Working with Zoho Creator? This is the event for you.

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Zoholics DevelopersWe are very excited to be organizing our first conference focusing on our developers. Zoholics Developers is a conference featuring sessions that deep-dive into Zoho Creator, the app building process and showcases the latest and the next on-the-charts from Zoho Creator. The event is scheduled for March 20-21 at Burlingame, California.

Be ready to grasp the tips & tricks from the experts and go back with your own Zoho Creator cheatsheet. Interact with your peers and learn from the remarkable apps they have built. Come prepared to transform your business processes and discuss your ideas or challenges one-on-one with the people who know Zoho Creator best. (You would have to book your slot right away, though.)

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SMS Notifications on Zoho Creator: Helps you reach out

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Does your business feel the need to reach out to your customers with intimations, updates or alerts? For instance, you may want to notify your customers about a change in tariff, send them a confirmation, communicate new/enhanced offerings or it could just be to build a rapport with the customers.

As evident as it is, you need good communication and engagement practices for your products/services for the customers to build/retain faith in you. The method of communication used plays a key role besides the message itself. And each unique situation is best complemented by a specific channel of communication.

As a product, Zoho Creator is constantly evolving. We are finding new ways to make it easier for our customers to do effective business with their customers. Since communication has become an important facet of a business, we are bringing in new solutions that cater to such requirements of our customers. One such offering which we have recently developed is the SMS notification.

As per statistics, 97% of the text messages are opened compared to only 5% of emails, while 83% of the text messages are opened immediately or within 3 minutes of their arrival, emails have a much larger gap period. Needless to say, SMS has penetrated as a preferred channel of communication for the short & important messages.

Now it is easy to send a “Thank you” SMS when a customer fills out an order form. You could select the notification option when records are modified. The next requirement that pops up commonly in businesses is to notify when a condition/criteria is met. For this, we have a Rule Builder, which makes it easy to set the conditions and invoke an SMS notification. The combined power of the SMS notification and Rule Builder empowers you to meet many business requirements easily. To make it more convenient for you, Zoho Creator has integrated with popular services like Clickatell and Twilio.

Yet, there maybe requirements that may not be solved with both. For instance, you may want to remind your users at a particular time, like on the day of appointment. In such a scenario, you could simply schedule the SMS notification. For similar and other more complex requirements, we have provided predefined deluge script functions. Just create a schedule with an appropriate configuration and write a single line of code and the appointment reminder workflow is ready.

Want to take a spin, just checkout the SMS Notification and Rule Builder.

 

Zoho Creator: New Intuitive UI, Customer Portal, Mobile Apps & SMS Notification. Yes, All this in one release.

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You and Zoho Creator, are an unbeatable combination when building solutions for your unique business. You would be happy to know that your best ally is now better equipped for the business challenges that you face.

New Intuitive User Interface

Our new UI has a flat-interlinked-monochromatic design that can help you build apps more intuitively and in lesser time. The UI organizes the favorite tools into clear sections, interlinks the pages for easy navigation, resulting in a substantial reduction of time spent in building the apps. Now that it is easier to build apps, you would find yourself building apps more frequently.

The UI provides a dashboard with direct access to all the applications, its associated forms, reports and settings. From the dashboard, you could take periodic back-ups of all the data and thus free yourself of the additional work.

Zoho Creator New Intuitive UI

Customer Portal

This is a great platform for you to collaborate with customers or other external stakeholders. The secure portal allows clients access to restricted information. For instance, with a Zoho Creator Customer Portal, your customers could login to check the status of their order, change order request, view their previous transactions or even place a repeat order easily. It allows your re-sellers to view their sales reports and track their personal performance. It is the perfect platform for you to share particular files only with restricted people. These are just a few things you can do using the Customer Portal. Try it out and see what business challenges it meets for you.

Mobile Apps

The native apps for Android and iOS devices ensure that your team has uninterrupted access on the go and remain in sync with each other at all times. The apps are available on Google Play and Apple store. Download them now.

Mobile Apps Zoho Creator

SMS Notification

SMS notification feature enables you to pass on time-critical information instantly. We have integrated with popular services like Clickatell and Twilio for this. You could now send out a notification when a record is modified or a certain condition is met. Use the drag-drop rule builder to easily create any complex conditions and activate the SMS notification. for the criteria being fulfilled. You could set scheduled SMS reminders for a later date or simply send a “Thank you” SMS instantly.

As for the Zoho Creator team, we have never stopped innovating and never intend to. So, tinkering on a small scale and rebuilding on a large scale will continue to add value. Our promise is on a better product everytime and that will never be broken. As we say, possibilities are endless, but each of you has a specific requirement and we are all set to meet those.

The Creator team would like to meet you all. Join us at our first Developer Conference on March 20-21. Read more details here.

Customer Spotlight: Zoho CRM Transforms the Way a Business Tracks Customers AND Equipment

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ProSound

In 1999, Chester Hull saw a major opportunity in the consulting industry.  As an ordinary consumer, Hull began to take notice of how frequently he was put on hold when calling companies for support, inquiries, or product information, and how often the experience was relatively unpleasant.

“How long will I be on hold for?  Why is the ‘hold music’ so awful? When will I reach a real person to talk to?!”

Hull seized the opportunity to address this common customer pain and started his company Prosound to alleviate this pain.  His goal was to work with companies around the globe to offer an amazing customer phone experience.

For the first seven years of business, Prosound tracked its customers with spreadsheets and various database programs.  As the customer base grew, so did the data that needed tracking.  Additionally, the aspect of mobile integration offered a valuable opportunity for Prosound which was impossible with the current customer tracking approach.  Hull decided that if Prosound wanted to take business to the next level, he needed flexible CRM solution with mobile integration.

The Business

Chester Hull - Founder and CEO

Chester Hull – Founder and CEO

Pro Sound is a consulting company providing turn-key systems for transforming customer caller experience.  Prosound’s services include writing automated phone messages, recording them, and ensuring the installation works according to a company’s system specifications.   As CEO and founder Chester Hull summarizes Prosound’s approach, “Why are your callers reaching out to you, what are they expecting, and how can we make that experience better.”

The Challenge: Migrating to a CRM Solution with a Large Database of Contacts and Implementing Mobile

Prosound faced an intimidating task:  transferring their existing database of thousands of contacts into a cloud-based CRM solution.  Additionally, they would restructure the way they interact with customers to take advantage of mobile integration so that customer information could be accessed and edited in-field.

As such, Prosound needed a CRM solution where they could quickly import contacts and easy begin to use mobile features without incurring substantial cost.

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

Hull initially tried the CRM solutions from Intuit and Salesforce.

“With the Intuit product, it just wasn’t as customizable and flexible as we needed.  And with Salesforce, it was actually just more than we needed and certainly much more cost than we needed.”

Hull’s selection criteria for a CRM solution were the following:

Low Cost Barrier to Entry – With the myriad of CRM solutions available, Hull did not want to end up spending a lot of money on a CRM solution that didn’t fit his needs.  Rather, he wanted something he could start using immediately, before deciding if this is the right solution for Prosound.

Mobile Integration – Prosound performs a large number of field visits and needs to access customer information on the go.

Flexibility – Customer equipment tracking requirements constantly change for Prosound, so they needed a CRM solution which allows them to easily customize and change the tracking fields.

Connectivity – Ability to sync with email management software to allow easy data sharing.

Implementing Zoho CRM

Prosound’s choice to try Zoho CRM was quickly validated with the ease with which they implemented it.

“Migrating over was pretty basic for us.  What was really nice is that we slowly dialed in our customization of CRM and could add additional fields as we went, whenever we wanted.”

Soon after trying the free trial, Hull decided that Zoho CRM was the solution for him.

“It was just so easy and intuitive, and it satisfied every one of my requirements.”

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM’s first major impact for Prosound was that it enabled much better tracking.

“Before implementing Zoho CRM, we didn’t have an exact track of the equipment we had at a client’s site, what the status was, and what kind of phone system they had.  This information just slipped through the cracks and this was one of the first customizations we used with Zoho CRM.  Now we can quickly pull up that information as we’re talking to a customer and know exactly what equipment they’re using.”

Additionally, Zoho CRM’s cloud storage allowed easy data access and automatic data backup.

“In the last four years, we’ve transitioned entirely to the cloud so every business function that we do is in the cloud and Zoho CRM was a natural fit for that versus something running locally. We’re now a completely virtualized office so we have people connecting from different parts of the world.  Additionally, Zoho CRM gives us instant backup and data recovery which is great.  Zoho CRM has been a perfect fit.”

Prosound has also been able to take advantage of Zoho’s cross product connectivity.

“We’ve been able to tie CRM and Zoho Creator together and store things like email conversations in the Creator database and link them to specific customers in CRM which is critical.  Connecting these two applications has been incredibly powerful for us.”

Since implementing Zoho CRM and Creator, Prosound has enjoyed steady growth which Hull largely attributes to the time savings and ease with which he and his employees can navigate through customer data.

“Zoho CRM saves us a ton of time and really allows us to have smooth and quick interactions with customers allowing us to fit in more work per day.”

What You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“I recommend Zoho CRM as often as I can because the barrier to entry is so low and anyone can jump in, starting using Zoho CRM, and get the advantages right away. It’s free, extremely customizable and flexible, and it’s mobile!”

To learn more about Prosound, click here.

All in a day’s work..

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Business Man

Recently, I came across a wonderful article shared by a friend on 6 personality and work environment types. The work environments recommended according to personality types made a lot of sense.. I found myself mentally screening myself and other friends, if we were in the right jobs.. Most of us, thankfully, are.

What also set me thinking was, is it possible for one person to assimilate in himself all the personality types and thus be suitable for any work environment?

The answer stared at me like a writing on the wall. YES. If we consider each personality type to be a hat, wearing a different hat at different times is what we all do. Only we don’t do it consciously. And more importantly we are not forced to do it. But what about those who do it consciously and with elan? Who you ask.

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Now Possible: Scheduled migration of data into Zoho Creator from MS Access and MS Excel

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Migrating data between services is a pain, regardless of the services. We’ve always been for simplifying these tedious tasks, because most of Zoho Creator users have the need to synchronize data from in-house applications (ERP system for example), with their custom apps in Zoho Creator.

The Zoho Creator migration tool was a result of a conscious effort to simplify data migration. The tool made it easy to create new apps during migration or migrate data into existing apps. Now, we have enhanced the tool to support command line option for uploading data from files. This version of the tool allows you to perform tasks on Zoho Creator, right from within the command line interface. You can

Create an application
Create a form
Add records
Update records
Add or Update

This makes way for cron jobs; customers can schedule synchronization of data from in-house apps like MS Access or MS Excel, with their custom Zoho Creator application, without manual intervention. The tool reads popular XLS, XLSX, CSV, MDB and ACCDB formats. Here is a detailed guide on how to do it. Try it out.

Zoho Creator’s Calendar View Evolves Further

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Dates are important. Every transaction, every deadline, every memory, every milestone has been date-driven. In Zoho Creator too, be it scheduling emails, calculating due date or restricting form activity to working hours, date fields are irreplaceable. That urged us to push them further. The makeover has left the date fields and calendar views better than before. Here’s what has happened.

One, is the ability to restrict the days on which appointments can be requested on public calendars; working days and working hours. Users will be permitted to create events only within this duration. We’ve made it customizable to suit your locale and culture because Friday is not the end of the week in all countries (Russia, for instance).

The second enhancement, is support for week and day views, in addition to the month view. You can now pick the desired view to filter the appointments.

The third, is rescheduling events as you would do on any other calendar application. Drag the event around the calendar to reschedule it, and pull the end to lengthen or shorten it.

Use this calendar here to try these new features. Let us know what you think.