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Interview with Ericka O'Campo Manager of Customer Operations at Planning Pod

Seamless CRM Transition: How to Switch Event Management Tools with Ericka O’Campo, Manager of Customer Operations

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Best Practices, Customer Service, Event Management, Featured

Are you looking to upgrade from your current event planning software but feel overwhelmed by the idea of switching to a new program?

We get it. Change is hard—but switching CRM tools doesn’t have to be.

To help you better understand the transition process and make the best decision for your business, we spoke to Ericka O’Campo, Manager of Customer Operations at Planning Pod. Ericka and her Customer Success Team have helped thousands of clients like you make the switch to a new management platform quickly, easily, and seamlessly—and they can help you do the same!

In this article, Ericka will walk us through what it takes to make the switch from your current CRM tool to a new event management system. You’ll find insight on:

1.          Common concerns & how to address them

2.          The importance of support from your event software partner

3.          How to position yourself for a successful transition

4.          Getting Started with your new event management platform 

If you’re ready to make the switch to Planning Pod and want to start your transition, send us a message today! We’re ready to help you elevate your event business.

Challenges & Solutions to Switching Event Management Tools

Change of any sort can be hard for a business, especially when it comes to switching out a system that is such an integral part of how you operate.

According to Ericka, the top three areas her customers come to her with when upgrading their event management system are:

  • Data migration
  • Workflow disruptions
  • Learning the ins and outs of a new platform

“We understand that implementing a new software platform can be intimidating in the best of situations, and in the years of working with thousands of event professionals, we’ve learned that it’s best to face these concerns head-on,” says Ericka.

Here are some examples of the way the Planning Pod Customer Success Team works through your challenges with you: 

Challenge: Migrating Data from Current CRM to a New System

The first concern most clients have when looking to switch their CRM system is the process of migrating their well-earned data from their current system into a new one. Your CRM tool is a huge part of your business, and collecting and exporting data isn’t always as straightforward as you’d like.

“Many event management systems don’t make it easy to export your data on purpose because they don’t want to make it easy for you to leave,” says Ericka. “That can make switching CRM tools a challenge for people on their own, but our team is well versed in many of the event management programs available, and we know where to go and what to do with location information and get that over to Planning Pod.”

Many clients also come to Planning Pod with a system of their own, whether it’s old-school pen and paper filings or a DIY setup using Google Drive, excel sheets, and a variety of third-party tools, which can make the idea of transitioning feel even more daunting.

However, Ericka doesn’t want the stress of data migration to keep you stuck in a process that doesn’t work because there is a better way to do it.

“We understand that implementing a new software platform can be intimidating…we’ve learned that it’s best to face these concerns head-on,” Ericka explains.

Solution: Data Migration Done for You

The Planning Pod onboarding process includes data migration, training, and a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) who will guide you through every step of the transition process and beyond. That means you’ll be able to rely on your CSM and our larger Customer Success Team to do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to finding, exporting, and importing important data.

“We have seen it all and have helped clients switch over from a variety of platforms, including Tripleseat, Caterease, and Event Pro,” says Ericka. “We have also worked with enough clients that we now have a solution for virtually any scenario you may come across.”

From day one, your CSM and the larger Customer Success Team will work to get to know your business so that we can not only transfer over the right data but also help you build tailored processes, templates, and solutions that are aligned with the unique needs and objectives of your business.    

“As the Customer Success team, it is not only our job to support you through the transition but also to partner with you in the implementation of the software and growth of your business,” says Ericka.

Whether you’re migrating information from a physical filing cabinet or extracting it from an event management platform, you can rest assured that the Customer Success Team is ready to help and knows exactly what to do to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.

“We’ve made it our mission to simplify the transition process and make it as easy as possible for our clients,” says Ericka.

Challenge: Disruptions to your Current Workflow

The next most common concern Ericka hears from new clients is how the transition may disrupt their current workflows.

“Many event professionals, especially those who have been in business for a while, have a certain way of doing things,” says Ericka. “Even if that system feels cumbersome, outdated, or limited, it can be hard to step away from it.”

Of course, adjusting your workflow can be expected when switching to a more comprehensive software program, as you’ll have more enhanced tools that you may not have had access to before. Nevertheless, there are ways to make that transition smoother, and Planning Pod’s white glove service is one of the ways to do just that.

Handshake

Solution: Custom workflow solutions

What if you didn’t have to worry about building all of your workflows from scratch?

Planning Pod not only comes loaded with templates to start from, but the Customer Support Team and your dedicated CSM also help to get Planning Pod set up and working for you.

“When you join Planning Pod, we start off with a go-live meeting,” says Ericka. “In that call, you meet one-on-one with your dedicated CSM so we can learn more about your business, what is and isn’t working with your current process, and what an ideal workflow looks like for you. From there, we take that information and implement a preferred process in Planning Pod for you.”

Ericka also stresses the importance of being open-minded to new solutions, communicating with the Customer Success Team when you get stuck, and embracing new technology and ways of doing things.

“We’ve observed that clients who embrace the opportunity to improve upon current processes and workflows tend to get the most out of Planning Pod,” says Ericka. “We’re here to actively participate in your success, and we have a lot of experience building effective workflows that can be applicable to your business. We really just ask that you have an open mindset and are excited about embracing new possibilities.”

Ericka also reminds her clients that while she and her team are always available to help you optimize your workflow or find workarounds to make the Planning Pod platform work for you, they also value input and use client input to develop new features and further improve the Planning Pod event management system.

“We take feedback seriously,” says Ericka. “We genuinely review every feedback request and dig into the reasoning behind it, what a solution can look like, and how that will impact all of our Planning Pod users. Our system is what it is today because we listen to our users and their needs.”

Challenge: Getting Accustomed to a New Platform  

Finally, when it comes to switching event management tools, there is the learning curve of understanding a new platform. As with any new technology, service, or system, it can take time to fully understand all of its capabilities, how to maximize those features for your needs, and get to a point where working inside the platform feels second nature.

Solution: User-Friendly Design, Endless Resources, and Human Support

“In addition to setting up our clients’ new accounts for them, which is something that is huge and takes the burden off of their shoulders, we also provide customized training resources,” says Ericka.

Along with a responsive team of Customer Success specialists and a library of self-guided tutorials, the Customer Success Team also utilizes Scribe to create custom videos that guide you through your Planning Pod account.

They use these videos to walk you step by step through desired workflows, how to perform various tasks within the platform, and tailored guidance for working through any hurdles you encounter. This serves as a resource you can refer to again and again until you become a pro at working your way through the platform.

Ericka also credits Planning Pod’s intuitive design as one of the reasons Clients feel they can get up and running with Planning Pod so quickly.

“Planning Pod was really designed with you in mind,” says Ericka. “We listen to customer feedback and work to understand what you need out of an event management system and use that to create a system that is all-encompassing but easy to use. Even if you’ve never worked with event management software before, you can easily and quickly find your way around Planning Pod.”

Team collaborating with laptop

Choosing a Comprehensive CRM with Human Support

One of the most important things you can do to ease your transition to a new event CRM tool is to choose a platform partner that offers extensive support.

Ericka mentions that when you invest in an event management tool like Planning Pod, you get so much more than software. You get a team of specialists dedicated to helping you streamline and scale your business. Ericka and her team members regularly work with clients to address their concerns, optimize their workflows and tools, and collect valuable feedback that enables our team to continuously improve and grow Planning Pod.

Here’s how Ericka and her Customer Success Team support you throughout the life of your partnership:

  • Dedicated CSM. Problem-solve big challenges or get inspiration and insight via phone, zoom, or email from someone who deeply understands your business.
  • One-On-One Support. Address immediate questions or needs with our larger team of specialists via email or chat so you can get support when you need it.
  • Tailored Solutions & Guidance. Receive advice, solutions, and guidance specific to your business. These aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions!
  • Custom training & tutorial videos. Receive custom videos that walk you through a specific problem you are facing. With these videos, you can go through the process on your own with side-by-side instructions. Plus, you can access the video as many times as you need!
  • Self-guided tutorials. Take the DIY route for quick fixes and training with our library of resources filled with training materials and answers to frequently asked questions.

Mindset Matters: Mentally Preparing for The Switch

While Planning Pod can do a lot of work on your behalf when it comes to switching platforms, there are some things you can do to better prepare yourself and your team for a more successful migration. 

Here are some tips from Ericka on what you can bring to the process:

Commit to the Change

Even with the bulk of the stress taken off your plate, switching and getting accustomed to a new platform can still be challenging at times. Clients see the best results during and after their transition by approaching the switch with a positive attitude and staying actively involved.

Being open and excited about new possibilities is the key to any successful transition.

Define Your Ideal Process

Upgrading your CRM means you have more tools and capabilities to help you improve and streamline your processes. You’ll also receive custom one-on-one support to build those initial workflows. Ericka recommends taking some time to think about your ideal workflow so that your CSM can help you design a process that meets those needs!

Get Your Team Involved

Your event management program is your business’s foundation, and the migration will likely impact everyone on your team, from sales and customer service to your catering team and financial department. Ericka says that getting your entire team on board and excited about the new platform is a key step to ensuring a seamless transition for everyone.

You can do this by talking to each department about why you’re making the switch and taking the time to understand what they will want and need from the software. Clearly communicating each step of the transition and sharing support and resources with your team members will go a long way in fostering a positive and supportive environment.

Test Things Out

Planning Pod was built to grow with your business, and we frequently release updates to give our users the latest features. Don’t be afraid to try out new tools or explore different ways to set up and optimize your workflows. With ongoing support, you can test things out with confidence and continue to maximize Planning Pod to fit and evolve with your business.  

Make the Switch to Planning Pod

The first step to successfully migrating to a new event management platform is making the decision to do so. Get started by speaking to a Planning Pod representative about your business goals and how our all-encompassing event management tools can help you reach them!