From a user’s perspective: CRM for an Upholstery Business?

One of our users, James Conklin, has written a post on a small business blog about his search for Customer Relationship Management tools that fit his needs.  Since I already told you he was one of our users, you know where he ended up, but I found the description of his journey quite interesting.

If you are still deciding whether our Intellect software is right for an expanded role helping your small business succeed, I recommend taking a look:  CRM for an Upholstery Business? by James Conklin

Tips, Tricks & Secrets #9: Redirect emails

We have been sharing some of our favorite tips, tricks and secrets using our software products. If you look in the tags on the sidebar, “tips” is a great way to see the other posts in this series.

Tip #9: Redirect emails

We seriously are not sure how we could run our business without this feature! It’s that useful to us!

This tip is for our Intellect email program and it is a way to take an email that was sent to you, but needs to be dealt with by someone else.  If you forward it to someone, you become the sender, not the original person who sent it. If the person you forward it to replies, the reply comes to you, not the original person who needed it. You find yourself in the middle of a conversation that you aren’t really part of and it becomes your job to bounce the replies back and forth and back and forth. No fun!

If you find yourself in this situation in the future, instead of forwarding the message to the right place, use the right-click on the selected message and choose Redirect. You’ll get to choose the person to give it to, just like with a forwarded message BUT this will also set the reply to address as the original sender. This way, any reply goes right back to the original sender AND you aren’t stuck in the middle!

We use this often when a message comes into support that really needs to be answered by our sales department and vice versa. Notice that the status field gets a Registered Trademark symbol (the R in a circle character) – ® as an indication this message was redirected rather than the F for forwarded or R for replied.

Tips, Tricks and Secrets #8: Zoom on Emails

We have been sharing some of our favorite tips, tricks and secrets using our software products. This tip is for our Intellect email client users:

Tip #8: Zoom on Emails

As you select a message to read, you may find that the font that looked right to the sender looks way too small for you.  Similar to web browsers, the Intellect mail preview window allows you to zoom in and make it bigger, bigger, bigger (or smaller for that matter).

Hold down the CTRL key with one hand and use the scroll wheel on your mouse with the other. Wheel up to make everything in the preview window bigger and wheel down to make it smaller again.

The Zoom level you pick will also stay in effect for other messages while you have the program open, but will reset back to the normal 100% the next time you launch Intellect.

Bonus tip:  Hey, its two for one!  Use CTRL-M (or the big square button below the black X in the preview pane) to Maximize the preview window, allowing it to cover the list of messages and give you more room to read.  When maximized, two new buttons are also added to the toolbar to allow you to still move up and down the list of messages. When you are finished, you can hit the same button or keystroke again to return to the normal state of things.

Tips, Tricks and Secrets #7: Make Tasks from Emails

Have you ever received an email asking you to do something?  The better question might be have you ever gotten an email that DIDN’T?

While I’d like to get things done right away, emails can be an interruption to whatever you are currently working on.  One of the best tips for Intellect users is to turn an email direct into a to do item!

When you want to email back that you’ll do it (but not right now), simply drag the email and drop it on the tasks button at the lower left corner. That’s it!  Intellect will make a new task item with a description just like the subject of the email. It will even build a link back to the email message so that when it comes time to actually do the job, you can easily refer back to the email request that started everything.

Thoughts on Creating a New Version

I thought it might be interesting to give you a small amount of detail into what goes into a creating a new version of Intellect or Time & Chaos.  Unlike other software companies, we do not release a new version of our software based on the year or simply because it feel like it’s time our users paid for the program again.  Rather we have a list of changes we would like to make in any certain release.  If those changes can’t be made to the current version, they become long term changes that we would like to add if we completely rewrite the program in the future.  If that long term list gets long enough, it starts to feel like a completely new release is the best course of action.

What we implement is based first on how we use the software on a daily basis and second based on how we hear the software being used.  There are no favorites when recreating software from the ground up.  Every feature or function is evaluated.  Is this feature used by most people?  Is this feature intuitive?  Does a change make the program more confusing or less confusing, more functional or less?

Skip ahead through the months of development and testing and we will usually have a version that is almost ready for public consumption.  This is a bit like the “not ready for prime time players” of old Saturday Night Live.  Finally releasing this to your eager hands is a bit like crossing a minefield to move into a new house.  Yes, we are going to run into snags along the way but with time and patience, all snags can be traversed and the destination can be welcoming.

Of course, once you move in, it’s time to start redecorating.  The same is true with our software.  We almost never see a release as a finished product.  There is always room for growth and change.