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Zoho CRM System Capabilities Review

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Additional Zoho CRM Capabilities

  • Mobile CRM is supported with mobile operating system specific apps for the iPhone/iPad, Droid and BlackBerry devices. For BlackBerry users, Zoho offers a native application to be locally installed on the blackberry, and permits local data storage and synchronization. Mobile CRM is limited to SFA functions of leads, contacts, accounts, potentials and tasks. There is a potential security consideration in that data on the mobile device is not encrypted and a limitation in that each module (i.e. Leads, Contacts, etc.) can hold a maximum of 500 records.

    For Zoho CRM Droid users, the mobile app permits access to contacts, accounts, potentials, leads, tasks, events and activities, allows users to view, create, edit and delete records, and is able to call contacts from within Zoho CRM and then automatically create an activity record for the call. The Droid app also supports disconnected operation when staff are offline or outside a network coverage area. While offline, CRM users can add or edit customer information and those updates are auto-synced once Internet connectivity is reestablished.

    Zoho does not support Windows mobile devices. Mobile apps for Zoho CRM are free but require a subscription to the Zoho CRM Mobile Edition at US$3 per user per month.

  • There is no offline client or offline access to CRM information other than the mobile CRM option.

  • Social CRM is a work in progress for Zoho. For limited social network integration, there is a tool to link a CRM contact with their LinkedIn profile and import the LinkedIn photo, position and activity updates as well as send outbound updates from Zoho CRM to LinkedIn. In May 2012, Zoho added integration between Zoho Support and the social networks of Facebook and Twitter (for Enterprise and Professional editions). This integration helps customer service representatives engage customers on these social networks, in real-time and without leaving their Zoho Support user interface. The Zoho Support social tab delivers the three capabilities of i) Internet monitoring (i.e. social listening) of profiles, pages, hashtags and keywords, ii) response and ticket routing which includes faster SLA and escalation paths for tickets originating on social networks, and iii) social case escalation with alert notifications. Customers looking for more multi-channel social monitoring, social streams integration, peer to peer help portals or an internal private social communication tool will have to look to third party products.

  • Groupware and email integration is achieved with an Outlook plug-in which imports e-mails into the CRM system and appends them to contacts, campaigns or cases. The Outlook plug-in further can sync contacts, tasks, and calendar appointments. There is also a separate Zoho Mail Add-on which appends the CRM software with a new Email tab to manage customer correspondence within the CRM application. Email integration extends to online email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail and other POP email services.

  • For business process automation, Zoho's workflow tool can create automated business process sequences across marketing, sales and support. The Zoho workflow management tool consists of four components—i) Workflow Rules which are effectively triggering events executed when specified conditions are met (either an On Save event or a time lapse period), ii) Workflow Alerts such as email notifications, iii) Workflow Tasks which are activities assigned to users, and iv) Workflow Field Updates which update field values.

  • Zoho inventory management is a somewhat unique offering among SaaS CRM solutions. The Zoho CRM Professional and Enterprise editions offer an inventory management system to manage items and price lists. Inventory mainly integrates with sales force automation functions such as quotes and sale orders. The inventory function supports price books with pricing flexibility based on flat discount pricing, quantity volume pricing and differential discount pricing models. The pricing flexibility is good, however, the one obvious discount pricing model missing is promotion pricing—or date effective pricing. Customer classes can be linked to price books for customer specific pricing.

  • A project management module may be useful for companies which incur an implementation and service delivery project after the sale, and before typical customer support issues begin. Because Zoho project management is integrated with the CRM software, it further adds relevant information to maintain a complete picture of the customer relationship.

  • For business intelligence (BI) and reporting, Zoho CRM delivers just over 40 standard but customizable reports in Sales, Marketing, Support and Inventory modules, along with modification options such as cross-linking modules, arithmetic operations (including aggregate functions such as sum, average, min and max), multiple types of layouts including matrix reports, 3-level column grouping, public/private folders, advanced scheduling of reports and permissions selection to deliver reports to intended users, including non-Zoho CRM users, through email. Zoho CRM also includes an interesting reporting view called 'Pulse', a view that resembles Facebook's Timeline and displays accounts, opportunities and other records that meet specified criteria and that have remained inactive for a user defined range, for example up to 180 days. This is of course helpful in identifying neglected accounts and bottlenecks in the pipeline or sales process.

    More recently in June 2012, Zoho integrated its Zoho Reports reporting engine app with Zoho CRM. This integration adds another 70+ reports and dashboards. The additional report writer works with leads, accounts, potentials, contacts and users modules within Zoho CRM and allows staff to create their own reports and dashboards (including charts, graphs and pivot tables) using a drag-and-drop interface. The report writer can join different Zoho CRM modules and choose the rows and columns to synchronize and report. Custom reports also support drill down access to the underlying data. Users can also share and embed, schedule and print their reports. At present, the add-on is for Zoho CRM Enterprise accounts only, but there is talk to make it available for CRM Professional accounts.

    Zoho CRM does not offer any type of data warehousing, online analytical processing (OLAP) or predictive analysis.

  • For global support, Zoho supports multi-currency, multiple time zones and multiple languages, including Chinese, Dutch, English (US), English (UK), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Spanish, Swedish, Vietnamese, Turkish.

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