Customers can interact with a corporate website in many ways. For a business, a website needs to be a combination of a shop window, sales counter and support desk. All aspects of front end operations can be delivered through the website. A business will use a website as part of its marketing, presenting the products and services in the most attractive way that encourages the visitor to engage with the website. The interaction may be provided through email contact forms or web chat. One of the end goals will be to lead the customer to place an order. And Sage BMS tools, whether that is Sage 100 or Sage 300 can offer comprehensive e-commerce integration either directly or through 3rd party applications. But that relationship that forms through the website also needs to be nurtured. There may well be after sales customer support requirements to be handled. The website has to be backed up by a system that allows a conservation and trusted relationship to develop over time to ensure that business is repeated.
The sales, marketing and customer service modules of integrated Sage CRM provide a fully featured CRM system. Interactions with a corporate website can capture and combined with Sage BMS data to give a full picture of the customer. Through the workflow and business rule engines of Sage CRM, a business has full operational control of any of the interactions. For example, the transcript of a web chat can be captured and recorded as a communication record in Sage CRM using the APIs. This new communication could then trigger alerts and start new processes within any of the Sage CRM modules.
Depending on the sophistication of the website, the web hooks and API calls that it can make, then there are basically 4 different options that can be used.
- Self Service, using direct COM based interaction with the Sage CRM database.
- SOAP Web Services, via HTTP & XML transactions whether using .NET, PHP etc.
- SData (REST), via HTTP & JSON
- Email via the Sage CRM Advanced Mail Manager.
Each of these API options can be explored on the Sage CRM community and Help Centre.
When Sage CRM is integrated with both the corporate website and the back office Sage business management solution this allows a full understanding of the customer and through that enables further business advantage.