Epicor Clientele Lets Everybody in on Customer Int

Sure, the organization has lots of information on its clients. Trouble is, some of that information is stored in the sales department, another chunk lives over in support services, and still another piece is in accounting. Finding out who has what- -and spreading it around so that everyone is reading off the same page- -can get complicated,

Epicor's Clientele CRM suite seeks to abolish those types of complications by setting up a system to gather, organize, track and share critical information across all parts of the organization.

The suite works off Microsoft technology and consists of a series of six modules that can be added on as needed as the organization grows and changes.

The Customer Support module gives users immediate access to all types of customer information, from the types of products they own to past conversations they've had with company employees. The module's AnswerBook feature offers an online directory of frequently asked questions so reps can answer support questions quickly and accurately.

The Sales and Marketing component is a contact, lead, opportunity and account management tool that also tracks marketing campaigns and supports structured sales methodologies. Clientele can also automate business workflow through its Conductor module, which can schedule tasks, process inbound e-mail and launch applications, as well as perform functions such as database monitoring, call escalation and sales forecasting.

Other modules are handy for road warriors who need to access or change client information from remote sites. Clientele's Connector allows remote users to synchronize their data with a centralized database, while ClienteleNet is a standards-based Web application that gives field and service reps, customers and partners access to company information. And the Multimedia Encyclopedia System feature delivers up-to-date electronic information to the laptop or workstation, rather than through bulky binders stored in the office.

Indianapolis-based DataShare, a network consulting, design, installation and support services company, has been using Clientele's Customer Support module since August of 1997. The system automates all DataShare's customer phone calls and e-mails. It has also integrated back-office functionality, such as accounting, with front-office functions of sales and customer service, allowing the customer service, engineering, sales and accounting departments a more unified look at each customer.

DataShare support center manager Carla Cobb says Clientele has been a boon for the 8-year-old and rapidly growing network consulting firm- -especially in the area of technical support. Before implementing Clientele, DataShare's team of six engineers would keep handwritten notes on their accounts in a series of notebooks.

This worked fine until DataShare began to grow, Cobb says. "If someone new went to a job site where he hadn't been before, he was in the dark. He had no idea what was done before or the type of project on site because that information was written in a notebook that was in the possession of the original engineer."

Clientele proved to be the solution for engineers to document information and then communicate it to each other without storing it in a file cabinet back in the office. Since implementing Clientele, DataShare has experienced increased engineer productivity, improved communication and improved client documentation, Cobb says. Customer service has also improved, as customers now receive faster and more accurate responses to their network needs.

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