- author: Wess Derryl
Founded in 2010, vCita is business management and client engagement software specifically designed for small businesses. It is particularly effective for appointment-based, B2C-oriented organizations. The tool incorporates an online CRM that brings all contact communications into one place, with the added benefits of email and SMS marketing, lead generation features, online scheduling and payment processing.
Plans & Pricing
The product comes with a few different packages: Essentials, Business, Platinum, Platinum 10 and Platinum 20.
The Essentials package ($19/monthly) enables online appointment scheduling and payment processing, however to gain access to most of vCita’s features you’ll need to sign up for at least a business plan.
The Business package ($49/monthly) grants access to the most useful features and integrations including email and SMS marketing, client tags, coupons and analytics (more on all those below).
The Platinum package ($99/monthly) is designed for relatively larger teams and is mostly about improving internal management. One of the biggest differences is that you can have up to 5 user logins and you’ll receive priority customer support.
Platinum 10 ($117/monthly) Building on the platinum package, with this one you’ll get up to 10 user logins, as well as higher quantities in the email marketing realm.
Platinum 20 ($196/monthly) Built for larger teams, you’ll get up to 20 user logins, higher quantities in email marketing services, and a dedicated account manager for customer and account support.
Overall, the pricing is very competitive. However, keep in mind that to make the most out of what vCita has to offer, you’ll need to go for (at least) the Business package.
Features and Functionality
vCita is available on both desktop and mobile (Android and iOS) and supported by all browsers. The lack of a desktop app does cause some usability issues, though they’re primarily small inconveniences. For instance, there is no easy way to navigate between different sections of the tool other than using your browser’s “back” button to return to the previous section.
Some of the features that you typically might not expect are accessible via the “Settings” tab. This includes services, conversion tracking, payments, and more. Finally, in many sections, users need to make an extra click or two to achieve their desired result. For example, to select “all clients” with a given search filter you need to click “select” and then choose your action. These may seem like very minor issues, but little things can add up and become rather frustrating over a long period of use.
The tool comes with all the typical CRM features you’d expect, including client and calendar management, payment tracking, automated messages, reminders, and notifications. All of those are pretty straightforward, easy to find, understand, and put to use. There are also a number of unique features that are worth mentioning. We will go into more detail below:
Client cards are basically contact forms that you’d typically encounter on landing pages. The captured information is automatically displayed inside the tool in the “clients” section. Moreover, client cards are created automatically and separately for every lead from your website, email, appointment and/or invoice you send.
Client cards can be extremely powerful if you’re interested in growing your business and being able to offer relevant, helpful advice/information/service to your existing leads via email campaigns. However, you need to construct the form carefully – asking for too little or too much information can make or break the deal right from the start.
The client portal encourages both existing and potential customers to take action themselves, allowing your business to truly operate 24/7. The portal is basically a highly customizable and intuitively-designed landing page that presents all the essential business information including your business description, address, list of services, directions via Google Maps, and allows clients to drop you a message, book an appointment or even make a purchase using the shared calendar of your vCita account.
In terms of customization, the template is extremely user-friendly on both desktop and mobile with the drag and drop functionality allowing to change pretty much anything including colors, text, background images, amount of information displayed, etc. On top of that, it can be easily pasted to your website and you can even change the URL of the page to your own domain if needed.
Widgets are clickable, customizable calls to action (CTA) used to capture leads and direct them to your client portal page. Widgets can be placed on your website or included in emails. There is a high variety of widgets for pretty much anything you may need, including setting up consultations and appointments, emails, testimonials, videos, making payments, getting directions, scheduling a phone call, etc.
It is highly advisable that you make good use of widgets for two reasons:
- The tool will be able to automatically notify and add leads to your “clients” dashboard if they interact with you in any way via the widget. If you’re not doing this, you’ll miss out on a big part of the automation and lose track of many potential leads.
- Measuring the performance of your widgets to determine which ones work best, and improve the less impactful ones.
One of the most powerful features of vCita CRM, client tags, help sort all of your contacts in a highly customizable fashion, allowing you to quickly find any clients that have the same tag/s. Here is what they look like:
These open up an immense amount of opportunities, ranging from crafting extremely specific and relevant email campaigns, to quickly viewing billing and payment information, or analyzing your previous marketing efforts.
Coupons are another great marketing tool which can serve in a variety of ways to both attract new customers and retain existing clients. For instance, you could create an email campaign and use coupons as a promotion technique, or try to upsell a service to an existing client at a lower rate as an appreciation of their commitment to your organization. Finally, coupons can be used internally to boost the motivation of your in-house team.
Ease of Use
The app is intuitive and easy to understand; however, the browser version causes slight inconveniences and minor navigation issues as described above. This is particularly noticeable if you’re using a 13-inch laptop. Other than that, all users should be able to adapt to the software in little to no time.
The dashboards are pretty straightforward, with all of them neatly displaying crucial information, allowing you to instantly identify what you need and take action. For Business and Platinum accounts, there is a free 30-minute onboarding session to answer any questions you may have.
Contacts & Users
Lead management and contact interactions are the tool’s primary focus. All the existing features work together, with each adding a substantial benefit to the whole process, ultimately enabling you to generate more leads in the same amount of time.
You can manage all of your clients or leads from a single hub, which is really handy. The client tags are especially good here, since they enable quick and easy access to the person (or group) that you’re interested in. You can also import contacts from Google and/or an Excel file if you’re a new user.
The client portal is an excellent way to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts, primarily due to enabling clients to take action even outside your typical business hours. The widgets automatically add leads to your “clients” section whenever an interaction occurs and notify you on mobile, allowing you to instantly respond to potential clients.
Client cards are packed with essential information that is well-displayed and accessible whenever you need it. They allow users to add as much personalization as a customer would expect from a highly professional business. Last but not least, the custom forms can be used to capture personal information from clients’ social media accounts, essential data like personal preferences, professional must-knows, how clients discovered your business, etc.
A big downside to the tool is the absence of a visual representation of the sales pipeline. If you have a defined strategy on how you’d like to proceed with leads in different stages, you’ll be forced to use an “imaginary” pipeline or utilize another tool to enable the visualization.
Reporting & Integrations
To access most reporting and integration features, you’ll need to be (at least) a Business package level customer, which is inconvenient in terms of testing the product. The tool offers integrations with Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Google Calendar, allowing you to track your marketing and advertising efforts efficiently. Google Calendar can be very useful if you’re about to start using vCita and don’t want to go through the trouble of manually transferring all of your existing appointments.
Other integrations include QuickBooks, Webhooks, and Zapier. For those who don’t know, Zapier is an online tool specifically designed to allow end users to easily integrate various apps together, which basically means that you can integrate vCita with any tool that is supported by Zapier. That list includes MailChimp, Constant Contact, GoToMeeting, and around 1,000 more apps. You also have the option to sync your Facebook business page and utilize widgets to capture leads directly through the social media platform.
While there is no dedicated “reports” section, the tool does provide some valuable information. However, the data is basic since that’s not the tool’s main focus area. Google AdWords, Analytics, and Facebook integrations are a big plus here, allowing you to keep track of a lot of information and understand where most leads are coming from.
You can also export client, calendar, and payment data to an Excel spreadsheet to be analyzed later; either manually or using another tool to aid you. To put it simply, the downside is that you need to jump from section to section, and even from tool to tool, to eventually analyze your marketing and sales efforts to a basic extent.
Pros & Cons
- Client tags – Quick and easy contact management
- Client portal – Enables your business to be accessible 24/7
- Fit for a small business – Just enough marketing automation and reporting for a small business
- Client cards – Gathering all essential prospect information in a single place
- No visual representation of the sales pipeline
- No defined analytics and reporting
- Customer support is dependent on your package
Customer support is highly dependent on your package. The Essentials package offers email support, the Business package comes with email and phone support, and the Platinum package features priority support.
On the bright side, there are a few high-quality video tutorials available on YouTube, a well-organized FAQ section, and a dedicated blog that offers a variety of topics.
Phone SupportIt's available only to Business plan users and above.
Video TutorialsThere are a number of video tutorials on YouTube covering a variety of topics.
FAQThere is a comprehensive FAQ section.
BlogThere is a blog, but it's not updated regularly.
Overall, vCita offers a lot of functionality for a small, appointment-oriented, B2C business and is definitely a great CRM system. The added benefits of email and SMS marketing along with website widgets and client portal bring tons of useful automation to the table, allowing you to increase the number of leads and manage them effectively, while staying on top of your processes.