Bantam is the latest player to chase the crown of king of social customer relationship apps entering the marketplace. Developed by a team of six out of New York the service describes itself as a combination of microblogging, social CRM and network collaboration. The service is currently in it’s public Beta and is expected to launch commercially in December or January 2010.
First impressions of the service are very positive. CRM tools often walk a fine line between throwing everything including the kitchen sink at users to not offering enough functionality. Upon logging in, Bantam users will first notice that aesthetics have been at the fore of development, it sports a very clean design. The ‘Dashboard’ allows users to view an activity stream and notifications as well as a quick add box where you are able to update your status, send a message or add a task, contact or event.
A key feature of Bantam and, in its Beta, the only third party service which it integrates with is Twitter. The Bantam team have done a great job of fusing the two together in an entirely complimentary way. Bantam users are able to add a Twitter account to the service and from here can then monitor their stream, save searches, import contacts and add Twitter names to existing contacts. The ability to quickly access what customers or sales leads are saying on Twitter could be invaluable to businesses.
Outside of this Bantam covers off on many of the stock standard features of a CRM including tagging of contacts, the ability to upload files and provision of an email dropbox. The service also includes a ‘Projects’ channel allowing for teams to set up sub-areas where they can collaborate on specific jobs at hand.
I was extremely impressed with Bantam and whilst the team will be rolling out new features and have actively been engaging with beta users on what some of these may be, their initial offering has certainly impressed. A few areas which could be improved upon would include:
- searching contacts by multiple tags;
- adding additional third party services… LinkedIn being one of the most obvious.
- closer integration with email and contact management tools already used by enterprise such as Outlook or Gmail. Services such as Xobni and Gist are already trying to tab into this segment as it answers one problem businesses often have with CRM tools – user adoption.
Crack that problem Bantam and you’ll be on to a winner.