To try out the application we have signed up for the 30-day free trial. Signing up was easy and straightforward, no credit card information was needed and confirmation email has arrived immediately. You can find out more about available plans (free plan is also available) in the final paragraph of this review.
After confirming our trial sign up, we were ready to immediately log in and start setting up the application. We very much liked the fact that after the initial log in, hints are available to guide us through the app, including explanations on how to get started importing records, including other things such as preferences&settings and clarifications on what information different panes show once the app is populated with data.
Tags are available throughout the system as well as attaching emails to records via forwarding emails (or directly Bccing them) to the dropbox generated email address. Importing contacts was trouble free, vCard and CSV formats are available together with guides on how to export your contacts to CVS from LinkedIn, Gmail or outlook. A company can also easily upload their photo, customize opportunity statuses, create custom fields and single users can set up their individual preferences on notifications, time zone, etc.
As we continue on with the review we will stick to our traditional review format and that is examining the look and feel of the application, looking at its functionality with respect to its modules and describing mobile, integration and pricing options.
Look and Feel
CleverTim uses a clever and simple design applying the rule of less being more. It is very conservative with colors and fonts and dedicates most of the space available to the information that user is currently working with. The screen is divided in to three areas. Top bar, pane on the left side and the main pane, which covers the remaining area. In the top bar, there is a logo of CleverTim app (supposedly it will be replaced with your company logo when switching to the paid plan), and there are buttons to create new records such as contact, company, etc. The top bar is also home to Account settings and field for searching notes (options to opt out specific types of records are available).
The pane on the left side of the screen covers five sections: Today that is there to remind user about his most immediate reminders and tasks, Recently Viewed to quickly jump to records viewed recently, Your Favorites and Need Love are lists that users can add records to manually to keep at hand those visited regularly and to remind themselves of records that need their attention to grow and finally Common Filters are saved filters that user likes to use often and this is where he can store them and make them available to everyone or just himself. Only one section can be expanded at one time which some might find as disadvantage and some might not.
The overall design is simple, clear and easy to navigate. There is no distraction and everything necessary is at hand and you do not have to look for it. Maybe the related records like opportunities and tasks for contacts should not be moved so far to the right side of the screen and rather moved below the main notes and email section. What we also want to point out in positive fashion is that the application response times are very low and it reacts swiftly to the user interaction.
The functionality will be reviewed according to different functionality modules, which are Contacts, Companies, Tasks, Cases, Opportunities and Files.
Contacts is a module around which every CRM system is built. Contacts can be imported or exported in a simple manner. The contacts can be ordered, filtered according to various parameters or tags. Creating new contact starts with entering only first and last name and all the other details (which are practically endless with custom fields) are filled in afterwards. We have noticed a bug while on Safari and that is that the details in the main pane update only after refreshing the whole page and not after editing the field. Also filling in the details could have been tab enabled rather than requiring a click every time when switching the active field.
As it was already mentioned Notes and emails can be attached to contacts easily. This solution has some limits as forwarded emails from customers to the dropbox email address automatically creates note for that customer however if the customer is not in the system attaching the note will fail (Clevertim is currently working on a more robust system, that will allow customers to customize the actions based on the incoming emails and user preferences). Related Tasks, Cases, Files or Opportunities can be accessed and created directly from within the module.
The Companies module is very much alike the contacts except that you also track related contacts. Filters, Tags, Notes and custom fields are available here as well. Creating new company starts with the company name and all the other detail are filled in afterwards. There is not much interesting to this module so we can move on to Tasks.
Tasks is a module that allows users to store and manage private and public tasks and all kinds of their categories (email, meeting, TODO, …). New task is created via the button on the top of the screen and the necessary details such as the assigned person, time and date and type can be filled in while creating the task or afterwards. Task can be filed under a case, opportunity or customer. Filters are available however we did not find tags. It might be due to the fact that tasks are quite standardized and individual fields serve as tags when used in filter, which provides users with sufficient amount of options. Tasks can get little messy when there is a higher number of them since they are only organized as a list. We would appreciate the tasks module enabling calendar view.
Case module allows users to link together notes and files on various contacts in one place. It is like a mini-project where all related info can be stored together at one place. They can be used to track inquiries, problems, complaints, requests, and questions from customers and leads. Notes, tags, custom fields, files and tasks can be attached to any case.
The last module we will introduce is called Opportunities, after the Contacts module this is the second most important module for any CRM. It allows company to record all sales opportunities and manage them with all the notes, opportunity details, tasks and emails. Tasks can be added for each opportunity to break down the amount of work and to set reminders for following up. Again this is a very simple module, however covering all the basic functionality and we have included a screenshot to give you a better idea on how the info is organized. Files module allows users to share, organize and attach files via Windows explorer like interface.
Mobile and Integration
As of mobile access, native apps are not available and thus offline access is not possible. However we have tested the app via web browser on iOS and it works just fine, there were no problems accessing the information, creating new records and editing information.
To integrate CleverTim with other apps Zapier, an online platform that connects hundreds of web applications that have public APIs can be used. No programming skills are required as only simple dragging and dropping is required to design your integration service. There are tens of applications that Clevertim CRM can connect with such as Mailchimp, Desk, Freshbooks, Google Docs, Gmail, SugarCRM, Twitter or Wordpress. The connection is done via API key.
If the company needs some more advanced functionality, it can be programmed to access data, import data and update CRM. The API is open and is available on github, with all the information and documentation.
CleverTim CRM is a simple and easy to use app that does not play to be something that it is not. It offers basic functionality delivered in simple and easy to use environment and ready to integrate with many other apps that could offer additional functionality.