Solve CRM Review

  • 3 comments
  • Updated on:
Date Established
2006
Location
Calgary, AB, Canada

Overview:

Remember when Apple revamped its branding, and gave its computers an identifiable personality? It was the beginning of a new era for Apple, and indeed, a new era for marketing as a whole. Before you knew it, everything from computers to toasters to credit cards were being given personalities that the consumer could identify with. Apple iconized the cute, quirky, pre-hipster Everyday Joe, and forever changed the Apple image with breathtaking success. Solve CRM, formerly known as Solve360, has taken a cue from this strategy. It’s the edgy, idealistic, super business-savvy post-hipster. And it’s totally working. Whether you’re surfing the website, scouring articles in the Knowledge Base, or trying to upset the fluid motion of the software, you get a sense that Solve is a company that knows it’s at the top of its game.

But don’t worry; while there’s not a ton of brand customization within the software, you won’t see Solve’s ego emblazoned across your dashboard. On top of it all, Solve has some class.

If you have a smaller business that would really benefit from a top-notch CRM, Solve might fit the bill. To learn more about what they offer, read the full review.

Pricing:

Solve offers a 14-day free trial, with no credit card required. There are no setup fees, and you can cancel at any time. Solve has abandoned its tiered pricing for a flat rate of $25 per month/user with a 4 user minimum.

Web-hosted or Licensed:

You just need a web browser and Internet connection. Solve works best with Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

The only requirements are met by a reasonably updated web browser, and a reliable internet connection.

Specific Size of Business (or Company Size):

The folks at Solve are outspoken proponents of small business, and have developed the software with freelancers and small businesses in mind, with a special interest in realtors.

Ease of Use:

The system is easy to use. The introductory email sent to you when you sign up has all the right information: activation link, login link, your chosen login ID, links to the correct section in their Knowledge Base to get you started, and a link to get you in touch with their “customer care team.” No hunting for information, no extraneous emails flooding your inbox.

The one thing Solve lacks in the free trial is pre-loaded demo data. I don’t want to start crossing my systems with real-life client information, when I don’t even know yet if I’ll end up choosing the software I’m testing out. Pre-loaded data allows you to experiment with the software in a safe environment; no danger of accidentally emailing your clients or confusing your coworkers with a meeting suddenly appearing in their calendars.

As for the software itself, it was as easy to use as Solve claims. With one exception. Solve claims that your team won’t even need training. I think that’s overstating things. If your entire team consists of experts in SaaS applications, then perhaps they can wing it without training, and learn as they go. But enough features and procedures are specific to Solve that I’d say it’s worth the time to have a training session or two.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with the learning curve and ease of use. I didn’t feel like I was using sophomore software with quirks to ‘just get used to.’ And any time I found myself a little lost, I was able to get un-stuck with a quick trip to their well-written KB.

Features:

Paraphrased from their own website, these are the highlights for Solve:

  • Templates – Automate repetitious activities
  • Custom Fields & Category Tags – Easily organize and group your contacts for emails, reports, and activities.
  • Email Linking – Link contacts, companies, and projects, then share them across your team.
  • Reporting – At-a-glance to-do lists, opportunities, and team calendars. Elements are editable from within reports for quick updating.
  • Mobile app – When integrated with RingCentral, client information automatically appears with every incoming call. Solve has an app for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. Solve offer a set of visual aids on their website to demonstrate how the app works.
  • Pre-integrated Cloud Applications – MailChimp, Constant Contact, and a plethora of other web apps are ready when you are.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

Solve boasts the best Google apps Integration around, plus connectivity with Freshbooks, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Xero, Zendesk, Wufoo, and others.

The Google Apps integration is worth a little more attention. Just about every CRM these days integrates with Google, to varying degrees. Some are even built around Google, and offered as a Google plugin, running smoothly hand in hand. But Solve interacts with Google Apps on another level. It’s less of a dovetail, and more like a partnership. An affiliate agreement. A happy merger. You can even use your Google credentials to log into Solve. From there, data and features are blended without you having to lift a finger. To see the (rather extensive) shameless promotion on this from Solve, point your browser here.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Solve offers a bit less than The Usual in this area. The only one-on-one technical help you can get is through a web ticket, which has a cold impersonal feel to me. Might I get a response? Hopefully. And hopefully it’s not too late. For the DIY-minded folks out there, Solve does offer a solid Knowledge Base and walkthroughs, as well as webinars on a variety of topics:

Although I miss things like a phone number or live chat option, I have to concede on the wisdom to their Customer Service approach:

What to expect from us: We review every incoming request without delay, and prioritize our responses. The “house is on fire!” jumps ahead of the “I would love it if Solve could make cappuccino”. Seriously, we appreciate the time you take to reach out to us, we have your back on the important issues (you’ll hear from us), and we’ll do our best with everything else (we’re listening, but it may not be practical to reply personally).”

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Solve gets pretty solid reviews in the Google Apps Marketplace with a nearly 5 star rating and 121 rankings. Most of the negative comments were from four star reviews holding out the last star because of something Solve lacked. The main complaint is that there’s just not much movement, and that’s true. Not much has changed since our last review on Merchant Maverick. Solve continues to offer a stable, seamless product, which is good, but there’s very little difference between Solve today and Solve two years ago. Here are a few excerpts from user reviews:

“. . .The only negative I can offer is that they are reluctant to implement new feature suggestions. Perhaps this is due to the software’s architecture. Perhaps it conflicts with the company’s vision. Whatever the case, they are fairly happy with the system as it is. Don’t look for any significant revisions. . .”

“Good features, but the UI is a bit old and development seems stagnant.”

“Good program, just wish the mobile version was a little more functional.”

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

As mentioned earlier, most of Solve’s ratings are 5 stars. Some of the most common praise is copied below.

“Customer Service is Great! I reached out to Solve customer service and was extremely pleased at how fast they got back to me and how accurately they answered my question. I have only been using solve for about 6 months, and I am extremely satisfied.”

“Powerful, flexible, reliable. I have now used Solve360 for about 18 months and I have to say it keeps surprising me in what it’s capable of doing. The feature requests I might have are quickly responded to by the Norada team and, as if they read my mind, some of them are implemented but often with a better approach than I asked for.”

“Intuitive program, excellent customer service. We have recently switched to Solve360 and have found the application to be wonderfully intuitive and flexible, and with a little bit of creative thinking it has been able to meet all of our needs as a membership organization. Hands down, though, the single greatest thing about Solve360 is the excellent customer service.”

“User Friendly & Easy To Setup. I have deployed this for 2 of my customers now with very little effort as it just works! Works perfectly with Google apps, mobile & slate devices. I have been so impressed with it that I have even switch to using it for my own business. Thumbs Up!”

Security:

Solve is fairly informative regarding security and data protection. You can check out the links for each to find out how Solve responds to security concerns. You can also check the system status by following this link. A few highlights:

“Norada follows mission critical data backup and management process. All data is written to multiple disks instantly and backed up to our archiving system at least once each day.”

“All data transmitted between your computer (or mobile device) and our application servers is encrypted using 256 bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. This prevents anyone from reading the information as it is transmitted over the networks. This the same method online banks use to keep your information secure.”

“Our primary production servers are owned by Norada and operated by authorized Norada staff. This equipment is located in our Global Internet Data Center (GIDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. This location is connected directly to the Internet backbone through nine global Internet providers and is SAS‑70 type II certified.”

Final Verdict:

I like it. A functional piece of software is one thing, but a functional piece of software with some edgy flair is another. If given the choice between a dry procedural vs a charismatic, interactive system, I would say the choice is obvious.

Solve does a great job of having the acumen of a Fortune 500 company, yet the familiarity of your local store. Know another company that does this? Maybe… Google? Renowned in the industry for its unorthodox (and heavenly) corporate culture, Google is a razor-sharp corporate monster with an unthreatening demeanor.

It’s no wonder that Solve has worked so hard to integrate with Google Apps. Solve is shaping up to be Google’s little brother; the integrations are practically seamless, which leapfrogs Solve to the front of the CRM line. Go ahead. Give them a try already.

 

Erik Robie

Erik Robie

Erik is a writer, small business developer, and photographer, making his home in Northern Colorado. He has been publishing his writing for 15 years, and occasionally sells his photos when he can pull himself away from the keyboard. When he's not writing the CRM, HelpDesk, and Shopping Cart categories for Merchant Maverick, he can usually be found on his mountain bike, playing volleyball, hiking with his camera, or keeping the local coffee shops in business.
Leave a comment

3 Comments

    lia

    Does Solve integrate with QuickBooks Enterprise ?

    Thanks,
    lia

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Lia,

    Solve CRM integrates with Xero, but it does have an open API so you can probably sync it with QuickBooks Enterprise. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

    Katy

    Solve 360 seems almost too good to be true. I’ve been trialling it and it’s streaks ahead of competition in all but one thing: that’s storage.
    The basic plan only includes 6gig of storage versus UNLIMITED with insightly – so am in a conundrum – extra storage is $2 per gig per month. Could get very expensive it seems to me!!!!! Not sure if anyone else has had this experience.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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