Overlapping schedules? Check availability first

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Picture this:

Ben, a business contact calls, and he’s upset. He’s upset because of an issue that he’s facing with the product. As it would typically happen, you schedule a web meeting at a time that Ben’s free.

What’s next? You would open up your CRM, schedule an event, and assign it to the best Customer Support Executive (let’s call him Peter) that you have in your team. You’re relieved. You’re confident that Ben’s problem would be solved, right? Wrong! The web meeting never happened. And why so? Simply because Peter wasn’t free at the time that you had scheduled the event.

Now what if it had happened like this?

Ben calls, and you promise a web meeting. He tells you a time that is convenient for him. While scheduling the event, you check Peter’s calendar to see if he’s free. You find that he isn’t and then assign the event to another person. Simpler?

The ability to check the availability becomes very important when it comes to Customer Service. After all, executives cannot attend to more than one customer at a particular time, can they?

Take a look at the Add Event section in Zoho CRM‘s new design. You can now check the calendar right before scheduling an event and you do not have to navigate away from the page either. We call this feature Check Availability.

Zoho CRM Check Availability

“A localized Sales calendar” – this is what it means for your Sales Team. Data is available in a single place and there’s no overlapping of meetings or schedules.

Working as a team is a lot easier! Do you agree with me? Add your comments below.

Zoho CRM Read-Only Mode Available From Our Secondary Data Center

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One of the priorities we set ourselves after our outage is to get a read-only instance up quickly in our secondary data center in the New York metro region. We have always had the data backed up in that data center and our software team has been busy making it run in read-only mode. Today, we are happy to announce that Zoho CRM is running in read-only mode from our secondary data center.

The URL is https://crm-ro.zoho.com

We will keep this read-only mode accessible to customers all the time, so that in the event of an outage in our primary data center, your access to data will be preserved. We still have some limitations we are working through – for example, database information is synchronized immediately between our silicon valley and New York data centers, while document attachments have a one hour lag, which we will be addressing soon. There are some other limitations: search does not work and most of the integrations, particularly Mail integration do not work. All of these limitations will be removed in a few weeks. Our goal in getting this out quickly is to give you access to your core CRM data from our secondary data center.

Other Zoho services are working on read-only versions right now and we will open them up as soon as they are ready and post announcements regarding them.

This read-only version is just a start. We are working to provision our New York data center fully so that all Zoho services can run in hot standby mode, so when the next disaster strikes, we could switch over the service quickly.

Zoho Books says ‘Don’t fret while paying multiple bills’

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Recently in Zoho Books you could record payment for multiple invoices issued to your customers. Now we got more good news for you!​

After some careful analysis on the feature requests and our forums, we identified another pain point for our users. Multiple Bill payment for a vendor.

Imagine this. It’s a bright sunny day, you reach office and get a frantic call from your vendor to clear your several outstanding bills. Not a result of your poor time management skill but just one of those days when everything on your to-do list goes awry. You want to resolve this as soon as possible so that you can go back to your planned activities. You pay your dues and click open your accounting software to do the tedious task of recording the payment ONE by ONE

Well that was ‘before’. Now Zoho Books allows you to record payment for multiple bills for a vendor from ‘a single screen’. You click on the magical button ‘bill payment’ and all the outstanding bills are listed on a single screen. Enter partial or full amount against the individual bills and save. You now save time which you can devote to growing your business.

Multiple Bill PaymentWait wait… we got more news !

If you are a business owner, chances are apart from receiving customer advances, sometimes your supplier may request for an advance payment for the supplies or goods delivered to you. You can use the same magical button ‘bill payment’, enter the advance amount and save it. When creating future bills for the same vendor, Zoho Books will remind you of the existing credits available which you can use to pay the bill.

Credits available for vendor

Hope this little feature solves your problem. Do send your feedback in the comments below and stay tuned in for more updates coming your way!

Introducing Zoho Support Express Plans complemented with a brand New UI

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We are excited to introduce Zoho Support Express, our latest plan for small businesses and do-it-all teams. Also we are out with a simplified new UI which is easier to access, spacious and faster.

Our Express plans are designed keeping in mind the requirements of small businesses that find regular plans beyond their budget and those not having earmarked support agents. Let’s delve into more information on why you need to try our Express plans and what’s different in it.

Why a new plan?

Being an ideal helpdesk for small and medium businesses, Zoho Support has its regular plans starting from USD 12/agent. However several of you have said, your monthly support costs have soared and neither have you utilized the features to its maximum. We quickly ran a list of features which are frequently used by you (scrapped those sounding fancy) and decided to position it as a separate affordable plan.

What is different in Express?

Express plans are restricted by number of tickets handled in a day and not by agent licenses you own. So, if you handle not more than 50/100/200 tickets in a day, we have an Express plan for you. If you employ part-time agents or seasonal employees; simply add them in Zoho Support at no extra cost.

Want to try Express?

You can try our Express plan for your business by signing-up for a 15 day free trial with access to all the features. Plan starts at $24/month. To check out the features available in Express, click here. To know which plan best suits your business, e-mail us at support@zohosupport.com

Go ahead and have all your employees christened as support agents to provide that awesome customer support today.
Also watch out for this space, to know more on the new UI and its enhancements.

Dispatch Jobs made easy with vWorkApp and Zoho CRM

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This is a Guest Post by Michele Goldsworthy, Online Marketing Specialist at vWorkApp.

vWorkApp and Zoho CRM have come together to create the first solution on the market that combines customer relationship management with mobile job dispatching and scheduling. The result? A complete solution for field service companies that provides real-time management and tracking of jobs.

Zoho’s CRM software manages the entire customer life-cycle, including sales, marketing, invoicing, customer support, and more. However, Zoho by itself cannot cater completely to the field service companies. Field service companies also require real-time tools that let them direct, schedule, and track their work in the field, as it’s happening.

vWorkApp created the Zoho CRM plug-in to allow companies to dispatch and track workers directly from within Zoho. With vWorkApp, workers can be scheduled, dispatched and tracked on a map, via GPS. The best part is that it’s all in real-time. Dispatchers can get a clear picture of the exact locations of their workers.

Here’s an example of how it works. Joe’s Plumbing is a small company with 4 plumbers. A dispatcher from Joe’s Plumbing has a Zoho account to manage their customer relationships, sales orders, and invoices. With the vWorkApp plug-in for Zoho CRM  they are now also able to create work orders directly from within Zoho CRM and schedule these out to their team’s mobile phones.

They simply go to the vWorkApp section of their Zoho account, select a work order, and drag-and-drop it onto the plumber they wish to perform the work. The plumber receives the work order on their phone, along with any special instructions. The dispatcher is then able to track the progress of the work order in real-time right from within Zoho.

This plug-in is currently available in private beta. To take a sneak peak, do get in touch with us.

Announcing Zoho Sync: Push Mail And Mobile Sync Service

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Zoho Sync for Mobile Devices

We made a new year resolution to keep our services in tune with the ever evolving world, especially with respect to the rapidly growing smartphone and tablet segment. Today, we are glad to announce the release of Zoho Sync for mobile devices. You can now get automatic notifications PUSHed to your mobile phone or tablet when new emails arrive and your device’s local mail, contacts and calendar applications will sync with the web client in real time.

Zoho Sync for Mobile Devices

What’s neat is that this 2-way synchronization happens over-the-air, in the background (provided an internet connection is available) and once turned on, does not require any further manual intervention. So wherever you are, however occupied you might be doing other things, your mobile device will be up-to-date with the latest messages, event updates and contact information.

Zoho Sync functions using your mobile device’s Microsoft Exchange® ActiveSync® (EAS) account support and does not require any additional software. Since almost all the latest IOS, Android and Windows mobile devices support EAS, you can easily enable Zoho Sync on most mobile devices that run on these popular platforms. If you want to sync only mail, only mail and calendar but not contacts and so on, you can specify your options in your device’s EAS account settings.

ZSync Exchange Account Setup     ZSync Automatic Notification

So how is using Zoho Sync better compared to the typical IMAP setup? Let’s see:

  • Instead of your mobile device having to check (poll) for updates at regular intervals, notifications are pushed from the server to the device. This improves battery life.
  • You’ll receive automatic notifications on your phone the instant a new email arrives.
  • You’ll receive automatic notifications about new calendar events and event updates the instant the changes are made.
  • Email, calendar and contacts related actions you perform on your mobile will automatically reflect on your web client and vice versa. For example, when you read an email on your mobile, it is marked as read when you log in to the web client later on.

During our in-house tests, the syncing was smooth on the iPhone, iPad and Windows mobile devices. However, we did experience issues with certain models of Android phones. This is because of limitations induced by the customized Android versions shipped by the individual mobile makers and we are continuously working on overcoming them.

So go ahead and set up Zoho Sync on your mobile device and let it tell you that ‘You’ve got mail!’, as soon as it arrives. Be warned that once you turn on push notifications, your phone could be buzzing continuously and you might get addicted to checking mail. And do make sure you back up data before setting up the EAS account because existing data might be removed.

And please help us by sparing a few minutes in providing feedback about how this worked for you.

Has your phone started dinging yet? Coz…. you’ve got mail!

Update (26th June, 2012): Zoho Sync support is now available in all plans. Previously it was open only to users in organizations with their email hosted under the Zoho Mail Standard 15GB plan. Please request the administrator of your organization to go to the Control Panel and ensure that Zoho Sync is enabled for users. This is explained in the list of Zoho Mail feature updates made on Feb 06, 2012.

New in Zoho Sheet: Format Painter, Vertical Merge and Goal Seek

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We are glad to introduce the following new features in Zoho Sheet and we believe you will find these really useful.

Format Painter:
Copy formats and styles of one or more cells and apply them to other cells. This helps you in formatting your spreadsheet the way you want in no time.

Vertical Merge:
Merge cells across was already available. Now you can merge cells down as well. Go ahead and layout your spreadsheet the way you want.

Goal Seek:
Find the exact input value which will generate the desired result of a formula. More power to analyzing your data.

Chart Enhancements:
New options in Charts are now available – Set first row/column as labels and Legend position settings.

Here is a slideshow with screenshots depicting these features in action.

Zoho Sheet Screenshots

Learn more about these features on our discussion forum and post your feedback and suggestions.