CRM: Customer Relationship Management

18 November 2009 Published in Blog

Do you have a business plan?


CRM is a tool for the management of customer relationships. It is very useful in any business, from manufacturing goods to those that provide services as it allows to plan a business strategy based on clients. This tools become essential in global markets like IT services where retain a customer is more important than winning new ones.

This tool is an open system data (front office) that gives us the opportunity to exchange information with customers. To create records which allow us to see the concept of value that the customer has with the product, to focus on the real needs processes that give rise to the application and delete processes that result in an increase in the price of the product without increasing its value. We can also anticipate new requirements and provide better after-sales services.

The use of a CRM system often fails or doesn’t give the desired results because its implementation is only limited to software installation without studying the context of the company, nor provide the necessary knowledge to its employees. A CRM system should be implemented only after studying the current relationship with customers and defining the new one that the company  wants to reach. Once we know that we will have a clearer picture of which systems we will need, which procedures will need to be standardized and on which topics will be needed to train the staff of the organization.

The CRM software was initially developed by payment and large companies. Recently, however, began to emerge such as “open source”, ie free and open source. This brings with it the following advantages: low cost and the possibility of changing them to the needs of each company.

The most important open source CRM softwares:

Sugar CRM: A powerful tool that helps companies manage customer relationships. That allows optimizing opportunities for presales, sales and after sales, improve customer service and create, implement and evaluate effective marketing campaigns. It enables easy access to available information to improve decision making. Support for multiple databases and processes that facilitate the flow of information. It can be integrated with different software for email management, spreadsheets and word processors. To be more customer friendly is separated into modules:

  • Sales: Allows sharing of sales information with the rest of the staff, focus on more profitable business, increase productivity in the sales department through process standardization and monitoring the performance of employees.
  • Marketing: Enables support for the creation, implementation and monitoring of marketing campaigns, as well as share information, sales opportunities with the rest of the staff, supports the identification and tracking of leads.
  • Support for the client: This module ensures that customer cases are handled based on priority, status and category. This feature helps to solve customer problems and understand common drawbacks to correct and improve product quality. It also helps to measure the responsiveness of staff. The customer complaints are prioritized and assigned to a person or group in order to seek a solution to it. It also offers a self-help through FAQs with possible solutions with the use of keywords.
  • Report: Create real time reports of any attribute that the CRM uses, as might be the total of customers found a solution using self-help section or efficiency of a marketing campaign. Regulates access to this information taking into account the profile of each user. Allows a user to change the format of reports.
  • Collaboration: This module helps organize and monitor interdepartmental projects. It also enables a more expeditious flow of information within each department and among them too.
  • Platform: This module allows administrators and developers making modifications easily. With this module managers can set the control access for different users to areas of the program and give them different privileges depending on the needs, for example providing access to the history of each customer to the marketing staff but only employees of sale will be able to modify this information. Assists programmers to standardize processes of any of the above modules and edit the look of each field to facilitate access to functions that are considered most important.

You can find more information about this tool on:

Vtiger: CRM program to automate sales forces, support and customer service, marketing automation and inventory control. Support for multiple data bases, security manager, customizing products and services, integration with email tools (Outlook and Thunderbird). Another advantage is that it is completely separate in modules which are:

  • Marketing: Manage the efforts to sell things in a company through the form of campaigns, which manage accounts, contacts, emails and leads.
  • Commercial: Management and monitoring of sales from first contact with potential customer to the after sales service. You can control opportunities, orders, invoices, products and prices.
  • Customer: The easiest way to maintain customer relationships after finishing a project or business, to take reports of incidents, support, etc..
  • Analysis: You have ample options to generate reports and indicators at a glance charts to monitor the progress of your company and your business.
  • Inventory: It is an additional features to CRM where you can do product management, suppliers, prices, purchase orders, purchase orders, quotes and invoices.

More information in:

Hipergate: Open source and web-based applications completely free. Helps on a lot of information technology needs in any organization. Recognizes and indexes Office documents, also allows you to load and export data to Outlook Express. Like the previous tools also is split into modules, they are;

  • Collaborative tools and group work module: to organize and keep track of meetings, reserve list and use of rooms, forums and FAQ.
  • Contact management module: Managing databases of customers, suppliers and competitors, as well as managing personal databases. Distribution lists. Territorial demarcation and pipelines of sales (business opportunities).
  • Project management and incident support module: Allows you to generate and store hierarchical tree of projects and monitoring tasks.
  • Virtual store module: Multiple independent catalogs, unlimited hierarchy of categories of goods, stock management and billing orders.
  • Content production modules: templates for communication through email and websites, including multimedia and electronic forms.
  • Mass emails module: manage multiple sends email to the mailing list to receive messages statistics.
  • Corporate Library: 100% disk-based virtual web-based user security roles for the files, management and indexing OLE document properties, links to favorites and ability to import / export.

More information in:

Open source software customization services:

A important step of implementing a system based on a tool like consist on the modification of its features so it suits the requirements of each company. Customizing open source software is an affordable alternative, flexible, reliable, fast and secure in the development stage.

Serfe has extensive experience working on open source software to adapt them to business requirements of each company. Our staff is trained to give advice on selection, installation and software configuration. We can also assist in the development of templates, modules, components and also the integration of them with proprietary systems.

For more information visit the following link:

Serfe info(at) FALUCHO 2032, S3016LDB, SANTO TOME, SANTA FE, ARGENTINA 1-305-5375397
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