Could cloud CRM connect you with your customers?

By: IT Donut contributor

Date: 6 May 2015

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Customer relationships are central to your business success. No matter whether your company is a giant corporation or a one-person micro-business, you must give your customers the care, understanding and attention they deserve

Customer relationship management (CRM) software has been around since the 80s, helping businesses provide better experiences for their customers.

CRM software gives you a hub to track and manage interactions with customers. It helps you get organised by saving contact details and logging communications in one place.

Without a good CRM system, many companies would feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with the needs of their customers. This can lead to lost business due to poor customer care.

CRM is for smaller companies, too

CRM software used to be the preserve of bigger businesses. The time, effort and budget required to set up CRM meant it simply wasn't practical for small companies.

Today, this stigma persists, even though the rise of cloud computing has brought CRM within reach of much smaller firms.

While traditional CRM software had to be installed on a server in your business, cloud CRM packages work online. You sign in to a website in order to access the software, view customer details, log calls and so on.

Cloud CRM software offers all the typical benefits of cloud computing. For instance:

  • Costs are generally more manageable, because you pay a monthly fee instead of having to invest a big lump sum upfront.
  • You can usually add and remove users as and when you need to, only ever paying for the number of users you actually have.
  • It's easy to work away from the office, because cloud computing services can be accessed via any internet-connected computer.
  • Cloud CRM providers usually provide support and updates, so you don't need a degree in Computer Science to manage the software

With most cloud CRM providers offering free trials, even the smallest businesses can test CRM software with minimal commitment.

Cloud CRM can be faster

Traditional CRM software would take hours to install on a server. You might also need serious training to get to grips with the feature-heavy package. But with cloud CRM, you simply have to sign in online and you're ready to go.

Well, ok, it's usually a little more involved than that. You still have to invest time in choosing your preferences, uploading or entering customer details and learning how to use your CRM system.

However, cloud packages usually prioritise ease of setup and use over feature complexity. That means you'll often find them to be fairly intuitive. Most also offer wizards, tutorials and walkthroughs to help you get started.

Add-ons and customisation

CRM software is no longer a one-size-fits-all game. Most cloud packages offer several feature levels. You can either pick the one that suits your company best, or start with the most basic package and then upgrade if you need to.

Often, these packages can also be customised in other ways. Because they run online, you may be able to connect other cloud services, add-ons or extras.

These enable you to access extra functions, or perhaps connect your CRM software to another business system. For instance, you might be able to connect your CRM software to your cloud telephone system, so a customer's details appear on the screen automatically when they call you.

With so many possibilities available, it's clear that customer relationship management software is no longer limited to big businesses. Are you ready to give it a try?

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