In the weeks since I first wrote "9 AgriSync Alternatives Suggested by Dealers," the article has become the fourth most-read article on the Precision Farming Dealer website so far this year.
With so much continued interest from dealers who are losing or who have lost AgriSync, I wrote an extended version of the article for a recent edition of Farm Equipment magazine. The update includes several new suggestions for AgriSync alternatives that hopefully you'll find helpful if you haven't landed on a replacement for AgriSync at your dealership.
The article as it printed in Farm Equipment is below. If you've tried any of these solutions or something else that didn't make this list, please leave a comment and tell me how it's working out for you.
If you’re a non-John Deere ag equipment dealer looking for an AgriSync replacement, you’re not alone.
John Deere acquired the customer service platform AgriSync in late 2021 and said non-Deere dealers would transition off the service in 2022. Like many dealerships, New Holland Rochester in Rochester, Ind., scrambled to find a replacement for AgriSync after losing the service just 6 months into using it.
“It had a lot of great things that we really liked, so it was just really a punch to the gut when we got the notice that we were getting kicked off the platform with short notice,” says Jesse Straeter, CEO of New Holland Rochester.
Straeter spent a lot of time searching for the right solution among the many customer service platforms on the marketplace today. As many dealers are finding out, there may be a lot of options, but none currently have the same understanding of agriculture or complete capabilities of AgriSync.
At the Precision Farming Dealer Summit in January, dealers who are losing AgriSync participated in a roundtable discussion about potential alternatives to the platform’s services. No one involved in the discussions had found a single replacement app or program that encompasses everything AgriSync does, but several said they’re using a number of services to get by. Others are contacting software development companies themselves to get pricing for developing a custom program.
“We’ve got a lot of upset customers,” says a dealer who’s contacted a developer already. “We’ve got to do something because we have a heavy customer base that relies
Identify Must-Have Features
Determining the dealership’s must-have features helped Straeter narrow down the best of the current options, and he landed on ecommerce helpdesk Gorgias as the most well-suited replacement for AgriSync at his dealership.
“There’s a lot of similarities between the two and some differences,” Straeter says. “In the long run, I actually think it’s going to be a better solution than what AgriSync was.”
One of the main differences is lack of a text messaging feature on Gorgias, which was “the whole reason we signed up with AgriSync to begin with,” Straeter says.
Being up-front about his must-have features, like text messaging, proved fruitful in conversations with Gorgias. Straeter learned the company intended to add text messaging by the end of the first quarter in 2022, and he’s now hoping to bring other dealers onto the platform in an effort to encourage Gorgias to add other features beneficial to farm equipment dealers. He also learned that he’s likely found a solution he’ll stick with for years to come.
“I wanted to know about the Gorgias folks and their company to make sure that they weren’t going to get sold out to John Deere and I wasn’t going to lose the service if we went on to it,” Straeter says. “They didn’t know who John Deere was or what they did when I brought them up specifically.”
An Agriculture-Focused Alternative
In the last 2 years, the team at AGvisorPRO has been hard at work programming a new connectivity channel for agriculture — a channel they’re opening up to dealers as many lose AgriSync.
AGvisorPRO allows users from anywhere in the world to ask and answer questions through an app available for iOS and Android devices. Rob Saik, CEO of AGvisorPRO, says utilizing technology to increase agricultural sustainability comes down to farmers implementing new ideas and technologies on their operation, which requires confidence and conversations with trusted experts.
Access Free Digital Demos of Gorgias and AGvisorPRO
Jesse Straeter, CEO of New Holland Rochester in Rochester, Ind., gave an in-depth demonstration of how New Holland Rochester is using Gorgias as a replacement for AgriSync during the Dealership Success Academy, a virtual learning event hosted by Rural Lifestyle Dealer. Visit www.dealersuccessacademy.com to watch a free replay of the session. Straeter also encourages dealers who are interested in switching to the platform to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rob Saik, CEO of AGvisorPRO, provided a digital demonstration of AGvisorPRO’s capabilities and explained the company’s vision in a webinar hosted by Precision Farming Dealer.
“Our technology can be embedded inside of ag retail, dealerships or a corporate ecosystem,” Saik says. “Our business model is around connectivity. We work to connect reputable experts and companies. We are the human connection to an increasingly digital world.”
AGvisorPRO is offering “private label” options for dealers to create a custom “ecosystem” for dealership staff with plans to offer the ability to set rates for direct meetings with customers. In February, the company announced a partnership with Rocky Mountain Equipment (RME), Canada’s largest agricultural machinery dealer. App users can now reach and interact with the RME sales and technical support team using the app.
“In the long run, I think Gorgias is going to be a better solution than what AgriSync was…” – Jesse Straeter, CEO, New Holland Rochester
“We trust that this revolutionary new platform will drive the industry forward,” says Jim Wood, chief sales and operations officer at RME, in a statement. “We feel it not only supports farmers in obtaining the information they need to run a steadfast operation, but also acts as a great tool in helping businesses like ours stay connected to the communities we serve.”
Call Routing Options
Some dealers are using Google Voice, Verizon One Talk and similar options from other phone service providers to set up universal phone numbers that ring multiple devices at the same time. In one dealer’s words during the roundtable, Google Voice is “not AgriSync, but it’s not bad.” However, another dealer reported repeated issues with Google Voice calls not coming through.
8x8 was another proposed solution for call routing, but a dealer at the roundtable who tried this program says there is no ticketing system.
The DIS (Dealer Information Systems) business management system offers service and job ticketing and tracking, as well as other management and inventory tools. One dealer said he was talking with the company about adding features as a replacement for AgriSync.
CDK has a dealer management system for agriculture that has CRM, task tracking, scheduling, support and other capabilities. However, one dealer who is currently using it wasn’t impressed with its performance.
Odoo has apps for CRM, sales, timesheets, help desk, invoicing and more. One dealer thought it looked promising, but their accountant said the platform was not Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) compliant.
Freshdesk is another ticketing platform that pulls inquiries from email, phone and other messaging apps into a single view. Tickets can be assigned to multiple people and split into subtasks. One dealer who has started using Freshdesk says the platform has more features than AgriSync, but the mobile experience isn’t as good. However, this dealer still thinks it’s a powerful and long-term solution.
Voice Over IP (VoIP) Calling
Voice over IP allows you to place a call using a broadband connection. One dealer suggested integrating VoIP calling with Pipedrive, a CRM. Tethr It Now, a platform that works with iOS and Android devices, allows you to send a text with a link to start a video call. Dealers and precision specialists with Apple devices can use FaceTime for video calls to customers with Apple and Android devices.
Custom App Development for a Unique Platform
Several dealers said they’re exploring the cost of having a software developer create a custom program for their businesses. One dealer who has worked with developers on other projects advised having clarity about what you want the app or program to do before contacting the developer.
10 AgriSync Alternatives
An article about AgriSync alternatives posted on the Precision Farming Dealer website in January offered several potential solutions suggested by dealers at the Precision Farming Dealer Summit. The conversation continued in the months that followed, and we’ve updated our list to include new platforms that encompass similar features to AgriSync. Here are the top 10 suggestions from dealers:
The 8x8 eXperience Communications Platform integrates a contact center, voice, video, chat and APIs. The company has tiered plans and pricing based on features. Offerings include number porting, call handling (including call forwarding and ring groups), call queues, mobile and desktop apps, skills-based routing, cross-platform team messaging, HD audio and video conferencing with screen sharing, media storage, call analytics and more.
For more info, visit www.8x8.com.
AGvisorPRO is a connectivity platform available for iOS and Android devices. It allows users from all over the world to ask and answer questions through the app. AGvisorPRO’s scheduling feature facilitates virtual meetings and calls. The company is offering “private label” options for dealers to create a custom “ecosystem” for dealership staff with plans to offer the ability to set rates for direct meetings with customers.
For more info, visit www.agvisorpro.com.
CDK IntelliDealer dealer management system for agriculture has CRM, task tracking, technician scheduling, product support, financial management and other capabilities. CDK’s mobile solutions enable mobile access to IntelliDealer DMS; provide a portal for customers to request service, make payments, send direct messages to dealers and see dealer inventory; allow dealership-wide management communications; and offer wireless inventory management.
For more info, visit www.cdkglobalheavyequipment.com/dms.
The DIS Quantum business management system offers service and job ticketing and tracking, as well as other management and inventory tools. Modules include interactive dashboards, customer management, CRM, accounting and payroll, parts management, service management, units, point of sale, data mine, document management, EasyFile, electronic forms and barcoding. Mobile apps for sales and service logistics management are available as add-on features.
For more info, visit www.discorp.com.
Freshdesk customer support software provides ticketing, automation and self-service options. Omnichannel support delivers customer service across email, phone, chat, WhatsApp Business and other social media channels from a single view. Users can automate tasks within the platform and create customizable analytics and reports to track performance.
For more info, visit www.freshdesk.com.
Gorgias is a helpdesk platform built for ecommerce, but its ticketing features are applicable to dealership needs. The platform centralizes interactions from live chat, email, social media and phone into 1 ticket, and its customized helpdesk can manage orders, customers and stores. Pricing is based on ticketing volume.
For more info, visit www.gorgias.com.
Odoo has à la carte app offerings with pricing per user and per app. Apps cover functions in finance, sales, inventory and material requirements planning, services, productivity, marketing, human resources and websites categories. The Odoo Helpdesk app can generate tickets from email, web forms and online chats, or staff can create tickets manually from phone calls. The Field Service app lets staff schedule appointments, assign tasks, track time, provide quotes and invoice for services.
For more info, visit www.odoo.com.
Sangoma is a Communications as a Service provider with business phone systems, video conferencing, inbound contact center solutions, connected workspaces and more. The Sangoma Connect mobile app for iOS and Android devices provides voice and Sangoma Meet multi-party video collaboration using an employee’s business extension but on their personal device.
For more info, visit www.sangoma.com/pbx/softphone.
Tethr It Now
Tethr It Now allows outbound and inbound video calls on any device. No app, log-in or meeting notice is required. Customer and product support representatives can initiate a video chat session with customers without an app from either party by sending a hyperlink to the caller via SMS or email. With the Insights module, users can record, capture and translate conversations.
For more info, visit www.vizalogix.com/tethr-it-now.
Text Request is a business text messaging platform built for customer engagement anytime, anywhere. Text messaging features include texting from existing business numbers; requesting and collecting payments by text; 2-way conversations for scheduling, customer service and sales; mass texting for promotions and announcements; and SMS Chat to start and convert opportunities from a website.
For more info, visit www.textrequest.com/demo, or text or call 423-218-0111.