A customer relationship management (CRM) application is one that small to large businesses use to keep track of customer contact information, addresses, orders and shipping information. A CRM can be pre-packaged or custom created by a software development company. The complexity of the software depends on the business rules and size of the company. Although CRM applications have their advantages, they also have some disadvantages.
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Some CRM applications use remote Internet connections to save customer records. Salesforce is a popular CRM application provided through an Internet connection on the company's domain. The disadvantage of this type of CRM is that the company does not have control of the data, and if the remote CRM system has an outage, the company is unable to retrieve records. If the company chooses a small CRM application that is not stable, it can mean several thousands of dollars in lost revenue. When using a remote CRM application hosted by another company, use local backups to avoid record loss.
If the company decides on a local CRM application, there are overhead costs associated with running the software. If the software is proprietary, the company needs to pay software developers, system administrators and maintenance people to keep the software running. It's also important to keep backups of the information, which adds an expense to running a personalized CRM application. There may also be system downtime. Having a local personalized or proprietary CRM system also requires the owner to do system upgrades and security patches to ensure the integrity of the system.
If the company is small, training issues may be a small disadvantage. Large corporations need to roll out training schedules for all their employees. For large-scale CRMs, this can mean hiring professionals to train employees in groups. Training takes away time for productivity, so it is a disadvantage for brand-new CRM systems. The CRM training is also different for managers compared to regular staff, because most CRMs have specialized functions for managers and executives. These extra functions are also required learning. The training requirements can be as short as a few hours or can take up to several days.