Intuit Does Customer Management for Small Business

By  |  Monday, November 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm

As much as any major software company around, financial mainstay Intuit is in the ongoing process of reinventing itself for the Web. So it makes sense that its newest small-business offering is debuting as a Web service; Customer Manager is a little-company version of what big companies call Customer Response Management (CRM): A suite of tools for keeping track of your relationships with the companies who do business with you. It’s a browser-based, customizable, shared database of customer information that syncs with Intuit’s QuickBooks–you can see recent financial transactions, for instance–and can import and export information from Outlook and Exchange.

Customer Manager also has a shared calendar and to-do list; there’s also a BlackBerry version, with editions for other smartphones on the way.

Judging from the demo Intuit gave me, the whole shebang aims for basic features and simplicity rather super-sophisicated stuff. Which may make sense for the target customers: Small businesses who are still juggling data about customers using Excel, if they’re doing it at all. The price is right, too: $9.95 a month for up to five users.

So much of small-business America’s customer info is already stored in QuickBooks that Customer Manager feels more like a logical extension of what Intuit’s already up to than a brave new frontier. I asked Product Manager John Flora if we’d see the company branch out more with additional services for Web-savvy smaller companies. Yup, he said, we would.¬†The world of QuickBooks is still fairly desktop-centric–the online version doesn’t try to replicate the desktop ones–and it’ll be interesting to see if it follows Quicken’s current fast-forward move to the Web.

 
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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Anne Stanton Says:

    Only problem is that small businesses often need big business CRM to keep track of the many complex relationships and related relationships that they juggle. They also need powerful tools that let one person do the job of many, like ramping up a quick e-newsletter or sending out a bulk e-mail announcement.

  2. strictlybiznuss Says:

    Is intuit trying to compete with salesforce.com? Salesforce needs some competition. We’ll have to see how this works out.

  3. Dee Gardner Says:

    Have they partnered with anyone on this? It seems like a great idea to connect that functionality with quickbooks. I am hoping they are partnering with someone on this. I think they will struggle if they go it along. However, they do have a huge customer base that they may be able to overcome their late entry into CRM. Good luck. This will be one to watch.

  4. Patrick Says:

    Nice article, but it forgot to mention that customer manager 2.0/2.5 has been around for a long time and yet us loyal customers who have 1000’s of entries in the older intuit system have no way to upgrade to the online version. This is supposed to keep customers loyal??

  5. Art Says:

    I’m a current (and only) user of CM 2.5 and I don’t need a web based program (not to mention a recurring subscription fee). My CM 2.5 also has many links to documents which I won’t transfer to a web server because of the amount of storage space it would require. I would have preferred that Intuit branch off CM into a stand alone and web based application in order to accomodate a larger base. Unfortunately, I can’t find a similar application to switch to so I’ll just use CM 2.5 as long as possible and then perhaps brush up on my MS Access programming skills and write my own DB.

  6. Rick Bellefond Says:

    We are a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner and we often have clients who are Quickbooks users who want integration. Maybe this product is a good fit for QuickBooks users who have limited CRM needs.

  7. Local SEO Says:

    Thanks . This is an interesting topic I have bookmarked it and will to come back again

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