thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
You are only as good as your customer remembers

You are only as good as your customer remembers

As you know, I am very interested in how organizations are using business applications, which problems they do address, and how they review their success. In a next instance of these customer interviews, I had the opportunity to talk with Melissa Gordon, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Solutions at Tidal Basin about their journey with Zoho. You can watch the full interview on YouTube. Tidal Basin is a government contractor that provides various services throughout the government space, including disaster response, technology and financial services, and contact centers. Tidal Basin started with Zoho CRM and was searching for a project management tool in 2019. This was prompted by mainly two drivers. First, employees were asking for tools to help them running their projects. Second, with a focus on organizational growth and bigger projects that involved more people, Tidal Basin wanted to reduce its risk exposure and increase the efficiency of project delivery. This way, the company could actually create a triple-win situation, benefitting the employees, customers, and the company. also following the top management’s motto “if you take care of your people, and you take care of your customers, everything else will take care of itself.” The thought behind this is “that providing a mechanism for people to be more efficient, because everybody wants to come to work and do a good job. Nobody wants to do mundane tasks that don’t add value. And so, if you can provide a mechanism to do that, it enables our employees to then take better care of our customers.” Being tasked with implementing it, Melissa started off with a software selection process. This...
A CRMKonvos fireworks – the crop of the year according to you

A CRMKonvos fireworks – the crop of the year according to you

The other day, I had a look at my blog, checking the articles that resonated with you most in 2023. Today, I’d like to do the same for my YouTube channel, CRMKonvos. Shameless plug – any new subscriber is cordially welcomed – it means a lot to us. “Us” means my colleagues Ralf Korb and Marshall Lager, and I. We run this channel as a joint endeavor. CRMKonvos are all about fun and friendly one hour conversations with one or more live expert guest about a topic in the wider area of – you guessed correctly – CRM. Of course, this includes related topics, e.g., it is virtually impossible to talk CRM or CX without touching AI. They are streamed to LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and X. In addition, we actively encourage our audience to engage with our guest and us. Again, any new subscriber is more than appreciated. If I am not totally off, you can subscribe by just clicking this link. But now, what are the CRMKonvos that resonated most with you? Which ones received the most views?  Of course, we do not want to get the beans spilled immediately, so let’s start with the fifth place. Culture is the most enduring form of capital. This is a conversation I had with Zoho’s Chief Strategy Officer Vijay Sundaram about why a great corporate culture makes all the difference, how it contributes to success and why and how Zoho’s culture is different from that of most other companies. The fourth place is taken by an ISP’s journey with Zoho One. This is an interview with Amit Rai, Chief HR Officer of Tata Fiber. Amit has overseen the implementation...
How a company matured with a little help of Zoho

How a company matured with a little help of Zoho

Early May, technology vendor Zoho conducted its annual signature event Zoholics in Austin, TX. During this event, Marshall Lager and I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Jason Yoffy, director of engineering at RJG, a training and technology company that on one hand trains plastic injection molders how to make better parts with less waste and on the other hand also provides technology to support better production processes. RJG exists since 1985. It mainly serves companies in the automotive and medical industries that create safety critical and precision parts from plastic with close to 200 employees. We were interested in learning the good, the bad, and the ugly about their journey with Zoho; the needs they had, the experience on the way and, of course, where Yoffy sees scope for improvement. You can watch the complete interview on YouTube. RJG used an “antiquated, server-based”, i.e., an on-premise CRM system that the company wanted to replace as it left much to be desired. The chief concern was “enabling our sales team to sell better.” A lot of processes still were manual, which did not keep pace with the company’s fast growth. Reporting was difficult, of low accuracy, and slow. Lots of relevant data didn’t even make it into the system. Given that, there was lacking transparency in the state of the business; the teams did not get an understanding where everybody was, what the state of initiatives was. Creating a quote for a customer took far too long. While all this is not uncommon, “we wanted to grow up and find a solution that would help us move into the future.” Naturally, one...
How an ISP uses Zoho One to improve outcomes

How an ISP uses Zoho One to improve outcomes

During the truly remarkable (pun definitely intended) TrulyZoho event I, of course had the chance to talk to some customers. One of these customers was Amit Rai of Tata Fiber, an Indian ISP. As the name suggests, Tata Fiber provides internet services through fiber. The company was founded in 2016 and started commercial rollout in 2018, so is a kind of start-up. Amit is the Chief HR Officer of Tata Fiber, but also led their digital projects and is now heading business development for the company.  He happily agreed to a conversation about the relationship between Zoho and Tata. The following article is based on the conversation with Amit. TL&DR If you do not want to read and prefer a video, you can also listen in to the conversation. The original problem at hand We started in 2019 with HR management, in particular with Zoho people, as a solution in this functional area was needed. The implementation gave us confidence in Zoho and our implementation partner. From there on we implemented additional Zoho apps. We started on the call center as the agents needed to work with and toggling between  a multitude of screens when working with a customer to resolve issues. The agents in parallel needed to talk to the customer, making sense. Of course, the quality of the conversations suffered from this and the conversations got longer. Longer conversations are a cost to us. Why Zoho? The original implementation gave us a good confidence in Zoho. This was not only because of the product but also because of the responses from the Zoho organization and the implementation team, the...
How to engage for customer experience and success

How to engage for customer experience and success

It is time for a stake in the ground again. Of late, every vendor who used to play in the CRM arena positions itself as a „customer experience“ player and claims that its software “delivers customer experiences”. This is quite a claim. It also raises a lot of important questions. What is “customer experience”? And who is responsible for it? How does “customer experience” differ from “customer experiences”? What is the difference to customer engagement? How do they relate to customer expectations? And then there is “customer success”, too. What about customer satisfaction? Finally, how does CRM fit into the picture? As you can see, there is a lot of scope for confusion. And this confusion has definitely materialized. So, let’s start with some definitions Friend and industry luminary Paul Greenberg has ventured here already back in 2015 (and before). Still, as time moves, the industry evolves, and things tend to get forgotten, let me take another stab at it. The more fundamental concepts are perhaps engagement, followed by customer expectation and customer success. You can also watch my take on customer engagement vs. customer experience in this 90 second video. Customer engagement According to Merriam-Webster, engagement is “the act of engaging” or “the state of being engaged”. Well, let’s look at the verb, then. Amongst some other meanings, engage is defined as “attract and hold by influence or power” or “induce to participate”. So, engagement is essentially about interacting with each other. This is usually mutual, but mandatorily involves communication, reaching out, by the company. Importantly, this engagement can also happen the product or service itself, for instance...