Use PBworks Extranets To Improve Customer Relationships

Over the past 20 years, companies have invested billions in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Yet little of this investment is apparent to the customers whose relationships are being managed. CRM tools are overwhelmingly inward-facing--they simply give the salespeople and customer service reps within your company a comprehensive view of customer contacts. And they don't do anything for your customer.

Your customers are more than an entry in your CRM database, and your relationship with a customer is more than the sum of the emails back and forth.

Think of all the different information your customers ask for. Think of all the phone calls and emails you send. And then think of how often you have to resend that information.

The answer is to provide a collaborative customer extranet that does for your customers what CRM does for your sales team: provide a central place to manage the customer relationship. Every contract, every bit of information that your customer might need. PBworks Customer Relationship Edition provides you and your customers with a truly collaborative environment for jointly managing your relationship. The result is less work for your account managers and a more satisfied customer.

  1. Improve Customer Communications
  2. Share Documents and Files
  3. Store Useful Information
  4. Run More Effective Meetings
  5. Work Across Distances (Or Organizations)

Improve Customer Communications

Your account managers spend most of their time managing your customer relationships. But is that time spent as efficiently as possible? The most common complaint that clients have, across industries, is poor communications. Customers complain that they don't receive prompt responses to calls and emails, that they aren't kept in the loop on the progress of the work, and that in general, they just don't know what's going on.

But while customers want to know what's going on, even if your account managers had the time and inclination to send each customer daily email updates, those same customers would quickly begin to complain about being spammed.

The answer is to provide that transparency on a "pull" rather than a "push" basis. Use a customer extranet to give the customer a transparent view into its projects. When the customer wants to know something, he or she can look it up themselves.

And with the user engagement tracking built into PBworks, you can track your prospects and customers to find out who's really engaged, and what information they're viewing and downloading. We'll even alert you every time a hot prospect logs in.

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Share Documents and Files

Upload important documents and files to make sharing easy. PBworks combines enterprise-grade security (with the ability to grant or restrict access as you see fit) with universal accessibility (no VPNs or firewall configuration necessary, and you can access all content from iPhone and Blackberry). As an added bonus, PBworks lets you search within the full text of all uploaded files, making it easier to find what you're looking for. And our service comes with 100GB of file storage for your customer extranet. (Need more? Call us!)

If you have standard documents and content you want available to all prospects and customers, use a common resources repository. You can change once and publish everywhere, as well as tracking which resources your customers access or download.

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Store Useful Information

PBworks is a great way to store any information that's relevant to your client relationship, from contact information to important emails. Our easy-to-use editor lets anyone get up to speed quickly, you can import existing stores of information from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, and you can even forward emails to your workspace for inclusion.

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Run More Effective Meetings

Meetings are an integral part of a consulting relationship, but PBworks can help to make them more effective and eliminate the hassle of including remote participants.

Post the agenda on a shared workspace, with links to documents and reports. Ask participants to review and comment ahead of time, so the meeting is set up to be more productive before you even start.

Project the agenda page and capture notes and comments in real time. Instantly turn discussion into action-items, and assign them with due dates "on the fly". Our live-edit capability lets remote participants instantly see every change, and even make changes or suggestion.

Every project seems to reach those points where getting the right 3 or 4 people on the phone and reaching closure on an issue is the way to move foward. PBworks makes it easy with "click-to-call" capability. Select project team members from a pop-up list, click the phone icon to set up an instant, on-demand call. Drop or add participants just as easily. No hassle with dial-in numbers and passwords, since PBworks already has the profiles for the relevant team-members.

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Work Across Distances (Or Organizations)

The days when you could count on the members of your team being within the same four walls on a daily basis are over. Thanks to globalization and travel, you need the ability to coordinate efforts across different offices, or even organizations. You're not going to have the time or money to rely on face-to-face meetings, and conference calls are dangerously ethereal.

A customer extranet gives you a means of collaborating across different geographies (and time zones), both to deal with different offices, and with the modern realities of travel. And using a hosted solution makes it easy to bring in your vendors and contractors as well as your customers--a near impossibility with in-house software and IT.

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