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28 Mar 2019

What’s a CRM?

CRM is probably a term you’ve heard before. It stands for Customer Relationship Management. They’re crucial tools for all but the smallest businesses, but what is a CRM exactly?


In simplest terms, a CRM is a database for keeping track of your customers, past, present and future. On the most basic level, that means a CRM needs to store your customer’s details and provide some ability to manage them.

What's a CRM?

Technically, that means a spreadsheet could be a CRM, but it wouldn’t be a very good one! A CRM should make your life easier and it should allow as little room as possible for human error. A spreadsheet simply doesn’t do that. You need to check the spreadsheet regularly, apply every update manually, and do every follow up task yourself.


In its simplest form, a CRM is a place to store your customer’s details, but it should be much more. It should also provide everything you need to manage your customer’s journey. This means it should be sending your emails out, reminding you to call people, storing your contact history with that person.


For example, we use Capsule at The Office Genie. If you were to fill out this form to request our guide to how voicemail is killing your business. . .



 . . .  you’d be automatically entered in our CRM. Then three things happen automatically.

  1. The CRM automatically records you filled out that form on this page, which helps us track our marketing.
  2. The CRM emails you the thing you’ve asked for by filling out that form. Another email automatically goes out after you’ve had time to read it.
  3. The CRM also adds a pre-set list of tasks (our process) to your record, so we don’t forget about the important things we need to do.


It’s very clever! Crucially, we haven’t had to do anything, and perhaps more importantly we haven’t been able to forget to do something.


Without a CRM, I would get an email from my website that someone filled out the form. I would then have to spend the time to email you what you’ve asked for. I would then have to remember to get in touch with you later. Maybe I set a reminder for that on my calendar if I’m feeling fancy, but I would still have to actually do that work. Maybe I have to also update my spreadsheet several times. And so on.


Hopefully, that example makes it clearer. Going forward, Capsule will show us our history of phone calls and emails with you. Remind us what to do and when. A CRM takes work off your hands, removes lots of the potential for human error, helps you to follow your process, and tracks everything along the way with as much as possible automated.

You started this article because you wanted to know what a CRM is. Now you know, a CRM is a thing your business needs!


The first job, and I’d argue the most important, is to get the right CRM. This can be completely over whelming as there are hundreds of CRMs available, ranging in cost and functionality.


Start by creating a list of what you need a CRM to do. For example, your CRM might need to:

  • Send your emails
  • Remind you to do important things
  • Link with your accounting software
  • Help you track your marketing

When you’ve got that list, start looking at CRMs. Most of them offer a free trial, so you can try them out and see how you like them. Don’t forget to consider the cost along the way; you don’t want to fall in love with a CRM and then find out it’ll cost you £200 a month.


If you’re not sure which one to look at first, I’d recommend staring with Capsule and MailChimp. Both can be tried for free, and it only takes a few clicks to link them together. That’ll provide a very affordable, powerful, user-friendly CRM solution. That’s why we became a Capsule affiliate!


Give Lesley a call on 01604 532 103 if you’re really stuck. The Office Genie can help your business get off of those horrible spreadsheets and into an easier life!


Best wishes


Adam Fox

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