Keep your Customers happy and they’ll keep you in business!

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For any business, it’s the ‘relationship’ part of Customer Relationship Management that really matters. The old adage “Keep your Customers happy and they’ll keep you in business” holds especially true in this ‘social-media-centric’ era today. Customers now are part of your community, they want instant answers to their problems and they drive your business!

So, what can you do to keep your customers happy? While it’s true that there’s never a “one size fits all” solution, it’s still possible to tell all your customers that you’re there for them and that you’re listening to them. Here are 5 ways…

1. Be aware of every nook and corner of your Product

Consider this situation:

Customer: We have a requirement for 250 users. We would like to know if your new integration can support us.

You: Ugghh.. ok.. wait.. Just hold on a moment, Let me just find out.

During this hold period, the customer must be thinking, ‘If the executive isn’t confident enough, how’s this company going to support me after the sale? Should I go to some other place, where they’re sure what they’ll be offering us?’

Being knowledgeable and confident about every aspect of your product always helps, because only then will you be able to pass on that conviction to the customer.

2. State the Facts

In other words, honesty is definitely the best policy. Playing around with your customers’ expectations just because you want to retain them, well, how terrible can that get? Ask the question: ‘How would you want to be treated had you been in your customer’s shoes?’

3. Be willing to Educate

Telling more is always good – not just about your product/service but about the industry, the latest trends or the value addition that you can bring in over your competitors. There’s no assurance that you’d make a sale, but you’re sure to earn a long term business contact!

4. Be in Touch

A call or an email once in a while, just to say “hello”, posting on a customer’s wall, telling them about the latest in your product/service or a even a tweet will do. Simple, yet effective. Reach out!

5. And finally, use your CRM system well

The power of your CRM system lies in how well you use it. Sticking to the basics will go a long way.

Let’s take a very common example of the Sales Team: You talk to a prospect, and there’s plenty that the prospect will have to say. A task as simple as adding notes to the Contact details can help you build a strong relationship. Your note can be like: ‘

Talked to Jonathan. Interested in buying the Enterprise version. Asked questions which include pricing, customization features, mobile edition and Security. Wants a demo on the 5th. Loves to talk about the market conditions. Interested in Politics. Big MJ fan and dwells on Pizzas!

A few weeks later, when you have a call with Jonathan again, you can’t be better prepared for the call. The notes that you’d added will be your savior.

These are a few points but can be vital. Many of us – be it Sales, Marketing, Customer Support or Engineering – forget to empathize with customers while communicating with them. Amid the flurry of trying to get work done, we forget to realize that it’s people’s emotions that we are dealing with. In the end of it all, it’s those business relationships that count.

What are the other ways in which you keep your customers happy so that they keep you in business? Let us know your ideas too!
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The Office is evolving – and so are Zoho apps!

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In a recent post titled ‘How the Office is evolving‘, Eric Kintz at Gigaom talks about the transformation of work-spaces from the original ‘cubicle’ concept to the “New Office”.

Excerpts from Eric’s post:

“Today, the physical space is adapting to the way teams work – ad hoc, on a project basis, cross-functional, with team members scattered around the world. We’re witnessing a fragmentation of collaboration spaces.

The “New Office” is an airport lounge on a tablet, a midnight video call on the kitchen counter, a shared table at the office or a collaboration pod for ad hoc meetings.”

Eric also goes on to predict: “The personal space will continue to shrink and become increasingly mobile/virtual. We’ll likely see a day where the office becomes a series of collaboration spaces, designed to connect fragmented virtual teams.”

At Zoho, we’ve been building our suite of Business apps to cater to the needs of the “New Office” that Eric described. Our Apps too, have been constantly evolving in tune to the collaborative, cross-functioning, geographically fragmented nature of work and work-spaces.

All our apps can be accessed while you’re on the move, or from wherever your “New Office” happens to be at the moment. Integrated chat, document management and inbuilt sharing features characterize all our apps and enable geographically dispersed teams to work closely together.

Also, as the New Office becomes increasingly mobile, we’re expanding our Apps offering to work seamlessly across portable devices.

Check out these Zoho Apps we’ve launched for mobile and portable devices so far:

  1. Zoho Mail optimized for iPad
  2. Zoho Invoice for Android
  3. Zoho CRM for iPhone and Mobile Web
  4. Zoho Docs for iPad
  5. Zoho Invoice for iPhone
  6. Zoho Docs for iPhone

There’s more to be added to the list soon. Meanwhile, we’re excited to be a part of this emerging “New Office” culture!

(Image courtesy: stock.xchng)

How To Clean Up Your Business – With Zoho

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2 recently featured an article titled ‘How To Clean Up Your Business‘. The article talks about Spring Cleaning, a time to ‘get rid of the tasks, people and situations that drain time, money and energy from your Business’. Every Business encounters its share of such tasks, people and situations that it must successfully overcome in order to increase and optimize productivity.

I’d like to share some ‘Productivity Pitfalls’ quoted from the original articleAt Zoho, we offer several applications which can help eliminate 7 out of these 8 Pitfalls. These Zoho Apps can be used together, in conjunction with one another, to achieve the purpose of maximizing productivity while saving you time, money and energy.

Productivity Pitfall #1 Scattered day plans

 “Failure to plan their days is the No. 1 reason business owners waste time, energy and money, says New York City-based time-management expert Julie Morgenstern By not planning their days, they tend to become reactive and distracted, diminishing their productivity and the revenue they can generate.”

Our SolutionZoho Mail for Business comes with Calendar, Tasks and Notes apps integrated for improved productivity and efficiency. With Zoho Mail, Business-Owners can plan and organize their days better. The Calendar app within Zoho Mail helps easily schedule, manage and track important events and meetings from within the email interface. The Tasks app lets you assign, plan and track important tasks, ensuring that you never miss any task-related deadlines. The Notes app lets you add quick, color-coded notes to gather all useful information in one place, so you can later refer to it, edit or import it. Zoho Mail also supports multi-level folders that make it easier for Business-Owners to track, organize and prioritize incoming email thereby saving time and energy. Read the complete list of powerful features offered by Zoho Mail for Business.

Productivity Pitfall #2 DIY syndrome 

Morgenstern estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the small and midsize businesses she consults with waste employee salaries, including their own, by not focusing each person’s time on the optimal task for that person.”

Our SolutionZoho Creator helps many Business-Owners build custom apps for their Busi
ness requirements. Instead of hiring a developer who may or may not understand their exact requirements, Business-Owners can easily build their own custom app all by themselves, using the Zoho Creator platform. Building their own apps saves these Businesses considerable time and money that may have otherwise been wasted hiring unnecesary developer resources Also, using Zoho Creator ensures that there is no compromise on the quality of the applications built.

One such Zoho Creator customer, Wayne “Kila” Watts, Chief Pilot at reports:

“It was a godsend for the applications I needed for my website, saving me thousands of dollars to have someone else make the databases and design the pages.”

Read experiences of other Business-Owners who have saved time and money by building their own apps with Zoho Creator.

Productivity Pitfall #3 Disorganized direction  

To make the delegation process more effective and less time-consuming, Bakersfield, Calif.-based business growth consultant Russell S. Allred, co-author of Best Practices of High Performance Entrepreneurs, recommends creating task-related systems and processes. Write a list of steps for each task you perform regularly in your workplace and the best practices for completing those steps.

Our SolutionZoho Wiki helps create a secure, collaborative environment for Businesses to document and share such task-related systems and processes online over their Intranet. Wikis serve as a knowledge-base where employees can maintain and update information and steps related to these tasks.

Stu Press, CEO of Grand Assistance, is the owner of one such Business and has successfully achieved this purpose using Zoho Wiki. Here’s what he had to say about our Wiki solution:

“Zoho Wiki has been a valuable communication tool that we were able to integrate into our business. We have been able to eliminate printed procedure manuals and employee handbooks resulting in a more nimble and environmentally friendly process for keeping our all of organization’s people in alignment with our goals. We enjoy being able to quickly implement modifications and updates to our Wiki.”

Learn more about Zoho Wiki features that can help you create process-oriented knowledge-bases for your Business.

Productivity Pitfall #4Untamed distractions

“Many people have no idea how to manage the overwhelming amount of communication that comes their way on paper and electronically, says productivity consultant Kimberly Medlock, founder of Productive Matters in Olive Branch, Miss. To cut down on distractions and time-sucks, clean up your act, she says. Develop hard-copy and electronic filing systems to help locate important papers and information more quickly.”

Our SolutionZoho Docs can serve as the electronic filing system helping your Business store, manage and collaboratively work on documents online. Not only does Zoho Docs allow secure file sharing via an online workspace, it also includes an admin console so that user rights and access to files can easily be controlled. Read more about these features available on Zoho Docs.

Productivity Pitfall #5Leaky expenditures 

By checking his monthly expenses closely, Eli Mechlovitz, co-founder of, an online glass tile retailer, found a variety of unwanted subscriptions, warranty programs, fee-based website analytics programs, utility bill errors and other incorrect or unwanted charges. Eliminating these budgetary leaks has saved his Brooklyn, N.Y., company approximately $4,000 per month.  Every quarter, be sure to review where the money is going, he advises, and discontinue or fight unnecessary or incorrect charges.

Our SolutionZoho Books is a comprehensive accounting solution that helps Business-Owners manage their finances and stay on top of their Business. With Zoho Books, you can keep your Business expenses in check and manage the money flowing in and out of your Business. Learn more about how Zoho Books can help your business stay financially healthy.

Productivity Pitfall #6:  Collecting (all) customers

Maria Marsala, a business coach in Poulsbo, Wash., finds that many of her clients waste time and energy serving the wrong customers. She encourages them to define their “ideal” customer–the person or entity that will pay a fair price for their product or service, value their business, return and buy from them again and generate referrals. The greatest marketing investment and effort should be devoted to finding and courting those ideals, she says.

Our Solution: Zoho CRM can help your Business build, maintain and strengthen customer relationships. With Zoho CRM, you can organize your customer database so that you can identify and tag the right customers, prioritize and track business opportunities and plan focused marketing activity. Read about some of the Business-Owners who have benefited from adopting Zoho CRM for their Business.

Productivity Piftall #7: Energy-sucking employees

 When Mechlovitz has trouble with unproductive or negative employees, he tries to move them into positions that better suit their skills. But if an employee isn’t a good fit or is miserable, he says, you have to end the relationship–quickly. 

Productivity Pitfall #8: Persistent procrastination

 If you constantly avoid tasks or put off work until the last minute, you need to figure out why, Morgenstern says. Burnout could be from being overworked, but she often finds that procrastination is rooted in uncertainty or intimidation. If a project seems too big, procrastination can be a coping mechanism. She suggests breaking the task down into manageable steps you can do in shorter chunks of time.

Our Solution Zoho Projects is helping many Businesses effectively manage their Business Projects online. With features such as task-management, time-tracking, project calendar, chat and meetings, Zoho Projects can help you plan and optimize the time spent on tasks. 

Business-Owners can use Zoho Projects with their teams ensuring that team members collaboratively manage their tasks within optimal time. Tasks can be easily broken down into manageable chunks and completed over a defined, measurable period of time. Not only that, Business-Owners can also save and plan their own time that they would otherwise spend micro-managing different tasks across multiple projects within their Business. Read about some of these Businesses and how they have benefited from Zoho Projects.

So, that’s the complete list of Productivity Pitfalls and how they can be avoided by using the right Zoho Apps. Thanks to Gwen Moran of for the original article that inspired this post. Besides this list, are there any other Productivity Pitfalls that affect your Business? Tell us about them, and we can help you figure out the best ways to tackle them.

If you liked this post, drop us a comment here or give us a shout on twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

New: Linking Zoho Mail & Tasks

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When we have action items from an email communication, we typically switch from email to a task app. After completing the task, we go back to email, search for the right email thread and respond. This is what many of us do – switching between Mail & Tasks apps multiple times a day. This context switching is expensive. What if these two apps are contextually integrated?

We now have Zoho Mail & Tasks  integrated. You can now create tasks directly from an email. In doing so, we automatically link email and Tasks. 


This means, if you go to the Tasks app, you’ll see an email icon which invokes the email from which that task was created. This way, you don’t have to go back to mail and search for the email thread to respond. 


Add tasks from email and respond to emails from tasks – Only in Zoho.

Cost of Running Your Business on Zoho

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Edwin Boender has a post titled ‘Better than Google Apps?‘. He’s just discovered Zoho and he appreciates all we have on offer.

Sometimes you just get dumbfounded when finding out new features on the web. Last week I found An online application provider, providing productivity, business and collaboration apps. Almost any common application is provided by Zoho. And Zoho’s pricing for individuals is free, just like Google Apps. The thing is; you get a bunch more of apps comparing to Google. From CRM to a Project app and from a marketplace
to a database app.

Edwin then comments about our pricing,

When you are looking for professional edition the pricing method seems fuzzy. For every app you need to pay a certain amount per user per month. Sudden[ly] the cloud app doesn’t seem to be that cheap.

‘What does it cost me?’ Edwin and all small and medium businesses (SMBs) evaluating Zoho as their solution have this question on their minds. We take pride in offering a transparent pricing model. Clicking on the Pricing link at the top of any of Zoho’s service pages will get you our pricing plans. The embedded Zoho Sheet below is to illustrate what the subscription costs are for businesses with 10, 25 and 100 employees.

This should have given you some perspective. For example, if your organization has 100 employees, you spend around $19 per employee per month for using all the functionality that the integrated Zoho services offer (note that this is just a sample calculation and your exact costs may vary).

Zoho’s services are available à la carte and you can pick them based on your business needs. Since all Zoho services are offered under monthly subscription plans, you pay as you go and there’s no initial cost involved. If you subscribe annually, you get discounts for most of Zoho’s services too. All this should make Zoho an attractive solution to run your business on.

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Sridhar Vembu in NBC's Press:Here Business Show

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Sridhar took part in NBC’s Sunday morning business show, Press:Here. This week’s episode was hosted by reporter Scott McGrew and Sridhar was accompanied by CEOs of Immersion Corp (Clent Richardson) and Extreme Networks (Mark Canepa). The invited CEOs and the show’s host discuss a host of topics from technology in the Valley to the American economy to international markets to H1Bs – Press:Here Episode 31 “CEO Show” Part 1 and Part 2.

Thanks to Scott McGrew, the NBC and the CEOs of Extreme Networks & Immersion Corp for the nice discussion.