Don't Just Manage Customers, Collaborate With Them

Who among us hasn’t dealt with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software?

Whenever you call up your credit card company, it’s the CRM system in the background that the overseas customer service rep is reading from.

Whenever the phone company calls you with a new offer, the CRM system is logging the call.

But curiously enough, while CRM software is supposed to *manage* the customer relationship, it doesn’t actually touch the customer.

And after your calls with your credit card and phone company, do you feel satisfied?  Or do you feel managed?

This isn’t to say that CRM is unnecessary–just imagine if those customer service representatives didn’t know your account balance or customer history when you called!  And CRM has become so important that CRM sales are measured in the billions ($14 billion in 2007).

But it is true that CRM is necessary, but not sufficient.

Here at PBworks, we’re working to extend the CRM metaphor to encompass customer collaboration as well as “management.”

Especially for customers like advertising agencies, the customer relationship is a complex, high-value, long-term affair.  It’s hard to capture it as a row in a database.  Much of the relationship has been unwritten and personal.  But with the continual change and personnel turnover that is now endemic in business, that’s no longer enough.

The solution we’ve developed in conjunction with our customers is to use PBworks as a persistent environment for collaborating with their customers.

Rather than relying on email and telephone, our customers can create a workspace for each client or client project, use it as the central hub for communications, content, and coordination, and build some long-term relationship infrastructure that doesn’t depend solely on the personal relationships of the people involved.

The new Customer Relationship Edition (CRE) that we launched today includes additional features that enhance PBworks for this use case, including the ability to track your top prospects and customers, and receive instant alerts whenever they log in, including updates on what content they’ve read or downloaded.

The CRE enhances CRM and makes it truly collaborative–something anyone who has sat on the phone with their credit card company will appreciate.

For more information on the Customer Relationship Edition, visit our website.

You can also sign up for a free Webinar introducing the CRE on Tuesday, August 10.

To request a one-on-one demo of the product, fill out this form.

Published by Chris Yeh

Chris has been building Internet businesses since 1995. He has been a founder, founding employee, or seed investor in almost a dozen startups, including PBworks, and advises a wide array of startups ranging from network equipment makers to vertical search engines. He liked his investment in PBworks so much, he decided to join the company. Chris earned two degrees from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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