Top 5 Customer Relationship Management Tools

Improve customer support with customer relationship management tools

Top 5 Customer Relationship Management ToolsYou may have seen the term “CRM” bandied about on blogs and technology sites and wondered what it means. The term stands for “customer relationship management,” and it’s a hot topic for small businesses. CRM is all about improving contacts with existing and future customers. It runs from a sales office fielding calls from potential customers, through to scheduling sales meetings, and on to customer service and technical support after a sale. Maintaining an office just for customer support is an expensive luxury that most small businesses just can’t afford. However, more and better customer relationship management tools are now becoming available to reduce the complexity of this field of business to the point where an existing small team can integrate CRM functions into its usual work schedule. This review examines the top five customer relationship management tools currently on the market.

1) Zendesk

One of the main benefits of customer relationship management tools is that they enable you to focus all the contact channels customers may use to contact you in one dashboard. You centralize information gathered by different team members during customer contact, share any pertinent information, and enable the customer to feel recognized. There is nothing more annoying than calling a company, getting transferred to different people, and having to explain your needs all over again. Zendesk helps keep your team informed regarding contact with customers made by other team members. Therefore, it helps reduce repetition of effort and improves response times to customer queries through workflow scheduling. This customer relationship management tool is cloud based, so you don’t have to install any complicated software, and your team members can access the system from home or while on the move. One element of the Zendesk suite enables you to set up self-help systems, so customers can browse a set of solutions without having to call in for technical support.

2) Get Satisfaction

Zendesk includes a customer self-service module to help reduce the demands on your technical support team, but Get Satisfaction takes this concept one step further by fostering the creation of customer communities. This is like having a Facebook specifically dedicated to your company, its products, and its customers. You encourage customers to check out the community when they first visit your website. This has the benefit of getting existing customers to guide potential clients on the value and usage of your products. People naturally resist sales pitches, so being able to talk to existing customers gives first-time visitors the courage to buy. The community ethos carries through the customer life cycle, enabling customers to advise each other about how to install and exploit your products to their full potential. Customers having trouble with a purchase can use the community for technical advice as well.

3) SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is the world’s leading online survey platform. It includes access to millions of respondents in the world population, which enables you to research the appeal of your products while they are under development. However, surveys and questionnaires are also key tools in CRM, and you can use SurveyMonkey as a customer relationship management tool. Customer feedback is a key input to improving your services. People are sometimes reluctant to complain if they received poor service, but they will tell their friends, meaning you will lose potential customers without realizing your company is doing anything wrong. Prompting customers for feedback, especially those that chose not to buy, will help you highlight and fix weaknesses in your business’s customer services.

4) Casengo

Casengo is a lot like Zendesk, but it’s a lot cheaper. It can be difficult to choose between these two customer relationship management tools, but fortunately, both offer a 30-day free trial, so whether you choose Casengo or Zendesk may just come down to which of the two you feel more comfortable using. Like Zendesk, Casengo centralizes customer contact channels and provides a central store for records of contact events. Casengo also has a customer self-service module. Both Casengo and Zendesk have a free version with limited functionality. The free version of Casengo only allows you to monitor chat-based contacts with customers. The free version of Zendesk only covers email contact. Casengo is based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, so its tariff is priced in Euros, not US dollars. Casengo’s basic paid plan costs €9 per user per month, whereas Zendesk’s cheapest paid package costs US $25 per user, per month. Casengo offers a free trial of any of its packages, but Zendesk’s free trial offers its mid-range package, which retails at US $59 per user, per month. The equivalent package at Casengo costs €29 per user, per month.

5) Deskero

The distinguishing feature of Deskero is that it integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. So if you focus your marketing efforts on social media, it’ll probably be the most appropriate customer relationship management tool you could choose. The Deskero presentation specifically refers to the system as Help Desk software, so they don’t aim to fulfill all CRM functions, such as pre-sales and sales force support. Deskero has four different price packages, the cheapest of which is free. The free version allows for only one user and integrates with just one social media platform. The cheapest paid package costs US $15 per user per month and can be integrated with accounts on all five of the social media platforms that Deskero supports. Your help desk webpages are hosted on a subdomain of the Deskero site. Although Deskero’s user interface comes as a standard series of pages, these can be customized to reflect the look and feel of your main website.

Prioritize customer support

Customer relationship management tools enable you to quickly and cheaply offer online customer support, without the need to outsource services to a call center. Whether you expect to get customer approaches via the telephone, through a chat screen on your website, or via email will dictate which of the CRM tools listed in this review work best for your enterprise. Fortunately, all these tools offer trial periods or free versions, so log in to each, and play around with their systems to decide which customer relationship management tool is right for you.

Image source: vitanovski/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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