It’s been almost 18 months since I wrote a review of mediation client and case management software and even longer since I created my list of 10 must-have tech tools for the wired mediator. That’s too long when we’re talking tech.
So I was happy to find Jolt Magazine’s recent CRM Heaven or CRM Hell? Seven Options Reviewed from the Trenches [note" link no longer working]. CRM, or client relationship management, requires really effective software to do it right, and Jolt’s article gives a nice run-down of the options.
Me? I still use Highrise, and happily so. Someone asked me at the ACR conference why I use that one instead of one of the super-powerful options like Act! or SalesForce. What I want may not be what you want, so the question’s a good one. Here’s what I look for:
- Few bells and whistles. A long list of features may look inviting on a software product’s sales page or box, but really, how many of them do you actually use? I want software that does the most important things really well and doesn’t swamp me with the rest.
- Scalable. I want software that I and my client base won’t outgrow.
- Easy to learn. I don’t want to spend my time mastering complex software in order to squeeze out of it what I need. I want something that’s intuitively simple and straightforward.
- Portable. I never want to worry that I’ve left my office without a critical client note or file. So I want software that lives “in the cloud” (on the web) and which I also lets me download database files for safekeeping
- Likely to be here next year. While I’m always intrigued by new CRM options, like a kid drawn to the newest shiny object, I’m left wondering whose will make it and whose will die a quiet death. It’s a pain to port client records and data into a new system, so I want one from a credible company that looks like it’ll be around for a while.
- Built for small business. And I mean small business of an ADR firm’s scale. Many of the options are built for companies of 50, 100 or 1000. Those companies don’t need exactly what I need.
So that’s why I use Highrise. But it may not be for you, if your list is different. Jolt Magazine’s article should help you consider some alternatives.
I hope to be teaching a client relationship management workshop in New England in the next few months, so if this is a topic that interests you, watch here for an announcement.