I just want to know what it costs!

July 6, 2010

I’m sure you’ve been to a website that is great at marketing its product or service, but when you want to find out how much it costs, there is no information whatsoever.

This really irritates me.

I know two industries that do this: software, consulting and real estate (for new properties).

I’m sure they have good reasons, but it’s still irritating.

When I worked with a small company (under 30 people), my rules of thumb was that if no price is listed, then it’s too expensive for my company. It makes sense that if to get a price I need to talk with a live person, it probably costs the company at least $10 of that person’s time just to answer my question about how much it costs.

Another good rule of thumb I use: if I’m worried that it costs too much, it probably does.


Brokerage Company Chooses Highrise CRM

June 24, 2010

I recently consulted with a small brokerage company to help them choose a CRM (customer relationship management tool). After talking with the president I learned that he wanted a system to help the company keep track of the communication they had with all their clients on all their deals.

The president had one big problem he wanted solved. He wanted to know what conversations were going on between his company and the clients they were all working with. This was important so that the team could collaborate better, but also so that they could have an activity log they could go back to in case of trouble.

Here were the big limitations: the best salespeople in the company were addicted to Microsoft Outlook and he doubted he could get them to use anything else except after a lot of work. He was not interested in spending much more than $150/month total for the solution.

He also knew from his experience that he wanted communication to be stored along with the Person/Company being talked with, but also with the Deal it pertained to. He made it very clear that he wanted to look at any given deal and see the activity log of everything that had happened to that deal so he could get caught up.

This brokerage company had no dedicated IT Manager so I knew the solution had to be web-based and it had to be very easy to setup, maintain and use.  The other enterprise software his company was using was Google Apps for email, calendar and chat; and Netdocuments for a document library and extranet. (Google Apps can be use via Outlook as of 2009.)

In the end I chose Highrise CRM as my recommendation because it was the most inexpensive, established and easy-to-use option that met his needs to be able to attach communications to People and Deals. I wanted something well-established so that I knew the bugs would be worked-out already and that he would not run the risk of the CRM going out of business.

I just checked the Cloudforth “Do It Yourself” Software Selector with the following settings:


Ease of Use: *** (3 stars)
Well-established: ** (2 stars)
Economical: * (2 stars)

(and so on)

It works! The Do-It-Yourself Software Selector made the same choice I did.

I helped the company with additional setup and adoption. It’s been 3 weeks and they are using the software everyday.

Tender Support – Good Zendesk Alternative

June 10, 2010

Tender SupportCloudforth was digging Zendesk, that’s for sure!

But after using Tender Support, we thought it fit our needs better. We have chosen Tender Support as our customer support solution.

The main reason is the simplicity and the nice way that it handles discussions: any user comment can come from the website or an email and the user decides if they want it to be private (like an email to support) or public (like a forum post).

We do lament not having a feature to rate and rank issues for feature requests which Zendesk does have, but for now we are too new to need that feature. If you have some heavy-duty volume or integration, you might want to stick with Zendesk for now.

When we need to rank our feature requests later, we’ll look to User Voice or Idea Scale. For now you can send us feature requests in our Support > Suggestions area.

Want to see comparisons of all these user feedback and customer support tools? Try our Cloudforth – Do It Yourself tool.