Between email, phone calls, social media conversations, and referrals, keeping up with customer relationships can be challenging. But in today's connected, competitive marketplace, great products and great service will get entrepreneurs only so far. "Relationships are the only currency that matters." So says Vinda Souza, director of marketing communications at Bullhorn, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) provider.
[More CRM options: Open Source Accounting Software for Small Business]
According to Souza, Bullhorn CRM is designed to give small businesses the tools necessary to make the most of that currency, by offering relationship management features that are both powerful and easy to use.
CRM Features Designed for Entrepreneurs
Customer relationships cross many levels. Discussions, whether by phone, email or in person, form the foundation for every future interaction. "We have a patented technology called Pulse that underlies the Bullhorn CRM platform," says Souza. "It provides conversation activity tracking across email, VoIP, and text." That allows Bullhorn to track discussions in every part of the organization without employees needing to do anything at all. The system records every back-and-forth, which means the business knows precisely what's happening with customers at any given moment.
Bullhorn CRM lets you add new contacts—or associate them with an existing record—with a mouse click.
The Bullhorn CRM platform even provides you information on the best times to connect with your customers and prospects based on when they're most likely to be available to talk by phone or to read new messages. "It stores information on conversation velocity and frequency over any given time period," says Souza.
Bullhorn provides "a full, 360-degree view of your customers' and prospects' relationship health," explains Souza. Including every customer connection into the system makes that comprehensive view possible. Fortunately, Bullhorn makes adding information, such as new contacts, quick and seamless. Employees can simply add them with a single click from their email account.
"People don't want to enter data manually," says Souza. "That's the biggest complaint about CRM systems." The company solved that issue by making the Bullhorn platform simple to use and easy for employees to adopt.
Maintaining healthy customer relationships requires more than building connections. Business owners need to recognize potential trouble and get in front of an issue before it turns into a full-blown problem. Bullhorn CRM lets you identify trigger words that may point to trouble with an account. For example, if a customer sends an email saying he's dissatisfied, the system raises an alert so the business can address it right away.
"It flags any words you specify so that—whether you're in management or on front lines—you know when someone is unhappy," says Souza. "You can then intervene before the account turns sour." The feature is especially valuable for small businesses that often lack resources to support full-fledged customer service departments or other dedicated support teams.
"When you wear many hats, a lot can slip through the cracks," says Souza. Bullhorn plugs those holes and lets business owners stay on top of issues.
Solving CRM Challenges
It's difficult to manage customer information in one place if the various software platforms that hold your data don't work together. Bullhorn streamlines that information transfer by integrating with a variety of official partners including Salesforce, Hubspot, and Constant Contact.
Quickly spot priority email to provide the best service possible.
It also works with email providers such as Outlook 365 and Gmail, which means "you don't have to leave the Bullhorn platform to email people," Souza says. "You can send email, customized templates and more from Bullhorn CRM—it's unobtrusive." The tight integration supports fast actions with the fewest clicks possible.
When your sales people leave, does their institutional knowledge walk out the door with them? Losing crucial customer data can set your business back. Bullhorn CRM gives your business a way to preserve that vital information and quickly put historical context in front of any employee who needs it.
"Bullhorn provides radical transparency into the state of your customer relationships; and you can retain that information within the institution—even when someone leaves," Souza says. Past conversations, the status and content of contracts or other agreements, notes, even the contact's time zone—it's all immediately available.
Bullhorm's cloud-based technology means that you don't need to install anything to use it. The platform is browser agnostic and mobile-centric, which means that you can open a browser page on any mobile device, login, and get right to work. You can find native iOS and Android mobile apps available in the respective app stores.
[More small business CRM: Small Business CRM Spotlight: Insightly]
Pricing starts around $99 per month per person and, aside from a few add-ons such as modules that handle market intelligence and advanced reporting, the base price includes most of the Bullhorn features.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from food service to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
|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!|