At its most basic, a CRM system is IT software which functions as an enhanced information database. But while conventional databases offer a little more than information storage and retrieval, CRM tools extend into intelligent information collection, gathering relevant customer, business, and product data from across a variety of channels and media.
Once the data has been collected, a reliable CRM goes to work analyzing and interpreting the data to produce actionable conclusions.
Those conclusions, along with the raw data itself, are then organized and made accessible through a single dashboard where users can retrieve critical data. This ensures a better, more personalized customer experience and better client support, regardless of the total number of clients being serviced. And given that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed positive experience, this means big potential gains for CRM-enhanced business.
The best CRM platforms take things even further, integrating with any existing company systems and processes, and allowing for an in-depth level of configuration and customization. That said, certain businesses are deterred by costs associated with implementing the best CRM options. These businesses often attempt a workaround, by relying on non-CRM systems to perform similar customer-management tasks.
Are there advantages to doing so? What are the potential dangers? To answer these questions, let’s compare the worlds #1 CRM platform to a popular non-CRM platform that is sometimes used to accomplish CRM-related functions: Salesforce vs. Zendesk.
Zendesk is a software development company that was founded in 2007. Although it has since branched out into several related technologies, its main product is help desk and ticketing software. The most prominent Zendesk competition is found in similar products, most notably Freshdesk, Zoho Desk, and Salesforce’s own Service Cloud.In general, despite not being categorized as a CRM solution, Zendesk receives very high marks and positive customer reviews for its customer support tools, and Zendesk is designed to be able to integrate with third-party applications and systems.
In order for this to be possible, Zendesk needs to be capable of tracking and gathering data from individual customers, and retrieving that data on command — in essence, performing the most basic duties of a conventional CRM system.
For businesses that rely on Zendesk for their help desk and support ticketing solutions, it may seem like an obvious conclusion to run their CRM tasks through Zendesk, either through the main product itself, or through a 3rd party integration.
Zendesk is a reliable, powerful tool, and it is certainly a better CRM option than nothing. It is also competitively priced, and for businesses that are worried about overhead, Zendesk’s low monthly fee and pay-as-you-go pricing structure may seem very attractive. Those who enjoy Zendesk’s support-ticketing capabilities might think that by integrating it with a separate CRM tool, they’ll have a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ customer service and support solution.
However, this just isn’t the case.
For businesses that want to ensure that their customers have a satisfying experience, a reliable CRM tool is an absolute must. Why? Because there’s more to CRM than just tracking customers. As an example, consider Salesforce.
Salesforce is a full-feature CRM provider, and has long been recognized as the gold standard in business customer service management. Salesforce Customer 360 centralizes and connects all departments with the client data they rely on, live and updated in real time. Sales, service, marketing, human resources, finances, etc. all have access to a single, unifying platform, optimizing interdepartmental communication and ensuring that no clients are ever lost in the shuffle.
Marketing and sales can work together to create real, personalized, one-to-one customer journeys, from first contact to post-sale. Sales and service can seamlessly provide client support while ensuring positive customer experiences. Human resources can work together with employees between departments to create a better, more productive work environment. The list goes on.
Salesforce also improves communication with clients. Service agents can communicate with customers to solve issues together, and clients can come together through customer portals to workshop solutions, building a reliable community of users dedicated to one another’s success.
Extending to ecommerce solutions, incorporating intelligent analytics capabilities and a robust app marketplace and app-building tools, and all controlled through a single, central location, Salesforce Customer 360 takes customer tracking, and turns it into real business solutions.
But what about customer support specifically? After all, those who use the non-CRM Zendesk vs. a complete CRM solution often do so because they appreciate its effectiveness as a ticketing software solution. However, is it possible to enjoy a unified CRM solution without losing out on important help-desk functionality? To answer that, consider Salesforce Service Cloud.
Service Cloud is an AI enhanced platform designed to ensure unequaled client support across every available channel, from call-center management, to live chat options. This software is enhanced with access to in-depth knowledge bases and self-service options.
Service Cloud takes customer support even further, with help-desk solutions that rival any other in the industry. It can be deployed out of the box, but is also configurable to meet your business’ needs. Inquiries can be collected from any channel, including social media platforms and chat, collated into a single, easy-to-use interface, so every issue can be addressed quickly, satisfactorily, and personal to each customer.
Service Cloud incorporate vital CRM data and connect your entire workforce, allowing them to put their focus where it matters most — on the customer. This is vitally important, given that CRM tools help agents quickly access and retrieve vital data, and 84% of consumers are frustrated when an agent does not have relevant information. When it comes to support and help-desk functionality, Salesforce is second to none. Salesforce also offers free-trial options and a similar pay-as-you-go pricing structure as Zendesk, making cost essentially a non-issue.
Are there advantages to using a non-CRM system to approximate CRM functionality? In a word, no. This is because for a CRM tool to be reliable, it needs to be extensive, integrated, seamless, and capable of putting your customers a the center of everything you do — something that even the best help-desk software just isn’t capable of.
Customer satisfaction shouldn’t be an afterthought. Give Salesforce Service Cloud a try today, and see just how much more effective a real CRM solution can be.