Handing inquiries from customers can be hard to manage for one person. Luckily there are great tools out there to help you with this task. In this post I show I handle customers for Apps By Night.
At first I didn’t think I needed customer management since I was just starting out and only had a few inquiries. But then I had to come up with a way to remember to contact some customers at certain times. Customers will send e-mails that say something like “Let me get back to you next week.” and they sometimes forget because they have busy lives (as do we all!).
Thanks to 37 Signals’s Highrise I can keep track of all my e-mail conversations from customers as well as tasks per customer for meetings, follow-ups, etc.
Oh, they have a free iPhone/iPod Touch app as well!
New Inquiry Example
Let’s say I receive an e-mail one day from a potential client asking for more information:
The first thing I do is forward this e-mail to a special Highrise e-mail address. Highrise is smart enough to take this e-mail and make a new customer entry for it, if one doesn’t already exist.
This is where I switch to Highrise and edit any information I know about this potential client. Usually it’s right in the signature. Some Google searching can also reveal some additional information such as Twitter accounts, home pages, etc. The more I know about my customers, the better!
Now when I reply to the original e-mail, I BCC the special Highrise e-mail address. This will keep the conversation documented within Highrise, if I ever need to reference it again.
Customer Task Example
Let’s say the last customer replied to me with something like:
“Thanks for the information, let me collect some data and I’ll get back to you next week.”
I like to keep my e-mail inbox clean so instead of keeping this e-mail around, I’ll create a new follow-up task for this customer to contact them after that week if they don’t write back. Then of course forwarding this e-mail message to Highrise, as I did in the previous section.
I can link to Highrise’s subscribed calendar and see it right from my iPhone, iPad, or Desktop.
Highrise is great because of it’s different pricing levels. Many of the great features are free. Actually, everything I explained in this article is free!
Depending on how many clients you deal with will determine if you even need a customer management tool. I know many people that simply stick to e-mail only to manage it all, or combine it with a todo list of some kind.
As always, the right tool is what works best for you. Don’t get wrapped up in trying every tool out there otherwise you won’t be productive, you’ll be DOING productive.
How do you manage your customers? How many inquiries do you get per week? Please leave your answers in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!