CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System

As a store owner, you’ll frequently receive inquiries from customers about products, orders, returns, and more. The Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) is your tool for managing all of your correspondence.

The CRM allows you to easily manage every aspect of your store’s email – delivery, storage, replies, addresses, and much more.

Contents

Getting Started

This chapter will discuss the initial setup and use of the Volusion CRM System page as well as detail how some of the more advanced features of the system perform.

Setting Up the CRM

Before using the CRM, you have to configure “departments” the CRM will sort email into as well as configure the email settings to connect the CRM to one or more email accounts to be associated with your store.

Once a customer sends an email to an address associated with the CRM, the CRM will collect that message and process it according to the settings you assign.

Customers can also use a built-in page on your storefront – /Ticket_New.asp – to send you a ticket directly to specific departments you setup. To view this page on your storefront, go to http://www.myvolusionstore.com/Ticket_New.asp where “myvolusionstore.com” is your domain name. If you decide to add this page to your storefront, you’ll need to code it into your template’s HTML.

Configuring CRM Departments

One of the functions of the CRM is to filter incoming mail. You can set up rules so that the CRM directs incoming mail sent to various accounts to different departments within the CRM. For example, email sent to sales@abc123.com, returns@abc123.com, and bobsmith@abc123.com might be sent to one department; questions@abc123.com and setup@abc123.com to another; and so on.

First, you need to create departments within the CRM. The system can host up to 40 different departments and each one can be tied to one active email account associated with your store.

  1. From your Admin Area, go to Customers > CRM System. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-customers crm system
  2. Click Manage Departments. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-manage departments
  3. Click Add near the top of the page to begin creating a new department. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-click add
  4. Enter a Private Name and a Public Name for each department. The Private Name will be the name the department is referred to within the CRM and is visible only to administrators. The Public Name will be seen by customers who send or receive emails to or from your store.
  5. Click Save. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-click save

Repeat these steps to create up to 40 departments. You may want to create various departments to specifically address certain types of inbound and outbound messages – Sales, Returns, Customer Service, Support, etc.

Once you’ve created departments, you can connect your email account(s) to the CRM.

Configuring CRM Mail Settings

To configure the CRM with one or more email accounts, do the following:

  1. Go to Customers > CRM System.
  2. Click the POP3 Settings tab. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-pop3 settings
  3. Click Add to add a new email account to the system. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-add new email
  4. Configure the email account settings for your store. The settings are covered below.
  5. Click Save when you’re finished creating the email rule.article/customer relationship management-camera show image-setting up the crm-save email rule

Repeat this process to connect multiple email accounts to the CRM. The settings to be configured within each email account include:

CRM POP3 Settings

ID * This field contains an auto-generated ID number to identify each email rule by.
Email Address * This field should contain the address of the live, email account to be associated with the CRM. In most cases, this will be a Volusion-hosted email account (e.g. sales@mydomain.com or questions@superwidgets.com).
Email Username * This field will contain the name used to log into the email account itself. Often, this is will be the email account's own email address.
Email Password * Enter the password for the email account into this field.
Email Server *

This field must have the email server name that hosts the mail account entered in it here. If the mail account is a Volusion-hosted mail account, the server name will be pop.emailsrvr.com.

Ticket Type * Assign departments to an email account setting using this drop-down menu. The options in this menu correspond to the different departments merchants can set up within their store (e.g. - setting this menu to the Sales option will ensure all email to the address provided will be directed to the CRM's Sales department).
Email Reply Footer Standard text can be entered here to create an automatically generated footer for any messaged response from this CRM using this email address.
Auto-Reply Subject Enter text in this field to configure an auto-generated subject for any message sent through the CRM via this email address.
Auto-Reply Body Configure text to be automatically generated in the body of any email message or reply through the CRM via this email by entering that text here.

*These fields are required for every email rule configured in the CRM.

Note that when configuring email accounts within the CRM, a valid email account, username, and password must be entered. Failure to provide accurate email information here will cause the CRM to create an error when editing email settings.

Note Regarding POP3 SSL Certificates

Some email systems such as Google’s Gmail require special security elements such as a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate to be available in order to communicate with 3rd party mail systems. The Volusion CRM does not support SSL integration and therefore cannot be used with some email systems such as Gmail. If you are using a third-party email system for your business, be sure to contact your email provider to determine any such requirements when configuring your store’s CRM.

Auto-Replies

Auto-replies are only sent for new tickets that are initiated through email. No automatic replies are sent when a response is submitted on an existing ticket.

Additionally, the CRM will only send one auto-reply email per thirty minutes for a single email address. This means that if a customer submits inquiries to multiple CRM email accounts from a single email address and within a thirty minute time span, the customer will only receive a single auto-reply email for the first inquiry. There is no queue to send backlogged replies to inquiries that did not receive an auto-reply.  

Viewing a Ticket

Once departments and email accounts are configured, any message sent to email addresses connected to the CRM will be logged in the CRM under their related departments. Administrators can then view or reply to email messages from the CRM System page in the Admin Area.

Messages logged in the CRM are referred to as tickets. Newly created tickets within the CRM (inbound or outbound) are assigned ticket numbers – a 7-digit number that will identify the ticket to both administrators and customers.

Each ticket represented a historical record of each correspondence between a customer and your store. Any replies to a ticket will be logged in the ticket history, including replies from customers. Viewing ticket contents will display the entire ticket's history of messages, notes, and replies.

In the CRM table, each ticket is listed by number, title, number of replies issued, the address the ticket originated from, and the time elapsed since the ticket's last reply. Click on a ticket number to view its contents. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-viewing a ticket-click ticket number 

Each ticket within the CRM contains the following information:

Ticket

Ticket # This field contains the unique, automatically generated ID number assigned to each ticket.
Action Item Due Date Any ticket that has had an action item scheduled for it will have the action item and due date listed in this column. See Part III for more information.
Ticket Classification If CRM administrators have configured ticket classifications within their system, any classification assigned to a ticket will be displayed here. See Part V for more information.
Locked By Each ticket has the ability to be reserved by an administrator with access to the CRM. This field will display the name of any administrator that has claimed the ticket - informing other administrators who may be managing the CRM that a particular ticket is being addressed or applied to and by who.
Subject The subject line of the ticket - as entered by the initial author of the email will be listed in this field.
Total Replies The total number of replies to a ticket will be listed in this field. Note that any ticket listed with zero replies represents a ticket issued by a customer or other outside party that has yet to receive any response from the CRM.
Hours Ago This field will list the number of hours that have passed since the ticket's last reply.
Customer ID If the ticket was issued by a customer registered with the Volusion store, their customer ID will be listed here.
Name If the ticket was issued by a customer registered with the Volusion store, their name will be listed here.
Email Address The email address the inbound ticket was issued from will be listed in this field.

Once you click on a ticket number to view its content, there are additional areas of information customers will be able to view.

Each ticket is divided into 2 functional areas – the customer information area and ticket correspondence area. Details on each of these areas are as follows:

Customer Information

Clicking on the Customer Information tab near the top of the ticket's page will reveal the sender's basic customer information (provided the sender is registered with your store).

Here, the customer's name, email address, customer group, and notes can be viewed. The number of tickets the customer has issued to their store can be viewed here, along with the number of tickets that are still open and pending a response.

Additionally, if a ticket has been sent from an individual or organization that is not registered with your store, you can click Assign a Customer ID to this Email to create and assign a customer account to that individual or organization, based on the email address the ticket was sent from.

Ticket Correspondence

This area contains the majority of controls and settings the can be configured for a ticket once it has been generated within the Volusion CRM.

Ticket Correspondence

Department This dropdown menu will be populated with the administrator-defined department the ticket was delivered to or created in. Administrators can reassign tickets to specific departments by choosing a department from this menu. An Add link is available next to this menu to allow administrators to create additional CRM departments if needed.
Status Each ticket is assigned 1 of 3 different values in this field. Open tickets are awaiting replies from CRM administrators. Closed tickets have received replies and will remain closed unless a reply is sent to that ticket's latest response. On Hold tickets remain within the CRM, logged under the administrator account that placed the ticket on hold. Administrators can change the status of a ticket by selecting it from this menu and clicking the Save button at the bottom of the Ticket Correspondence area.
Subject This field will contain the ticket's email subject line as submitted by the ticket's author.
Classification Optionally, administrators can create classifications for tickets - particularly if dealing with a large amount of customer correspondence that involve common subjects or issues. This allows administrators to classify tickets beyond their department settings. Classifications can be chosen from this menu. An Add button is also available to allow administrator quick access to create additional classifications.

Additionally, you have access to the following links and functions:

Notes

Click Add Notes to add anonymous notes to a ticket. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-viewing a ticket-add notes 

Notes entered here will only be visible to CRM administrators and can be viewed in both the ticket’s settings page as well as in the main CRM table view pages. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-viewing a ticket-admin notes 

Notifications

Administrators can click Notify Me When Solution Is Found to flag the CRM, having it automatically send an email notification to the email address the administrator has registered with this store account the next time the ticket receives a response. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-viewing a ticket-notify me when solution is found 

Deletion

Clicking Delete Ticket will delete a ticket from the CRM. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-viewing a ticket-delete ticket 

Linking

Clicking Link to Ticket lets you append additional notes and attach files to a ticket. 

Claiming a Ticket

Clicking Make this My Ticket notifies other CRM administrators that the ticket is being reviewed. The name of the administrator will appear in the administrator’s list of My Tickets and will have their name appear within the Locked By field in CRM table. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-viewing a ticket-make this my ticket 

Ticket Content

Below the Post a Reply area, the entire contents of a ticket and its history of correspondence are displayed. Each email issued under the ticket number will be listed in descending chronological order. Each reply will contain the email’s content, the running total of days and hours that has passed since each reply, as well as a time stamp of when the reply was created and a listing of who issued the reply.

Replying to a Ticket

Inside a ticket’s settings page, CRM administrators can Post a Reply to the ticket. Here, a reply email message can be created and sent by the CRM. You can also append a private note to the ticket – the contents of which will not be emailed and will only be viewable by those with access to the CRM page. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-replying to a ticket-reply

Email Replies

To create a reply, you can click either Post a Reply or Add Private Notes.

For basic email replies, type a message, click Add Signature, click Add Attachment if you want to attach a file, and click Spell Check to check your spelling. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-replying to a ticket-spell check

By default, the ticket status will be changed to Closed once a reply is made. This can be modified by designating a status – Open, On Hold, or Unchanged – from the Ticket Status After This Post dropdown menu.

You can select Keep This Ticket In “My Tickets” to have this ticket linked to the My Tickets tab within the CRM regardless of the ticket status after the reply has been posted.

You also have the ability to edit your own email signatures to be automatically applied to posted replies as well as append action items to tickets.

Private Notes

Selecting the Add Private Note option will allow replies to a ticket in the same manner as posting a standard email reply with the exception that private notes will be logged within the ticket but will not be delivered to the ticket recipient. This feature can be used by CRM administrators to communicate via the CRM in regards to a ticket which keeping information logged into the relevant ticket. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-replying to a ticket-add private note

When creating a private note, you can define the source of the private note information on one of the 3 radio buttons located near the top of the private note area. Here, select Other, Phone Call, or Live Chat to define the point of contact that may have provided the information to be entered into the private note.

Note that by default, private notes will be closed once the note has been posted to the ticket. You may wish to append notes to tickets prior to pending email replies to the ticket's recipient. If this is the case, be sure to set the ticket's pending status to Open or On Hold after the post.

Action Items

CRM administrators can also append action items to ticket replies. These action items can act as reminders to CRM administrators to take specific actions in regards to a particular ticket.

To add an action item to a ticket, click Add  Followup in the ticket reply area. From here, enter a follow-up action plus a deadline for that action using the textbox and dropdown menus provided. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-replying to a ticket-add followup

Once the ticket reply has been posted, any action item configured within the ticket will be displayed in the ticket content as well as the Action Item Due Date column in the main CRM table view pages. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-replying to a ticket-action item due date 

Customizing Your CRM Account

Like most email or content management systems, the CRM allows a degree of customization. You can customize your CRM in the following ways:

My Departments

Depending on your business, you may need to manage a few departments, or you may have many departments to oversee.

Under the Settings dropdown, select Customize My Departments to see a list of all departments currently configured within the CRM. Select the department you want to add to your My Departments group and click Apply Changes. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-customizing your crm account-apply changes

Now, select My Departments from the Department dropdown menu above the main CRM table to view a list of all tickets and departments that have been added to My Departments.

Changing CRM Views

You can change The CRM table view to display tickets of a certain status or department by selecting an option from the Filter dropdown menu. You can also view the list of tickets you have locked or flagged for notification when a reply has been issued by selecting My Tickets or Solutions To Review, respectively. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-customizing your crm account-ticket status department

Additionally, the Departments dropdown menu will show you a list of tickets within each CRM department.

Signatures

As mentioned above, you can set up email signatures that will automatically be posted to a ticket reply. These signatures can contain basic greetings and contact information.

Account signature settings can be configured by doing the following:

  1. Go to Customers > CRM System.
  2. Click the ID number of any CRM ticket. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-customizing your crm account-click id number
  3. Below the Body text box, click Add Signature, then click List All. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-customizing your crm account-add signature list all
  4. On the CRM: Signatures page, click the Add button. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-customizing your crm account-click add 
  5. Enter the ID of the administrator account the signature will be configured for.
  6. Enter a title for the signature (e.g. "My Default Signature").
  7. Enter the actual signature content into the Body field.
  8. If this signature is to be the default signature for the administrator's replies, select Make This My Default.
  9. Click Save

You can create as many signatures as you need. When using multiple signatures, choose the signature to be applied to a ticket reply or private note from the dropdown menu available after clicking the Add Signature link in the ticket page.

Advanced Settings

The Volusion CRM contains some advanced features that will allow administrators to further classify tickets issued to their online store as well as perform some basic quality checks against agents who have access to and are responsible for managing the CRM.

Audit Reps

The Audit Reps link lets you see a list of all email replies and private notes created by individuals who have access to this portion of the system. Administrators can use this function of the system to monitor and verify the responses that store agents and representatives have issued through the CRM.

  1. Go to Customers > CRM System.
  2. Click on the Audit Reps tab near the top of the page. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-advanced settings-audit reps
  3. Choose a name from the Representative dropdown.
  4. Enter a start and end date, hours, and minutes to define the period of time the audit will cover, or leave these fields blank to audit the entire history of replies issued by a representative.
  5. Click Submit to generate the report. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-advanced settings-click submit

Once the Audit Reps report is generated, a list of all email replies and private notes created by the representative during the period of time defined will be displayed. You'll be shown each reply, the ticket number the reply was issued to, a time stamp showing how much time has passed since the reply, the reply type (email reply or private note), and the actual reply content.

Clicking on a ticket number within the report will redirect you to the ticket within the CRM.

If you are the last administrator to respond or add a post to a ticket, the subject will be highlighted in yellow in the CRM table.

You can use this function to monitor the activity and responses of your store's designated CRM representative to make sure they're corresponding with customers appropriately.

Ticket Classifications

You can also assign classifications to CRM tickets based on common issues that may occur and extend beyond the scope of department names (e.g. customer complaints, authorized returns, unauthorized returns, sales fraud, etc.). Essentially, these are labels that you can use to further classify your system’s tickets in any manner you want.

  1. Click on the Ticket Classifications tab near the top of the page. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-advanced settings-ticket classifications
  2. Click Add and assign the classification a name. 
  3. In the Ticket Types menu, select the departments that administrators will be able to assign the classification to. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-advanced settings-ticket types
  4. When finished, click Save.

Any number of classifications can be created or assigned. Once configured, assign any ticket classification within a ticket’s content page.

Inbound Rules

As described earlier, the CRM System has the ability to connect email accounts to the system to send and receive emails from customers and have those emails directed to specific departments. Another feature of the CRM is the ability to create Inbound Rules - rules that affect different types of incoming email delivered through the CRM. Administrators can use these rules to filter incoming email messages as they are received by the CRM.

Creating an Inbound Rule

The following steps will allow administrators to create an Inbound Rule within their CRM:

  1. Go to Customers >CRM System and select the Inbound Rules tab. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-advanced settings-inbound rules
  2. Click Add to create a new rule. 
  3. Enter values into the 5 fields and click Save. article/customer relationship management-camera show image-advanced settings-enter values

Inbound rules act as email filters by searching for specific content in incoming emails and applying an action to them. Each inbound rule will have the following settings:

Inbound Rule

Field Select which portion of an email message an inbound rule will apply to.
Operator This dropdown menu defines how the rule will search the email to compare and contrast email content with the rule’s criteria. Specify the rule to search for text that begins with, ends with, contains, or is an exact match for the criteria entered into the Value field.
Value This field contains the actual value the rule will search for within the portion of the email defined in the Field dropdown menu. The rule will compare this value with an email’s content based on the operator chosen.
Action If the rule finds a match between an email’s content and the rule’s Value, this dropdown menu will define the action the rule will apply to the email. Rules can move a ticket to a different department, close the ticket or delete it from the system.
Department If the Move To Dept option was chosen in the Action menu, specify the department the ticket will be automatically moved to by selecting it from the Department dropdown.

Once the rule has been created, it will automatically apply its defined action to any ticket received by the CRM that meets the criteria set to it. You can use Inbound Rules to curtail incoming spam or other unsolicited email from being logged in the CRM.

You can also use this feature to direct messages from specific email addresses to a select department within the CRM (e.g. forward all email from X vendor to the Receiving department).

Each time an Inbound Rule is applied to an incoming ticket, the action the rule enforces on the ticket will be logged into the Inbound Rules Log table. You can view the Inbound Rules Log by selecting it from the Filter dropdown menu on the Inbound Rules page.

Tips and Special Settings

Note on Email Settings

Please note that the CRM System is essentially a web-based email client. Any email account registered with the CRM System's POP3 rules should be an account associated with your store and used only for the CRM.

Using an email address configured for use with the CRM simultaneously with email client programs such as Microsoft Outlook can cause severe issues with email not being delivered properly. As third-party programs such as Outlook are typically configured to auto-download any unread email messages from mail servers, this would prevent new email from being properly forwarded to the CRM. This of course can cause confusion for you and your customers.

Any mail account configured within the Volusion CRM should only be interacted with by the CRM.

Note on Email Content

Please note that the CRM System does not allow full HTML content to be displayed within ticket replies or private notes. This includes images to be displayed or flash animations. This helps ensure that messages sent via the CRM will not be mistaken for spam and blocked by third-party email servers and networks.

Additionally, this helps reduce your overall network bandwidth overhead and storage needs.

Grouping Customers

If you have customers who are associated in some way and would like to be able to view all their tickets at the same time, you can use Customer Groups.

  1. From your Admin Area, go to Customers > Accounts.
  2. Click on the ID of the first customer you want to assign to a group.
  3. Under the Optional Fields section, click the View All link next to the ID Customers Groups field to open the Customer Groups page.
  4. Click Add.
  5. Enter a number in the Group Title field and click Save.
  6. Go back to the Manage Customer Accounts page and add each customer that you want in this group by entering the number in the ID Customers Group field and clicking Save.

Now, whenever you view the tickets for a customer from a customer's page, tickets for all the customers in the same group will be displayed.

Batch Processing Tickets

Similar to batch processing orders within the Orders table, you can batch process CRM tickets.

Within the main CRM System table view, each ticket listed in the table will have a checkbox to the left of its ticket number. Click this checkbox to group specific tickets into a batch.

Once a batch has been grouped, choose a batch option from the Batch Action dropdown menu at the bottom left of the page.

From here, choose to transfer all tickets in the batch to a specific department, change the status of all tickets in the batch or delete the batch outright.

Once a batch and action have been chosen, click the Save button to execute the action upon the chosen tickets in the batch.

Summary

The Volusion CRM is a comprehensive email management system within a comprehensive management system. This gives you the power of a full-featured, web-based email client you can use to manage incoming and outgoing correspondence between store representatives and customers.

Not only does the system send and receive email, it can filter and redirect messages, allow you to audit outgoing messages, and more.

Watch the CRM video series