by Michele Nachum
Published on 13 July 2011
The word "productivity" is a bit over used these days, but probably for good reason. After all, in our 24/7 world being "productive" is a must and helping SMBs achieve maximum productivity has become a rallying call for solution providers. One of the biggest pain points and barriers to productivity for businesses of all sizes is customer and project management. Everyone is over-worked and trying to juggle multiple projects and customer issues can be daunting.
One product that tries to simplify customer management is VentureBox Assist. It is designed to help service-oriented SMB's track customer projects, issues and appointments as well as store documents and client contacts so that all employees are on the right track, deadlines are met and customers are happy. VentureBox Assist is very affordable at $9 a month and as part of that price you can store an unlimited number of client contacts and documents.
What Does It Look Like?
VentureBox Assist is a remarkably high functioning but low maintenance customer management product to help service-oriented SMBs manage their customer communications, issues and projects as well as share out documents, notes with colleagues and clients. VentureBox Assist has a clean user interface design of blue, white and black made for practicality versus artistry. There are no real bells and whistles here. You won't find marketing tools to generate additional customers or financial software to invoice your clients and keep track of your books. VentureBox Assist is strictly a ticket-based customer management system that puts your current clients in the forefront.
Getting Started - Adding Clients and Employees to the System :
The first step to any customer and web-based project management application is to input your customer lists and VentureBox Assist allows you to import your client lists from a CVS file. The directions for importing your current customer base into the system is very easy and with a bit of tab juggling, you can quickly get all of your customers into the system. Of course you can also type in your clients manually - but that can be rather time consuming.
In addition to inputting basic contact information about a client, you can also add in personal information like their birthday and set up reminders so that you do not forget. If you have a very large client database, VentureBox Assist provides an integrated search feature that allows you to easily access client data and related documents when necessary.
In addition to inputting your customer information, you can add your colleagues to the system and assign them to a project or ticket so they too can view, monitor and work on the various customer activities. If you want to assign multiple people, you can create User Groups (which we will discuss later in the review).
The heart of the VentureBox Assist solution is its ticket system. The idea is to create tickets that correspond to a client project or issue, and as you create the ticket, you can attach relevant documents and assign user groups (more than one employee) to help you manage the ticket. The ticket system allows for collaboration among your employees since anyone assigned to the project can view the documents as well type in notes to update fellow users on the progress of the ticket.
All of your tickets will be listed on your dashboard with due dates, personnel assignments and other pertinent information to help you monitor and track the ticket process.
Client Reminders and Instant Notifications:
As stated above, you can create Client Reminders to help you remember scheduled meetings, when it is time to renew a client contract or personal customer information like your client's birthday. Once you create a Client Reminder you can then ask the system to remind you via text message on your mobile phone, via email or both.
In addition to receiving Client Reminders, you have the option to receive SMS (mobile text messaging) notifications anytime a client request ticket is updated. If you reply to a notification, VentureBox Assist will automatically update the ticket with the new information you have specified. Another groovy feature is that you can add in supporting documents to a ticket, simply by attaching them to a reply email.
Is it for you?
VentureBox Assist is a very efficient solution and suitable for companies that require basic project and customer management tools. VentureBox Assist is collaborative and flexible (e.g.: can receive reminders and SMS notifications via mobile phone as well as email) and easy to master. I would say that VentureBox Assist is best for businesses that have a high amount of customer projects and interactions that require basic tracking and collaborative tools. That said, because VentureBox Assist is a very focused solution, it may not be for businesses that require a more robust product that includes invoicing, estimation and marketing tools, plus employee time tracking and more.