SugarCRM sorts out Customer Service

SugarCRM does a great job handling reader inquiries for parade.com.

Since implementing Sugar, anytime a reader reaches out online, Sugar’s helping organize and expedite responses to everything being sent.

UPDATE: The folks at Sugar created a case study around our work.

The “system” used to be a block box: there were some mailto links to which readers could send notes to “Ask Marilyn,” or Walter Scott or Tech Support. Sometimes readers got a response, sometimes not.

With the new Sugar system, readers who send notes get a response via the web upon sending, a confirmation via email, and follow-ups once the support team(s) address whatever the issue or comment was.

Every customer contact is accounted for, readers know where they are in the process, and the support groups have much better tools to handle the volume.

It’s been working great, and the majority of the benefits – reporting, using the feedback to improve products (online and print), the chance to turn these readers into repeat customers – haven’t yet started. We’ll continue to add more intelligent workflows, alerts and response templates as real-world examples point the way.

In stark contrast to other platforms we’ve encountered, Sugar itself continues to be a more flexible and friendly product for end users, developers and clients purchasing it.

Enterprise applications, “I.T. 2.0” and the previous releases

This stuff from ReadWriteWeb is great. It shines a light, regardless how ephemeral, on “processes,” “running a business” and how “technology can help.” Even in the Enterprise.

These are Good Things for ReadWriteWeb, Good Things for collective Readers, and Good Things for Mean Business.

But I.T. 1.0 isn’t yet fully-baked. I.T. .9 (beta!) is hardly there in a ubiquitous way.

WHERE’S MY PAPERLESS OFFICE?

is a simple, hackneyed example.

We certainly don’t begrudge The New, New Thing, but there’s about 30 years worth of New Things that can yet be leveraged to more serious business advantage.

This isn’t advantage in the sense of “I have it and my competitors don’t,” this is “I’m being smart with my business, taking advantage of things – technologies – available to me, and making them work for my business.” (in this sense, many of your competitors don’t have it …)

Are the “new technologies” for business – wikis, cloud services and doc versioning platforms – so much different from the knowledge bases, time sharing and document fileshares that have been available – and underutilized – for years?

We love the “self-provisioning” userbase in Enterprise 2.0. It’s better even than User Generated Content: This is people NOT calling support lines and instead Doing Their Thing without our help thanks to the wonderful knowledgebases we’ve put together. This works, to be sure, but it wasn’t fully sorted out – or put in effect – in Enterprise 1.0.

Better searches, instant feedback, and peer recommendations / edits / contributions will help, but it’s mindset that will make the difference: Adoption out of need, want and executive mandate is what’s required for now to get this stuff inside – and working – in the Enterprise. (That’s grassroots up and management down.)