Friday, 8 April 2016

Astute Financial Consulting with Citrix GoToAssist

Astute Financial Consulting provides service and support for small to medium-sized security alarm companies that need affordable accounting and business management solutions. Along with its consulting services, the company resells different cloud-based software packages that meet their clients’ industry-specific needs. As an all-around resource, Astute puts an emphasis on building close relationships with its clients. The company is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and currently employs six people.
Key benefits
• Speeds up technical support and product training
• Reduces email overload for issue tracking
• Saves money and time over old file-sharing solution
• Ensures that clients get and send needed documents

The challenge: serving clients effectively

Astute Financial provides services for everything from accounting to reporting to software. “We’re basically like a partner for our clients,” said Jayme Hilmes, customer support manager for Astute Financial. Responsible for training and technical support, Hilmes is in daily contact with clients to ensure their questions are answered and their issues addressed. As such, she wanted a quick way to connect to clients and provide remote support.
In addition, the large number of requests she received through email made tracking issues difficult. Astute Financial was using Kayako to manage its help desk, but the software couldn’t keep up with the company’s demands. “It was pretty cumbersome,” Hilmes said. “Kayako had a website for a knowledge base, but it wasn’t as expansive as I wanted.” Without an easy path to self-service support, clients would resort to email, so Hilmes often had to sort through requests in her inbox rather than in her ticket queue.
At the same time, Astute Financial was in the early stages of launching a new project called the Benchmarks Program. “We’re gathering data from each of our clients and comparing them so people can get benchmarks on how well they’re doing on different areas in their company,” explained Hilmes.
The team projects that 100-200 people will take part in the Benchmarks Program in the next year, all of whom will have sensitive information to send. Astute Financial was using a service to manage file sharing internally, but with so many clients expected, the service was too costly for the team to roll out externally. Along similar lines, the number of new clients presented a mountain of upcoming paperwork that would need signing — a challenge which the firm’s traditional “print, sign and scan” approach was ill suited to handle.

GoToMeeting Free Trial

Putting Citrix solutions to work
Astute Financial had already been using Citrix GoToMeeting for years, so when Hilmes went looking for a remote support solution, she picked Citrix GoToAssist  “I prefer GoToAssist , because it’s just really quick,” she said. “Most of the clients I talk to everyday have it installed on his or her computer already, so it connects in seconds.”

Astute Financial then followed with GoToAssist Service Desk to replace its existing help desk solution. Hilmes had initially gone through a few different products attempting to find the right one, but they were missing key elements or were just hard to use. “So we tried Service Desk, and I liked it so much better than the other products,” she said. In particular, Hilmes appreciated the broad knowledge base functionality. “I have so many how-tos and guides and videos that I’ve created. I’m putting them all on my knowledge base now,” she said. “That was a big one for me.”

GoToMeeting Free Trial

For its new Benchmarks Program, Astute Financial chose Citrix ShareFile to replace its old service. The features and ease of use were similar between the two, but ShareFile’s pricing model, which includes unlimited client users, made the solution much more affordable. “We knew we needed to do external file sharing,” said Elizabeth Santi, project manager for Astute Financial and its Benchmarks Program. “The price of ShareFile was so much less than anything else that we just had to. It’s the only thing that made sense for setting up all of our clients.”
Astute Financial had also considered another company for its file-sharing needs, but ShareFile was faster in everyday use. “We did not have files synced directly to our own desktops, so sometimes the relay time to open and save a file was pretty lengthy,” said Santi. “I think that’s the biggest difference we’ve seen: time savings.”
Along with ShareFile, Astute Financial picked up Citrix RightSignature, which integrates right into the file-sharing solution so they could send documents for signatures easily. Astute Financial had not used an e-signature service before, instead relying on pen and paper for processing. “Being a technology company, we are expected to have the latest technology. That’s where RightSignature comes into play,” said Hilmes.

“I prefer GoToAssist because it’s just really quick. Most of the clients I talk to everyday have it on their computer already, so it connects in seconds.”
-Jayme Hilmes, Customer Support Manager

Improving and streamlining client interactions

For Astute Financial, GoToMeeting makes connecting and interacting with clients easier for everyone involved. “It’s simple to use on the client end, which is important to us,” said Hilmes. In the same vein, GoToMeeting saves effort for Hilmes, who frequently relies on the web conferencing solution to provide training for clients. For added convenience, she sets up her sessions using the GoToMeeting for Outlook Plugin. “I schedule so many trainings, and they’re all over my calendars, so the plugin is nice to have.”
Hilmes also appreciates how GoToAssist Service Desk handles client interactions. “The fact that they can log in and see their ticket on the Service Desk portal is great,” said Hilmes. “But more so, I like that clients can reply over email.” In GoToAssist Service Desk, email replies are captured inside the tickets, so conversations are kept in context in one place. “Things tend to go on and on, so it’s helping me a lot to keep track of all 50 responses that take place over the course of an issue,” said Hilmes.

Staying on top of document sharing

As part of its Benchmarks Program, Astute Financial is collecting plenty of information from lots of companies. For a project of this scope, it’s important to know exactly where everyone is at in the process. With ShareFile, Santi can easily keep an eye on things.

“The ShareFile Outlook Plugin is great. I like seeing when the recipient has downloaded the file I sent. I’m able to keep track of where we are, and I can reach out to them if I know they haven’t looked at the document yet. It also means I don’t have to worry about file size, or whether the file will translate properly when they open it, since when you directly open a file from email, it opens in Protected View.”
-Elizabeth Santi, Project Manager

Moving forward faster with Citrix

Looking forward, Santi anticipates using folder permissions within ShareFile to give clients direct access to download and upload files for the Benchmark Program. “It will save an immeasurable amount of time. No need to find the file, attach it, ask if they got it and then ask for a return file,” said Santi. “Instead, they just log in and grab what they need, when they need it. It’s so much simpler.”
And when it comes to GoToAssist, Hilmes also has bigger plans in mind. Given how successful it’s been for helping clients quickly, Hilmes is considering adding more seats for others on her team to use. “We are very happy with Citrix — 9 out of 10!” Hilmes said.

Other : Software for Accounting Firm and Tax Advisor

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