Is there a better mousetrap out there?

Posted on by in Editorial Musings

Facebook is such a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with old friends, new friends, and for sure colleagues that are across the globe. When a topic pops up where I feel I can contribute, I usually hop right in. And last week, a thread popped up in my Facebook newsfeed from a travel agent community and I hopped right in.

“Good morning everyone. I was wondering of you guys know of a computer application where I can keep all of my client’s information so I don’t have to ask the same questions every time they book. I was keeping them in an Excel spreadsheet, but my list is growing and I feel I need another method.”
Well, I hopped right in and said that a CRM was what was needed and tossed out ClientBase as my top suggestion and ClientEase as a solid second choice. A few agents chimed in with tips on how to sort information in Excel, someone suggested Access and a variety of other solutions. Many dissed the idea of actually paying for a product (where did that concept originate anyway?) and just muscling through with Google Docs or something they already had.

What surprised me was that several colleagues in that thread tossed out a few names I had never heard.

  • Vacation CRM
  • Budget Your Trip
  • Less Annoying CRM

Why had I never heard of these? I like to think I am tuned into the industry; but apparently I am not as tuned in as I think.

I have been a user and advocate for ClientBase since the late 90s—when it was owned by Third Party Solutions…way before TRAMS bought them and before Sabre bought TRAMS. The program has grown as technology has advanced. And to be honest, ClientBase has become like many Adobe products—too many features for the average user. I know that, like Adobe, they want to be able to appeal to the most complex user as well as to the most simple; but many of the features of both Adobe and ClientBase go unused on my computer.

So maybe there is a better solution out there? Maybe not. But that thread on Facebook opened my eyes. What CRM are you using? One of the ones mentioned above? A different one? Index cards? Leave a comment with the pros and cons. Maybe I will make a switch.

 

 

  2 thoughts on “Is there a better mousetrap out there?

  1. 1danbrantley says:

    I have used Act!, Salesforce, ZohoCRM, MarketCircle DayLite, Nozbe, FreeCRM, HubSpot, and others. I am in the group that thinks ClientBase is incredibly powerful, and has grown to include almost everything there is to know about your clients etc. But it is also so big it has become slightly cumbersome and non-intuitive. For example creating a new client; you input a phone number, when you switch to communications, you have to input the phone number again. And the reason you haven’t heard of the three you mention is that there are new programs every week. CRM seems easy to do, but it is hard to do right.

    Recently I discovered Cloze. It is software as a service, so it is browser based, meaning continually updated with no software to download or install, and available to you on any computer with an internet connection. But for me the beauty of it is, it can act as an email client, syncs with your existing accounts, and sorts and filters much of your mail automatically. You can still use your existing email program if you prefer, and it will still sort and filter and organize, It interfaces with Evernote, DropBox, OneNote, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. It even interfaces with your mobile phone, and RingCentral VOIP. It can also act as a dialer and interact with other VOIP systems. It can keep track of just about every interaction I have with clients, and logs it into the client profile, the company profile, and also the Project/Itinerary/Trip I am currently working on with them. It has a team option if you are working with others on a project, making it easy to assign tasks and monitor completion. Support is quick and helpful. With all that it does and can do, there is a learning curve, but you can immediately start using it to your advantage. Did I mention it also syncs with your address book? There is a free two week trial, and then $19.95 a month, I consider it an incredibly inexpensive assistant.

  2. 1Tony Harrell says:

    I use Less Annoying CRM. It’s straightforward, easy to customize and a good value at $10 month. The flipside is that one can’t automatically integrate the system with their booking engines; if you’re a high-volume producer then that could be inconvenient. But for those just getting started or with lower-volume productivity, it’s an affordable option compared to the “classic” CRM options out there.

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