You think you're selling a product or a service, but what you're really selling is a relationship. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions organize and manage customer interactions. Customer interactions over time form relationships. Strong relationships mean happy customers. Happy customers mean more purchases. So a good CRM tool can keep your business focused on building and maintaining customer happiness, which in turn boosts revenue to increase your happiness.
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We did the same thing this month that we do every month in our Business Choice survey—we asked respondents to rate their overall satisfaction, reliability, and tech support experience, this time with the CRM solution they use, plus the likelihood they would recommend it to others.
If you select, deploy, or administer the products in our Business Choice Awards, or if you advise or manage people in these roles, then you know how critical it is to choose the right products. The results of the PCMag Business Choice Awards survey are invaluable when doing so.
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Looking for a pro opinion? Read The Best CRM Software of 2017.
Customer Relationship Management
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Customers appreciate businesses that go above and beyond to create a helpful and pleasant customer experience. Great customer experiences don't happen by magic or by prayer, they happen on purpose when a business plans and executes an intentional series of interactions with the explicit goal of providing great customer service. CRM services help because they provide a single interface that combines sales, marketing, customer service, and customer support. More and more CRM packages include automation to alleviate some of the burden.
In this year's results for Business Choice Awards for CRM, we had 236 companies (a massive increase from last year's 30) nominated. But only six received enough votes to be considered for top honors. Not surprisingly, these are the same finalists readers have nominated for the past two years. Also not surprising: once again, SugarCRM wins the award for best CRM service with top scores in every single category except one.
SugarCRM earned a sweet 8.7 in overall satisfaction (up from last year's 7.6), a 9.0 in reliability (up from last year's 7.8), and an 8.8 in likelihood to recommend (up from last year's 7.9). Unfortunately, 56 percent of survey respondents reported requiring tech support—Sugar's only bad score—although fortunately customers rated this tech support the highest with an 8.6.
Let's dig deeper into the critical question "How likely are you to recommend your CRM solution to a colleague" and the accompanying NetPromoter Score. Typically, these scores are fairly low when it comes to CRM. In the past, we've felt this was because CRM services are complex and CRM implementations typically fight an uphill battle in order to shift the company's focus towards improving customer service.
This makes SugarCRM's likelihood to recommend of 8.8 and NPS of 64 percent (up from last year's 33 percent) noteworthy. In a field where products are generally disliked, SugarCRM improves every year and is now actually software our respondents enjoy using. SugarCRM solution dominated over the field with the closest competitors being ACT! with a 7.1 and Microsoft Dynamics with a 7.0 (both of which also increased their overall scores), trailing all the way down to SAP with a 6.5.
SugarCRM's 64 percent NPS almost doubles last year's 33 percent, while ACT!'s 0 percent is an improvement over the previous year's -11 percent as is Microsoft Dynamics NPS of -3 percent (-18 percent last year). Declines in NPS were recorded by Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP. Overall, SAP users are a pretty unhappy bunch.
WINNERS: CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
SugarCRM is definitely doing something right at its Cupertino headquarters. The web-based customer relationship management tool it provides saw score increases in all areas since last year, with only the stumbling block of over half its users needing tech support. But Sugar customers even thought the tech support was aces. For reliability, help, and collegial recommendations, no one in CRM does better than Sugar.
We email survey invitations to PCMag.com community members, specifically subscribers to our Readers' Choice Survey mailing list. The surveys are hosted by SurveyMonkey, which also performs our data collection. This survey was in the field from May 15 , 2017 to June 4 , 2017.
Respondents were asked to rate their CRM tools using multiple questions about their overall satisfaction with the solution, as well as experiences with technical support within the past 12 months.
Because the goal of the survey is to understand how the email marketing solutions compare to one another and not how one respondent's experience compares to another's, we use the average of the email marketing solutions' rating, not the average of every respondent's rating. In all cases, the overall ratings are not based on averages of other scores in the table; they are based on answers to the question, "Overall, how satisfied are you with your CRM provider?"
Scores not represented as a percentage are on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the best.
Net Promoter Scores are based on the concept introduced by Fred Reichheld in his 2006 best seller, The Ultimate Question, that no other question can better define the loyalty of a company's customers than "how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" This measure of brand loyalty is calculated by taking the percent of respondents who answered 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percent who answered 0 through 6 (detractors). (For more, read PCMag's Top Consumer Recommended Companies for 2016.)
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