What is customer management software?
Customer management software (also called CRM system) is being used by more and more companies to optimize their processes.
As the company grows, the number of customers to manage and the amount of related information increases. At the same time, more people are working with this information. Customer management software is used to organize the collection, documentation, and delivery of this customer information. These can be master data such as addresses, as well as communication data such as emails, phone notes, project logs, offers.
Requirements for customer management software
The most common requirements for such CRM software are:
- Centrally provision of customer master data for all customer managers
- Manage additional information for sales, marketing, and service
- Management of various transactions to customers (e.g. appointments, tasks, correspondence)
- Capture and deploy projects
- Selection of customer information for marketing purposes
- Qualification of customers and leads
- Creation of correspondence (single and form letters, mass emails)
- sales automation, for example when planning customer visits)
- Contract management
- Inventory management
- Evaluation of sales activities and purchases
- Access Control – Who is allowed to edit/view what information?
- Connection to other systems such as online shops, merchandise management, accounting
- Processing customer service requests
- Device-independent access to customer data from PC, smartphone tablet
- Offline access to the data
- more requirements for CRM software>>
Defining customer management software requirements
Most companies initially struggle to formulate their requirements. It is therefore important to take stock of the actual processes, weaknesses and strengths in the company in order to derive corresponding potential for improvement and strengths worthy of preservation. In case of difficulties, one should not be afraid to request help from outside, e.g. in the form of an analysis by a CRM consultant.
Depending on where the server is located, a distinction is made between:
- On-Premise: The software for customer management runs on a separate server in your own company
- Private Cloud: The customer management software runs on a dedicated server at a hosting service provider
- Public Cloud: Customer management software runs on a server at a hosting service provider where other customers work at the same time
- Hybrid: Combination form of on-premise and cloud
Types of customer management software
- Server-based with local installation on the enddevices
- Web-based: Application runs on a server, access is via the browser
- Mixed form: locally installed clients and use via the browser
Choosing the right customer management software
Once the requirements have been formulated, the search for the right solution begins. Especially with the variety of offers, it is difficult to find the most suitable solution. It is crucial that it already covers the greatest possible part of the requirements in the standard. Optimally, the requirements can be covered with the standard.
However, if your own processes are very special, minor adjustments can be useful. Care should be taken to the extent to which the customer management software offers this possibility.
Replacement of old systems, insular solutions and resistors
Particular challenges lie in the replacement of outdated systems and insular solutions such as MS Excel or MS Access. This is often accompanied by resistance from users who refuse to change. A clean project planning and organization, which takes into account established structures and involves all stakeholders, prevents this.