Workflow – Your Way to Be a Better You
This past summer I had an unpleasant experience at a rental car counter. I knew I was headed up to the lovely Shenandoah Valley for a training session. The cheapest/closest plane ticket for this training location was for me to fly into Baltimore and drive three hours to my destination. When I was making my rental car arrangements, I found an online coupon for a convertible car at the economy car price. I quickly seized the moment and booked my car. Coming from Texas, where our summers include 100 plus degree heat, a drive up north seemed like a refreshing zen moment with me and three hours of sunshine and satellite music. Back in my single life, and when I started dating my now wife, I had this awesome little two-seat Toyota convertible that I loved to drive. I later realized that a car seat for an infant was not going to fit and I traded it for a family “truckster”. So as you can imagine, I was actually looking forward to this drive.
When I arrived in Baltimore and went up to the car rental counter, I had worked myself up to a frenzy of excitement about the car I was about to rent. I told the man at the counter all about my excitement and he was equally excited for me. After ringing up my card and denying all the frivolous extras, I was told to go to the lot and pick up my convertible.
You know where this story is going. Once I got to the lot, the convertible wasn’t there. I was allowed to drive another car at the same price, but the lot attendant was not very friendly and actually kept me there an extra hour while he was sorting things out. I ended up in rush hour traffic in the DC area on a now stressful five-hour drive.
The problem was that the rental car company was not able to track its customer’s needs and there was a disconnect from the front desk to the lot. I’m frankly not going to use this car rental company again as they weren’t really “nifty”. What we have here is a process management issue. If they only used a Sugar set up with some workflows!!!!
Last week, I discovered another process management problem only this time it was with me. One of my responsibilities is to reach out periodically to our customers and do a check in with them. However, I was having a hard time organizing who to reach out to and when. My solution to this issue was to figure out where to start and then manage the process from there via the workflow manager in SugarCRM. I created two new date fields in the Accounts module called “CA Last Touch” and “Account Plan Year”. The first field is for when my last contact with the account was and the second field is the start of the calendar year to date. Usually, this will be when the licenses are to be renewed.
When I get a new account, I fill in the date I want the calendar year to start with. I now have a workflow setup that sees that the Account Plan Year field has changed. When that happens, the workflow sets up a task for me to check in with the account when its 90 days out and 180 days out. I also have a workflow that when the 180 task is created, it creates a check in task another 90 days out, so I have tasks to check in at 90,180 and 270 days out. I have to have two workflows to accomplish this because the longest days out trigger is 180 days. Now that I have my check-in tasks, I also created a few workflows to update my Last Contact Date field. I have workflows that if a task is closed, an email is archived, a call is logged as held, a meeting is held or a note is created, that the Last Contact Date field is updated to today’s date. Since I am now storing tasks for check-ins and last contact dates, I can create dashlets on my home screen, ordering what check-ins I have coming up and when the last contact with them was. I can also run reports on accounts I haven’t reached in 30 or 90 days based off of these fields. I can now create a campaign survey (have you seen W-Systems’s CRM solution?) that will automatically go out 30 days before the end of each account year.
Because of these two fields and some simple workflow automation, I now have control of my process and have the ability to really integrate some cool functionality to maintain customer satisfaction. Hopefully, I will be able to reduce the awkward conversations I potentially could have with my clients and make sure I’m more of a presence in their use of Sugar.
So, in conclusion, much like many process management issues out there, we can use the native tools that Sugar offers, like custom fields in conjunction with workflows, and create not only some great automation but functional tools in our Sugar instances. I look forward to putting my process in place and reaching out to you to talk about your processes and how we can make them better in Sugar.