Code Red! How good is your emergency response?

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Zoho Support Escalation Alert

For decades together, the traditional customer support paradigm worked like a charm. Businesses were happy with a ‘good’ ratio of positive to negative experiences. Over time, that ‘good’ ratio has grown steadily, like seaweed on a pier.

Today, it’s a social world. There’s no ‘good’ ratio anymore. For your business, the difference between a negative experience and a catastrophe is almost nothing. As much as social media amplifies the good things about your business, it has a more powerful effect on the not-so-good things as well.

The concept of emergency response has to be finely ingrained in your customer support approach itself. Yes, this necessarily includes your helpdesk software too! Let’s take a small example, in the case of a web-based product/service.

A very common case is that of a service outage. One customer tweets about it. A few more pitch in. And, before you know it, the whole World knows you had an outage. If your first official response, in this case, is delayed or insufficient, you can as well get into a bunker underground.

What if your support rep doesn’t know what to do, or isn’t around, at the time? Well, that’s exactly why you need a really smart helpdesk software! Of course, if you use Zoho Support for your business, you wouldn’t need to worry about this situation at all!

Emergency Escalation Rule

Zoho Support has automatic social escalation built right into it. You can just setup an escalation rule wherein if several tweets containing your business’ name appear in a span of a few minutes, the support manager gets notified by email/SMS. This is just one example of where it can come in handy. You can think of many more relevant situations, I’m sure.

We use this internally at Zoho. In fact, our helpdesk coord simply loves it.

But, you don’t have to take our word at all. Try it yourself. Just set the rule up once. You’ll probably be as cool as a cucumber during your Code Red moment!

New in Zoho CRM Workflow Rules: Time Based Actions, Notify Contacts and more

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‘When was that task due?’
‘Oh, I missed that appointment again!’
‘What was the closing date of this deal?’
‘How many tasks do I have for today?’

For all executives in Sales or Customer Support Departments, these lines may sound very familiar.

If you are familiar with Zoho CRM’s Workflow Rule feature, you’d know that you can create Alerts, Tasks and Field Updates whenever a record is created or edited. But then, consider this scenario where you are a sales representative handling multiple deals with their closing dates spread over almost 2 months! You want to receive a reminder about each deal just 3 days before the closing date. Not possible with Zoho CRM, you’d think. But wait.. with the latest updates that we have made to Workflow Rules, this is now possible for all Enterprise Edition users!

We call this new functionality “Time Based Actions“, which can be simply defined as: “alerts, tasks, and field updates that are triggered on a specified time after the rule is executed.”

That’s not all. You can now send email alerts to your contacts and leads too. Send that Welcome Email right on time and without delay from your Workflow Rule itself.

And in case you want to assign your leads to a different person after they reach a particular stage in the sales pipeline, you can do so with the Workflow Field Updates. The Record Owner field can now be updated too.

Learn more about this feature but before you proceed, here’s a presentation on how you can use Zoho CRM’s updated Workflow Rules to handle a simple business case.

A overdue task or a missed closing date.. for all those in the Sales and Customer Support Departments, this is no longer the case. We believe these updates would be useful.

We would also like to know about all those use cases that you handle with this feature. Join our user community and let us know!

New in Zoho CRM: Zoho Support Integration, Campaign Members, and more…

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Marketing Automation, Customer Support and Project Management just got better with Zoho CRM! Our latest updates will tell you how.

Add Campaign Members to a Marketing Activity

Picture this: You have a variety of Marketing campaigns lined up for your existing leads – one is an Online Ad, the other is a webinar and the third is a direct mailer. You want to track the effectiveness of these campaigns – how many of these leads converted to sales, how many need
follow ups, how many … and all this inside your Zoho CRM account. With the functionality available in the Campaigns Module you’d think that this is not possible. Associating more than one Campaign to a Lead is not supported after all.

But wait! Our Campaigns module just became a little more accountable. How? You can now associate multiple campaigns to a Lead or a Contact. After this update, every Lead or
Contact that’s part of a Campaign becomes a Campaign Member and it is also easy to update the status of Campaign Members in one go. There’s more on this update here.

This is what Tim Bigoness, VP of Sales and Marketing, D-Tools had to say about the new capabilities of the Campaigns Module:

They have made some changes that make this much more useful in terms of
tracking marketing activity and associating leads and contacts to
marketing efforts.

The improvements made to this feature set are a big step forward towards
some integrated metrics that would make Zoho CRM an even more killer
app for us.

So, go ahead with your marketing campaigns and associate members to a campaign right inside your Zoho CRM account!

Track your Customer Support Tickets inside Zoho CRM

Wondering how Customer Support got better? Well,
Zoho Support, the
Online Help Desk Software
from Zoho is now integrated with Zoho CRM.

So, what does this mean for you?

In simple terms, Customer Service with Zoho CRM will become a lot more efficient with this contextual integration. You can view the thread of support tickets that a customer or prospect has sent to your Customer Support Center. And if you are a sales person, you’ll know the entire history of communication that the customer had with your company from a single page.

At Zoho, we are already using the Zoho CRM + Zoho Support integration. Peter Balaji, who heads our Sales and Support had this to say:

…Sales guys will now have upper hand and can see if there is a transaction going on with support/pre-sales, whether it is a right time to call the customer and pitch-in for sales, etc..and same applies for pre-sales guys…

So, you can look forward to better interactions, better customer support and manage your customers better with the Zoho CRM + Zoho Support integration!

Improved Zoho Projects Integration
It’s not just the Campaigns module; we have improved the working of Zoho Projects Integration with Zoho CRM. If your company has a separate Project Portal, you can associate that portal too. Learn more about the new functionality here.

Try all these features and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Be a part of the Zoho CRM community. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or

Zoho@Zoho: Zoho Creator Team’s Call Logging App

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Most of you Zoho Creator users know Ruben well enough without me having to introduce him to you. He, together with Akash and Latha, supports Zoho Creator users when they hit a roadblock while designing their applications. With 400,000 users (and counting) to serve, we expect to face at least 100 requests on any day, and most of the days the number is well beyond that. Despite the support team’s undying passion to be of best help to our customers, the process of logging the ticket status tends to becomes monotonous with time. What would be ideal to maintain such a heap of data, but a Zoho Creator application? And who else knows the use-cases really well to come out with the perfect application? When we started off, one of the motives was to divert the valid leads to the sales teams of the respective service, but as we went on building this application, more custom needs started showing up. And we went on to handle most of those support related requirements in this application.
For every support call we answer, there is more to it than just metrics such as duration of the call. Simply using these material parameters to measure the quality of the call does not give us the entire picture, because they never are stable. What do these metrics do but cripple the quality of support provided? Yet, it becomes significant to keep track of these factors for analysis and projection. That is just what this application is for. Even more, as a matter of fact. It not only records the purpose and happenings during the call, but also looks up our CRM data, returns alerts if the contact is already present, prompts to save it if it is not saved yet and a whole lot more. In addition to auto-populating the necessary fields from the user details repository, this application is also capable of assigning the ticket to another member of the team for follow-up. This assignee would be notified by an automated email, triggered by this application. Integration with Zoho CRM and Zoho Reports has considerably increased the application’s functionality.
Assuming a real-life scenario, what would you do if you have a hardware failure on your new computer that cost you a fortune and a half? Call the toll-free line hoping for a replacement, naturally. But imagine getting bombarded between various departments, wrong queues as they call it, not once but multiple times. Nothing short of a moment of misery, I presume. Well, we’ve attempted to address that concern too. If you reach Zoho Creator Support instead of the intended Zoho Service Support Department, we notify the respective support team of your contact, and they call you; That’s how this application has added value in it’s own way, to the way we provide support.
Portraying these line-of-business apps here is an initiative by Zoho Creator to bring about an awareness of a simple online solution to your otherwise-complex, unique needs. This time, never mind the “this-took-us-a-day-to-develop” and “has-saved-us-time-and-money” part of the story. Try this application. If you have built an online application like this, for your rare use-case, share it with us if we may know. You too, are welcome to be a part of this empowering initiative.

Beyond Web Analytics: Tools to Improve Customer Support Efficiency

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You cannot improve what you cannot measure! In this day where inbound traffic is everything for a website, webmasters can’t live without Web Analytics tools. They give you hard data about how your website was accessed, the usage patterns, user interests and trends and so on.

However, they cannot tell you semantic data about your application. For instance, Google Analytics cannot tell you the efficiency of your support reps, or the rate of participation of your customer community. It cannot tell you whether your users really “found” the answers to most of their questions or they just kept shooting in the dark till they got frustrated. It cannot tell you if ideas are languishing without votes or questions without answers. You will need special tools for that.

Zoho Discussions now has an

integrated statistics and analytics panel

that gives you just that ability. Here is a quick screenshot of how the stats dashboard looks like:


You can now use the unique user participation trend graphs to find out how many users are effectively engaging. Such stats let you figure out the effectiveness of the knowledge base that you have accumulated in your customer support community. How? Well, if the number of users visiting the site does not drop down (measurable using this dashboard or also from WebAnalytics tools), but the participation levels have gone down, then possibly users are finding their queries answered – just the nirvana you want to achieve through your support community. Of course, this analysis is not complete without measuring the participation or closure rate on topics raised. That brings us to the next graph

The stats dashboard also gives you snapshot graphs that show the effectiveness of your customer support community. Higher response rates indicate satisfied customers – since most of their queries are answered and issues solved. You can use this data to drive improvement campaigns centered around increasing customer satisfaction.

Sometimes just knowing generic participation is not enough. Zoho Discussions packs a powerful

topic type segregation

feature that helps your users classify their queries / opinions into discussions or questions or ideas or problems. If you are running a customer support community area, it is very important that you are answering all user queries and problems on a daily basis. Ideas on the other hand need more thought, analysis before a response is made. The statistics dashboard can help you differentiate response periods for each topic type. The figure on the right side shows that user Questions need attention from your customer support representatives.


Zoho Discussions

for your customer support community today. Improve your customer satisfaction!