When I interview Zoho customers I often hear two common stories of what life was like before Zoho:
Data was spread out over multiple applications such as spreadsheets, documents, and industry-specific applications. Nothing was integrated and customer data was a constant hunt.
Support from application vendors was very poor.
Once Tara Lynn Gray, President and CEO of Yadari Enterprises, switched to Zoho she said she’s “feeling the love.” Yadari Enterprises is an information technology shop that specializes in mobile device management. The two of us spoke at the Zoho user conference, Zoholics in Burlingame, California.
Since Yadari Enterprises moved to Zoho, Gray’s company now has complete flexibility to modify their views and forms, plus they can get a full view of the customer, track interactions, and get an overall pulse on the business. “That flexibility is key for small businesses,” said Gray.
Information is accessible instantly. No more looking for sticky notes. No more looking up spreadsheets. No more looking through Outlook folders, Gray said.
While Yadari Enterprise relies on Zoho, they rely more heavily on their office manager to police the implementation of Zoho CRM. Gray and I talked about the keynote presenter who discussed the importance of having one person to be the administrator of the CRM. They have to be in charge, making sure that everyone inputs the data the same way. And if a problem needs to be solved and an issue needs to be researched, then the administrator handles that, said Gray.
Gray said she’s looking to migrate all her company’s activities to Zoho as she realizes there really isn’t a need for too many other outside tools.
Steven Arant works in IT desktop support atMecklenburg County office, North Carolina. His everyday job involves providing IT support to his fellow staff. Before discovering Zoho, he wasted a lot of time physically running around the office to address various support issues.
According to Steven, not using any kind of remote support application made his daily job very difficult. Not only were his time and energy wasted, but his fellow employees also had to wait for him to come and assist them. Steven was determined to change this into a more pleasant and less wasteful IT support experience.
Well, this was history, as one day, one simple Google search for remote support services landed him on Zoho Assist. He found out that just by entering his fellow employee’s email address and inviting them for a remote support session was more than enough to get on to their computer screen. He was thrilled with the instant connect to the remote screen and this helped him to resolve the issues much more faster.
Let’s hear his success story in his own words.
Within 20 seconds I can be on their PC working on their problem. Since I have a email listing saved on my desktop all I have to do is copy and paste their email into Zoho Assist and hit invite to session. My fellow employees can get instant help. I can also help contract employees at remote areas now without them having to come into our office for help.
To cite one recent case, an outside contract attorney needed help from his office opening and viewing discovery on a case. The DVD had a video player that was VERY difficult to install and operate. He would have had to come into our office to watch his video but I was able to fix it remotely. He was so happy since his trial was going to start the next day!
My coworkers call it computer magic. That’s how I feel about it too. Its taken our old outdated office into a new era of productivity. I paid a $115 a year for Zoho and its worth every penny to me. I paid out of my own pocket because I wanted to provide better service to the people I support and Zoho allows me to do it.
If you have your own share of experience with Zoho Assist helping your business scenario, easing your job of supporting your customers remotely, do let us know. If you are one of those who haven’t tried Zoho Assist yet, well, it’s high time you try your hand! You can get an idea on why Steven is so excited about Zoho Assist.
Last week was definitely a milestone for us. It was when we expanded our portfolio with Zoho Sites, a do-it-yourself website builder. After a week of website building, many early adopters have graciously shared their opinions, and they are very warming indeed. Thanks to TechCrunch, CMSWire, The Hindu and many others who covered the launch.
We’ve put in quite some time and effort in simplifying website building for everyone, regardless of their technical expertise. We have already begun acting on the overwhelming feedback we are receiving, so we are sure it’s eventually getting better by the day.
Most of you who had published a website, had experimented with every feature. Thank you for trying Zoho Sites, and even more for sharing your site-building experience. You drive us.
Here are some websites we stumbled upon.
Following a successful launch, we are back to adding missing pieces to Zoho Sites. A shopping cart is the most requested feature till date, and it sounds interesting to us too. Some time soon, you will experience major make-overs, and a few cool new additions to Zoho Sites.
For others who missed out on our announcement, Zoho Sites is a website builder, without the complexity of HTML. Try Zoho Sites today!
It took Jamie Wilson, Coordinator of Global Operations for Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) six months to evaluate all the CRM systems the nonprofit was considering. He looked at Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Siebel from Oracle, and Zoho. His top requirement was a CRM system that could offer tight integration between financials and billing.
Initially Wilson began advocating Microsoft Dynamics because it integrated with Sharepoint and Microsoft offered a decent nonprofit pricing scheme. But when Wilson made his final decision he advocated for Zoho because of its interoperability with other applications through its open API. CDISC uses so many different systems and Wilson discovered that a lot of them integrate with the Zoho API right out of the box.
Choosing a system that fit CDISC’s needs was Wilson’s first technical hurdle. Now he needed to get people to actually use the CRM system which was a major culture shift for the nonprofit. Just because you create the workflow processes it’s not easy to get people to stop inefficient behavior such as sending all communications via email and attaching documents to emails. Ultimately his job required a lot of follow up with members and leads on how to use a workflow to make their life a lot easier.
For any other nonprofit struggling with a similar situation of porting over legacy financial data, Wilson highly recommends you get your financial data in the most standard format possible and get ready for a long cutover period. You’ll have to rely on old Excel spreadsheets for a while until you can start relying on the live CRM data coming in.
For both technology and people, Wilson advised, “Don’t rush the money and be sensitive to people’s attitudes to how they do work.”
Before the vacation rental management company Optimal Owner Care started using Zoho, they tried to grow their database by purchasing a bulk set of leads and dialing them through a piece of rudimentary client management software that wasn’t sustainable nor expandable, said Matthew Velez and his colleague from Optimal Owner Care.
Since switching to Zoho, business has changed dramatically. The company has grown from ten employees to sixty. To get a handle on what was happening with the sales team they had to normalize the data protocols and the 70,000 leads they’ve processed, explained Velez.
If everyone is doing their own thing when entering data into the CRM, that’s a real problem. You can’t generate reports. It’s very important that everyone follows the same protocols.
Optimal Owner Care’s most valuable reports are their sales reports. They can see how efficient sales people are being and use that information to optimize the workflow. They also utilize a dashboard so that each sales person can see the exact dollar amount they’re making based on every single action they take and that motivates them to do more, Velez said.
Without Zoho there’s no way they could have pulled this off with their growing staff.
For other organizations dealing with a mountain of growing data, they highly advise to stay organized. Create data entry protocols from the start and stick to them. If you keep constantly changing procedures you’ll create gaps and lose data. It’s the only way to create a sustainable and growable sales force.
Which username do I need for this service again? Wait, I am not even signed up…
We’ve all been there. Most importantly, we know your customers hate being in that all too common position and having to create yet another account. Which is why we are pumped to introduce the newest feature in Zoho Support: remote authentication for your customers.
Now you can provide your customers a seamless user experience by allowing them to access your helpdesk in Zoho Support with the same username and password they already use for your other services.
In the past your customers had to register and keep track of an entirely different credential to log in and submit a ticket, but now, with Remote Authentication enabled, your customers will have quicker and easier access to the solutions they need.
Now your customers can securely access your portal within Zoho Support based on the login credentials they already have for your website.
It works like this: once you enable and setup remote authentication, your customers are redirected to your locally hosted script. This script authenticates the customer against your own user management system and routes them back to your Zoho Support account.
If a customer of yours doesn’t yet exist in your Zoho Support account, an account for them will be created on the fly. You also have the option to remotely authenticate users from select IP ranges only.
Learn more about setting up remote authentication here. Enable this feature for your customers today and let us know how they like their new, seamless logon experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zoho Reports has long supported custom formulas, where you can define your own formula that involves two or more columns. These formulas are applied at the row level. Say there is Column A and Column B and you want a Column C which does string concatenation (combining texts). You can have a formula column defined as
concat(Column A, Column B).
There are scenarios where aggregation formulas (sum, avg, min, max etc) are to be applied at the column level. Here’s a real world example. In Google Adwords, Click Through Rate (CTR) is defined as (No. of Clicks)/(No. of Impressions). If you just go by averaging the CTR as Avg(CTR), you will end up with the wrong average value for the month, quarter or year. But if you let Zoho Reports know that CTR is actually sum(Clicks)/sum(Impressions) by using the Aggregate Formula, then you’ll arrive at the right values.
You can add an aggregate formula by using Add -> Aggregate Formula option in a table’s toolbar.
When creating reports (charts, pivot tables, summary views), you can use these aggregate formulas as you would use the regular columns or custom formula columns.
Here’s how the wrong and right approaches for averaging the CTR would look like.
Can you think of other scenarios where you can use the power of Aggregate Formulas in Zoho Reports? Let us know in the comments.