In the world of large enterprises, customer relationship management (CRM) software is hailed as a panacea to solve problems with prospect development, sales pipeline management, customer service and more. Whether it has delivered is debatable. What's clear, though, is that due its complexity and cost, CRM software hasn't been an option for small businesses. Instead, small businesses rely on products such as Microsoft Outlook and contact managers to track customers.
Looking to plug the gap between CRM and contact managers is Intuit, which announced earlier this week two new products designed to help small businesses and accountants by providing a single-screen dashboard that offers one-click access to customer information.
QuickBooks Customer Manager and QuickBooks Client Manager (the version for accountants) are designed to help small companies provide big-time service by allowing them to answer customer's questions more efficiently.
Intuit reports that less than 13 percent of QuickBooks financial software customers use CRM software, despite the fact that 89 percent regularly track customer information and 35 percent have investigated CRM applications. The survey also revealed that existing CRM solutions were considered either too complex to use or they focused too heavily on sales force management versus better serving customers.
"Small businesses or accountants rely heavily on referrals and word of mouth, and look to customer data in order to grow relationships rather than for sales-pipeline focused tasks," Sheryl Kingstone, program manager at Yankee Group, said. "Without a dedicated sales force or multi-layered marketing structure, they simply need an easy way to track critical customer information in order to better understand and strengthen the bond with their customer or client."
According to Intuit, QuickBooks Customer Manager and QuickBooks Client Manager prepare snapshots views of customer information by capturing contact information, QuickBooks invoices and sales orders, projects, appointments, notes and more and presents it in a single screen. That way, you are not scrambling for data when you are on the phone with a customer.
Both the small business and accountant versions are built to work with QuickBooks financial software, Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel, which is designed to help eliminate redundant data entry. The integration also allows data to be automatically synched to help ensure that customer information is always up-to-date. QuickBooks Client Manager for accountants also integrates with Intuit's ProSeries and Lacerte tax preparation software.
Intuit claims that QuickBooks Customer Manager and QuickBooks Client manager can be installed and set up in about 30 minutes thanks to a set-up wizard that guides users through the set-up process and helps them import existing customer data from other applications.
The QuickBooks Customer Manager retails for $79.95. QuickBooks Client Manager is priced at $249.
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!|