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is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: roshi
Date: May 12, 2021 07:20PM
My little business - being a writer and publishing a book every two years, USED to be fine with just email, for most of the last 25 years. But now it's grown, I have 6 employees, teaching online courses. We have half a dozen domains with associated email addresses hosted at Dreamhost and several Gmail Suite accounts at whatever they cost, $100 a year each or so.

Is email really the way to run a business? Is this what everyone does? When in Zoom conferences people share screens, many of them have what looks like 20 tabs open in Chrome, with Gmail being one of them.

Do businesses use some kind of special CRM software?

My HUNCH would be to create a new email address with Apple, something@icloud.com, buy a bunch of storage for it, like a couple of TB, and use it. That way my wife could used Apple Mail, which she likes. And with lots of storage, there would not be those issues of emails two months old getting archived. She does NOT like using Gmail in a browser.

Ideas? thanks
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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: May 12, 2021 08:33PM
It all depends on what the communication is. We use email, slack, confluence, jira and a few other collaboration tools.




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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: May 12, 2021 08:41PM
Tracking customers and projects is going to be a completely separate discussion from email and document storage.

For email and documents I would pick one provider and standardize across all your domains. For simplicity since you already have it I would go with Gsuite unless you also have an O365 or use a lot of Word Docs. If that is the case I would go with Microsoft instead. You should be able to have multiple domains within one Gsuite Organization and manage multiple email address for multiple domains and give them all access to the Gsuite apps. That alone should get you some consistency. I would keep your websites with dreamhost but move all the email accounts over to Google(You can use it in Apple mail if you want) and use the web interface. I would also use Gmail for your file storage with Drive. You can install Drive File Stream if you want to be able to see Google Drive like a server. That should take care of your email and storage problems for your business.

For your personal stuff for you and your wife(Yes, keep seperate personal emails) iCloud would be great.

As far as tracking projects and clients I will let others weigh in on that. There are as many opinions as there are...people. Basecamp is the only one I have used but only lightly and there really are hundreds available. There is also a roll your own with GSuite and plugins. So many options.



C(-)ris
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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: May 12, 2021 09:29PM
I have no strong opinions about the storage and tracking aspects but agree with C(-)ris to organize around your core email structure and let the rest flow from there. With only a few staff or collaborators you won't stress out any product you choose.

We have a Smartsheet account at work that we barely make use of, but it can be an online spreadsheet, Gantt chart (or similar) and you can attach docs to entries, there's a way to access it inside of Outlook and so on.

but ... if you find yourselves frequently zipping off zillions of emails for daily conversations DO consider a dedicated chat service like Slack or similar. It'll keep conversations organized around tasks and less cluttered instead of mixed in with everything else that goes to email.
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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: space-time
Date: May 12, 2021 10:01PM
$$$$$

lots of them
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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: May 13, 2021 08:39AM
You have several questions you are asking. I'm responding to your comment about your wife using gmail with a browser. There are several ways of handling that without giving up the gmail account.

1. Add the gmail account to her Mac Mail account (under Mail-Preferences). Mail then will retrieve all gmail and show it in Mail on her Mac. SHE WILL NOT NEED TO USE A BROWSER TO HANDLE GMAIL. She will just send and receive gmail as she does Apple Mail, right from Mail.app.

You can add the Go for Gmail app (App Store), putting san icon in the Menu Bar which acts as a browser for only gmail, if you want to use it. I use it for cleanup only.

2. Go to her gmail account and have it Forwarded to her Mac Mail, and deleting all forwarded gmail. That will require visiting the Gmail account periodically to clear out spam and any other crud remaining, but she will be able to deal with ALL email right there on her Mac. No browser required. (Mail.app actually functions as a browser for email only).

In both cases above, she will want to decide from what account her email will be sent. I have all of mine sent from the gmail account. That is the account I use for all correspondence, accounts, and purchases. It has very effective spam filters.

Quote
roshi
My little business - being a writer and publishing a book every two years, USED to be fine with just email, for most of the last 25 years. But now it's grown, I have 6 employees, teaching online courses. We have half a dozen domains with associated email addresses hosted at Dreamhost and several Gmail Suite accounts at whatever they cost, $100 a year each or so.

Is email really the way to run a business? Is this what everyone does? When in Zoom conferences people share screens, many of them have what looks like 20 tabs open in Chrome, with Gmail being one of them.

Do businesses use some kind of special CRM software?

My HUNCH would be to create a new email address with Apple, something@icloud.com, buy a bunch of storage for it, like a couple of TB, and use it. That way my wife could used Apple Mail, which she likes. And with lots of storage, there would not be those issues of emails two months old getting archived. She does NOT like using Gmail in a browser.

Ideas? thanks



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 13, 2021 11:57AM
This really gets into the specifics of how you interact with customers and how your projects are shaped. Its very specific to you and your business.
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Re: is Email the best way to track customers & projects?
Posted by: roshi
Date: May 14, 2021 07:45AM
Thanks for all these ideas! I will study them and experiment.
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