Having relied on spreadsheets to manage data, Eccles wanted to give its employees better and more automated access to product and customer information. By moving from Excel to Act, the company is now able to instantly access customer data to provide a more personalised customer service, improving retention.

In summary, transitioning from Act to Excel has enabled Eccles (UK Foundries FE) Ltd to:

  • Identify, capture and manage leads and customer contacts
  • Enhance customer relationships, sales and pricing activities
  • Automate daily tasks as part of consistent, tailored and on-target marketing
  • Benefit from Outlook sync options for Act Contacts and Calendar, along with integration of popular business tools to streamline document management
  • Access interactive visual timeline of contact interactions at-a-glance, including activities, meetings and opportunities resulting in a more personalised customer service
  • Drill down data to analyse strengths and weaknesses in order to increase overall efficiency

The Excel nightmare

Adam Eccles, Director, explains the reasons behind installing Act and why he chose Xperience Group as his business partner. “Before we installed Act we didn’t have a CRM system, as such. We had spreadsheets of customers’ names, but we weren’t tracking contact interactions. I’d been talking to friends who ran small to medium enterprises and they’d recommended Act as the best and easiest-to-use CRM solution. So that’s essentially why we moved from Excel to Act.

“I looked at a couple of suppliers. However, after talking to Xperience, I had a gut feeling they were the kind of people I could do business with. They came in for a couple of days, guided us through the software and off we went!”

Increased customer insight

“Eight or nine months on we’re already reaping huge benefits,” Adam continues. “We can see who’s been making enquiries, particularly large enquiries. We can prioritise and pinpoint which customers are the most profitable, and areas where we can encourage more enquiries. Having Act has enabled us to be more consistent with customers’ individual pricing structures. Without a doubt it’s given us a far clearer overview of our customer base.

“Of course it’s still early days. At the moment I’m busy getting our customer data as accurate as possible so we’ve got a good years-worth of information to work with. We’ll then use this to engineer sales activities over the following year, set ourselves targets and so on. So at the moment we’re focusing on setting up a system that will help us manage, build and maintain relationships to deliver an even better service to prospects, customers and contacts.”

Adam explains that, with Eccles, it’s not so much about ‘improving’ customer service. “As a small family business our customer service has always been good and we’re fortunate that all our customers are good customers. But Act has made us a lot sharper with regards gathering and accessing information on customer activities and interactions.

Act gives us access to the timeline of customers’ purchasing histories and pricing at-a-glance. As wholesalers to the building merchant market, we need to go straight to the people who influence the buying decision and Act has helped us to do this.

“Thanks to Act we’ve become much more pro-active; we can track activities and calls using the Act dashboard and calendar with the result that our telesales function is more efficient. Added to this, we can track who’s received brochures, which customers we need to visit and so on. In the months since installation, we’ve seen huge improvements – across the board.”

Reporting capabilities

“One thing that has been especially helpful is that before Act, our customer data was held on individual computers. So if one of our sales people left we’d have to spend hours sifting through Excel sheets. Act provides company-wide access to everything, so if we were to lose one of our sales reps, we wouldn’t lose the data.

“Being able to analyse our strengths and weaknesses is a huge benefit, too. For instance, through Act I discovered half of our supplies were going to a single customer, which of course wasn’t ideal. Being able to access and analyse customer data has enabled us to achieve a far better balance, so if one customer were to lay off on orders then it wouldn’t have such a serious impact on our business.

“As a partner, Xperience have more than lived up to expectations. They don’t just sell you the product and disappear. I know for a fact that if I ever have a problem I can call our account manager and he’ll be on the case in a flash. As I’ve already said, they came in to train up our five users, and post-installation, they called back to see how we were getting on. They’re just great people to work with.”

In conclusion? “As yet we don’t use all of the features, but those we do use are of great benefit. I’m really happy with Xperience and with the Act! software.”

About Eccles

Based in Walsall, West Midlands, and established for over 35 years, family-owned Eccles (UK Foundries FE) Ltd is a leading supplier of ductile iron, composite covers and gully grates & frames to civils and builders merchants who supply the UK building, civil engineering and utility markets.