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Hi Pauline,
We’re in a similar situation where we are using MYOB and over the last 12 months have been utilising BCM which certainly made life easier that working from a manual register I kept aka a notebook I filled in with customer contact info when they first rang. I thought it was a great system till we had a couple of incidents requiring a complete reload of the computer including uploading of backups/copies of files. BCM for some reason stores it’s data in two files, a log file and a database. On reloading we found that it doesn’t recognise it’s original files and Microsoft don’t offer any support or info on how to get it to read it’s own data.

Three weeks ago our CPU fried and fortunately we had a backup of our data. On reloading all the programmes we managed to get BCM to import the data (contact details) by importing it as .csv (from memory), but then I had to manually get it to associate the client files with existing emails. I still do not have access to my notes and history. We’ve had this issue before and can’t recall how we fixed it last time. In sheer frustration we’ve decided to get away from BCM altogether and I’ve been looking at CRM packages. Going by recommendations on this forum we’ve decided on Sage ACT as it’s not cloud based. My hubby is very anti anything in the cloud! This programme had an add on which will read MYOB and import basic everyday info so you don’t even have to open MYOB. Downside is that it’s going to cost us about $3k, however this includes getting an expert to integrate our entire BCM, Outlook and MYOB data into one centrally located package. It will be configured to suit our business and our needs. Considering the amount of time we’ve wasted trying to work with Outlook/BCM and then with the double data entry, we figure it will pay for itself very quickly. They will also offer support for 12 months, it includes a few hours on site training and all the installation is done on site as well, including networking. A bonus for us as we’re in a regional area just outside of Adelaide.

As much as it’s an expensive exercise for such a small business as ours, I figure if hubby can spend thousands on workshop equipment neither of us is going to begrudge a system which will potentially offer us a more efficient system, saving us both much time and angst. I’ve come to realise it’s better to outsource stuff like this and focus on what we do best.

In as far as the surveys go perhaps an email with a link to an online survey with a sweetener, ie fill it in and get a voucher worth $xyz. I believe you can set up surveys on http://www.surveymonkey.com for free. Never used it myself but my kids have with school projects, as have uni students.