Regardless of the industry in which a business operates, the competitive pressure has never been greater. Increasingly, customer experience is the defining factor in success, so we look at how CRM platform provider Zoho is helping growing businesses in a host of different sectors to get insight from their data and serve customers better.
In every industry, customer loyalty depends on the quality of customer experience (CX). Every company has very different business models, operational needs, internal processes and final products or services – the need for top-class CX is something they all share.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider Zoho provides an end-to-end, fully customisable CRM solution for growing businesses.
Beyond the standard CRM offering, however, it can help an organisation integrate all the relevant internal teams – from marketing to customer service – to create a single source of truth for each customer and, therefore, make meaningful changes to improve CX.
Zoho provides a platform – not a rigid product. Its system can be used as provided, or it can be adapted with custom-built apps to reflect the specific industry a client is operating in.
Here, we examine how this holistic approach to CX, and the flexibility built into the platform, is helping clients in a wide range of industries build their business and stand out from the crowd.
Wessuc leaves legacy systems behind
Established in 2000 and based in Ontario, Canada, Wessuc creates municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewater infrastructure and processes – with a focus on turning waste into value.
As its business expanded, the company realised that its reporting system was limiting its ability to live up to its customer promises and deliver the professional services for which it was known.
A deep dive into the company’s analytics unearthed common problems among businesses relying on legacy software – the unnecessary duplication of manual processes and, inevitably, human error.
Sales managers were manually inputting information two or three times into different systems, which Wessuc had amassed over the years.
Its CRM contracted package, Jonas Software, was not delivering the expected results and none of the other legacy systems were communicating effectively – resulting in a waste of both time and effort.
The company set out to find a system that would allow them to input information only once – and then have it accessible throughout their network. It came down to a choice between Zoho and Salesforce.
“Zoho has been great,” says Harriet Louwerse, controller at Wessuc. “It’s so user-friendly, so easy to use. If you make an error, you can edit easily, you can follow the transactions, you can pull reports.”
The transition to Zoho was no easy task, as it involved importing data from six separate legacy software solutions and migrating CRM data from Jonas Software.
Once complete, however, it was easy to upgrade the platform to meet the needs of not only the sales team, but every division within Wessuc. The result is a cohesive system that would allow them to scale and grow their business while reducing their cost, removing redundant data entry, and increasing ease of use and accuracy.
One key factor is that any sort of information – emails, phone calls, everything – is automatically added to the CRM. Any information obtained through direct discussions in person, over email, or over the phone can be transcribed and put into Zoho for everyone to access, providing better insight into how the company could be more competitive with each job.
“Everything made sense in terms of growth, development, speed, accuracy of all of our departments, and this is what Zoho brought to the table,” says Phil Cron, Wessuc’s director of sales.
“We didn’t buy Zoho based on the dollar value. We based it on what was best for the company overall and how the system could actually work with every aspect of our company and as we grow our company, will this also grow with us.”
Shawbrook: a bank ditches spreadsheets
In the volatile and competitive market for financial services, customer experience counts more than ever. In an era of extreme Darwinism, where the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ rules and customers have a louder voice and more influence over a bank’s reputation, a satisfied customer could easily become a brand evangelist.
CX is a high priority – more so since the start of the pandemic – but within the complex workings of a bank it can be hard to gather, analyse and act effectively on customer data.
Founded in 2011, Shawbrook Bank provides personal loans, either direct-to-consumer or through partners, and partner finance, which sees it underwrite customer home improvement loans for retailers, such as Ikea and Sharps Bedrooms.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, the bank realised that its service channels were unable to accommodate its partners’ rapidly changing demands.
As a result, its core principle of customer-centricity could sometimes be compromised. The bank quickly set out to find a more unified, efficient, consistent and automated CX platform to handle partner information that was then stored in Excel spreadsheets and Word documents.
“There was a lack of consistency across the business in terms of how processes were put together causing inefficiencies,” says Sally Conway, strategy and marketing leader at Shawbrook Bank. “In a highly regulated environment, we have to be very careful in how we deal with partners and customers.”
“We noticed the lack of consistency in reporting and in managing our needs,” she adds.
“We needed something to tie all of this together. We have a massive data warehouse that holds all the information for the bank. It was not very accessible for everyone to get reports from, so we wanted to make the data usable, relevant and accessible in a way that allows us to be more efficient and consistent.”
The bank’s aim was to create a single source of truth for customers and partners that was easy to access across the business. It turned to Zoho to customise and build a unique CRM platform specifically for the bank’s partner finance division, and its sales team.
“We have one system with all of the accurate data to enable consistency across all of that division’s activities,” says Conway.
“The outcome is one hub of information. We can do things like contact brokers and partners more easily and ensure they have the right processes in place, with an audit trail. Operationally, we have the right workflows in place to ensure that we are contacting partners at the right point and the paperwork is in one accessible place.”
The bank is also able to easily feed in leads from the website and track them more easily, and to better track the performance of current partners in a more visual and more efficient format.
As a result, bank employees can spend less time on admin and devote their time to more meaningful activities.
The bank may still be in the early stage of digitalisation, but that leaves scope for many more big changes in the future as the bank looks to automate more manual processes in the future. For now, bidding farewell to spreadsheets is already a huge step forward in operational efficiency.
Another benefit of the Zoho implementation came in a recent review by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which examined how authorised credit brokers operate.
While the review unearthed some causes for concern in the industry, Shawbrook was praised for having robust and consistent systems in place. Now, the bank can turn its attention to implementing a Zoho CRM platform for its direct-to-consumer loan business.
Insight for any sector
Zoho’s success stories span industries of all kinds. In the energy sector, for instance, the company’s CRM platform has helped energy price broker Selectra to streamline its operations across France and Spain and grow globally.
Selectra, which helps energy customers to switch between utility companies, was previously using internal tracking software built by co-founder Aurian De Maupeou, which also handled inbound calls.
“I built my own interface and we used to have problems with bugs in the software that resulted in a loss of trust in our system,” he says. “It got to the point where my employees regularly expected to find bugs that would prevent them from working efficiently.”
Soon, the business began to outgrow the capability of its platform, so the search began for a more effective CRM solution. In Zoho, Selectra found a solution that minimises the need for outside developers, as employees can generate workflow loads and custom functions themselves. Since implementing Zoho CRM, Selectra has grown significantly.
“Making the switch from a homegrown system to a more universally-designed interface can seem daunting, but Zoho CRM is different,” says De Maupeou.
“Introducing new employees to the system is simple, and doesn’t require extensive training or additional support. I also really appreciate Zoho’s radically different approach to customer service and rightfully trusted them to aid in our transition.”
“Zoho CRM is essentially the brain of our company. It holds all of our memory,” he adds. “The operating system is very strong and has allowed us to grow very easily.”
A similar revolution in capability was achieved by The Streaming Network, which provides a platform for creating webinars, including studio and production, and manages at least 100 virtual events per week. Its existing CRM tool was falling short of what the business needed as it grew rapidly.
“We’ve never really had a central place where all of our data came together,” remarks customer success manager Ryan Johnson. “Then we started using Zoho projects and all of our data started coming together.”
“Zoho started as a CRM and project management tool, and now I can say that Zoho is the engine that runs the business,” remarks President and Co-founder Matthew Ley.
To read the full exclusive supplement, produced in partnership with Zoho, examining how enterprises can leverage cutting-edge technology to provide outstanding CX, please click here.