I'm a small business, Basically, the business is me and at one time I did it all: prospecting, sales, tech support, billing and accounts receivable. Of course I also did the filing, though I confess that with the crush of everything else, that often consisted of just laying the latest piece of paper on the top of a pile of older things.
When my wife stopped working, she took pity and began handling the paperwork side: billing, making up deposits, chasing slow payers and of course the neglected filing. That took quite a burden off my shoulders, but it also partially disconnected me from my customers. I no longer had involvement in the accounting side, so I lost part of my knowledge base.
Of course I could get at that information: I've used Quickbooks to handle all that for years and my wife just continued that. I could call up any report or customer detail at any time, but that's not quite the same as actually doing the work.
Although I do a fair amount of simple selling, both product and support, most of my business is built around recurring subscriptions - support and licenses. Tracking those subscriptions can be difficult, especially when it involves other companies as it does with software licenses. Quickbooks doesn't help me with that, so long ago I wrote scripts that alert us to expiring subscriptions. Those are useful, but I needed more. What I really wanted was an electronic filing cabinet where I could put everything I need or want to know about customers.
That part by itself wouldn't have been too hard to do, but I also needed something multiuser that would be easy for my wide to use and understand.
Kerio Workspace gave me exactly what I need. Its ability to merge in text notes, pictures and any type of file gives me a full record of all customer interaction. Of course I can keep track of upcoming renewals, keep notes on contact name and email changes, but I can also attach copies of invoices, scripts I wrote and records of support incidents and resolutions. The automatic tracking of file versions makes that ability particularly powerful for scripts and invoice history.
Now EVERYTHING I know about my customers can be in one place.
The search capability lets me quickly find whatever I need and the ease of use lets my wife update those parts that are related to invoicing and collections.The granular sharing controls lets me only show her those parts of the records that she cares about, so her view can be much more compact than mine.
This layout can give me everything I want, but if I could interface it with my scripts using an API such as Kerio has provided for Connect, I could automate even more of it and actually make it rival commercial CRM software. The ability to automatically copy renewal information to the man customer space would make this much more like a real database and eliminate manual work. I hope that is something Kerio will consider in the future.
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