You agonized over the features, cost, and usability when selecting your new CRM. The vendor you went with dazzled you with their CRM’s sleek design and suite of features which all seemed perfect for your business.
Several months in, though, you realize that a bug you reported to the vendor early on still hasn’t been resolved. Worse yet, each time you reach out, they aren’t as responsive as they were during the selection phase. Now you’re stuck with a CRM that seems to lack service and support.
Choosing the correct CRM for your business is a difficult and time-consuming decision which shouldn’t be taken lightly. When the list of considerations includes cost, usability, and technology, factors like services and support might slip through the cracks.
If you fail to consider customer relationship management services when selecting CRM software, you’ll be stuck with a CRM which doesn’t evolve and grow with your business. This means you’ll have spent a large part of your budget on a service which hinders instead of helps.
To avoid this scenario, we’ll look at three different services you should consider when selecting your CRM.
Why care about CRM services?
Customer relationship management services require a good relationship with your vendor more than any of the other selection criteria.
As we mentioned in our pieces on usability and cost, customer relationship management services are one of many selection criteria Gartner advises enterprises to keep in mind when making their CRM selection (full content available to Gartner clients).
Services are a little more abstract than cost and usability. They encompass the resources, expertise, and support infrastructure your vendor has in place to implement and maintain your CRM.
Put more simply, when you’re a small business, customer relationship management services are the different types of support your vendor provides or has available to you in order to make sure you and your business can properly use and maintain your CRM.
By the end of this article, you should have a better idea about what types of customer relationship management services you should inquire about when dealing with vendors.
General support services and culture: Relationships matter
It may seem obvious, but it’s essential to consider what sort of general support your vendor offers after you purchase a CRM. Be sure to discuss a vendor’s support capabilities with them during vendor demos and discussions.
While your business’s individual service needs may vary, here are a few different general support options you might keep in mind:
- Email and phone support
- Integration maintenance
- New feature implementation
- Proactive maintenance
Additionally, ask your vendor if they have an accessible, regularly updated help desk. While not utterly crucial to the success of your CRM implementation, having somewhere to go should you encounter any problems or have any questions is invaluable, particularly if it’s your first CRM.
One of the best ways to suss this out early is to get a handle on your chosen vendor’s cultural values. Do they seem to empathize and understand the needs of your business? Do they genuinely want you to succeed or are they just trying to sell you the software and move on?
When selecting a CRM, make sure your vendor has support services in place to help with any general support issues you might have.
Education and training services: Start strong
Whether it’s your first foray into CRM software, or you’ve worked with a few vendors before, the importance of training can’t be stated enough.
That’s why choosing a vendor that has some sort of training service is an important factor to consider when choosing your CRM.
Ideally, they’ll have members on staff that can help you create a customized training program specific to your business’s needs. If not, many vendors have basic mentoring programs in place or support infrastructure to answer questions that might pop up during training.
Many vendors also have video resources about the different features their software includes in order to provide concrete examples for your team during training.
Your vendor might also have training webinars at regular intervals which include information about new features they’re rolling out and how to best train your staff on how to use them.
Training services come in a variety of forms from vendors, so knowing what level of support you need while searching for the right CRM software is crucial.
Maintenance and continued support services: Don’t be left behind
Finally, it’s important to ensure your chosen vendor demonstrates their commitment to communicating bug fixes, the availability and quality of new releases, and any additional training related to new releases.
You don’t want to pay for CRM software that doesn’t evolve or improve.
Because the CRM market is the largest software market on the planet, software companies are constantly evolving to become more competitive and bring their users the latest technology that will help drive revenue and scale their businesses.
Knowing that your vendor will keep you up to date on new features that can help your business provides you with peace of mind. Being confident that they’ll be able to train you and your team to use said new feature is equally important.
You also want to have confidence that if you or your team encounters a bug when using the software that it will be fixed in a timely manner. At the very least, you want a reliable flow of communication that shows they are at least working to resolve and fix the bug.
A bug that prevents your team from doing their job to the full capability is potentially crippling, so making sure you have confidence in your vendor’s ability to quickly resolve issues is important.
The last thing you want is for your CRM to hinder your growth.
Looking ahead: Focus on vendor reliability and support
Since choosing CRM software is a time-consuming process, it would be easy to let some parts of the decision to fall through the cracks. Hopefully, this series will help you develop a roadmap and a set of concrete criteria to select the perfect CRM for your business.
By focusing on the three customer relationship management services outlined in this article, you can determine the most important types of maintenance and support your business needs.
And, as always, if you need any help narrowing down exactly what you’re looking for or help finding quality vendors perfect for your individual business’ needs, our advisors are here to help. Give us a call at (855) 998-8505.