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  • drdianehamilton 4:55 pm on August 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Maximizer Software, Salesforce.com   

    Importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

    Anyone who has taken a business course has probably seen the acronym CRM. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to ways of keeping track of interactions with customers.  However, it is much more than that.  Bain.com does a nice job of defining CRM:  “Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process companies use to understand their customer groups and respond quickly—and at times, instantly—to shifting customer desires. CRM technology allows firms to collect and manage large amounts of customer data and then carry out strategies based on that information. Data collected through focused CRM initiatives help firms solve specific problems throughout their customer relationship cycle—the chain of activities from the initial targeting of customers to efforts to win them back for more. CRM data also provide companies with important new insights into customers’ needs and behaviors, allowing them to tailor products to targeted customer segments. Information gathered through CRM programs often generates solutions to problems outside a company’s marketing functions, such as supply chain management and new product development.”

    Forward-thinking companies must learn to embrace CRM to remain competitive.  An article in BusinessBalls.com pointed out, “The ultimate purpose of CRM, like any organizational initiative, is to increase profit. In the case of CRM this is achieved mainly by providing a better service to your customers than your competitors. CRM not only improves the service to customers though; a good CRM capability will also reduce costs, wastage, and complaints.”

    In the business world, Pareto’s Principle is often cited.   This principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.   This has been translated to:  companies obtain 80% of their business from 20% of their clients.   As the BusinessBalls.com article pointed out this also means:

    • 20% of customers account for 80% of your turnover
    • 20% of customers account for 80% of your profits
    • 20% of customers account for 80% of your service and supply problems

    In order to avoid wasting time and energy, relationship building is critical.  To develop these relationships, it is important to have a strong CRM system.  There are plenty of web-based CRMs.  A popular cloud-based CRM is available through Salesforce.com.  This popular system boasts ease of use stating, “Using Salesforce CRM is as easy as buying a book on Amazon.com. That means your employees will actually use it, so it will be a more effective tool for your business.”

    Apps are popping up all over to help with CRM.  Salesforce.com has their own that is good for a sales-based industry.  SmallBusinessTrends.com did a nice review of some other top CRM apps that are useful for small businesses.

  • drdianehamilton 2:34 pm on October 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Google Alerts, , Omniture, Radian6, Salesforce.com, , Trackur, , Viralheat, Visible Technologies, Webtrends, Yext Rep   

    Are You Monitoring Your Online Reputation? 


    Individuals and companies need to keep track of their online reputation. Do you know who is writing about you or your business? In my book, How to Reinvent Your Career, I mention the importance of having a clean reputation online in case employers do some research into your background. That is important for employees, but organizations must be sure their reputations are intact as well.

    One bad comment out there can cause a lot of damage. It is not just negative comments that can hurt you. I have heard stories about companies who have had their information translated incorrectly in other countries which has led to their business looking badly. Don’t assume that something posted in another country can’t be translated back into English and hurt you here.

    There are sites like PissedConsumer.com or Scam.com or other sites where your reputation can be ruined.

    Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others are very important to help spread your positive message. But be careful, because they can just as easily spread a negative one.

    I like to use Google Alerts to set up searches to track who is posting things about me or my company. I think it can be very helpful and it is free. If your company is large though, it can be harder to track all of the keywords.

    Another free option is Yext Rep. This site tracks mentions and reviews on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Superpages and Foursquare.

    If you are willing to pay a fee, Viralheat can monitor online conversations for a cost as little as $10/month.

    Trackur is another option that many use. They offer powerful tools, you can be up, and running in 60 seconds with their service, monitoring keywords, tracking trends on the web, and discovering how influential your site really is. They have something called sentiment tracking that, “you can tag discovered items with a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. Keep track of who’s saying positive things about you and who’s attacking your reputation.” The price for this starts as low as $18/month for their basic plan.

    Visible Technologies is a good option if you need monitoring in different languages. They support 12 languages and allow employees to share reports. This comes at a cost of $500/month and up.

    Radian6 allows you to manage your social media campaigns. It can be integrated with Salesforce.com, Webtrends and Omniture for $600/month and up.

    • Greg 4:28 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great post! I love Trackur… I use it almost every single day. I also like the service whostalkin

    • Paul Yokota 4:33 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Some marketers suggest creating a page on your site like yoursite.com/scam that explains why you are not a scam, so that you show up in search results when users are exploring your reputation. Also, be wary of any company that charges you to post positive comments on your behalf, new FCC regulations mean that fake comments and reviews could run you afoul of the law.

      • drdianehamilton 4:36 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Paul,

        That can be a good idea. Do you think that sometimes people just look up your name or company and the word scam to see what is out there and then see the two words associated and assume there is something bad about you or your company? I have heard people tell me this. I see some of the searches that come to my site searching for names of companies or people I have written about and they use their names and the word scam to see what is written about them. My only concern is that they see there is an article that links a company or name to the word scam and then they are frightened away before even reading it.

    • Genevieve Coates 4:35 pm on October 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Diane,
      You bring up a very valid point that it’s important to be aware of what is being said about you in the online space. If you are pro-actively monitoring your brand/company it makes it much easier to start your crisis management at the first sign of a negative or potentially damaging comment. Transparency in the online and social media space goes a long way towards building your reputation and I think people appreciate the follow ups that are possible to negative issues when you have built monitoring in to your brand reputation goals.

      Thanks for including us in your post!
      Genevieve Coates
      Community Analyst – Radian6

  • drdianehamilton 12:17 pm on September 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Formstack, MailChimp, , Plugins, Salesforce.com, TinyMCE, , , ,   

    What is Formstack? Creating Forms on WordPress 

    WordPress has become the preferred blogging platform for many users online, and as it’s footprint expands companies are coming out with widgets and plugins to make the platform even more user friendly.

    Formstack.com has released a WordPress Online Forms application which makes the task of creating forms much easier for WordPress users. Formstack’s web form creator allows users to create forms with an easy to use HTML editor. There is no need for any additional software or programming to be done when using Formstack.

    Once the data has been collected, users can edit it, share it with others, interface it with third party application such as Salesforce, Highrise, and many others. Formstack even has their own API. Formstacks simple to navigate site even shares video showing how Formstack works.

    Formstack can be a valuable tools to small business, nonprofits, educators, web designs, and more. With Formstack there are no sign up fees, no minimum contracts, and no long-term contracts. They has packages to fit any size organization, and even offers a free version of Formstack.

    According to an article by Chris Lucas, their WordPress plugin features include:

    • Ability to embed a web form widget in your blog or site’s sidebar
    • Automatically embed any Formstack web form into a page or post using a short code
    • Native Formstack button on your WordPress Tiny MCE Editor (Menu Bar)
    • Works with Free and Paid Plans

    Here are just a few ways that you can use the it and the widget:

    Check out their video to highlight some of the features by clicking here to read the rest of the Chris Lucas article. You can also see their  WordPress Plugin page to view more screenshots as well as to download the plugin and get started using your Formstack web forms in your WordPress blog or website.

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