PLEASE NOTE: This blog post was written on 6.30.14. Some links/businesses/prices could be out of date. This post in no way is recommending any of these services nor is affiliated with them in any way. Do your own due diligence to discover services that work best for you.
I have been on a search for the perfect client management software and all I can say is that it doesn’t exist. Not that I haven’t tried finding it. I’ve put in over 40 hours of diligent searching, reviewing, sampling and crying and have yet to discover a system that fits all my needs (without costing $147 a month). Since I put in all this effort, I thought I’d share some of my findings with you so that your search for the perfect client management system may be a little (A LOT!) easier.
First off, here’s what I was trying to accomplish with my new system:
- manage potential and current clients including their history with me (such as appointments made, money spent, interest in future services).
- the ability for clients to book their appointments online, including reminders and auto emails.
It seems like most systems are really good at doing one or the other but not both. This is where I’ve hit a wall. I’m still open to suggestions but I’d find it hard to believe there’s a system left out there that I haven’t tried (several times).
Here are my thoughts about the softwares I’ve checked out. Keep in mind, I’m a life coach and akashic practitioner, not a multi-level corporation. I’m just trying to make my life a bit easier. I’m dividing these into client management and online scheduling because I seriously couldn’t find one that did both well at the same time. I’m also including coach-oriented softwares that specialize more in handling client demands as well as some online scheduling.
NIMBLE (www.nimble.com) – $15/month
Great way to keep track of clients, leads and even vendors. It’s very social media oriented and friendly, fully integrating Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter along with email. Has pipeline capability, deal tracker, mailchimp integration, tags, and deal forecasting. No automated emailing or scheduling. Pipeline confuses me.
ONEPAGECRM (www.onepagecrm.com) – $15/month
Client management, integrates mailchimp, pretty easy to use. Easy to differentiate leads, current clients, past clients, etc. Has nice pipeline with target projections. However no calendar, no integrated email.
VTIGER (www.vtiger.com) – $12/month
Has a lot of usable functions – email integration, calendar, great client management – but isn’t set up for someone like me. This would be better suited for an organization.
BASE (www.getbase.com) – $15/month+
Has call recording, email automation, integrations, leads and contacts (unlimited). Utilizes tags. Has lead capture for Facebook. Has a calendar and would be great for putting together meetings because it will send emails to all attendees (or if you have to change the meeting or will be late). However can’t connect deals to events (that I can see) and has no twitter integration.
BATCHBOOK (www.batchbook.com) – $35/month+
Client management with deals, tasks and filters. A bit expensive for what you get. No calendar.
WORKBOOKS (www.workbooks.com) – free to $35/month
I did not like the interface of this at all. I found it very confusing. Very 1998.
CONTACTUALLY (www.contactually.com) – $19.99/month+
Has “buckets” to organize contacts into leads, clients, referral partners, etc., which I really like. Email, twitter and Facebook integration. Prompts you to take action. Pipeline is a bit confusing. Doesn’t track/show reports of won deals.
SNAPFORCE (www.snapforce.com) – $25/month
Sales – leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities. Customer support – case management. Activity log. No email integration. Very sales-oriented versus client management.
ZOHOCRM (www.zohocrm.com) – free to $35/month
Looks like a very robust client management system with emphasis on sales. A little too much (and too confusing) for my needs.
CONTACTME (www.contactme.com) – free to $7.42/month
This software is fun to look at but not a lot of integrations. No email integration. You have to manually input everything you want to keep track of. It does have a calendar and task list as well as the ability to add appointments to contacts (manually). No way to track revenue. No social media or email integration.
PIPELINEDEALS (www.pipelinedeals.com) – $24/month
Very sales oriented. Has calendar, tags, and deals with pipeline. No associating deals with appointments/calendar. Not exactly set up for what I need to do. No email or social media integration.
CAPSULE (www.capsulecrm.com) – $12/month
Has pipeline and contacts. No email integration. Not feeling it.
NUTSHELL (www.nutshell.com) – $15/month
Great lead tools – kind of walks you through them and explains what it all means (big plus for me). Has sales goals and ways to organize competitors and sources. Allows for tags. Allows you to input products. Has a bunch of sales reports. Looks like it’d be great if you have a team. But not really set up for what I need to do.
HIGHRISE (www.highrisehq.com) – $24/month+
I didn’t actually sample this one since they wanted your credit card (most don’t) and it didn’t look like anything more than the others. No calendar. Has contact management, tasks, cases and deals. Looks like you can send emails from it, too, but no social media integration.
KARMACRM (www.karmacrm.com) – $9/month+
Starts out inexpensive but quickly ramps up to expensive depending on the number of deals you have. Well, I plan to have a lot so am thinking this won’t work for me. It’s very similar to every other sales management software from what I can see. I didn’t demo this one either.
SALESFORCE (www.salesforce.com) – $5/month+
I know this is the #1 client management software but I wasn’t feeling it. And as I was trying to get back in to quickly review its features, etc., it kept coming up with a server error. You’re on your own with this one.
AUTOMATIC CEO (www.automaticceosystem.com) – $25/month
My girlfriend, a fellow coach, suggested this one although she uses it more for her network marketing business. She loves it but is not what I’m needing.
STUDIO CLOUD (www.studiocloud.com) – free with add ons for fees
This is an actual software that you download. It’s ok but not super intuitive. No social media integration.
INSIGHTLY (www.insightly.com) – $0-9/month
Client management with opportunities, projects, emails and reports. Not able to attach opportunities to events (appointments). Not feeling it.
1CRM (www.1crm.com) – free to $35/month
It looked to confusing for me to even get started. Looks like a robust client management software with projects, marketing, accounts and orders. Also not Mac-friendly.
PLANPLUSONLINE (www.planplusonline.com) – $35/month
This is more about organizing your schedule than clients.
SOFFRONT (wwwsoffront.com) – $15/month+
Client management and campaigns. I’m happy with Mailchimp so not interested here.
SIMPLYBOOK.ME (www.simplybook.me) – free then ramps up to $8 or $15/month
This is what I use now for my online booking. I’m using the free version right now. It works fine, accepts payments (which is great) but there’s no client management (besides a list of whose scheduled).
SUPERSAAS (www.supersaas.com) – free to start then ramps up
Very similar to simplybook.me with no real client management, just online booking.
SATORI (www.satoriapp.com) – $25/month+
This is a great online scheduler for coaches. It allows you to put together coaching packages (multiple sessions for one price) as well as handling coaching agreements. It has an income summary and allows for prospect clients as well as current clients. Is integrated with Mailchimp. There’s no importing of contacts, however (weird, I know) so you’d have to put them all in one by one. I do like that it tracks current, past and fading clients. It also shows revenue made per client (which is a nice feature). It also has google calendar integration. This would almost be perfect if it had a way to import clients and had email integration. I’d be at the $45/month level so combining it with another client management system could start to get pricey.
GENBOOK (www.genbook.com) – $20/month
Has a great big calendar that’s easy to let people know when you’re available, including splitting time (like I have a dinner break one evening). It allows for reviews and has analytics of appointments and revenue. The only real con is that you can’t personalize the confirmation message to the service (something I’d like to do).
VCITA (www.vcita.com) – $20/month (if paid annually)
I really want to like this one. It has a lot of the features I want – easy follow up option for sessions, imports emails, syncs with calendar, has a nice scheduler page (and is very editable), and has an easy contact form for the website. I don’t like that the calendar doesn’t have a weekly view, only daily and list. It also doesn’t allow for confirmation emails to be service specific. It doesn’t have the capability to schedule packages (4 sessions for one price) and doesn’t have any customer reviews. I also don’t like that it costs $30/month if you go month to month.
TUNENGO (www.tunengo.com) – $9/month
Online scheduler with client database. No reviews. You can’t add appointments manually (something I do). It does allow you to customize your auto response email to the service people sign up for which is great. It also connects with Facebook and Twitter and can sync with a Google calendar. It also doesn’t allow you to import contacts.
BOOKAPPO (www.bookappo.com) – $19/month
This online scheduler doesn’t allow me to split up my time (allow for a dinner break), something that’s vital for me to have.
BOOKFRESH (www.bookfresh.com) – $20/month
This online scheduler allows you to import clients and has a client option. However it doesn’t allow for my dinner break and has transitions between clients in only 15 minute intervals (I need 10). This is almost it but not quite.
SCHEDULICITY (www.schedulicity.com) – $20/month
Allows for classes and workshops (which is great) along with individual sessions. It allows you to rate the clients (for reliability) and has some email marketing features. You must use Stripe to accept payment. It allows you to import contacts but it didn’t like the CVS files I had.
COACHING CLOUD (www.coachingcloud.com) – $77/month for solopreneur (but there’s a free version)
Online session booking, client payment, online content delivery, session journal, auto reminders, online conversations and community branding. Very coaching oriented (obviously) and looks like it’d be great for developing online communities. I could see using this for that but not client management.
I would love to know what you’re using to keep your business organized.