A customer relationship management system is a core enterprise software that influences the efficiency of the company’s sales, marketing efforts, and service delivery. Even a small bug in a CRM system may severely affect the company’s performance and reputation. If detected too late, such bugs become difficult to fix. The longer the system’s downtime is, the higher the risk of failing deals. As a result, you lose loyal customers and face considerable financial losses.
CRM software testing helps companies avoid all negative business outcomes. This article will explain why entrepreneurs shouldn’t neglect testing in their projects, describe reasons and consequences of common malfunctions in a CRM, and ways to ensure its efficient work. The information is intended for business owners who faced CRM bugs and failures. It will also be useful for entrepreneurs who want to get a CRM system for the needs of their company and CRM vendors who plan to develop and sell this software to other businesses.
Why Test CRM Software?
One of the major reasons why clients prefer to skip the testing stage in CRM development is that they don’t know about its benefits. In a broad sense, quality assurance specialists check whether a system does what it has to do. However, scrupulous CRM testing can do more than expected for business, namely:
- Prevent extra expenses. If found too late, some malfunctions might lead to redesign and redevelopment of the entire system. In this case, the company loses a significant amount of time and money on the system’s rework. Testers detect real and potential weaknesses of the system, making it possible to prevent or fix them early and at no extra cost. Customer relationship management system testing also makes CRM software easy to maintain and modify without additional expenses or IT resources.
- Save time. Testing specialists spot what developers could have missed in their code. Including a test team in the project prevents companies from wasting time on repetitive debugging of the system after its release.
- Provide a competitive advantage. While some companies use first-rate software that keeps them viable and profitable, others can’t provide timely services or products just because of a buggy CRM solution. Constant fixes of CRM software can cause production downtime, failed deadlines, miscommunication with customers and within the team.
Why CRM Systems Malfunction?
Sometimes business owners don’t get the expected CRM product from development agencies or freelancers. There were cases when our clients asked us to fix someone else’s code in a CRM system. While working on such projects, we identified four main reasons why the previous team failed to deliver a reliable CRM solution:
- insufficient understanding of clients’ business;
- inadequate planning of the development process;
- missing or superficial testing stage;
- unreadiness or low adaptability to changing requirements.
Overcoming these problems is possible with well-organized communication with clients. Experienced teams have high CRM expertise to offer alternative solutions for different problems. They can fix even the trickiest bugs and turn old systems into perfect software. So, before the development, explore the expertise of a development company thoroughly.
Business Risks of CRM Failures
Without the testing stage in CRM development, the company might face various business risks. In the worst possible scenario, they can lead to the loss of market share and bankruptcy. The list below describes the common issues in CRM systems and their consequences for business. These consequences prove that testing is more like a necessity than just an “extra” service from development agencies.
Access Rights Issue
In a CRM system, employees have different levels of access to the customer base and deals. Problems with access may lead to these repercussions:
- Stolen data or fraud. Access control is a part of security testing. Access issues can signify that someone might hack your CRM software. By using the rights of C-management, hackers can steal important data from a CRM system to sell it to third parties. They can also send messages to other employees asking them to transfer payment for the “customer” who is their partner in crime. It takes time until the company exposes money loss, so the attackers remain unknown.
- Blocking employees from doing their job. Without access, employees won’t be able to do their direct responsibilities – be it an executive officer, a sales manager, a marketer, or any other team member.
- Confidentiality breaches within the company. Some malfunctions may cause a situation when a wrong person can access specific data. For instance, a lead generation manager can mistakenly access privileged data of the C-management. After leaving the company, a former employee might reveal this data to competitors or third parties.
The dynamic business environment causes companies to focus on speed, so a CRM system must be smart and highly responsive. Although the system’s speed is often associated with slow hardware, inconsistencies in code may provoke delays as well. Thus, companies risk facing low productivity, inability to multitask, and slow customer service.
Quality assurance helps to make sure that business and technical requirements are not conflicting and the system corresponds to the highest standards of scalability, reliability, and usability. Without proper data quality testing, your system may:
- contain duplicated or lost data;
- put confidential data at risk;
- display incorrect non-classified data, etc;
- store correct data in an incorrect format.
Thus, working efficiently with various data becomes impossible. Incorrect data causes miscommunication with clients and within the team, and even incorrect business reporting and analysis. As a result, the company’s productivity goes down, customers stop using your services, and profits shrink to zero.
A failed deal with a customer can be the result of a single missed notification. Without a reminder, a company representative can miss business meetings with customers or fail to get important information from a client on time. If the system constantly displays random notifications or fails to send them at all, the company can cut multiple deals and lose much profit.
CRM systems require the smooth work of all communication channels. If communication channels weren’t tested properly, the company loses analytical data for calls that could help the company with decision-making and business administration.
IP telephony is an important source of sales statistics. Buggy CRM systems fail to count call duration, the number of answered, unanswered, incoming, and outgoing calls. Without this information, business owners won't be able to assess the efficiency of sales managers. The system bugs may also block incoming calls from customers or forward calls mistakenly, which makes the company unable to provide high-quality customer service.
Wrong Status Display
A buggy CRM solution can display incorrect statuses about clients and deals. If employees can’t change status, they won’t know at what stage of a deal with a particular customer they are. For example, a system marks a deal as unclosed, though it is not. By seeing the “unclosed” status, several workers of the company might try to contact customers multiple times throughout the day. As a result, a company can ruin the impression after a successfully closed deal by making the client think that:
- the service is way too persistent;
- the company’s team lack coordination;
- the company simply wastes their time.
In case of a wrong “closed” status, the company simply won’t be able to provide a customer with products or services, since all employees would think that the deal is over for this client. Thus, the company risks losing customers and getting a bad reputation.
Buggy Mobile Application
Mobility gives significant benefits for companies over the competitors that don’t use mobile CRM systems along with on-premises or cloud-based solutions. A defective application reduces the flexibility and productivity of service. Thus, employees may not be able to monitor deals from anywhere, enter data in real time, provide fast service, react to changes quickly, etc.
Methods of CRM Testing
There are no strictly defined solutions that a QA specialist can perfectly apply for every problematic spot or damage in a CRM system. A specialist puts a lot of effort into identifying patterns and triggers that caused the problem and finding the best possible solution for the system. Here’s what we do to ensure the smooth performance and stability of CRM software:
- Manual testing & test automation. Combining manual and automated testing ensures the highest quality of CRM software. During manual tests, a human notices issues that automated tools don’t. At the same time, a specialist uses various CRM testing tools to run automated tests and detect weak spots or issues that a human eye has missed. As a result, the client gets a “polished” code that makes their software work for the company’s benefit.
- Performance check. During performance tests, QA experts find out whether the software can handle hundreds of concurrent users and processes, detect the parameters affecting performance, and find ways of optimizing software productivity.
- Integration testing. A great amount of data is transferred from CRM software to resource planning, financial, and other systems of the company. For this reason, a QA specialist must ensure faultless data transfer and communication at the system level. Integration tests help testers understand that different functionality or even systems properly work with each other.
- Regression tests. New defects may occur with each modification of a CRM system. Regression tests help a QA team constantly check whether a CRM solution is running smoothly and stably after upgrades and changes.
- Security testing. Since CRM systems contain such valuable data as phone numbers, addresses, e-mails, etc., they become a target for hackers. They steal customer contacts to send them emails, text messages, etc. with the request to provide sensitive data like a credit card number or passwords or send suspicious content that might put their systems in danger. They can also steal data on the company and sell or use it for blackmailing or financial fraud.
- Compliance with applicable laws. A CRM system must comply with the requirements of regulatory documents on data security, such as CCPA or GDPR. The purpose of testing is to ensure compliance of a CRM system with efficacious legislation. By refusing to test software for legal compliance, the company can face prosecution for violating data confidentiality.