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Thread: Web Based Partner Support System (CRM)

  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Question Web Based Partner Support System (CRM)
    Hi All

    We're looking at setting up a CRM based support system to enable us to provide better support for all our partners and clients. The reasons being

    1. Requests won't get lost in Spam / Mail filters
    2. Deleted by accident
    3. Lost
    4. Ignored
    5. Allow ongoing easy to follow discussions (with a lot of partners is sometimes quite a feat not to send the right answer to the wrong person )
    6. Build a knowledge and Solutions Base

    Question being, if you needed support would you use it or prefer to stick to Email etc.

    Thoughts appreciated

    Cheers

    Chris
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  2. #2
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    Why is it "CRM vs. email" - why not both?
    Your post seems to imply that you can either provide support through a CRM interface "or" via email. I don't understand -- many CRM systems work with emails, so that email sent to support@company.com goes into the CRM system. It is easier if the initial support request is submitted in a form, since this allows the use of pull-down menus or checkboxes to identify the nature of the inquiry -- but I don't think that should be necessary (you'd have someone on your staff filter the incoming emails and assign the categories).

    I just saw a post on Craigslist.org for jobs at a company that claims to have an open-source CRM solution. I'm not sure what it does, but if I were shopping for a CRM solution, I'd certainly look at "open" solutions along with the many available closed systems.

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Tim

    True enough that would also work, but I'm also looking at something where by there is also a web interface so that people can just login and create a case. Email support is available on most by default as you pointed out

    Cheers

    Chris
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  4. #4
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    Chris,

    I think the CRM way is a great idea. Like you already stated, email can be iffy with spam/virus/spyware filters..

    Some that I've use combine both. You send an email to support@xyz.com and it creates a ticket or you can login and create a ticket.

    After the creation updates are available via email or logging in. This information is then searchable via a knowledge base thereby HOPEFULLY reducing the number of tickets opened.

    I've heard good things about http://www.sugarcrm.com but it may be more than you are looking for.
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  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi HotSpice

    Thanks for the feedback and comments, I'll check out the Sugar CRM too thanks

    Cheers

    Chris
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  6. #6
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    I've done this for years... for all the reasons you mention...

    I had the problem of orders getting lost or deleted by accident... once i went to a help desk system all those issues disappeared...

    I also an live help feature as well ... but i seldom turn it on... I found it a distraction... too many dumb questions being asked.. I'll be reomving it on hte next round of upgrades..

    although, a live feature might be nice for those quick questions.. of coarse that would mean we'd have to stay up till the weee hours of the morning to talk to ya.. but many of us do that already... for live help... I'd setup a windo for help... 3-4 hours.. ???. so you or who ever is manageing the program isnt distrupted all day long... they'd never get anything done..

    for example... Chris would be available 3 hours mon-fri for all pergrams he manages

    same for PUI, james etc..

    add in the email support via an help desk.. you've got 24 hours coverage..

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I am getting ready to add SalesForce here. I set up some lead generation forms years ago for an insurance agency who were able to delegate the follow-up to various agents and track conversions. I am adding it here as a recruiting/optimization and workflow tool. I have been a loyal ACT! user for 15 years as a contact manager and used it to setup client information for a number of small businesses. Since some of the staff had SalesForce experience I am going that way. We have an internal CRM for our customer service, buyers, merchandiser but engineering time is limited and I didn't want to rely on them to start something from scratch.

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Chuck / Joe

    Yes I'm using SalesForce now, very cool, just some issues on the CRM due to the way access is granted to it. Certainly is a great tool for managing new leads and refining how we review new clients

    Cheers

    Chris
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  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    first version is up and running here

    http://www.amwso.com/ticket_index.php

    Small issue with emails not being sent that we need to fix, then it's rocking

    cheers

    Chris
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  10. #10
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    The issue w/ salesforce.com is true interaction/integration... True "partnership" with affiliate through SF could involve a monthly fee passed back to the OPM or AM. Can we approach salesforce.com to rectify this?
    Kevin Webster
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  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Noth

    There's no fee that I know of beyond the base fee, What I'd need, which can't be done, is that all partners are added as Contacts and given instant access or can create their own access to the CRM.

    If you mean having Partners have actual access to the Salesforce platform, then I'm not sure how they would really benefit from that. Or that it would be manageable for the OPM?

    I'm all ears for your ideas though

    Cheers

    Chris
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  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Ok... I must be missing something on the saleforce platform... Are you saying that affiliates can interact with you IN the CRM without being part of your Team or Enterprise edition?
    Kevin Webster
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  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Yes they can, but the present set up requires that they become a "contact" within the system first and that access is then generated for them... which won't work for my needs and the SF support team has been less than helpful in offering up an kind of solution, work around or something from AppExchange that would help...
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  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    But SF is willing to grant them Interactive access without them being "customers"? (ie, Personal Editon, Team edition, on their own etc?)
    Kevin Webster
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  15. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Did you get my email back to you on this?

  16. #16
    Affiliate Network Rep Danny K's Avatar
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    This is interesting. I too have used ACT for years. Sounds like an environment an AM could work in. I'm looking at the salesforce website and seeing a whole number of fancy wording and complication (hegh). Chris, Are you looking at this or currently using it ?
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  17. #17
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Chris, Are you looking at this or currently using it ?
    Currently using it, you can get a 30 day demo for free too to give it a try, it's good for handling some aspects of Aff support, but really for Lead and Client management. There are still some issues I need to overcome to make it do 100% of what i want for the aff side. Plus the Support/Solutions System is clunky for offering real support and the actual SalesForce Support ranges from great to down right awful...one day i had a case answered in under 24 hours, next I have one sitting for 8 days...had to mail the sales team to get it answered and then I just got the copy and paste reply and my new questions have gone unanswered

    Cheers

    Chris
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