Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.

Zoho ONE for Professional Services

I always say that there is no better way to provide a product and having used yourself first.Only then can you relate to the experience your customers will go through themselves.

Before becoming an Authorised Zoho partner, we use the system alongside our existing systems that 12 months.Since then we have commenced migrating our previous systems over to Zoho and will shortly complete that process.Whilst at the same time incorporating other Zoho applications.Some of the systems we use will remain because of alliance partners use of those same systems.

The challenge

As a small business owner I had processes in place and I had automated systems supporting these processes.The problems I had however when knowing where everything was, in particular;

  • having a clear picture of our business performance results.
  • So much information was in different systems that were not linked to one another.
  • Inability to readily access all information related to a contact, a client or a project.
  • Simple tools to help me organise my tasks, appointments and administration of the business.
  • The ability to access information on any device – desktop, tablet or phone.

As a Web agency supporting clients on a number of different products utilising not only our own staff but external agencies and contractors, we need to keep close management over the following processes;

  • Digital marketing – social, content and e-mail marketing.
  • Engaging with potential sales leads.
  • Tracking progress on proposals put to our clients.
  • Managing our client projects.
  • Servicing customer queries and issues.
  • Billing and expense tracking and reporting.
  • Managing thousands of documents for internal use an external sharing.
  • Managing day-to-day activities.

The above are fairly typical of most service-based businesses.How we apply Zoho to our business might vary between different sorts of businesses at the context of our approach is fairly fixed.

The Solution Implemented.

We currently have implemented the following Zoho applications for managing our processes and customer engagement model.Of course this does not reflect all of the systems we use and more will be added as we progress.This will, however, provide you with some insight as to how Zoho has become an essential and integral part of our business.

Zoho one was chosen as the package of choice because for a licence fee of just $35 per month per user, we got access to 40+ Zoho applications.

the linchpin that pulls everything together.From here we have complete access to ALL information about any contact or account.I can view:
  • All e-mails to and from in relation to any league, contact, prospect or account.
  • Status and details of all quotes.
  • Who has viewed e-mail campaigns and what actions they took.
  • Social engagement by our followers and posts shared.
  • Support best tickets.
  • Sales/purchase orders.
  • Invoices.
  • Generation of quotes
We use this to distribute digital announcements and newsletters with full tracking of subscriber engagement.Later we will set up automated auto responder campaigns.
To conduct online meetings with the view to possibly running online webinar sessions in the future
This is the heart of tracking all requests for assistance from our clients.We provide an online portal giving clients full transparency to all current and past service tickets logged
This enables us to share screens with clients instructing them in more complex problem resolution.If required, we can also take over the clients computer and remotely fixed internal issues.
This tool gives us the capability to manage our social media content distribution and engage with followers across the number of different platforms from a single interface
For quick response to requests to support all from visitors to our website, as well as teen communications, this applications enables chat services from within the browser
Each client assignments is tracked as a project.Drawing on predefined templates we can quickly planned the work required to reach project assigning resources and setting project schedules and milestones. Project also provides a mechanism for managing conversations on each task as well is tracking time, associated documents and create issues in the project issues register. We are also able to track project-based expenses to be later on charged to the clients buy invoices raised within projects.
This provides us with a cloud-based document management system with full control over the level of access.We provide to internal and external resources. In a document management system we have version control of the different releases documents as a checked in/out of the system.The document management system is fully integrated into all Zoho applications.
Whilst there is invoicing capability within the CRM itself, invoicing/books offers us a more robust invoicing solution better suited to our particular style of business.

Of course this is not a comprehensive description of each application, but hopefully it provides you with some idea of just how extensive the functionality of Zoho can be.Zoho is unable must have spent several alternate solutions.We already have in place for;

  • E-mail marketing
  • Customer service desk.
  • Project management.
  • Browser-based chat facility.
  • Social media content marketing.
  • Invoicing/client billing.
  • E-mail and calendar management.

The best result we now have is that everything is accessible through a single platform.All integrated giving us a systemic view on our performance and client engagement.

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