Not only is this Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system quick and easy, it is completely free!
What will you need?
- A Google Account
- Google Calendar
- Google contacts
Why this method?
Well as a SMB owner I found that traditional CRMs were both too powerful and yet, too restrictive for me.
I don’t need to know every little thing about an individual, certainly not details like their children’s birthdays (does that make me a bad person?), but I do need to know how to best contact them, and when I last spoke with them.
But then again, when I’m dealing with my sisters I do need to know when their kids are turning a year older. So I needed software that allowed me to add as much or as little information as I wish.
- If you haven’t already, set up a Google Account. It is free and will take about 5 minutes.
- Once you have a Google Account, import your contacts into Google contacts how does one do this?
- Set up your Google Calendar with the appropriate calendars. I use Personal and Business – this way it is easy to know who I am calling. It’s easier to call a family member at 8pm at night for example, rather than a work colleague!
- Now get ready for the system.
Based on the Minimalist system outlined here;
Every time you contact someone, you’ll make a note of the date and brief outline of the conversation in their Google Contacts record. I try to do this as soon as I’ve finished the phone call, to make sure I don’t forget any pertinent points.
When it comes to personal communication I do this for every type of contact that I want to keep a record of. Communication between my husband and myself – not recorded. A letter that I’ve received from my aunt – recorded. A phone call with my father who I call every week – only recorded if there’s something I want to remember.
Naturally, any business related communication is always recorded even if it is as simple as:
06/4/16 – left VM
12/4/15 – left VM
Then, I set up a Reminder or schedule an appointment in Google Calendar for the next time I want to contact that person.
Why the two different ways of recording a follow-up? Well if it’s business and I’ve promised that I’ll contact someone on a day, I schedule an appointment with myself on that day so I don’t let that promise slide.
If it’s not so important that I contact them on that particular day / time, then I schedule a reminder. That will come up on the day, and then keep coming up as a reminder day after day after day until I mark it as done, or delete it in frustration!
It sounds easy and perhaps a bit too simplistic, but this system was a lifesaver when we had some work done on our house recently. I kept records of every time I spoke with, emailed, left messages for and saw tradesmen. And when it came time to claim the insurance for that work, those records were worth their weight in gold.