Here is a nightmare customer service situation. You have written notes down in different computer files, napkins, and notebooks, and you don’t have all the details in one place. You forget an important follow-up appointment. You don’t call at the time you promised. Not good for the longevity of your business, right?
As a freelancer or a small business, your growth and continuity depend on the way you build trust with customers and potential customers. Boosting customer satisfaction requires you to be on top of small details. CRM and project management systems help you do just that.
Think of a neighborhood corner store. The store serves local needs. The owner knows the customers who shop there and what they frequently buy. She knows what kind of tools they like, and if they’re out of stock, she suggests something similar. How’s that for personalized customer experience? She even knows about the personal life of her customers—family, work, sports teams they like. This is an example of customer relationship management on a very neighborhood brick-and-mortar scale.
You may not have that kind of interaction with your online customers, but you can still build and maintain personalized business relationships with them. You can know their names, phone numbers, and addresses. You can track products and services they’ve purchased. You can see what products and services they’re interested in based on their search history. You can suggest more products and services based on their inquiries, searches, or purchases. You can prioritize business leads. You can automate repetitive processes.
But how does a business build and maintain relationships with its customers? How does it identify and fulfill their needs? How does it identify and follow up on business leads? Don’t forget that in this day and age, customers want a personalized experience.
Here is where a CRM system comes in: to help you with the day-to-day management of your customer relationships, sales, and marketing.
What Is a CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM system can help you:
- interact effectively with your customers or potential customers
- manage day-to-day aspects of your customer relationships, sales, and marketing
- automate repetitive processes for efficiency and productivity
- track and make sense of customer data
The end result of this is customer satisfaction!
Types of CRM
- Operational CRMs: the most common and popular type. They help with managing the day-to-day details of your business. They automate sales, marketing, and customer service operations.
- Analytical CRMs: analyze customer data that has been gathered from different sources.
- Collaborative CRMs: share company data across different departments within a business.
What Does a CRM System Do?
- Manage Contacts: stores and organizes data about customers, clients, and leads, including preferred method of contact.
- Track Communications: records detailed notes on interaction with customers, clients and leads like emails exchanged, what products they’re interested in, orders, frequency of purchases, returns, complaints, etc.
- Automate Workflow: creates task lists, reminders for appointments, calendars, alerts and templates that will help streamline your dealings with customers.
- Generate Reports: tracks and analyzes data, giving you the information necessary to grow your business—for example, how to focus your marketing efforts.
Why Should You Use a CRM?
A CRM allows you to prioritize your leads and get started with turning them into customers—that way, you maximize your business opportunities. By automating day-to-day tasks, you are freed up to focus on the most important business functions, making you efficient and productive. Finally, happy customers means return customers.
Even if your business is small, it could be worthwhile starting with a CRM. As your business grows, a CRM system grows with you.
So let’s have a look at some of the best CRM and project management plugins available on CodeCanyon.
Freelancers and small businesses can streamline their project management, from the first estimate to the final billing and everything in between, with Freelance Cockpit 3.
This CRM and project management PHP script is a small investment with huge payoffs.
Here's a quick look at some of the included features:
- several invoice payment options, including PayPal, Stripe, and others
- project timer and optional Google Calendar integration
- track expenses and send estimates
- set up recurring invoices
- private messaging
- and much, much more
As a freelancer, this is top of my list of possible solutions to organize and execute projects.
Freelance Cockpit 3 brings all the important information together, so you can focus more on what you do best.
This CRM and project management solution is more than just a way to organize your tasks and easily send out invoices. Perfex is about customer relationships.
Provide your client with more than just a good product; offer them the kind of customer relationship they won't be able to find anywhere else.
You'll find lots of helpful features in this system:
- see your invoices, contracts, tasks, and more in the built-in calendar
- create a customer knowledge base
- goal tracking and reporting
- full-featured customer area
- lead management tool
I found the project proposal creation tool and helpful customer service toolset to be one of the best you'll find. This isn't just something to make your business run better, it's a new service you can offer your clients.
Every CRM and project management system has its own angle, and Perfex's niche is to offer top-notch tools for your customers.
While this CRM and project management app serves freelancers well, it adds another layer that small businesses with multiple team members will find extremely helpful. Ekushey Project Manager CRM introduces a full-featured project space that makes collaborating much more efficient:
- discuss the project with clients on a "wall"
- organize and share your tasks, notes, and files
- use the timesheet and accept payments
Additional features include:
- multi-language and currency support
- sidebar to-do lists
and much more
I especially like the intuitive client and profile overviews and the ease of adding people to projects.
Ekushey is a robust CRM and project management tool that's useful for freelancers and powerful enough for businesses with many team members.
Here is why I like RISE: its clean and easy-to-navigate dashboard. This simplifies management of clients, projects, and team members.
Its features include the ability to:
- share notes, documents, and project progress with team members
- track time each member spends on the project
- view stats related to each project on one screen
- track project expenses
- send invoices as PDF copy via email
Not only that, but clients can pay you directly through RISE via PayPal or Stripe.
Installation is very simple, and you can install the updates from within the app. But don’t take my word for how great it is—go to the demo and try for yourself!
Customer jlamping has this to say about RISE:
"This is a very well thought out app and works great. Awesome setup and well documented. 5 stars!!!"
Managing a school is a Herculean project, with many staff and constantly changing students. Luckily, there is the Ora School Suite. This is school management at your fingertips, 24/7 on the web and on mobile devices. Literally everything to do with managing a school is included.
From the dashboard, you can manage:
- employees, teachers, and students
- schedules, including calendars of events and vacations
- communication with students, parents, or potential customers
- sending SMS notifications
- invoices and payments
Just take a look at some of the screens from the dashboard. In this screen, you can see the invoices panel of the dashboard, with other panels showing news and messages to be answered.
And here is a look at the enquiries dashboard, which lets you manage and respond to any incoming leads or questions.
Here is what customer haroldnicky says:
"... it deserves 5 stars. Honest this the best school management web application I have today, everything is well done. The pages open quickly. In short, a great job."
6. Ciuis CRM
Ciuis makes CRM and project management easy. It has a very simple, accessible design that makes it a breeze to use.
You can easily:
- create and send proposals
track project progress and expenses
- add and follow-up on leads
Customer WaldiePienaar says this about Ciuis CRM
"Being a coder myself I have build my own CRM before, but this is just on another level. If you are thinking of getting a CRM you have come to the right place."
TITAN has many powerful features designed to allow you to manage unlimited projects, teams of users, important tasks, and so much more.
Some features include:
- live chat with your team
assign tasks for individual team members and receive alerts when they're done
- plan the progression of your project
- use templates to set up recurring invoices and invoices for one-off payments
- ticket system where clients can request customer support
Converting leads to clients has never been easier, since Titan lets you build custom forms to send to clients and receive valuable feedback. Their responses will then be stored in the Titan Project Management System!
If you need a comprehensive, all-in-one solution that brings together CRM, human resources management, and project management, the Ultimate Project Manager CRM Pro is the best choice.
Project components include:
- time tracking
- project reporting
Human resources management components include:
- salary template
- leave management
All this comes with a very complete client management package!
Other great features include a powerful file manager and a knowledge base section where you can curate articles that are useful to your clients.
In addition, it supports eight different payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, Authorize, Mollie, Braintree, CCAvenue, and more.
Customer BuckyMadrox has this to say:
"Powerful CRM is a mostly all-in-one solution for managing our firm and projects. This product is specifically designed to support the complete project lifecycle of professional services firms."
WORKSUITE can be accessed on laptop, mobile, or tablet. Its responsive design ensures clear data visibility on all types of devices.
Some features of this system include:
- teams and departments can share knowledge and keep organized
- real-time messaging helps team members to communicate
reports to analyze what's working and what's not
- integrated with Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, AWS, and PayPal
- can be accessed on laptop, mobile, or tablet
Customer parys has this to say:
"A very well-made application. High level of functionality and very professionally written code. Definitely too low price for such a powerful tool. I highly recommend it!!!"
A good CRM and project management system is a huge asset. It comes with features designed to help you keep your customers happy and coming back. It increases your efficiency and productivity by automating day-to-day tasks. It helps you build confidence in your customers. The payoffs are huge. You keep your customers happy and coming back.
For more CRM and project management PHP scripts, take a look at Envato Market or at our other posts here on Envato Tuts+.