Act! Alternative – InfoFlo CRM is Compatible with Windows 10

In 2015, Microsoft launched an initiative whereby all qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8 users were able to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge by registering for an automatic download.

The current version of Act! (v17.2) is fully compatible with Windows 10; however, editions of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and earlier versions are incompatible with Windows 10. This leaves many consumers of Act! CRM Software in a precarious situation.

The recommended action(s) that you should take to ensure compatibility between Act! and Windows 10 varies depending on which edition of Act! you are currently using. For consumers, whose business is being affected by the incompatibility, the issue is both frustrating and one that they would like to resolve quickly – void of any complicated and technical steps taken on their part.

At Carmel Vision, we understand your frustrations. We’ve had numerous inquiries from customers seeking Act! alternatives that are compatible with Windows 10 since the release in July, 2015. We are pleased to report that our flagship product InfoFlo is fully compatible with Windows 10. Should you wish to switch from Act! to InfoFlo, we would be able to help you export your contacts and all notes attached to them and import them to InfoFlo for a minimal fee. You will be required to install Microsoft Excel for some of the exports to work.

One key advantage to switching to InfoFlo is that you receive free upgrades for life.  That means, you will never have to worry about having a version of our software being incompatible with an operating system.    We are committed to ensuring customer satisfaction at minimal cost to our customers. We deploy our team of research and development professionals with innovative and versatile minds to deliver the professional services that our clients most deserve.

Why choose InfoFlo?

  • There’s minimal switchover cost
  • Training provided to all employees and managers
  • Affordable – Outlook Sync feature is only $69/user
  • Complete office solution with project management, social media, phone system integration and more.

No credit cards and long term commitments are required. Click here to download free trial.

DiggThis

How to Back Up Business Contact Manager Data

The following is an inquiry sent to us via our contact form:

 I’ve been using Business Contact Manager with Outlook for a number of years. After upgrading to Outlook 2016 in September, 2016, I was told, via a pop-up box,  that BCM is no longer compatible with Microsoft Suites. I was not aware of the changes until after the upgrade. Now I’m stuck without the ability to downgrade to Outlook 2013 and no data. Can you please help me?

In August, we wrote about the changes Microsoft has made to Business Contact Manager.  We caution all readers who use to Business Contact Manager and are wishing to upgrade to Outlook 2016 to contact us first before making the switch. We will be able to custom import your data into our interface and will do the necessary steps for backup to make sure the integration is as swift as possible for you.

How to Back Up Business Contact Manager Data

The built-in method of performing backups and restores is very easy.  You can find the backup and restore option for BCM by doing the following:

  • BCM 2003
    Business Tools-> Manage Database…
  • BCM 2007
    Business Contact Manager-> Database Tools-> Manage Database…
  • BCM 2010
    File-> Business Contact Manager-> BackUp and Restore
  • BCM 2013
    File-> Business Contact Manager-> BackUp and Restore

From there, the backup and restore process is swift; select the backup location and provide the password for the backup of the database. You may need an external hard drive to host your data. If your backup is on the same disk as your original database and your hard disk fails, then your backup will be lost.

As well, we caution you not to make any upgrades to any software without backing up your data first in a safe location. If the upgrade fails and you are not able to access a certain program, you can easily restore it to a point when the program was working; hence where your backup comes into good use.

So if you are in a similar situation as one of our inquirers, do not panic. All you need is a copy of your backup and we’ll help you with the rest.

Why choose InfoFlo?

  • There’s minimal switchover cost
  • Training provided to all employees and managers
  • Affordable – Outlook Sync feature is only $69/user
  • Complete office solution with project management, social media, phone system integration and more.

No credit cards and long term commitments are required. Click here to download free trial.

 

 

DiggThis

How To Retain More Customers with Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship (CRM) management is the strongest and the most proactive approach to attaining and maintaining relationships with all clients. It is not only the heart of your business, but it ideates strong personal bonding within people as well. Development of this type of customer relationships drives the business to new levels of success.

Once this linkage is attained, it is very easy for any enterprise to identify the actual needs of customer and help them to serve them in a more proactive way. It is our belief that the more strategies involved in implementing the customer relationship management, the stronger and more fruitful is the business and its relationships.

Sales department is one of the biggest benefactors of Customer Relationship Management. Forward-thinking sales people who utilize the tools available to them are able to monitor and analyze their team activities and forecast sales in order to plan ahead with ease.

The marketing department is another benefactor of Customer Relationship Management. They use CRM to identify and target their best customers by offering discounts, deals appreciation letters and the like at the most appropriate times and through channels they know customers listen through. This helps the enterprise improve all aspects of business operation by using more streamlined processes. CRM is also advantageous to marketing managers in that it helps them manage campaigns with clearer objectives and goals.

In today’s commercial world, practice of dealing with existing customers and thriving business by getting more customers into loop is predominant and is mere a dilemma. Installing a CRM system can definitely improve the situation and help in challenging the new ways of marketing and business in an efficient manner. Hence in the era of business every organization should be recommended to have a full-fledged CRM system to cope up with all the business needs.

Many organizations have dedicated world class tools for incorporating CRM systems into their workplace. Some of those tools cost thousands of dollars to purchase and retain. CRM does not have to be perceived as a burden or an expense that drains your business’ cash flow. There are several solutions, such as InfoFlo, that offer businesses a flat fee and free upgrades for life.

Contact us to purchase our InfoFlo CRM Tool for just $99.

DiggThis

Email Contact Management- Why Every Business Needs It

Approximately 50% of new small businesses in North America close within five years, and most of those that survive these statistics are just barely making it by. They’re making just enough money to stay in business, but never manage to generate enough capital for upgrades and expansions that would allow them to grow.

There are, of course,  new small businesses that seem to be super-charged. They may begin with one or two people working, but the next thing you know they have over a dozen or even hundreds of people and their offices or products are everywhere in the world. Two perfect examples are WhatsApp (purchased by Facebook) and Twitch (purchased by Google).

What makes those businesses different? Why do some small businesses take off while others close? This is obviously a broad question and there are business experts who make a great deal of money selling their input. But there is one part of the answer that is simple and clear: in order to succeed, a small business must have an effective contact management system. 

supercharged employees

There are many contact management software solutions on the market today but few are good at both managing contacts and emails. Take Microsoft Outlook, the most well-known contact management software on the market, is good at managing your contacts but lacks on the email management side.

To properly manage your emails in Outlook you need to set rules and filters so that the email automatically links to the contact. Most users of Outlook however do not know how to set this up and tend to create folders and drag and drop each email to the folder manually. A typical inbox today has 10,000 plus emails so one can only imagine all the time you can save not having to do this task.

With InfoFlo’s contact manager software you get auto email linking built right into the core $99 package. It’s simple all the user is required to do is either add a new contact or import your contacts from Outlook, Gmail, CSV etc. Once this is done then all your emails will be automatically linked for you.

Another great email management feature built into the $99 InfoFlo core package is the spam filter. When an email comes into the system it will display it as known or unknown. A known email is one that is linked to a contact in your contact list and the unknown is an email address not added to your contact database. This spam filter is a great feature because now users do not need to go through one long list of emails and spend their valuable time sifting through spam something they normally do in Outlook. For information please visit www.carmelvision.com

DiggThis

80% of Companies Believe They Provide Good Customer Service

A recent study found that 80% of companies believe that they provide great customer service….unfortunately, only 8% of their customers believed that they actually provided a superior service.

Is your business one of the few that are actually living up to their promises? If so, then it’s very likely that you’re using social media and a customer relationship management tool to enhance your customer service offerings.

In case you’re not 100% sure, this blog post offers you tips on how you can keep your “superior” customer services top notch.

 

customer service

 

1. Be Personable & Social

The moment that consumers have a negative experience with a business, one of the first things they do is make a complaint on Yelp or Google+. If they feel they’ve been cheated, they will want the whole world to know how bad they thought your business was. When this happens, you should already have staff in place that will find these people and try to resolve their problems, professionally. When you do this, you are letting other customers and prospects witness how your business actually takes care of its customers and complaints.

 

2. Exceed Expectations

Over 55% of consumers don’t expect their complaints or inquiries to be responded to within an hour. What happens if you exceed their expectations? What if you had a social media manager or CRM software that could help you pinpoint the issue and resolve it in 30 minutes or less? It would significantly improve your customer service and exceed your customers’ expectations.

 

3. Make things convenient

Now a day, customers expect almost real-time complaint resolution and want to be able to communicate with organizations through a wide variety of channels (email, phone, SMS, mail, Web, social media). If a customer complaints to you on Facebook, don’t respond through email or a phone call. Respond on the platform so that the customer used, so all others viewing the complaint will see how you resolved it. Once the complaint has been addressed, offer the customers other ways to get a reach of you if they have any other concerns or questions.

 

4. Keep a record!

Be sure to record each and every complaint you receive in your CRM system, no matter how small or innocent it may seem. This will give insight into what processes are consistently going wrong in your business. CRM software can help keep things from slipping through the cracks, but in order for it to be effective, the information needs to be collected and analyzed.

DiggThis

How to Respond to Complaints with Contact Management System

Just last week, I was dealing with a service outage in my area. The internet as well as the phone lines and television services were not working. I called my service provider for assistance and they told me that they wouldn’t be able to fix the issue until a week later. I wanted to cancel because my alarm system was not working and causing me to have security concerns.

In this midst of finding out information about cancellation, the customer service representative’s line got disconnected. I wasn’t quite sure what to do because I had a contract with the service provider and wanted to weigh my options. Instead of calling me back, the CSR immediately assumed that cancellation was the only way out for me and cancelled my services. When I tried calling back, the tech department told me the billing department was closed. The next day I spent 6 hours, with long wait holds, on the phone trying to get an answer out of them. Upon the 6 hour mark, I decided to cancel because I was tired of being transferred from billing to technical from technical to billing and from billing to management.

Two hours after cancellation, I get a call from the retention department. They were sad to see me go after only 7 months with them. I was shocked! I was a customer of theirs for 7 months in my current location. In my previous residence, I was their customer since 2002. The bottom line was they would not tear up a contract for interruptions, large or small. Irregardless of the security concerns it was causing.

After careful consideration, I called and emailed the level 3 manager I previously spoke with about continuing our discussion about customer retention. I was promised a call back within 24 hours. 1 week later, I still have not received a call from that manager. What I did receive was an email blast from the VP of Loyalty telling me that he is sorry to see me go and recommended that I call their retention department to get the best deals.

If the company had invested in a proper contact management system, they would have known that I was interested in staying on and already tried to email and call the level 3 manager who clearly was avoiding my calls and emails. It is also safe to say that if they had a comprehensive contact management software they would have known that I was their client since 2002 and not for 7 months.

I am the first to admit that sales and customers are two of the most sensitive topics in the world of business. First impressions are very important and you don’t want to start off your relationship with prospects and customers on the wrong foot. Here are some tips you can follow when responding to a complaint or negative review.

 

customer service - contact management system

 

Stay Calm

When you receive a complaint about your business, your automatic reaction will be to respond immediately, defending yourself and trying to make things right. The problem with this is your emotional response will probably not sound too professional. Stick to a rule of waiting a couple hours before responding. This will give you time to calm and allow you to think straight.

 

Acknowledge their feedback

It may seem wrong at first to thank someone for complaining about your business, but just like in real life, courtesy can go a long way in putting out the fire. Start off your response by thanking the commenter for their constructive feedback and immediately follow that with an apology that they were unhappy. Encourage the commenter to contact you in person so that you can immediately rectify the situation.

 

Be honest

If there’s a true, honest explanation for why your customer had a bad experience, be open about it. Perhaps it was all just a big misunderstanding. Lay your cards on the table. Just keep it brief. If there isn’t an explanation, don’t be tempted to make up an excuse. Just own the fact that what happened did happen and it’s time to move past it.

 

Take action

Propose a solution to the complainant, if possible, that will help correct the problem at hand. Make sure that they understand their business is very important to you. Offer a discount on future services. But don’t get too carried away. Sometimes there’s no pleasing for an upset customer. Going back and forth may not do you any good.

 

Invest in Contact Management System!

Most often, customers aren’t happy with the services they receive because they feel that the service provider does not understand their needs and does not fit their goals. It’s a learning curve for some organization and business leaders  who should be looking at complaints as something positive and something that they could utilize to improve the organization in the future. A good place to start is to purchase a comprehensive contact management system, such as InfoFlo.

A comprehensive contact management software allows you to input as many important details about a customer or prospect as possible. Information can include invoices sent to customers, recent transactions, contracts signed, important milestones, birthdays of C-Level executives etc. You can even set yourself reminders in the calendar to ensure you don’t forget to follow up with them and see how they’re doing. Another purpose of setting up reminders is so that you can send occasional email blasts to those customers/prospects to show your appreciation for their business.

 

Your feedback about our services and our products is very important to us. We incorporate your comments into R&D and to delivering solutions that align with your requirements. Download your free trial today. 

DiggThis

How To Purchase CRM Software Without Breaking the Bank

You would never hire a plumber and send him to service a client without his tools, right?

It’s not just that it would be dangerous, but it wouldn’t be very proactive of you as well.

So why would you hire a sales representative without using a comprehensive and reliable CRM Software?

Having an intuitive and easy-to-use CRM platform can dramatically increase your staff performance. And yet, we continue to encounter businesses where customer inquiries are being handled using Outlook and a sticky notes all over the computer screen.

The most common excuse we hear is that CRM software is not affordable and not within their budget, too complicated, and unnecessary. But that’s not all true. Let us show you the benefit of purchasing a revenue-changing tool for you and all your employees!

crm_software

Why You Should Invest in InfoFlo CRM Software?

InfoFlo’s customers are empowered to do more with less. While “Customer Service is Supreme” might been a company motto for just about ever business out there, it wasn’t until social media became mainstream that a lot more companies started to take complaints from customers, comments and feedback more seriously.

Why? It’s because one negative experience can be read by thousands, if not millions, of social media users.

To turn negative experiences into positive ones, you need to start with the right CRM Software.  Research by BrandWatch has found that over 65% of customers would recommend a brand based on a quick and effective response in social media channels.

About Carmel Vison

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Download your free trial today.

DiggThis

4 Ways CRM Software Can Improve Customer Retention Rates

New research shows that it could cost a business 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Customer loyalty and retention are the biggest drivers of referrals and revenue in the commercial world. Customer retention takes time to bear fruit and it is certainly worth investing time and resources into it. Here are four ways a CRM can help you maximize your customer retention rates and inevitably increase your ROI as well.

Customer Retention

1. Helps You Understand Customer Needs

A CRM is not just a software that you input your customers’ contact information. It can be useful for a lot of other purposeful things. For instance, a CRM Software is equipped to give you information about customer’s behaviours, preferences, buying patterns, and their entire history with your organization. By having this data at your fingertips, you can better understand your customers’ needs and preferences and inevitably helps you retain them during contractual negotiations as well.

2. Improve Overall Experience

Customers aren’t too fond of seeking new relationships with new service providers, especially when it comes to implementing new software, but they will if their customer experience is not what they are looking for. CRM analytics and capabilities make it possible for organizations to improve the overall experience for their customers through well-targeted communications, improved service execution, exceptional and inimitable service offerings and more importantly excellent customer service and after-sales support.

3. Lower Operational Costs

CRM software is perfect for reducing operational costs and streamlining operations. The capabilities enabled by CRM give organizations a holistic approach to managing their customers, allowing them to identify how to serve their customers in the most efficient manner without breaking the bank. That, in turn, makes it possible for companies to further invest in the customers they already have. It’s a cycle that helps to build customer retention rates unlike those that were in place in the past.

4. Spot and Fix Problems Proactively

If you have a CRM like InfoFlo, you can easily spot changes or sudden breaks in purchasing patterns and sometimes detect drifting customers before they cancel your services. Then, you can proactively investigate and solve issues rather than letting them damage valuable business relationships and jeopardize future retention rates.

About Carmel Vison

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Our flagship product, InfoFlo – is a central management system specifically designed to combat one of the biggest technical challenges facing any professional organization, how to efficiently organize, archive, filter and search the vital information that bombards our desktops on a daily basis. Our infrastructure allows all office activities to coexist together under one umbrella, making all critical information readily available at your fingertips.

Download your free trial today.

DiggThis

What is the Difference Between CRM & Contact Management Software?

We currently live in age where short attention spans and busy schedule lead us to make poor assumptions and differentiations about certain technical terms. A good example is the use of “CRM” (Customer Relationship Management) to describe all Contact Management Systems out there on the market today. In fact, there is a big difference between a CRM Software and a Contact Management system. Many software vendors use these two terms interchangeably and 85% of business owners in Canada and USA aren’t able to tell the difference.

This post explains the differences between Contact Management and CRM systems in hope that it will help you make the right purchasing decision for your business.

What is CRM Software?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and can be used to describe the way organizations handle their customer interactions. One example of a common CRM strategy is the rewards card program offered by Starbucks, the popular coffee chain in North America and Europe. The store gives its customers a free card that gives them access to points and discounts when they swipe the card during checkout. Many CRM software and/or service packages exist to help companies manage customer relationship processes. Computers have greatly enhanced the customer relationship management processes because the key to a good CRM is uncovering and storing information about customers. The more a company knows about its customers, the better it can manage those relationships.

What is Contact Management System?

A contact manager is a software system that enables its users to store and find contact information, such as names, addresses, birth dates, and telephone numbers. Sophisticated contact managers such as InfoFlo provide calendar sharing features and allow several people in a company to access the same database. Essentially, Contact Manager Systems are focused on building relationships with individuals, such as your contacts, while CRM systems are typically focused on selling to or servicing a company.

About Carmel Vison

Carmel Vision, a Toronto based CRM software development company, is focused on delivering a powerful management infrastructure that is designed to collect, search, and archive all content, contact and communication activities that take place in a typical office. We understand and listen to all of our customers’ needs and strive to give excellent quality at affordable prices.

Our flagship product, InfoFlo – is a central management system specifically designed to combat one of the biggest technical challenges facing any professional organization, how to efficiently organize, archive, filter and search the vital information that bombards our desktops on a daily basis. Our infrastructure allows all office activities to coexist together under one umbrella, making all critical information readily available at your fingertips.

DiggThis

How To Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive in Customer Service

The default approach to resolving issues relating to customer service is to respond to problems when they arise. This reactive approach may satisfy the customer, but it most likely will not enchant them. In fact, many unhappy customers will not call to complain,they will simply take their business elsewhere.

Instead, imagine resolving problems before they take place. Or better yet, think about being able to address the issues before customers become aware that there is a problem in the first place. This approach, which is a proactive approach, is not only viable but possible as well. A recent survey conducted by Enkata found that being productive and proactive can reduce call volume by as much as 30%. As well, the survey found that this approach increases customer retention rates by 3-5%.

So how do you go about in being productive? What actions will you have to take in order to employ a successful, proactive customer service strategy? Here are 5 tips to follow.

customer service

1. Create Content That Answers Common Customer Questions

Many customers hope to find answers to their inquiries on their own, as opposed to them having to call or email a company for support. This means that if you make helpful information difficult or impossible to locate, you’re depriving yourself of a valuable opportunity to satisfy customers. A good place to start – create an FAQ page on your website. Include a link to the page below your signature in every correspondence you have with customers and prospects.

2. Pay Attention to Every Word Customers Say

If you’re not paying attention to what your prospects and customers are saying about you online, you’re missing out on the opportunity to resolve conflicts before they escalate. Reaching out to customers who mention your company, be it good or bad, allows you to pre-emptively address their needs and enhance their experience and satisfaction.

3. Integrate CRM Software – Empower Front Line Employees

Anyone who spends a day in an office environment knows you’re almost guaranteed to hear at least one staff member complain about the limitations of their tools, whether it’s a slow desktop PC or an application that doesn’t have the features they expect. Today, it’s much easier to give employees more choice about how they do their tasks without compromising on company policies. All you need is a powerful CRM that documents every conversation, every job order, or customer request.

4. Collaborate in the Cloud

The ability to access the most up-to-date information is essential for employee productivity. Adopting cloud solutions gives employees access to key applications and the most recent versions of documents, no matter where they are located.

5. Break Down The Barriers

You more than likely hired people for different functions, such as technical supports, sales, customer service etc. But if these people don’t collaborate, your customers may not receive the service they expect. Imagine how much better your products and services could be if sales tells technical support agents what customers are asking for and customer service shares the most frequent customer complaints with the rest of the staff. Such cross-functional collaboration could result in new productivity that boosts sales and increases customer satisfaction, which translates to more streamlined operations, increased productivity, and increased profits.

DiggThis