Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for a way of managing customers. I'm not looking at upper level sales management.

I need a recommendation for software. I would prefer a standalone system that would run on Mac Mountain Lion, with sync-able versions for iPad/iPhone. However it can be SaaS but must have at least some functionality when not connected to the internet. (E.g. a read only version)

The main lack of every package so far trialed is the lack of integration between contacts and email history. E.g. If I bring up the card for Michael Smith, I want to have in the pane next to it, the subject line and first 3 lines of every message I've ever exchanged with him, organized by conversation.

The second lack found in many, but not all, is the inability to add faceted metadata: A facet is a category-- a tag with both a name and a value. The City field is a facet. I want to be able to define my own facets. e.g. customer interests, newsletter invite/subscribe/unsubscribe.

The third lack is full boolean search with field specifiers. This can compensate for the second one above if you format your notes field very carefully.

The fourth lack in all but one system is the inability to remain synchronized with either Google Contacts or Apple Address Book. Some data may not be synchronizable in usable form.

The fifth lack in all systems: No comprehension at all of Gmail labels.

Here's my criteria at this point. All of these have come up from something I tried to do in a trial.

  1. Facile at sorting existing mass of contacts:

    1. For a given contact show me the email that passed between us as threaded conversation. I must be able to see the content of the email and be able to edit the contact window at the same time. Most programs do not show the email history at all, only your own summary of previous contacts.
    2. Easily assign a contact to a list, sometimes to multiple lists. One program requires that you open the list, then chose contacts to add to that list.
    3. A large number (some 1500) of my contacts do not have a name. I want the default to show me something about them instead of "No Name" If there isn't a name, show me the email address. One program won't import a contact if there isn't at least a person or company name. Another shows "No Name" for such entries.
    4. Show me the number of contacts beside each list. This lets me know I'm making progress. Haven't found this feature outside Google contacts.
    5. The "unsorted list" is special. Assigning another group to anyone in this group removes it from the unsorted group, after a short period of time (to allow the contact to be assigned to multiple groups. This one, if absent, is not a deal breaker, but it makes dealing with the backlog much more efficient.
    6. The "Everyone Group" Is special. Removing from the everyone group, after a suitable warning, deletes the contact, or moves it to a Trash group. Common
  2. Interface for a contact must show what lists he is a member of. It surprised me that this feature is so rare. Indeed, many CRMs implement lists only as tags, so you must do a search for a specific tag, rather than just click on a list name.

  3. Ideally lists are hierarchical. E.g: Tree Farm can have lists Leads, Retail, and Wholesale.
  4. Easy way to track contact either by phone or by email. The email is autofilled by the program, with an optional summery note. The phone would be just a summary note, and time stamp, and an indicator who called who. The summary feature is easy to implement in the notes field.
  5. Ways to export the data for use in MS office suite, and as data for our accounting program. (Account edge) I really don't know how many do this. None have survived the trialing process long enough.
  6. Tags: (aka facets, categories)

    1. I want to define tag sets. A given individual can have multiple tags from the same set. I need to be able to do boolean searches on tag set contents.
    2. Tag set examples:

      1. Funnel

        • Initial contact
        • Follow up
        • Newsletter Invite
        • Newsletter subscriber
        • Customer
        • Repeat customer
        • Wholesale customer
        • Inactive
      2. Customer Type

        • Acreage
        • Farm
        • Naturalization Project manager/contractor
        • City/town dweller.
  7. Synchronization:

    1. It must be able to sync with Google contacts, as this is my usual way of sending /receiving email. So far only one has been able to do this, but it only with the basic contact info, and not the lists.
    2. It needs to be able to work offline. When I'm in the field I don't have reliable access to internet. This one is really tough. So far the only ones that can do this run on windows. It doesn't have to be fully functional offline
  8. Labels: Ideally it understands google labels. Much of my email is tagged "Family" "Farm/Customer" "Forums" "Friends" This cuts the contact sorting greatly. Ideally then any message labeled "Foo" in Gmail results in all participants being a member of Group Foo in contacts. No package yet understands google labels

  9. Robust. It MUST not corrupt my data. Adding all the history takes a lot of time. And why would they sell it if it wasn't?. Don't know but they do.
  10. Search & Sort

    1. I want to be able to search on any field, and optionally specify the field. E.g. "Show Wholesale customers I've not contacted in 6 months" "Show me leads who had initial interest in seedling pines, who have had less than 2 followups without a response.
    2. Sort group Repeat customers by last contact date.
  11. Events. I want to be able to create an event, such as "Open House" or "Jeffries Special Orders Shipment Arrives" Then I want to be able to 'invite' a person to that event. If the date changes for the event. then I can set out a note that goes to all people who were invited to that event.

share|improve this question

closed as unclear what you're asking by Buscar웃, Mark, bmike Apr 8 '14 at 23:02

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What computer with what operating software is it for ? – Buscar웃 Apr 8 '14 at 16:23
I don't know any application with such functions except enterprise level applications. But you should look into [Google Apps For Business]( But there some comments about: if you want to sync with Google, you should use only labels and forget about hierarchical groups. – Eir Nym Apr 8 '14 at 20:39
By the way, I've partially written such applications to manage my personal connections (I have same contacts count). But I know limitations of and how much time and resources I need to make these apps to be in AppStore. – Eir Nym Apr 8 '14 at 20:44
Please edit in some details that relate this to a particular Apple product or service. Great detail, but you might add what software you considered for this already and why it's not ideal. If you have no leads, start with and go from there. Knowing what isn't working helps narrow down that which might work. – bmike Apr 8 '14 at 23:05
Buscar: I'm asking in "Ask Different" But I clarified that I wanted Mac, ipad, iphone versions ideally. Eir: The enterprise level ones do NOT have this capability; at least the ones I've looked at so far. bmike: I think that the ones that don't work would make a worthy answer too. (A worthy unanswer) The question is already long enougn. – Sherwood Botsford Apr 9 '14 at 18:10