Just In: Customize Charts to your Heart’s Content!

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Yes, Zoho Reports now offers quite a few customization options for a chart. Let’s see how a chart transforms when its settings are customized. Below is the default chart you would get when plotting Apple’s quarterly revenue numbers (from 1Q 2011 to 1Q 2013).

Click Settings at the top-left and it brings you the ‘Settings’ wizard.

In the General tab, you can set the chart’s ‘Title’ and ‘Description’. The next Axis tab will look like the below.

You can change all the values of the Axis parameters.

And you can set the Borders & Colors too.

We will leave out the last Threshold tab for now (who are we to set a threshold for Apple’s sales? ;) ). Your chart with the settings modified will look like the below.

That’s quite a transformation from what you saw as the default chart, right? Try your own settings for the charts you create in Zoho Reports now.

Better way to Track Notes: Introducing CloudWork’s Connector for Zoho CRM and Evernote

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This is a guest post by Christophe Primault, CEO of CloudWork that supports lean businesses to stay focused on core activities, rather than spending more resources on managing office tasks as more clients come on board.

Zoho CRM, listed by readers of GetApp as one of the top cloud business apps of 2013 – really does what it says on the box: it is a fully-functional client and a sales automation tool. But we find that too many of our small business users are not taking full advantage of all that Zoho CRM has to offer, as individual staffers don’t maintain the contact notes with updates on the latest client interactions. As a result, Zoho CRM is used as a sales management tool, but may not be taken advantage of in helping manage relationships or to exemplify customer service once clients come on board.

Through our user feedback, for example, we know that design teams may all contribute to the same client project, but predominantly work individually. We have seen this with graphic and website designer businesses, where each member contributes to a shared project, but works pretty much in a silo for the most part.

This creates the risk of miscommunication between a designer and the client, whose level of fear and anxiety is raised when they feel they are not being listened to because one designer is unaware of a recent discussion that’s being held with someone else on the team.

With CloudWork’s connector for Zoho CRM and Evernote, anyone who has client contact in this design business can write a quick note in Evernote – from their mobile device, smartphone or laptop – to describe the latest meeting outcomes or client discussion. By using the client’s email address as the subject of the Evernote note, CloudWork automatically matches and adds the contact note to Zoho CRM to keep client records up to date.

Now our design business can use Zoho CRM throughout project management activities:

  • To double-check the latest client requests,
  • To understand future customer needs better, and
  • To help raise the bar on the business’ overall customer service culture.

Do try the integration and let us know how it works for you.

Infographic: What’s the Secret to Being a Successful Project Manager?

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Project Managers are responsible for performing streamlined juggling acts. In addition to successfully meeting goals and objectives, Project Managers must also find a balance between a client’s needs and a team’s capabilities. What traits must a project manager possess to play the juggling act to perfection?

In a past Facebook poll, we asked you what makes a successful project manager. Below, is a visualization of the responses we’ve received. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Poll: How do you organize your support team?

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Whether customer support is a right or a privilege for your customers, it’s a tricky commitment to uphold. More often than not, running a team involves finding order within chaos. It’s all the more applicable while running a customer support team.

The Zoho Support Poll

One of the easiest ways to seek out ‘order’ is to organise or group a bunch of your support reps using some condition.

By Channel

If you have multiple ways by which customers can reach you, a thoughtful way to organise your support team would be by channel. Each channel can have one or more support agents dedicated to it. That way, each channel gets the optimal treatment. Channels like live chat, phone and social media are far more interactive when compared to email and web forms. By staffing appropriately, you can win across all your channels.

By Time Zone

For companies that offer products or services to customers across the world, dealing with various time zones is of utmost importance. Some time zones may contribute to most of your support load while other time zones might not contribute much. Organising your support team by time zone is a smart way to handle this.

By Product

Handling customer support for a portfolio of products is just as tricky as anything else we’ve discussed here so far. Organising your support team by product is a good way to eliminate chaos and establish leadership within your team. There’s a clear point of contact for each product, it’s very straightforward.

A Hybrid Approach

Depending on how complex your business is, you might also gain by using a combination of these methods. Though this looks complicated, it can work out really well if you can establish clear processes and make sure everyone knows about it.

The question on our poll is this: How do your organise your support team?

If you follow your own tailor-made approach, do tell us about it in the comments section.

Results: For ‘free’ accounts, customer support is…

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Earlier this week, we had asked the same question to both customer support managers and agents, in a bid to see how their opinions differed. Much to our surprise, there was a visible difference!

About 57% of managers and administrators felt that, for ‘free’ customers, customer support is indeed a privilege. Amongst support agents, about 54% actually opined that customer support is a customer’s right.

Straightaway, it’s easy to see one possible reason for this difference. Support agents deal with customers on a daily basis. They deal with the emotional aspect of customer support. They see the ups and the downs in raw colours, everyday.

Managers often do not handle customers directly on a day-to-day basis. They see customers via support agents. The emotions are not as vivid when there’s an intermediary. In other words, what managers see is more of the analytical picture. Also, with experience comes a different perspective. Since managers commonly have more experience than support agents, their perspective is likely to have evolved as well.

On a related note, Kevin’s comment, that prospects could be using a ‘free’ plan to evaluate a business, is really valid. Businesses, in addition to offering a free trial of paid plans, have to handle such prospects carefully. In that sense, customer support definitely becomes a right.

If you have an opinion on this, you can share it with the community via our comments section below.

We’ll be back soon with another question. Have a great weekend!

Poll: For ‘free’ accounts, is customer support a right or a privilege?

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Zoho Support has a lot of happy customers. We keep hearing from them and we talk to them about a lot of things. But, for quite some time now, we’ve been meaning to regularize this engagement with our customers. So, we’re starting off with a weekly poll series. We pick a topic, ask you a question and wait for your opinions. You choose your view, let’s discuss it and we’ll all take back a wider perspective. We’ll do this every week. Simple, ain’t it?

The Zoho Support Poll

What’s a better way to kick off our weekly poll than to ask a really important question! So, we picked one of the most omnipresent questions around. Here’s more:

Products that offer a ‘freemium’ pricing model face this debate, pretty often. Operations managers and Business managers constantly discuss this question. But, let’s face it. The question’s very tricky, per se.

‘Free’ customers need customer support. In fact, they sign up for your product only because they trust you to do what’s best for them. They believe that nothing will go drastically wrong. And, if something actually goes wrong, they believe that you’ve got their back. Customer support is really a part of the overall product experience. It’s not something external that you can plug in whenever you deem fit. It’s the customer’s right.

On the other hand, the business side of things suggests a different logic. Customers that sign up for a ‘freemium’ product know that it has a very dumbed-down experience. At that level, the product itself is pretty simple! Assigning and justifiably using customer support resources for ‘free’ accounts is not easy. An extremely-detailed-yet-really-simple knowledge base should do the trick. It’s a single-instance investment of time and effort. Yet, it stays around for eternity and can be looked up easily. Occasionally, though, personalized customer support can be offered for ‘free’ customers, depending on support load from paying customers. It’s not meant to be a part of the basic experience. It’s just a privilege.

Each side has firm reasoning to justify. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.

If you’re a Zoho Support customer, you should see the poll as soon as you login today. This week’s poll ends on Friday. Hurry! We’re waiting to hear from you!