It’s the beginning of a new year so time for some resolutions! Here are 3 things every agent should resolve to get done on the personal tech front this year.
Get to Know Your Cell Phone or Tablet
Since I have a tech related job, everyone always asks me questions about their cell phones or tablets. Like I know everything about the hundreds of devices out there… What’s really frustrating is that most of their questions could easily be answered if the agent read the manual.
Of course, it says something about the device if you have trouble figuring some things out. The supposedly intuitive Apple iOS still has several settings buried in unlikely categories. But until the perfect device is invented, there’s no choice but to RTFM – at least about the stuff you need to do with your phone:
- Email – you’ll need email server settings (ingoing/outgoing servers, security types, username/password) but read the advanced settings, too, so you’ll know how your mobile email works with your desktop or web-based email application.
- Email signature – at the very least, remove that “Sent from my Verizon Blackberry” default signature that shows up on any email you send.
- Contacts/Calendar – how to access those and make entries.
- Synching – if you want to keep a desktop/cloud email and/or CRM app and/or tablet or other device updated with info from your phone (and visa versa), most likely you’ll need a third party app – or apps. The manual should provide some guidance and so should your CRM manual.
- Voice– voice dialing, texting, how to access your voicemail or setting up visual voice mail if you want.
Figure Out the CRM Thing
You’ve been complaining about your CRM app for how long? Time to up upgrade – or give it up and move on.
Check on upgrading first. Look for new features that will make your life easier – better synching, email integration or cloud services. Or check for add-ons or mobile apps that can work with your CRM particularly for synching.
If you’ve had enough of your old CRM, it’s time for something new. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get more than basic contact info, calendar items and maybe notes out of your old app and into your new app. But it’s a start.
You can pay for specialists to migrate your data from the old to your new CRM, but that can be costly. However, if you have thousands of contacts with long histories it might be worth it. Also check with any new CRM vendor about how and what data can be migrated to their application.
You can also keep your old CRM software around as a “legacy” source – not putting new info in it, just referring to it for older information. But there will come a point where you can’t even install the old software on a new computer. Or find an old computer to run it.
Another option is to create reports from your old CRM for opportunities, histories and whatever else won’t make the transition. Do one for each contact and save them in a format you can search – PDF, csv (or other Excel formats) or plain text.
When you need to find some 10 year old item for contact A, find their “historical” document to look it up. Or, if you can‘t remember the contact, search through the folder for what you can remember – the address, assistant’s name or whatever.
I know…migrating sounds tedious. It is. But don’t expect a simple solution in the future. Most of these older CRM apps are proprietary and they’ll go out of business before someone comes up with an easy migration tool. When choosing a new CRM, though, make sure you can get your stuff out easily.
Remote File Access – For Yourself and Others
Stop emailing yourself files – or emailing others GIGANTIC PDF proposals. If your brokerage doesn’t give you a way to access the office file server from your devices, use DropBox to move current files you’re working on so you can access them from other locations/devices. You can also look at Microsoft’s SkyDrive or other freebie file storage services.
If there is no file server, backup your local drive to the cloud using a backup service that has remote file access (like SOS Backup). If you’re the one in charge, use a cloud backup service for the office file server so your agents can get at the files outside of the office.
Any of these scenarios should allow you to share files and folders with others so they can download or view files as needed instead of clogging up their mailbox with your GIGANTIC PDF.
Photo credit: JonJon2k8