How to Use Microsoft Outlook As a CRM
By Wendy Roltgen
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows individuals to effectively manage customer information. Customer contact information, notes, activities and other details can be input into the contact section of Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager. The software can also help you organize customer information into categories and manage customer activities and follow-up tasks. Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager provides several tools for managing your CRM efforts.
Turn on your computer and launch Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager.
Organize customer contacts into categories. To assign a contact to a category, double-click on the contact you want to change in the contact window to open the customer contact information. Assign a category to the customer by selecting a category from the drop-down menu located on the main customer contact window. If you do not see a category you'd like to use, a new category can be added by typing the new category name in the text box. For example, you may want to group all new sales leads into a category entitled "Sales Leads."
Assign tasks to a customer. Open their contact information and click on the “Actions” tab. Choose “New Task for Contact.” Tasks in Microsoft Outlook appear in the "Tasks" section. You can assign dates, customer details and indicate progress for each customer contact task. Or if you prefer, consider using appointments to log follow-up activity with a customer. Appointments appear on your calendar, but tasks do not.
Input relevant customer notes on the customer contact page. The “Activities” tab provides an outline of all meetings and tasks assigned to this customer. You can also view e-mail messages from this section as well.
Assign follow-up dates for contacting customers and responding to e-mail inquiries. Use a different flag color for the type of follow-up activity. For instance, a yellow flag could indicate a customer needs to be sent a contract. A green flag could mean a follow-up phone call is required. To change the color of a flag on a customer message, right-click on the flag icon and choose the appropriate flag color. Deadlines can be added by selecting “Add a Reminder” when right clicking on the flag.
File completed contacts and tasks in a folder. To create a new folder, go to the “File” menu and choose “New Folder.” Type the name for the folder and indicate the location where you want it to be saved.
Set aside time each day to organize and file CRM data in order to keep your e-mails, follow-up activities, customer contacts and information up to date.