Monday, 23 December 2013

Seasons Greetings!... And a Preview of What's to Come in Early 2014...

As we close out 2013 we wanted to thank you for your support and also give you a quick preview of some upcoming exciting new developments in early 2014.

2013 was a productive year for Insightly and we introduced many new features including:
Insightly University and our Online Knowledgebase
Insightly Reports
Insightly Android App
Insightly app for Outlook 2013/Office 365
Integration with social media channels
Web-to-contact functionality
Integration with Evernote 

Thank you for all your suggestions and devotion to make Insightly a great product!  We have more than 400,000 users across the globe and we are appreciative and humbled by the support we receive from each of you!

So what's cooking for the upcoming year?  In 2014 we aim to be even more productive, and here are some of the upcoming improvements that you'll see in the first quarter: 

Single User Pricing
Many users have asked for a single user license so we will be introducing very affordable single user pricing -- starting at $9/user/month with a 20 percent (20%) discount for an annual commitment.  Rest assured, if you are a paying customer you will be grandfathered in under your existing plan and pricing.  Over the next four to six weeks we will send out more emails to our users with detailed pricing information so that all of our users are prepared for the upcoming change.   We will also post this information here on our blog so feel free to subscribe for updates.

New User Interface 
Back in our September newsletter, we offered a sneak peek at our upcoming new user interface.  Even as you read this, our engineers are still working hard on this project and the new UI will be in production soon!

 14 Day Trial for Paid Plans
We will offer a trial period for our paid plans.  You will be able to try out all of the features in our paid plans at no charge and there will be no user limits on the plan during the trial period.

Instructor-Led Training
We will be offering an Instructor-Led Training (ILT) course for Insightly users.  This one day course will include hands-on product experience, user exercises and best practices.

Quickbooks Online Integration
QuickBooks is coming!  Look for an Insightly integration with QuickBooks Online in late Q1 2014.

Note: Insightly Support will be closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.

Again, thanks for your support and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

#WINsightly -- Upgrade to a paid account and win an Insightly T Shirt

Don't have anything to wear to your holiday parties?  Expand your wardrobe with an Insightly T Shirt!  Between Saturday Dec 14, 2013 through Friday Jan 31, 2014 when you upgrade from a Gratis (free) Insightly account to a paid Insightly account (i.e. Starter, Advanced, Pro,  Large) you will be entered in a drawing to win an Insightly T Shirt.  Each Monday we will draw the names from the previous week's customer upgrades and send out 3 T Shirts to the lucky winners.  If you win, don't forget to share a picture with your Insightly T Shirt on social media with the #WINsightly.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Software Advice: 2013 Top CRM Buyer Trends

Earlier this month Software Advice, an analyst and software recommendation site, published the 2013 CRM BuyerView Study.  The audience included more than 5000 respondents primarily from small businesses with 20-100 employees.  The entire report is here and notable highlights include:
  • Of companies who indicated a deployment model preference, 96% requested a cloud-based solution
  • Seventy five percent of integrated suite buyers requested sales force automation
  • Seventy six percent of best-of-breed buyers requested sales force automation
  • Nearly 90% of buyers requested contact management, note-taking capabilities and/or reporting and analytics
In many ways, the results suggest that the needs of small businesses mirror the needs of large businesses and enterprise organizations - everyone wants to gain efficiency through automation and get a good grasp on business economics through CRM analytics and reporting.  For those of you in small businesses that are still managing key customer and business information through email or a spreadsheet, hopefully these survey results will give you the the knowledge and incentive you need to try a CRM.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Guest Post: 6 Strategies for Boosting Customer Service at Your Small Business

When it comes to significantly improving profits at an established small business, your options are limited. Short of an all-out social media marketing blitz, you only have a handful of choices: Offer a product or service that no other company can provide, which is tough to do in today's super-competitive marketplace, or give extreme discounts in the hopes that they can ignite business. Another option - and one that's often overlooked - is simply to improve your level of customer service. Beef up your profits more than you might expect by reading these helpful tips.

1. Focus More on Training
How often do you conduct training modules or seminars at your small business? If you're like most, probably not very often. Whether you have a highly tenured staff or a bunch of newbies, it's never a bad idea to offer training and support. Be sure to make these sessions fun, exciting, and engaging and your results can be quite significant. And don't just give your employees a packet of materials to read. Try unconventional training methods like role-playing to add a little pizzazz to your sessions.

2. Get Feedback From Your Clients
If one of your reps does a poor job of handling a customer, you may lose that customer for life. To avoid this, make a comment card available, or a sign pointing to your Facebook fan page or Twitter handle, and get some feedback from your patrons. You could even ask for your customers' email addresses and send out surveys via MailChimp, a contact management and email tracking website. Your customers are a goldmine of information - be sure you're getting the most out of them.

3. Conduct a Customer Service Meeting
So you've got your training modules taken care of, but have you ever had a staff meeting devoted strictly to customer service? If you decide to do so, make sure you leave everything else out - sales goals, contest results, and staffing changes - and focus strictly on improving customer service.  Ask your employees for five ideas and make it more of a roundtable discussion than a traditional meeting and you're sure to get some good results.

4. Genuinely Greet Your Customers
If you don't require your team to greet all customers entering your business, start doing that now. Just make sure they're genuine. Ask yourself what's worse, not being greeted at all when entering a business or hearing a bunch of half-hearted hellos from a staff that sounds like they just don't care?

5. Inquire About Ancillary Customer Needs
Does your business sell personal computers? If so, make it a requirement that your staff ask about computer mouses, mousepads, keyboards, and software whenever a purchase is made. If you sell digital cameras, then a memory card and carrying case should be added on to the purchase whenever possible. It's these little extras that can ensure a customer is completely taken care of (they may simply forget they need something until you remind them) and it's also a great strategy for increasing sales.

6. Walk the Walk Yourself
If you come up with a grand and aggressive customer service initiative, make sure you participate in its execution. Greet all customers wholeheartedly and ask about other products after you complete a sale. If you're going to make wholesale changes, it's important that you set the example for everyone.

While you may think you have the automatic buy-in of your managers when it comes to customer service, that may not necessarily be the case. Observe them in action and ask your staff members for occasional feedback on a manager, just be tactful in your approach. Customer service is an important way for a business to improve its bottom line and overall health, so start strengthening yours today.

What ways can you think of to improve customer service?

About the Author:  Ron Martin runs a small business from home in California and writes about topics including social media marketing, analytics, customer service, and finance.