This is the 1st part in my series of incredible software feats in customer relationship management. In some articles I will be able to share names however in others they may be changed to protect the innocent.
I had started Eligeo CRM in January of 2008 as a part-time thing while I was able to put together enough cash to go full time with the business which happened that summer. Our first customer was a local furnace cleaning company called Ductblasters. When we started Eligeo out we were originally doing not only software development but also providing tech support services for small business. Ductblasters had originally brought us in to help out with their computer systems but then our first CRM project happened right around the same time with them.
Now, this company was strictly a furnace cleaning business but the owner really emphasized spending money on telemarketing. He had 4 or 5 people at any given time hitting the phones and calling customers all day and night. The problem they had is that they were tracking everything using Microsoft Outlook. The owner would literally go into Outlook on each computer every night after his staff went home. He would then spend a couple of hours copying and updating everybody’s Outlook.
When I first saw this I talked to the owner and asked him why they didn’t have a customer database that they could utilize to update and manage their contact records. Keep in mind this was 2008 so a lot of the cool technology we can grab for $10 a month today wasn’t available. Right at that point we started creating sketches and mock up’s of a basic contact manager that could help him transform his business.
The contact manager itself was very basic and extremely user friendly. We designed it so that it was web based and all data would be stored on a central server in the office. No more copying data from computer to computer. The telemarketers would use their own login and from there they could see a list of all phone calls that they had to make. As each call concluded they would update the contact record to indicate the status of what happened on that outbound call. If it was a call where the customer asked them to call another time, you would simply mark it as a future follow up and specify the date you wanted the follow up to occur. It was just easy to use.
The owner himself had the ability to load new call lists into the contact manager using the tools that we developed for him and he could then assign the customer names to his different telemarketers. Now all the telemarketer had to do was sit down at his/her desk to simply login and see all of the work they had to do for the day.
The contact manager had a number of other cool features as well including color coding to make it easy to distinguish who required attention right away and who could hold off. The whole color scheme of the application was designed with the user in mind but was emphasized with the Ductblasters logo.
As time went by we would continue to evolve the software for the client. We would eventually introduce invoicing into the system along with work orders so that it was a completely seamless experience for the telemarketer to the furnace cleaner heading out on the road. In recent years before the owner at the time retired we had spent a lot of time helping them develop tablet technology to capture work order and signature information right out in the field using an Android tablet.
This was a piece of technology that we built from the ground up. These days it is a lot easier to build custom software like that or to build on top of an existing CRM solution such as Sugar, Zoho or Salesforce. In fact, a lot of the customers we work with today do utilize our techniques from the days of Ductblasters inside of their CRM’s.