Reach out to communicate

01 Aug 09

Dunedin-based company Outreach Software specialises in CRM solutions. The Channel spoke to   Managing Director Alix Lucas-Fyfe about the importance of communication and client relationships.

How did it all begin?
Outreach Software Limited is a family-owned company which started out in 2002. We had written some online business referral software and after undertaking some market research we found people desperately needed a  tool for managing contact and customer relationships (CRM) across an organisation. We took the best features  of the original software, listened carefully to what our future users were looking for and created the core of our OutreachCRM solution.

What changes has the business undergone?
In the beginning Outreach Software developed a lot of custom modules to extend the core functionality of the  software to meet our clients’ needs. In the last couple of years OutreachCRM has reached a point where we can  configure, rather than customise, our software to suit client needs.

What is your core business?
Outreach Software provides online CRM software, and related services, to small and medium businesses to  centralise their current contact and business information, making it simple to store relevant information, record  client history, report on key business information and communicate easily.

What are your clients and what business challenges do they face?
We have a diverse client base ranging in size and across many different industries. The one theme that comes  across from them is the need to build and manage relationships; whether it’s making sure they get repeat  business, making sure their people are informed, or simply making sure their clients have something positive to  say about them. They also don’t want to have to be database experts; that’s where our relationship with them  comes in and we make sure we’re available to help.

Is your physical location a challenge to doing business?
Not at all. We’re located in The Octagon, which is right in the hub between the business and retail areas of  Dunedin. Being web based means we could be anywhere; set-up and support is easily done over the phone or  via email, and this is the case for many of our clients outside Dunedin. We do make an effort to meet all our  clients face to face when we can and always enjoy learning more about them.

What technology is hot right now?
It’s easy to forget how wonderful the internet, and especially high-speed broadband is. Simple opportunities  like allowing business owners to work from home or while abroad are revolutionising the way that New  Zealand’s small businesses operate.

What’s not?
Spam and anything related to the production of spam.

 What’s the best thing about your location?
Everything. It is great to be close and accessible to many of our clients and we love being located right in the  city centre, between businesses and retailers, not to mention the great cafés on our doorstep!

Without giving away valuable IP – what do you think is the secret to your success?
It has to be our client relationships. When we start working with an organisation we like to spend time with the individuals to really get to know that organisation, the role people play and what we can do to help each  person. It is important that our solution meets the various needs within an office so that everyone gains an advantage. The service we provide our customers, being available for any support required, and getting things  done as quickly as possible, are also important.

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