shutterstock_66140278At WHYPAY? we believe that effective business tools shouldn’t cost the Earth, which is why we set out to make the best free conferencing service out there. This got us thinking: if you can get conference calls for no cost, what other great services can you get for free? That is why we have scoured the web to find the best free services to help your business and to bring them to you weekly.

This week we look at one of the best ways to look after your customers information for free by using Really Simple Systems.

What is CRM?

No matter what business you are in, you will have to deal with customers or clients to some degree and it’s these interactions that can make or break a company. Along with a decent product or service, a customer expects to be treated professionally and efficiently. While great customer interactions can lead to greater recognition, it’s also true that a poor experience could severely tarnish your reputation. If your business is to excel, you are going to need the right tools.

crm-model copyEnter Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. To put it in its basic terms, a CRM system will look after all of the history, data, notes and any other information you may need to record to support your customers. A CRM will be the tool that enables your customer service and sales teams to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. The benefits are numerous, but are centred around the broad categories below:

  • Information – All the data you have with your customers is recorded, up to date, easily accessible and able to be viewed by anyone who legitimately needs to see it;
  • Customer experience – Will be improved dramatically as customers can be dealt with quickly and professionally;
  • Reporting – Since there is a wealth of information available it can help immensely with any customer reporting that is required by the business;
  • Efficiency – By utilising a single system you increase efficiency across the board, from training to daily use. Information gathering, customer handling and reporting can all be done so much more quickly with a CRM;
  • Disaster recovery – As long as backups are created, disaster recovery is a much simpler prospect. Especially so if a cloud based CRM is used.

Powerful CRM for minimum cost

Really Simple Systems (RSS) is one of the best CRM systems currently available for small to medium businesses. A cloud based CRM solution that starts off being completely free for smaller businesses, but is able to scale with your company as your user base grows. This in itself is a benefit as it means you do not have to learn a new system or retrain staff when you are forced to get new software. If your company remains small in size, then the system is free for as long as you use it.

As a system, it has earned a lot of praise from its users on several review sites.  The high scores are primarily for it’s simple to use but effective layout, and the ability for it to be trained out in minutes. Perfect for the smaller companies whose main concerns, or skillset, may not be office work based. However, it also includes a good deal of customisation options, enabling you to make the system work the way you want it to.

RSS is a cloud based service that is able to be used remotely through most devices that can access the internet. This is another plus point for startups, as it means savings on the expensive hardware that would otherwise be required to store the information. It also further adds to disaster recovery benefits, as they are backed up in the cloud.

Reporting comes as standard with RSS, with a number of pre-made reports already loaded in. Once again, there is a good level of customisation available to begin with to make sure that you are able to extract the information you need with the minimum of fuss. If you want more advanced reporting, then you can make more options available as an easy to acquire, but paid for, bolt on.

Adaptability and security

O00MGHPXG6There are a number of systems that will work from release with RSS. These include Xero, Kashflow, SageOne Accounting, Outlook and certain Google features. You can also use the system on your smartphone or tablet with no extra charge. While this will be perfect for most users, further system options are available for paid enterprise users. So as your company evolves, you can be confident that your CRM solution will grow with it.

Finally, security and data safety is a primary concern for RSS. To this end they have adopted a number of precautions to ensure that your information, and that of your customers, is always safe and available. For instance, they are registered under the Data Protection Act and comply with the EC Data Directives. They also run two datacentres, so if one fails, they can switch to the other. A fact that has allowed them to keep a 99.999% uptime. All of this data is backed up every night and stored off-site in a fireproof safe.

For the reasons above, it’s easy to recommend Really Simple Systems for any small business or startup, but simply searching out reviews online should be enough to see that I’m not alone in praising this CRM solution.