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Zurmo customer relationship manager tutorial

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a critical tool – but bored customers can spell disaster. Zurmo has the answer...

All businesses thrive on customers, and managing the customer relationships is one of the most important day-to-day tasks. In this guide we’re looking at customer relationship management with a twist – Zurmo, the gamified CRM that could change your customer interactions for the better.

As many of you already know, gamification is the process of adding game elements such as point scoring and achievement levels to a non-gaming context to improve engagement. But how can the idea of gamification help you improve CRM specifically? Take this example: a customer has already had a look at your product demo and is ready to buy, but the CRM still shows the lead as ‘New’ and not ‘In progress’ – so the lead status is effectively incorrect. Whom would you blame for this? Most probably the owner of the lead since they are the one in charge. It may not be ignorance or laziness causing the problem, but rather sheer boredom of the routine. A simple fact of life is that people get easily bored by routine tasks and gamification has been shown to help bring about higher level of participation among its users. Sounds interesting? Let’s get set up…

Gamify customer relations with Zurmo
Gamify customer relations with Zurmo




Step 01 Installation

As with any web-based tool, you will need a web server and database before installing Zurmo. You can use LAMP/WAMP/MAMP or any other server that suits your preferences. Then, just download the Zurmo stable release, unzip it and place it in the root folder of your web server. You can then access the page http:// localhost/zurmo/app/index.php via your web browser. If everything is fine, this opens up a start page showing a list of things to know before you get started. In the next page, the dependencies are checked automatically just to make sure everything required for Zurmo to run is present. With this approach, you can clearly see what is not present in your environment and act accordingly. Once you install all the dependencies, go to the next page and fill in the requisite details. This finishes the installation.

Step 02 Dashboard

As you log in to Zurmo with the admin password created during installation (username is ‘super’ by default), you land on the Welcome page. From here, simply click on ‘Go to the Dashboard’, which takes you to the homepage displaying the default dashboard option. At this stage you have options to create new dashboards, edit and add portlets. A portlet is a small window to show specific information; as you click on the ‘Add Portlet’ button, a list of portlets (which are not active in the current dashboard) opens up. You can also rearrange portlets by dragging and dropping them around in the dashboard. Now that we have seen the set up, let’s focus on the functionality side of things in the next few steps.

Step 03 Accounts and Contacts

Accounts in a CRM capture the companies that your organisation does business with; this includes not only customers or prospects, but vendors as well. To get started with creating an account, click on the ‘Accounts’ link on the left menu bar and in the page that follows you can fill the details. Note that you can also assign a different owner to the account and manage read/ write permissions (via the ‘Rights & Permissions’ block on the far right). But the account can’t talk to you – there has to be some individual with whom you communicate in the organisation (account). Such people (there may be lots) are called ‘Contacts’. A contact can be created in several ways in Zurmo – via the ‘Contacts’ link on the left menu bar, using the ‘Accounts’ details view (you get an option to create a contact for the account you are currently viewing) or by converting a ‘Lead’. More about leads later, but make sure you already have an account in place before creating a contact for that account.

Step 04 Leads and Opportunities

Leads are people who may be interested in your product or service. Typically, they are the first stage of a contact. Create a lead by clicking the ‘Leads’ link on the left menu bar. Once a lead has qualified – ie agreed to buy or bought your product/service – you can convert them to a contact. Note that you would have to create an account or select an account for the lead while converting it to a contact. If you choose to skip the account, a contact will be created without an account, which doesn’t really map to a real- life scenario. On the other hand, Opportunity is something that is available within an account; for example, a company already in your account that is looking for a product you offer. You can create opportunities via the ‘Opportunity’ link on the left menu bar or via the Contact/Account detail view. Zurmo doesn’t mandate linking an account or contact with opportunities, but again without a contact or account linked, an opportunity won’t make much sense.

Step 05 Products and Marketing

An integral part of CRM is what you have to offer to your customers, ie the products. As you go to the ‘Products’ link on the left menu bar, you see product, catalogue items and category. Here each catalogue item describes and categorises a product/service that you are offering – a product is something that is sold. You can create a product from a current catalogue item or even create a new product. It can be then linked to an account, contact and opportunity as applicable. Another important aspect is marketing, after all you need to tell people about your offerings, only then would someone come and buy it! Zurmo supports email marketing campaigns; just go to the ‘Marketing’ link and you can see the steps to get started. With full-blown support for email lists, an email template generator and campaign tracking, Zurmo can probably give some well- established email marketing tools a run for their money. Explore more at their demo page.

Step 06 Projects

Zurmo also lets you manage projects. You might think, ‘This was supposed to be a CRM, how does project management fit in here?’ – the answer is usability. You get your projects via a CRM, wouldn’t it be great if you can manage them via your CRM too? Projects in Zurmo are agile and help you get a clear picture of what is going on. First, create a project via the ‘Projects’ link in the left menu bar. As always, you have option to link products to Accounts/Contacts/ Opportunities. After the project is created, you can then add tasks to the project. All the tasks come under one of the four categories ‘Someday’ (equivalent to sprint backlog), ‘To Do’ (tasks that are taken up in a sprint), ‘Working On’ (tasks that are being worked on) and ‘Completed’. Note that any task when created belongs to the ‘Someday’ category until it is moved out to other category. Tasks can be moved around different categories by simple drag and drop, and Dashboard on the project homepage shows you a list of all the active projects with live status. There are a lot more features to make your life easier, so definitely check out their demo page for more.

Step 07 Reports

As a manager you have to keep a close tab on things that matter and Zurmo lets you do this very easily. Just go to the ‘Reports’ link and you should see the option to create a report. What’s important to notice here is that instead of using in-built reports, you get to create reports from scratch – exactly the way you want them to be. First you need to select the report type and then the various parameters for the report, and then you’re good to go. These reports get saved, so the next time you need to, just click on the report you want to see.

Step 08 Gamification

Zurmo is gamified to the core and if you have followed the previous steps as described, you would have by now seen how nicely the whole gaming set up is blended with the otherwise simplistic Zurmo UI. The game works in a very simple manner – as a user interacts with the system they are rewarded with points, which happens to be their score – it’s not so simple though! Other than scores, there are also badges, which are assigned when you do something that adds more value to the organisation. Then there are coins and collections; collections are a set of related souvenirs, which can be given to you in any random corner of the application. Coins, on the other hand, are earned as you improve your collections. Zurmo allows you to redeem your coins against virtual or real goods, which can be configured and managed in the settings. Finally, there are levels, which get incremented as the badges and collections of the user improve.

Step 09 Smart features

As a business you must have a website, and a ‘Contact Us’ form therein to capture leads. The simplest of the website contact forms just sends an email to a predefined address. Does it make sense to spend effort in manually importing the data from the mailbox to your CRM? Zurmo allows you to create web forms that can be embedded in your website, and as someone fills the form, you have your lead created in Zurmo with all the data they filled in. Just click the ‘Settings’ icon on the far right of the Zurmo page and then click on the ‘Web Forms’ link. Create the web form here and just paste the code into your website contact page. That was simple! Another great feature is ‘Workflow’, which can automatically create tasks, meetings or projects based on a set trigger. This, combined with the ‘Designer’ wizard that lets you create custom fields for different modules, gives you great freedom on how you want to handle your business!

Step 10 Mobile ready

Surfing on your mobile is set to overtake desktop this year and the numbers are set to increase. So, why shouldn’t your CRM be mobile as well? Zurmo does well in this field too, as it is completely mobile compatible out of the box. Open Zurmo on an Android device or iPad and you’ll find that on both platforms, the UI scales properly with no awkward spaces or UI elements protruding into one another. This comes as a surety that Open Source tools like Zurmo are not only mission ready but futuristic in their approach.