CRM interfaces: the main thing is that the suit is sitting?

    Steve Jobs was once asked: "What makes the Mac OS X so cool?" He replied: "We made the buttons on the screen so beautiful that you will want to lick them." Since 2007, this bike has been replicated from blog to blog, from article to article, changing its details: asked about iPod, iPhone, etc. ... However, Martin Lindstrom in his legendary “Buyology” sends us to the first candy-colored iMac when Jobs announced that wants to achieve such an effect that people would like to try the computer to taste. In any case, it is obvious - Apple sought to be close to the consumer almost at the level of the senses. And he achieved this using the interface - physical, graphic, gesture.

    The world exploded: we are surrounded by incredible designs and colors, we control the technique with touches and gestures, the native laptop will not start unless you look into its eyes, and the accountants continue to sit in 1C, which seems to only occasionally bother with interface issues. However, a recent question from Toster prompted me to study CRM interfaces: “Please tell me that in your CRM concept in Russian there are 1-2 words. We make an interface in which we want to call things a simple language. In this case, we select the name for the menu item. " Whether such simplifications and simplifications are necessary, whether we will try to figure it out.

    CRM for business: we work in them

    The main goal of any business is to make a profit, no matter how lofty values ​​are proclaimed in the mission. In a competitive environment, the key to profit is a satisfied customer (customer, dealer, etc.). Successful implementation of CRM determines the quality of customer management and helps to work smoothly, quickly and without “forgotten” transactions. Accordingly, CRM, like any program for operational business management, must meet three basic requirements:
    • allow you to achieve your goal in the minimum time - work quickly and without freezes, easily deploy and update, have obvious modules with the usual names;
    • to be as convenient as possible - everything is configured for the user, a minimum of superfluous, data entry control, detailed filled reference books;
    • save labor costs - to perform all the actions obviously and for the least number of clicks, allow you to create and save custom values, automatically fill in the associated fields in various modules.

    In general, almost all serious CRMs are initially redundant - this is the essence of this class of programs; the vendor cannot know in advance exactly what functions each of thousands of users will need. The developer makes a system that meets most requirements and decides how to adapt the system to individual needs:
    • modifying the surcharge on request (both desktop vendors of Terrasoft , RegionSoft , CliC )
    • Allows you to disable unwanted sections (modules, fields, widgets) or include the necessary (deeply realized in the desktop of Terrasoft , RegionSoft , CliC , to a lesser extent - in FreshOffice and amoCRM )
    • offer built-in tools for self-completion by advanced users (especially successful in this RegionSoft and CliC with their powerful features self "dopilivaniya" functional system).

    Most managers use CRM "as is" and they have to deal with the user interface that opened before them after installing the program. The distribution of software users for beginners, middle peasants and pros, proposed by Alan Cooper, more than ever works for those who work in CRM systems. The success of the implementation and application of CRM in the company is determined precisely by the speed of transition of the user from the “newbie” to the “middle peasant” - and, oddly enough, the success of the system vendor depends on the speed and quality of such a transition. If the CRM of your development was not mastered and soon abandoned, this will certainly sooner or later turn into a negative for you in the market. Vendors sometimes do not realize that their system will be used by ordinary salespeople and marketers without technical education,

    Meanwhile, any CRM-system should have a number of standard interface features:
    • the ability to make and secure frequently used elements in the main panel (on the so-called “CRM desktop”)
    • readable and understandable names of functional sections and modules (for example, as in the question from Toster - CRM is a generally accepted understandable abbreviation, do not translate it and turn it into something incomprehensible)
    • nice and convenient custom filters
    • up-to-date, well-designed printed forms and well-thought-out document templates (for example, invoice forms must meet the latest requirements of the law, and not be hopelessly outdated)
    • convenient attachment and saving of files
    • A simple set of basic program commands.

    CRM Comparison: A Little Lab

    Проведем небольшую лабораторную работу и рассмотрим интерфейсы пяти выбранных CRM. Оговорюсь сразу: на первый взгляд, условия у участников получаются немного неравные — в сравнение попадают две CRM c web-интерфейсом (BPMonline и amoCRM) и три — с десктопным (FreshOffice, RegionSoft, КлиК), однако это справедливо с точки зрения уровня развития продуктов и популярности систем у наших клиентов.

    Initially, users expect maximum simplicity and convenience from the web-based interface - after all, the product works in the same browser in which everyone is used to opening search engines, social networks, etc. ... In fact, the browser is the most familiar environment for most modern users who do not use special programs in professional activities. However, the expected furore does not happen - the user receives the usual interface of the business system, harmonious and beautiful in terms of design and standard, if not complicated, from the point of view of usability.

    Let's start the analysis from the main window - the “desktop” in CRM . In terms of setting its type uniquely succeeded desktop RegionSoft and CliCin which the necessary modules, schedulers, panels can be taken out to the main window. The same two systems are leaders in the assortment of colors for the design of the interface - the developers clearly reacted with humor to both the palette and the names of the themes. We can assume that the KliK developers are fans of Star Wars and therefore provided all kinds of cosmic colors for the interface, while RegionSoft developers decided to differentiate their potential users by color and even provided the skin color of the Shameless Glamor system for glamorous ladies and Black Ultras for brutal men. But these actions, for all their humorous fullness, are not accidental: color brings the user closer to the system. Often this happens - you sit down to work in a new program and do not know where to poke the cursor, climb into the settings, change the color to the one you like. The first interaction was successful. The system became more familiar - as if the wallpaper in a new apartment had been re-glued. And besides, now the system displays not only data, but also the user's glamorous or brutal personality. In general, such a trifle with a serious background.

    Klik offers its famous stylized “speedometers” and weather and currency widget to users, which, however, overloads the already overloaded space, is also completely irrelevant in conditions of disconnection from the network. RegionSoft paid more attention to business tasks and goals - they organized their “desktop” according to the principle of an aircraft control panel: the maximum number of available modules is designed in the form of buttons, in this window you can display a set of schedulers and a KPI panel, notifications and results for the current day . This interface is suitable for those who tightly control their time and their tasks.

    FreshOffice abandoned the main window, realizing it as a fairly convenient top panel. amoCRMIt offers a good desktop system for a web-system with reminders, tasks, negotiations - everything important is brought to the user's attention. In BPMonline desktop replaced with side panel with clearly defined modules. In general, both web-systems are convenient for the "eye" of the user and are organized according to the classical perception zone in the form of the letter F.

    There are no hot keys in the web-interface , which, as you memorize the combinations, significantly accelerate the work of the employee. From desktop systems, hotkeys are provided in RegionSoft and KliK, they allow you to control the creation, modification, saving of data. FreshOffice is clearly gravitating towards its cloud version and therefore is deprived of the ability to control using keyboard shortcuts.

    Data entry fieldsThe listed CRMs are organized differently. In desktop systems, these are standard input fields that are hard to miss. In cloud systems, fields are organized differently: in amoCRM these are convenient clear fields, in BPMonline they are single lines over which the user must enter data similar to input fields in mobile applications. Additional inconveniences are collapsed data groups, which must be opened with an additional click. For the sake of the experiment, the phone input fields in the customer cards were checked - all CRMs safely “ate” both letters and symbols, none returned a warning about incorrect data, only in RegionSoftA preservation mask is provided for unifying call numbers. Meanwhile, the patterns of entering numbers wired into the code using regular expressions would help to avoid the system operators hurtful mistakes due to which customers are lost. This is especially important to consider for vendors that produce systems with built-in IP-telephony.

    An important element of the user interface is the availability of help and the possibility of calling it from the system itself. Despite the common joke that a Russian person will first break, and then look at the manual, CRM help is a universal reference that users often turn to both at the beginner stage and at the middle stage. Of course, all five systems have extensive, well-developed user manuals, however, calling Help is unintuitive for FreshOffice and ClicC and completely absent for RegionSoft - they have help delivered in a separate PDF file. However, what the help looks like is a matter of taste: it’s convenient for someone to leaf through the manual in the next window, and someone will prefer to print the PDF and use it as a book. The main thing is that she can answer all the questions. amoCRM, for example, in addition to the manual, it contains a system of built-in prompts. In general, amoCRM is very friendly to beginners, but, alas, it is not enough for more or less serious companies.

    The buttons in the dialog boxes of the listed CRMs return the expected results, they are located in the expected places, but in most systems (except amoCRM), after pressing the save button, there is a feeling of “failure” - the program does not return a response, but silently saves the data. I want to constantly double-check this action - an extremely uncomfortable feeling when working with a business solution. However, each of the vendors came up with a solution to this problem: BPMonline changes the color of the button, RegionSoftprovided two buttons “OK” (saves and silently closes) and “Save” (saves without closing). But a single approach to the controversial issue of preservation in business software has still not appeared.

    A serious aspect of the interaction between the system and the user is the speed and responsiveness of the interface. In web-systems, everything is simple - the speed depends on the speed and stability of the Internet connection, there is no Internet - there is no work, session break - the data was not saved. The speed of desktop CRM work depends on how smartly running the database - here FreshOffice and CliC (he has even a progress bar data!) On MySQL lose RegionSoftrunning on lightweight high-speed Firebird - for this system, the response of the interface immediately follows the user's action.

    The directories in most CRMs are not full or sparingly filled out - the developers paid little attention to this moment, while the ready-made data for filling out the fields from the drop-down lists allows you to start working in the system quickly and comfortably. In terms of directories ahead of other RegionSoft with organized and filled directories and FreshOfficewith separate section guides. For other systems, the structure and content of directories are not strengths. But the user should not forget that the directories can be expanded and supplemented - then the work of the entire company will be unified, and the data reliable.

    All this research is not a boring nitpicking for good commercially successful products, but caring for users. It is the parameters of the user interface that determine the purity and accuracy of the data entered, which is critical for a system that works with money, exchanges data with accounting and generates primary and closing documentation.

    Who is to blame and what to do?

    As mentioned above, desktop CRMs are redundant - when developing software for business, it is almost impossible to avoid complications without rolling into trash. Often, users themselves complicate the system by overloading their working windows, leaving unnecessary modules and fields after the initial system setup. Moreover, there are users who, just in case, prefer to include everything - on the basis of a browser with additions and widgets. The result is the same - sooner or later, the system overloaded with unused elements will either begin to hang or break its eyes when working with it. Therefore, at the stage of implementing CRM, it is important to carry out the initial setup of the system for each user - this will not require much time and save energy in the future.

    Why do developers often move away from standards for interface development and give free rein to imagination?
    There are three main reasons for this.

    The desire for originality. Originality is revealed in two extremes: the maximum simplification and transformation of CRM-ki in a notebook with beautiful Dashboards or complication of the interface with maximum "twists". Do not forget that a business program should be, first of all, a convenient and effective tool with high efficiency - a hammer with a crystal handle and a golden hammer is beautiful, but not capable of fulfilling its functions. CRM is an automation system, it should not increase the user's task chain, otherwise it will not withstand competition with a sheet of paper and a ballpoint pen as an alternative data carrier and input device.

    Ignorance of the user. Sometimes developers focus not on the needs of the business for which they are creating a solution, but on the "best practices" of foreign companies or competitors. At the same time, completely incomprehensible “import” fields appear in the systems, such as the American plan for numbering or accounting of bills, while in Russia no less acts and invoices are needed, the forms of which were initially absent in CRM.

    CRM as a trend. If such a colossus as of Terrasoft , RegionSoft and CliCIf they live on the market for more than ten years, today every month the market is flooded with new fashionable CRMs, which can only save a customer card from five fields. Developers produce raw, ill-conceived decisions, get their buyer, who, of course, afterwards refuses not only from the purchased system, but from CRM as a whole. In pursuit of simplifications and flirting with the user, vendors get ridiculous - corporate systems with a chicken and a magic button, systems in the style of “a little bit and web 1.0” are already known. They forget the common truth that they are met all the same by the clothes and if the system does not look businesslike, then things will not work out in it.

    Choosing a CRM for your business is very difficult, it is even more difficult to work in it and work correctly. Therefore, the choice should be guided not only by the price and bright windows of screenshots on the site, but also by the capabilities of these windows. Remember that the key to successful implementation is a combination of skillful use of functionality + purity and data unification. And then any interface will become much friendlier.

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