Water supplier labels CRM system a glorified address book

Remote access critical

Superior Water Tanks has replaced its CRM system because the previous software was a "glorified address book".

The water tank supplier said it could not provide remote access to mobile devices or integrate with MYOB.

After canvassing a number of vendors including CyBiz and 2clicks, the company swapped from Legrand CRM to Sage Act earlier this year to manage customer service and warranty issues.

Superior Water Tanks general manager Suzanne Evans said it needed its CRM to list manufacturing, sales and installation details of its water tanks and to synchronize the data between the office and mobile staff.

"We needed [our CRM] to include specific fields such as when the tank was built, details of the tank, salesperson that sold the product, warranty details and amounts owing to the company," Evans said.

"CyBiz [CRM] was too complicated as it was DOS based and required a consultant to make changes; 2clicks' functionality was more than what we needed and it was overpriced [so] we did a Google search for [CRMs] to find out more about other software on the market but had also heard of Sage.

"[Because] our old system was basically a glorified address book, we needed a customer contact management system which could provide remote access from our desktop computers to our laptops and PDAs, while integrating with MYOB, our accounting system."

The company chose Sage Link for MYOB and Sage Link for pocket PC as a customizable and centralized database, and to synchronize database information from the desktop to mobile devices, and integrate its customer information with accounting and Web site systems.

The $10,000 project included implementation, six licences for Sage Act, three for Sage Link pocket PC and one for Sage Link MYOB.

Implementation was only six weeks but there were some initial glitches.

Evans said the new CRM has saved 30 minutes in data entry for each of the six users and has updated customer records with sales, warranty and marketing information.

"I can save up to half an hour of my time as a result of this integration. Previously I used to spend three quarters of my day doing this as I was forever having to double enter everything and check what payment had come in and which customer had made a deposit," she said.

"We're now able to do tasks like take photos of every tank we install and drop it into each customer's file so that we can keep track of our products and stay on top of warranty issues and claims; [it] combines our customer database, marketing and sales jobs all into one program."

Darren Flood, director of Sage reseller Evolution Marketing Services, which assisted with vendor selection, implementation and training, said customization required thousands of customer records to be migrated from the old system to Act.

"There was quite a bit of customisation required to bring the data which consisted of a few thousand records across from Legrand to Sage," Flood said.

A spokesperson for Legrand admitted its solution didn't have remote access but said it does integrate with MYOB accounting software. The company plans to release a Web-based CRM version in November.

He said most companies rely on third-party solutions to enable remote access from desktops to mobile devices.

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