Category Archives: Why CRM

Voice Recognition and Transcription into CRM

We’ve added many cool new features into our CRM over the years, but this is one that we’re really excited about  –   Automatic transcription of voice notes.   It’s something we’ve been asked about and considered many times, and now we’re able to deliver it.

It’s as simple as it sounds.   Open up a note in CRM – start speaking, and CRM will automatically convert your text to speech.

Voice Capture

The note taking screen in Tall Emu Web CRM showing the voice transcription prompt and microphone icon which toggles voice capture on and off.

If you talk in a normal tone and pace, the automatic (and instant) transcription is really good quality.  Once you get over any phobia of talking to your mobile phone (!) you’ll find it much faster than thumbing in notes on your smartphone using the keyboard.

Here’s a quick video of it on our test system.   It’s not showing the realtime display of the text as it is spoken in this demo, but I couldn’t wait to get this post up and that will be fixed before release.

No automatic transcription is perfect.  Accents, background noise can sometimes confuse it – it’s being done by a machine and formulas after all.   So, to make sure that nothing is lost, we’re also recording and uploading the original audio file as an attachment.

When you are back in the office you can edit the notes to your heart’s content using the original audio as reference, or assign a task to a personal assistant or virtual assistant to do it for you.    If you need a professional, human quality transcription you can use services to get that too – our audio quality is good enough to send off to those services should you desire.

A normal speaking speed in conversational English is around 110-150 words per minute.   An average typing speed on a full size keyboard is 40 words per minute.  I’d hate to think what it is on a smartphone, but we expect that this new feature will be a great time saver.

For those with multi-cultural or transnational teams, the speech recognition is also available in other languages.  The company selects a default language for speech recognition – this can be overridden user by user.

For example, a demo of recognition in Chinese:

Connect your phone system to CRM to save time, money and stress.


Tall Emu yet again brings Enterprise-grade features down to the SME sector with our new phone to CRM link.

Our new ‘phone link’ not only tracks and logs calls automatically inside CRM saving you time, manual effort, and it saves you the hassle and the frustration of ensuring staff record these calls in CRM.

Since we now have call data on the inbound and outbound call activity in your business, you can easily monitor and report on this call activity with Tall Emu’s Dashboards and the KPI Reporting system (only available in version 3 or above).

For most businesses the telephone is where most of the selling activity actually gets done and is usually still the best sales converting tool in your business, so knowing as much as you can about this is crucial.

Already running call reports from your Phone System?

  • Tall Emu links the call data directly into CRM against the customer’s record – automatically.
  • Talk time, ring time, abandoned calls can all be seen real-time in CRM.
  • Inbound calls let you know who is calling – and show essential data about that client or lead.
  • Log call outcomes and notes easily over and above the automated logging.

What does it look like?


Step One: Notification Popup.

This appears when someone calls in, and their number is in CRM. If the phone on the desk is ringing (e.g. ring group) or direct line, this popup will appear. When someone takes the call – this will disappear.   If you have more than one line, the CRM will show you which line is being called- ideal if you have sales and support numbers.



Step Two: Call Answered – Smartbar displayed

When the call is answered – the “Smartbar” pops up. It shows purchase history, open opportunities and more – all clickable to open relevant areas of CRM. Each user could choose when and if they want this to open.

Options include when the call is ringing, when it is answered, or not at all. Reception may not want the smartbar – but sales… you bet they will.






Step Three: CRM Popup

When a call is made or an inbound call is answered, we automatically open a pop screen in CRM. Either a “Call” screen, a company, a contact or our enhanced “One page quote” form:


Each user may select their preferred screen. Again – sales may want the “fast quote screen”. Reception may want nothing at all.

Extra Bonus: Call From outlook

From within side outlook – you can click on the call and it will dial, logging the call automatically in CRM.


Finally – the new version of CTI automatically creates proper CRM call records – call direction, client, and duration. This can then be reported on in the KPI reporting and dashboards, reviewed against customer records.

Will it work for me?

Tall Emu CRM works with a whole lot of phone systems from NEC, Samsung, Panasonic, Avaya and more.  You can see if your phone system works with CRM by clicking here.  If your phone system isn’t on the list, don’t be disheartened – the same phone system may be called different things in different parts of the world – just contact us and we’ll help you out.

This is just the start

Because Tall Emu CRM is forever developing and usually at the request of our customer, there is no end to what is possible from this new functionality.

Idea #1: Set up email notification when a “HOT lead” calls into the office. This is especially useful if you are the Sales Person trying to close the deal but you are busy. You are going to want to drop everything to get back to them. Never again rely on someone taking a message for you.

If you have any suggestions let us know. Remember, you need to upgrade to get this feature and to order and pay for a CTI licence.

Contact us via our contact form or get in touch with support if you’re interested in our new phone features.


If I doubled the size of your sales team would your sales increase?

I once had a chat with the owner of a travel agency about how we could help his business become more efficient.  In our meeting he explained his sales team took 15 minutes to work out the itinerary for every lead, and then would call the customer and spend 15 minutes proposing it.

He also knew: speed is key.  The faster the response, the more likely a deal.

This is the sort of challenge we live for here at Tall Emu – by connecting to the travel systems, we could eliminate the 15 minutes of data entry and auto-price the itinerary.  This would mean that leads could be handled faster and each salesperson could provide double the number of quotes in an hour.  Alternatively, it would be possible to have half the number of sales staff processing the same number of leads.

He didn’t get it.  I tried another way.  “Do you think if I gave you double the amount of sales people, your sales would noticeably increase?” – of course, the answer was yes.  “What if I gave you the extra people for free?  Would you do it?” – of course he would…  but he didn’t.

Are you missing similar opportunities in your business?

Do you pay your sales team commissions?   In one of our clients, a full time staff member was required to calculate the commissions  due to them from their clients, as well as those payable to each individual telemarketer.  There were 6 sales staff, but it was complex as each employee had a different commission rate per product – as did the company with its clients!

We replaced Helen with a button. The button performed all of the calculations in the blink of an eye at 100% accuracy.  As the company grew to 100+ staff, the button stayed.   Commissions and invoices were still calculated in the blink of an eye – and the company didn’t need to hire another 10 or 20 “Helens” to keep up.     Let’s say Helen was paid $20,000 per year.   That’s not a bad saving – and that saving grew with the business.  I don’t know what happened to Helen[*], but I am reliably informed that the button is still on duty 10 years later.  Not a bad return on a $5,000 spend.

Do you follow up every lead?   Another client had what sounds like the best problem in the world!  Too many leads!  They’d come in 24/7 into outlook, where the sales team would pounce on them.  Then a different member of the sales team would pounce on them. And another.   Hours would be spent trying to get in contact with people on the phone, only to be told “Sorry, not really in the market – it just looked cool on TV!”.

Meanwhile – real leads and business was slipping through the cracks.  Come month’s end hungry salesmen would be trawling through their sent items and copying and pasting emails chasing up quotes. It was manual, paper-based, and uncontrollable.

We implemented Tall Emu CRM and centralised everything, starting with lead allocation.  Brochures are now created and sent automatically based on current pricing.    Each lead is now automatically followed up by email (saving over 10,000 manual email sends and I don’t know how many man-hours per month).  The good leads are called.  Respondents to emails are quickly allocated to salespeople and called.   Everyone is followed up, automatically  and once quotes are issued they’re followed up too.

Without hiring more staff sales went up.  The company is one of our longer term customers, having automated and streamlined many more elements of their business.

Do you set targets and report on them ?   Management of Targets and KPI’s and associated reporting is often time consuming but every business needs to do it.


Using Tall Emu CRM we can track every element of the business and set targets using our KPI reporting module.  Any KPI you may imagine could be set up, reported on and delivered automatically to your inbox (or dashboard) making performance monitoring automated, efficient and inclusive.

We can take this often hated task, automate it and ensure it is done so management has visibility and the sales team aren’t burning time filling out paperwork.
There are other examples of efficiency gains. We have implemented automated calculation of trail commission for mortgage brokers, automated credit assessment (and debt collection), integrated with network systems and web based systems- even just exported data for others to use.

The point of this post is really to say – take a look at your business. Where are you wasting time?  What could be automated?    Think about the long term value for your business in getting it right and automated.


[*] Actually I do. Helen went back to the UK after her working holiday,but the article reads better how I’ve written it I think.

The Access of Evil

Last year, I wrote about the perils and problems of Excel Spreadsheets to run your business.   Today I’d like to talk about their evil twin:  custom access databases.

For those who don’t know, Microsoft Access is an entry-level database system that allows beginners to easily write their own programs and databases. Many businesses, from big to small have at one time used Access for a little database or business process.   And they’re all wrong!

Why Access is good.

  • Beginners can put together databases without proper technical understanding.
  • If created by a person in the business, the database can be very useful because the person writing the database is intimately familiar with every nuance of the process.
  • In Cash cost, may appear cheaper than other alternatives.

Why Access is bad.

  • Beginners can put together databases without proper technical understanding.  It means that the database may not be technically correct, the data may not be in the right structure, it may not be secure, fast or suited for future needs.
  • If created by a person in the business, the database can be very useful because the person writing the database is intimately familiar with every nuance of the process. This may result in a database which is so tightly tailored to your business that change is impossible.
  • In Cash cost, may appear cheaper than other alternatives – but actually isn’t.  You’re taking a member of your staff out of what they’re good at and getting them to build you a database.   You’re paying their wages, you’re paying them to re-invent the wheel and they’re not doing what they are good at in the first place!
  • Even if you get an Access Consultant you have no idea if they have formal or adequate experience technically – because access is easy for the layman to pick up.
  • If the database has to work with other systems, you may void their waranty or support agreement if you write data to them other than via an approved method, and there can be unexpected costs if you want to upgrade systems (you better get that consultant back and hope he hasn’t retired yet!).

bad business

The main issue is that you’re building a dependency – either a person in your business who just made themselves and their knowledge indispensable, or a customised database built at huge expense by a micro-business operator (one man band) who you may well be tied to for life (his or the software’s).

Changes to third party systems may break the system unexpectedly and the third-party vendor won’t care about your little access database – it will be your responsibility to fix it.

We’ve rescued many businesses from this sort of “Key Man Dependency” caused by Access Databases.  Don’t be next – think before you let the sales guy write his own Access database, or engage a consultant to make you one.

What’s the alternative ?

When we designed Tall Emu CRM we made it our goal to get rid of Excel, get rid of Access and provide one streamlined, central system to share and manage your data.  A key requirement for us was to make it massively customisable.

This means:

  • Easily, quickly and cost-effectively creating custom fields to store your data in a sensible way,
  • Allow the creation of custom forms, reports, dashboards internally within CRM
  • Make it easy to link data with other systems – accounting and others.
  • Provide Automation features over multiple systems.
  • Make common business functions available out of the box to avoid re-inventing the wheel.
  • Continuous improvement – new features can be added and shared between all clients using the system (if appropriate).

Tall Emu CRM licences cost a fraction of what it costs to develop customised Access Databases – with far, far more power out of the box.  You can start from a powerful base and build from there.

If you’re already a Tall Emu CRM user and you’re considering the need for custom reports or tools to help make your job easier don’t be tempted by Access – call Tall Emu for a complementary consultation.

Why link CRM and Accounting Systems?

As I have mentioned before, one of my favourite “quick wins” for a business is connecting up their accounting system (be it MYOB, Quickbooks (now Reckon Accounts in Australia).There’s so much benefit in doing this, I thought it deserved a post of it’s own.

Get data to the sales team

If you already have an accounting system, you’ll have a whole array of customer data – names, addresses – what you sold & when you sold it.  You’ll know the total sales value for customers, margins, profits and a whole heap more.

This data can be provided to the sales team – in summary form if preferred – or in detail too.


Streamline Account Setup

In most businesses the customer hits CRM first (it’s a lead or opportunity) and then, at some stage (either when an account is requested or the first sale made) it needs to be sent to the accounting system.   By linking CRM and your accounting software, the transfer can be performed with a single click – no waiting for accounts, and no giving sales team access to your MYOB/Quickbooks.

One Master Product List

Do you have an excel price list, MYOB/Quickbooks price list, shopping cart price list and CRM price list ?   Are they in Sync?    With CRM linked to your accounting system, you maintain your prices in one place and they can be shared with the other systems as needed.

Implement “Missing” Features

One of the great benefits of linking your Tall Emu CRM to your accounting system is you’re able to implement missing business features.   For example – we have implemented an automated invoice reminder system – which can automatically remind people when invoices are overdue, or schedule calls to them.

Take orders efficiently

What’s your order-taking process like ?   With CRM and Accounting system linked up, you can create the quote – sale – invoice – collect payment using eWay – and transfer the whole lot to the accounting system of your choice.

Targeted Marketing

What blog post would be complete without the good old “find all the people who bought X but not Y and send them an email”?

Using the data from your accounting system opens up a whole array of possibilities for you.

5 ways to make your CRM project successful

I read a headline somewhere on the internet that a huge number of (other people’s) CRM projects fail.   Having done a large number of custom software development and CRM projects over the years, I thought that I would share some of the things I’ve learned.


Many articles on the internet are targeted at companies with huge CRM budgets – corporates, rolling out to hundreds or thousands of people – this one is focused more on the smaller end of town where there aren’t million dollar CRM budgets.

While there’s obviously a lot more detail in a successful CRM implementation these five key points have served me well over the years.

1. Why even implement CRM?

Why are you implementing CRM ?  What are the specific outcomes you are looking to achieve from it ?  Do you know ?   Can you articulate them ?

I don’t mean “we want to maintain a 360 degree view of the customer and optimise our marketing outcomes” or other such nonense but actual concrete outcomes you want to receive as a result of your CRM implementation.

These can be as simple as  “we don’t have a shared customer database” or “we actually don’t know who our best customers are” or “everything is currently on paper/in excel“.

If you know what you want to achieve you have a direction and you can make a plan, and you can measure if it’s working.

2. Get Management buy-in

If you are management, you can skip right to step 3 – but in all cases the management of the company need to be on board, and commit to change and to support the process as it moves forward.

There will be users who may be resistant to change, and management need to make sure that this is managed.  There will be challenges – management will have to maintain support as they are overcome.

Implementing a CRM is not just “install, train, done” – if done correctly it is a long-term ongoing strategic process which is continously refined and adds value to your business – and management needs to treat it this way if they are to achieve the maximum value from the investment.

That doesn’t mean forking over money constantly to the CRM vendor or consultant – but rather, keeping an eye on the tools and processes used in the business and what can be done better if the cost/benefit analysis makes sense.

3. Get buy-in from the users

If the people who use the system on a day to day basis buy into the concept they will forgive the inevitable bumps in the road, oversights or mistakes.

We can get the users to buy-in to CRM by giving them some benefit that makes their life easier – this could be as simple as “now I can see data!” through to things like removing tiresome repetitive tasks, automating follow up tasks or easing the production of reports that used to take a long time.

Every user has itches that need scratching – find what’s irritating your users and what would make their lives easier and get it on the plan.   If your CRM implementation is top-heavy with management requirements (“gather me data so I can have reports”) then you run the risk of not having user buy-in and having to enforce the use of CRM rather than users self-police.

4. Make a plan – but don’t be afraid to adapt

Make a plan and try to achieve some quick wins.  One of my favourite quick-wins is linking CRM to the accounting system:

  • You expose your invoice history to the sales team,
  • You remove duplicate data entry (data from CRM gets transferred back to accounts), and
  • You get efficiency improvements due to not handing bits of paper or email around.

If your planned implementation doesn’t hit all the right buttons, don’t worry – adapt the plan and try again.

5. Take Control

There’s nobody that knows more about your business than you – and while your CRM consultant may know CRM and how to apply it, at the end of the day it’s still your business. The consultant is there to guide you and make recommendations, not to prescribe how you should run your business.

With all my clients, they typically start off asking “is this possible” and “could we do that”.  Given a little time (as little as a few weeks, sometimes a few months) the conversation changes – the client understands the CRM and the possibilities and asks “how do I do this” or “how long would it take you and how much would it cost to do this




11 Reasons you might need a CRM


  1. Leads are lost and / or are not followed up
  2. Your marketing people do not know what products and services to sell to prospects
  3. Do not know the status or next steps required for a lead or a case matter to proceed
  4. Customer information is not available in one centralized place
  5. Employees do not know what products or services customers have purchased
  6. Employees do not know who to contact when a customer issue arises
  7. Customer issues are not resolved in a timely manner
  8. Reports are not available that tell employees how the business is performing
  9. Orders are often taken on paper, email and fax
  10. Customer service agents repeatedly re-create the same resolution to a problem
  11. Employees have data in excel spreadsheet (xls) that don’t get shared or are a pain to maintain.

A list of 11 reasons why a business might need a CRM


  1. Leads are lost and / or are not followed up
  2. Your marketing people do not know what products and services to sell to prospects
  3. Do not know the status or next steps required for a lead or a case matter to proceed
  4. Customer information is not available in one centralized place
  5. Employees do not know what products or services customers have purchased
  6. Employees do not know who to contact when a customer issue arises
  7. Customer issues are not resolved in a timely manner
  8. Reports are not available that tell employees or business owners how the business is performing
  9. Orders are often taken on paper, email and fax so are not shared or could be lost
  10. Customer service agents repeatedly re-create the same resolution to a problem
  11. Employees have their own data in excel spreadsheet (xls) that don’t get shared or are a pain to maintain and can’t be reported on.

7 NEW Ways “Customer Care” can be automated using CRM

 1)      Auto responder

Any contact with your business through a web form, can have an automated response created using Tall Emu CRM (TE CRM). No need to use a third party plug-in and your customer gets an instant message to acknowledge their interest. You can also add links or attach a PDf, which might give more information relating to their enquiry. There’s nothing like a good first impression.

2)      Web form posting direct to CRM

TE CRM enables you to create your own web forms and when these are pasted into your website will automatically post the data directly into your CRM. This can be configured to alert the right people within your company so they can respond.

 3)      Automate follow-up.

The time between lead or customer contact and the follow-up can make all the difference between a successful sale and a lost opportunity. In TE CRM you are able to create an automated follow-up process.  This can be done by personalised email, fax or SMS to the lead or a reminder sent to the sales person to give them a call.

 4)      Share data amongst all parts of the business (where appropriate).

This enables the customer’s contact history to be available to all the people within the organisation.  So now when a customer calls, there is no excuse for a call not to be responded to in a personalised way.


 5)      Dynamic Segmentation or Dynamic list building

This automatically and continually adds people to a list that has segmentation rules set. An example of this would be renewals. You could set a rule that says 30 day before a renewal date is due, an email gets sent to the client informing them that it time for renew. As this is automatic, not one customer will gets left out.  If this was a mission critical service, like software or web-hosting or insurance cover, then this prompt would save a lot of heart ache. The application of this feature is endless.

6)      Ring Ring “Good morning Mr Smith, I am David, how can I help you”

We support over 30 PBXs that can be integrated with TECRM.  This means when a customer calls your company the CRM will tell your staff who is calling. The inbound call triggers the customers call screen to open. Even better who took the call and how long it went for will be automatically recorded.  No more relying on your staff to do the initial data entry of this customer interaction.  The call screen pop-up can be configured so that it requires a comment on the nature of the call or a selection made from a drop-down.

7)      Tailored your communication to a New Lead

Your customer’s history is now in the CRM and with that you can segment and tailor the way you interact with them. But how do you do the same thing with a new lead that has only filled in your enquiry form or download an eBook?

Using our website tracking technology we collect depersonalised data on every visitor’s interaction on our websites but as soon as they fill in a web form they make that data personal. It can tell you where they found you i.e.  Google AdWords or direct or by what keyword, and the pages they visited and how long they spent. You now have talking points when you get on the phone. You can even use this insight to ear mark them for a future email marketing campaign.

Using Excel to run your business ?

One thing we see a lot of is companies using Excel to run their business.  This post is going to talk about the appropriate use of Microsoft Excel in business, which really I can summarise in two points:

What is Excel good at?
Financial calculations, and viewing CSV files.

What should you never, ever use Excel for?
Everything else.

We’ve seen companies using Excel to manage invoices, timesheets, list of leads, opportunities, quoting, billing, scheduling – you name it, we’ve seen it – and while the people doing this may be really smart, they’re using Excel when they should be using another tool – a database.  Once they’ve been shown another way, the response is always the same: This is so much easier!

Now this broad sort of analysis is likely to have some Excel experts in tears.  “But, but, youcan make Excel do lots of stuff if you know what you’re doing with it” – you can also use a kazoo to make music :)

Let’s talk about Excel and Databases

A lot of people manage lists of data in Excel; For example, all of the “January” sales are in a spreadsheet called “JanuarySales2008.xls”, and so on with “February2008″ and thru to the end of the year.

Invoices to a customer might be in a spreadsheet called “Invoices” and quotes or timesheets all in separate documents. By the time it’s February 2011, you’ve a lot of data in a lot of spreadsheets.

On the surface, this looks great. There are some limitations though;  the data is not stored flexibly,  so it’s hard to use it for the purpose other than which you initially intended – and only one user can update that spreadsheet at a time.

If you’re not quite sure what a database is, the simplest way to visualise it is a collection of Excel worksheets.  One contains customers. One contains invoices. One contains quotes – except all of them are cross-referenced (so you never type the customer details twice) and the other benefit is – a database is immediately and flexibly searchable.

That means you can ask your database  “Show me all of the invoices for January 2007” and you’ll see them.  Or, “show me all of the invoices issued by Tall Emu, between 2006 and 2011 that were created by Mike Nash” – and you will have them in a second.

If we compare back to our Excel solution above, consider when you need to do a report of the same nature.  How do you do it?    In Excel, you have 12 spreadsheets to review and work with.  In a database, you’d have one place to look and filter to get this information out.  There’s an immediacy of access to data, versus a lot of copy and paste.

How does this apply to CRM?

Any CRM is built on at least two parts.  The first is a database – this is just a big bucket of facts.  This customer has this postal address. This invoice was issued on 1st January 2011. This product currently costs $100.

The second part is the user interface; the program that you actually use to create, update and report on facts.   The more flexible and powerful the user interface, the easier it is to store, centralise and manage and your data.

The CRM system could be said to provide at it’s simplest level a pre-made database that allows you to store all of this information in a sensible way, to share it, to to work with, update, process and report on it.

To continue with the example above, if I wanted a report of “All of the invoices issued by Tall Emu, between 2006 and 2011 that were created by Mike Nash” – I’d search for this in CRM (a few clicks), and then right-click export it to Excel to work on the analysis of it.

Of course, TE CRM does much more than this – it interacts with marketing systems, accounting systems like MYOB interface and  Quickbooks interface are supported – but hopefully, this gives you an idea that there is a better way than Excel.