketing

Six months ago Ed Stott, founder and CEO of Stott Marketing decided it was time to migrate his company from PCs over to Macintosh use.  For the past four years, Stott Marketing has been steadily growing, and with this growth, Ed Stott found it necessary to make the change.  However, he faced one major hurdle.  Their current CRM software was not compatible with the Mac Operation System.  Stott scrambled to find a replacement but was dissatisfied with the other options until he found Zoho CRM.

The Business

Ed Stott - Founder and CEO

Ed Stott – Founder and CEO

Stott Marketing Group is a marketing consultancy that specializes in working with small to medium size companies to help them gain visibility and clientele.  As a small marketing consulting firm, Stott Marketing typically tries work with four to five clients at a time in order to deliver maximum attention to each client.  As part of their efforts to deliver optimum quality marketing consulting to clients, Stott Marketing decided that the Macintosh platform better suited both their client’s needs as well as their own.

The Challenge: Implementing CRM after PC to Mac Migration

Stott’s primary concern when searching for a new CRM tool was finding something that was easy to navigate, simple to learn, and customizable.   He began research into a number of online CRM platforms but found that most did not suit his needs.

“I looked at so many other online providers, Salesforce for instance, and it just seemed that they were all difficult to navigate through when in fact CRM should be a tool and a resource rather than a daily challenge.”

Stott’s patience began wearing thin.  As his search continued, Stott stumbled upon a CRM tool that he had previously heard of but had slipped his mind.  He decided to explore Zoho CRM to see if the capabilities met his needs.

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

Stott has fourteen years of experience with CRM so when it came time to choose a tool, he was very particular in finding one that fits his particular needs.  As previously mentioned, the features most paramount to Stott were:

Simple to learn – Stott Marketing cannot afford a steep learning curve causing an extended period of down time because of the high volume of demand from each client.

Easy to Navigate – Stott prefers a simple interface that allows quick input, output, and lookup.

Customization – Stott’s client profiles and daily needs are highly varied and as such he needed a tool that allows for simple CRM customization.

Stott initially turned to Daylite CRM, however he found it “cumbersome.”  Even more frustrating, he experienced major problems in obtaining quality customer service.

“When I was on the trial period with them, I submitted a ticket for a particular problem and they would never get back to me.  Customer service is key for me, and being in marketing consulting, we emphasize creating a great customer experience.”

Implementing Zoho CRM

After the failed attempt with Daylite, Stott turned to Zoho CRM and found it very easy to implement into his company.

“I found Zoho CRM very easy to work with. I could bring in some customized fields to fit my business and change things around.”

After the short period spent learning Zoho CRM, Stott became further convinced that this could be the CRM solution for him.

“I loved the idea of having everything in front of me.  In fact, something as simple as the CRM ‘home’ button just brings everything to life for my workday.  I can see exactly what I have for my daily meetings and tasks, recent contacts that I’ve been communicating with more often, and a whole bunch of other cool features.”

Support at Zoho

One of the major complaints Stott had with his previous CRM trials including that with Daylite was the lack of adequate customer support.  The final benefit that convinced Stott that he had found a winning CRM solution was his support experience with Zoho.

“I found with Zoho that the customer experience both on the product side as well as the technical support side was just great!”

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

Stott has now been actively using Zoho CRM and it seems that he has found a “keeper.”  He is quickly able to view and navigate through his daily tasks and contacts and freely calls Zoho support anytime he has a question.

Stott is especially happy with the way Zoho CRM keeps him organized.  “Zoho CRM gives me a daily roadmap so I know where I’m going each minute on each day.   I know exactly what I need to think about today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week.  The ‘roadmap’ aspect of Zoho CRM is just great!”

Additionally, Stott was happy to find the easy integration with “Mac Mail” which allows him to use CRM on his Ipad and Iphone as well while still keeping everything centrally organized.

What You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“I’m incredibly happy with Zoho CRM and absolutely delighted with their customer service.  When I place a call, I’m quickly talking to a live person which is really important to me.  Zoho CRM is a great product and they are constantly working to improve it further by actively considering customer suggestions.”

To learn more about Stott Marketing, click here.

Zoholics: Add to your Business Toolbox this May

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Want to know how to better manage your business? Whether you’re getting started with using Zoho or want more out of your Zoho apps, the second annual Zoho User Conference held on May 29th-31st in San Francisco has you covered with over 55 sessions.

In addition to providing general workshops, there will be tracks specifically designed for those who are already well-acquainted with Zoho products or want to explore other tools that can help make managing a business more efficient.

The conference will feature well–known speakers in the tech industry like Ray Wang, Brent Leary, Doug Sleeter, and also Robert Scoble, who will be hosting a fireside chat with Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho.

To find out what you can learn from the conference, answer some of the questions in the graphic below or view the conference’s full agenda here. Don’t forget to download our updated Zoholics iPhone app that will give you details about the event on the go.

We hope to see you in San Francisco! For more information, to register, or book your hotel at the venue, visit www.zoholics.com.

What sessions are you excited about? What speakers are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Zoholics Infographic

 

 

Email With CRM inside; A Must Have For Sales People Who Live In Email

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So you managed to set up this fantastic Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, which is without a doubt helping your sales team close more deals faster. But then, it dawns on you that some of your sales people are still obsessed with using Email for exchanging messages.

The more you notice them spending time in keeping the two tools in sync, you get this nagging feeling that maybe your Email service and CRM should interact with each other?

Let’s face it. It is an irrefutable fact that we are all still obsessed with checking and responding through Email even amidst the burst of social media channels. You simply cannot write it off, particularly as a communication medium for business. Trying to treat CRM and Email as two exclusive tools, is probably not too prudent.

In our view, as a provider of online business apps that include an award winning CRM and ads-free business email service, the stance to take is not CRM or Email, it is CRM and Email, integrated with each other.

For instance, imagine how nice it would be if, from within your Email service you could:

Automatically identify leads, prospects, customers (or in short CRM contacts)
You just realized that you promised to send an email with some important documents attached to a new prospect with a first name….Patrick, last name….ugh….? You hit compose in your Email interface, start entering ‘pat….’ and bam!

crmleads-autoprompt

There amongst the list of possible Patricks, suggested automatically, under a section clearly demarcated as ‘CRM Contacts and Leads’, you find ‘Patrick…..Yee’. Yes, that’s him. You select his email id and start composing your message. Without having to navigate away from your Email.

Auto-magically filter emails from the people who matter most (that is your CRM contacts)
crmbox-folder

Your Inbox is overflowing as usual and you wish to somehow directly get to those emails that are truly worth reading and responding to.

Oh wait! Since your Email connects with your company’s CRM, your CRM contacts’ messages are automatically filtered into your ‘MustReadEmails’  folder. Better to check this CRMBox in your Inbox then.

That’s a relief!

 

Equip yourself with utmost information about your leads and prospects
Hasn’t there been at least one instance where you ended up confusing a prospect because he had conversations with multiple people in your business, who were out of sync with each other?

zcg-crm2Thanks to the CRM contextual gadget in your Email, you can now quickly skim through notes recorded about a contact by your colleagues, events and demos scheduled, completed and more. Having gained a deeper insight on the accumulated impact of interactions as team, rather than just you individually, you can proceed to create new CRM tasks from within your email. And all of your actions will directly reflect in your business’ CRM. Nice, isn’t it?

Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if Email & CRM are integrated with each other in such non-intrusive, contextual ways?

Does your Email service include such CRM integrations? Does your CRM come with a MailMagnet?

Isn’t an email service with CRM integrations, a must have for sales people who live in email?

Well, these integrations are already in place between Zoho Mail and Zoho CRM. Maybe it’s time you switched to a smarter email hosting service, built for business use?

McDonald’s customer service problem

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In a surprise to absolutely no one who has ever spent more than a minute inside one of their 34,000 restaurants, McDonald’s has begun admitting after a string of missed expectations that even in the world of fast food, being cheap and tasty isn’t actually everything—customer service matters.

By Giorgio Martini (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Ronald, in the face of news that could make anyone Grimace, has finally learned what we—the customers—always knew: customer service, or the lack there-of in this case, makes up a huge part of the combo meal we are looking for in a place to eat (or from any business for that matter).

Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported on a webcast that Mickey-D’s executives had with franchise owners, in which the company said 1 in 5 customer complaints are related to “friendliness issues, ‘and it’s increasing.’” According to the presentation, the top complaint from customers: “rude or unprofessional employees.”

Executives admitted that “service is broken,” and cited that customers find their service chaotic. The Journal added, “McDonald’s told franchisees that customers rate good service almost as highly as dollar value, pointing to a National Restaurant Association survey.”

One franchisee told the Journal where he feels the Golden Arches are headed, “The new leadership has decided to focus on customer satisfaction as a real driver for us to build the brand and build sales. So for us to maximize the potential that’s out there, we’ve got to be the leader in guest satisfaction.”

Well, duh. What took so long?

With 1.7 million employees worldwide serving 68 million customers each day at 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries, McDonald’s is the world’s burger behemoth. But stateside, the typical McDonald’s is a small business, with 90% of the 14,000 restaurants owned by independent operators.

Like any small business, a McDonald’s is much more than the products it makes and distributes, it is an organization driven by customer service interactions. Without quality employees delivering happiness to customers in harmony with a consistent and accurate product—the customers will stop returning, the sales will decrease.

For me, there is always somewhere else I can spend my money. In this case, the Chick-Fil-A across the street will always greet me with a smile and go out of their way to refill my refreshing diet lemonade. Of course, that is only if I am not at the local joint around the corner where they know me by name and have memorized my usual order.

Regardless of how cheap your food is, and how fast you can deliver it, if you continually screw up customers’ orders, treat them with contempt when they make requests, and are flat out rude—they won’t return. Those addictively delicious, crispy, salty fries and the smooth sweetness of a $1.29 hot fudge sundae can only cover up so much bitterness from your employees.

Known the world over for their iconic Golden Arches and greasy boxes of children’s happiness, Ronald and Co. appear to be slowly coming around to today’s customers—who value good customer service and support and will quickly and boisterously share with the digital world when they encounter sub-par service.

A real McDonald's. New and modern look, same old rude service.

Yes, this is a real McDonald’s. Seriously. (Credit: Freshhome.com)

Lately, they’ve focused on rehabbing the company’s image from a mechanical slinger of processed, fatty foods (Super Size Me” wasn’t the best PR), to an affordable, fresh, quick-service café with options (even healthy ones) for every mood, taste and budget. Their attempts to remain relevant to today’s customers—adding variety to the menu, redesigning their locations, even adding upscale beverages (they have real-fruit smoothies, at McDonald’s, seriously)—are impressive in contrast to the old McDonald’s. But while extensive, and expensive, these changes were only skin-deep.

Ronald is wearing the right things, he’s listening to the right bands, but underneath he is still the same old, creepy, rude clown.

The reason why others are passing McDonald’s by, as McDonald’s has finally admitted, is because they have a cultural problem with customer service. Their culture isn’t centered on the customer. The new expert-designed spaces and menus are aimed to make McDonald’s convenient, comfortable and friendly in today’s marketplace, but the key ingredient – the people delivering the customer service – was neglected rather than rehabbed.

Last week, for the first time in a very long time, I had a meal at McDonald’s. I stopped in for breakfast at a trendy, clean, well-designed space in downtown Chicago’s Loop. Uncluttered, well designed, easy-to-use digital menu boards welcomed me, enticed me to order. I even had a choice of fashionable mid-century chairs to sit in and eat. The space was great – it felt cool and comfortable, and was more an extension of it’s chic neighbor, the W hotel, than a competitor to the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street.

Yet the whole experience fell flat because the employees were mechanical, impersonal, and in the case of the one who handed me my order, flat-out rude. I was somehow inconveniencing them for making a simple request.

Maybe McDonald’s will get it right. Maybe the small-business owners that operate the majority of their restaurants in America will realize that the Golden Arches only go so far, that they need to focus on building a customer service culture that gives everyone, not just those under the age of 10, a happy meal.

Next time you stop in, please share with me your latest McDonald’s experience. Myself, I think I will track their progressing customer service elsewhere.