Customer Management with FossLook

How creating a customer management solution can help your business

Many organizations or entrepreneurs are faced with the problem of customer management. Often this problem is solved with the help of Excel spreadsheet, or the more "advanced" version - Google Drive.

At first, maybe, this way can be suitable for you, but with the growing number of contacts you'll see the problems of this approach. Sometimes you need to store different amounts of information about each of your contacts. For example, you may need to store someone's phone number, or the website url. In other cases, you only need to store the name and email.

Suppose, for specific customer you've created a "Phone" column in a spreadsheet. But what if you communicate simultaneously with the director of the company, sales manager, and perhaps, even an accountant? Whose phone it is? Where to enter contact details, names? How to fit all this data into a spreadsheet?

You quickly get a huge table with lots of columns, which will be very confusing. Now, think about how to organize collaboration using this approach, and most importantly, how to set different access levels between different managers?

It quickly becomes apparent: that kind of approach is not very convenient.

The Problems of Storing Customer Base in the Form of a Spreadsheet or a File

If you store your customer base in the form of Excel-files, you're probably already experienced some of these problems:

  • - In a spreadsheet, you do not have any simple fields validation, so you can easily enter incorrect value and get wrong results.
  • - It is not possible to divide different customers between managers: if you create different spreadsheets, you loose the ability to see the whole list or customers, or perform a search on entire database.
  • - Problems with permissions.
  • - Corporate espionage: a manager can copy .xlsx-files and sell this data to your competitors.
  • - The problem of finding the guilty: "Who fixed the telephone number for this company!" or "Who made this contact? (nothing has been filled properly)".
  • - Computer viruses encrypt files on the hard drive and demand money for decrypting.

Below, we'll look at a simple way to work with your business contacts, and the solution for the problems shown above.

Download and Install the Free Version of FossLook

All right, the first step you need to take - Download and Install the free version of FossLook Platform. It will allow you to have up to 5 free users on the server. To try things out, that's actually may be more than enough. Installation usually takes not more than 5 minutes.

Create Two Users

In FossLook users are always belong to some department. For simplicity, create just one department - your organization. To do that, start the FossLook Administrator, go to the "Departments" tab. Then, create one department, with the name of your organization, for example, "Cassiopeia":

Creating a department structure

Save your changes, and then create two employees in your company. Please note, that username and password are required fields:

Creating a user in your department

All right, so now we have two employees registered in our system : Sam Jackson and Kate Sherman.

Providing access to the correspondents database

FossLook by default already has "Correspondents" catalog, you can find it in the "Correspondents and contacts" library:

Setting permissions for the users and granting access

To ensure that your users can work with it, you need to give them access. Select the "Correspondents" catalog and go to the "Access" tab. Then, select each employee from the list and grant them "Full access" to this catalog.

Client Application

Now, start the FossLook client application and log in to the system as one of the users created earlier. You will see a set of folders. The "Private folders" tree branch is designed to work with email, and below you can see the document folders, where you'll find the "Correspondents" catalog:

creating a correspondent

Try creating a new item in the "Correspondent" catalog. You will see the card where you can fill in a lot of useful information about your existing or potential customers. The required attributes marked with the green color - in this case, the name of the correspondent.

Correspondent card

Make two or three sample correspondents, fill-in their cards with some test data. Then login as another user.

Collaboration of Two Managers

After you've logged in as another user, you immediately see that the folder has unread items - in our case, it's the correspondents records that were created from another account. As you can see, unread items are bold, and it is convenient to see exactly which records were created by someone else.

New unread documents in folder

History of Changes

If two or more employees work with one folder, sooner or later the question arises, "Who made what changes, and when?". For example, someone has made changes, and people want to find out who did it. The "History" module can help you answer these questions.

In the FossLook Administrator on the "History" tab enable history tracking by selecting the document "Correspondent":

Enabling history

Add your user to the group "History operators" so they can see the history records in a new tab:

Setting access to the history records

Now go back to the previously opened card and modify one or more fields. After you open and close the card, you'll see the changes on the "History" tab:

The history record

More Benefits

So, to summarize, what benefits do you have when using FossLook as a customer base?

  • - Customer card with a set of fields to store lots of information about it.
  • - You can add any number of new fields to the document and enable additional functions.
  • - Flexible permissions mechanism allows to set different access levels for different users within the system, for example, for someone - full access, and others - read-only.
  • - The "Contacts" tab may contain contacts associated with the given customer. For example, director name, manager name and others...

In this case, we used FossLook as a free customer management software, which also has many other functions. All interactions with customers, contacts, other information is stored in one server database, that protects your valuable data from being stolen. The Demo version allows you to have 5 free users within the system, which can be a great option for a small company or a private entrepreneur.

All Right, What's Next?

Ok, so, we've created a customer management solution with FossLook, and you now have a central database where all your information is stored. Since all data is stored on the FossLook server in the database, the average user will not be able to easily copy and steal your customer data. Hard drive failure isn't a problem now. Of course, you need to think about database backups, but it is a single repository, and organizing everything will be much easier.

Maybe, that will be enough for you, but a logical extension would be to create your own types of documents - "Commercial offer", "Agreement", and others. Create a couple of new libraries to store your contracts, offers, technical specifications, experiment with our automation platform and finally, you'll have your own CRM-system.

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