How does CRM software differ from support software?


Doesn't CRM software also partly work as a support software, in which you organize your customer support? As my understanding, a CRM software is solely for the purpose to solve deals/orders etc. Or do I misunderstand something here?

If not, what is the ideal workflow? I can imagine something like this:

I have one email-address [email protected] for all my customer interactions. My support software collects all the requests to this address.

So when a customer sends me an order to that email address, it is turned into a support request and I get notified. When I go into my support software I realize that this request actually is an order and transfer it into my CRM software, initiating a new deal etc.

Or should I much rather have two email addresses, [email protected] and [email protected], one sending to my support software and one to my CRM? I think that this makes it harder for my customer to understand which email address he has to send his requests to.


asked Mar 23 '10 at 23:54
Sebastian Hoitz
191 points
  • Are you building your own support software? – Jpartogi 14 years ago

3 Answers


CRM software is pretty broad in scope: marketing, contacts:phone, email, fax, sales process workflow, sales info, billing, payments, support issues, contracts & other documents. Support software is a subset.

Sounds like you want to treat an order as a support issue. Not a problem. I don't think there are strict rules.

Customers shouldn't get confused about the order v. support email address. They probably just go to your website and click a link anyway. They'll use the same email address and just keep replying/forwarding from previous email messages from a folder in their Inbox.

The question is how are you going to handle the problem? Will an order get delayed because it was sent to support? Are you always going to answer all the order messages first and then the support?

answered Mar 24 '10 at 01:11
Jeff O
6,169 points


While many CRM systems claim to do both sales and support many of them are pretty weak on the support side, especially if you want to have multiple people supporting customers. If you look at a system you should go into it with knowledge of how you want to do support and how you want to sell and make sure it solves both needs. I've picked a CRM system that was bad at support and my customers really paid for it.

In terms of email addresses it's so easy to forward things around I can't imagine that it will be a big issue whether you use one or two email addresses.

answered Mar 25 '10 at 11:28
1,866 points


It depends on whether your CRM software deals with the support agenda or not.

Big fat CRM packages such as Oracle Siebel or Microsoft Dynamics CRM do have support funcionality built-in. The latter integrates with MS Outlook very well, which makes dealing with support requests coming via e-mail easy.

Generally, you want to have as complete view on your customer as possible, so that you can see what orders AND support claims AND (insert other communication types here) you've had with every customer.

In companies that don't have this capability, the Sales department only knows the customer as a sales prospect. But the customer is right to expect that you as a company know about every important interaction you've had. That includes support requests for sure.

In summary, strive to make communication with your company as comfortable for the customer as it can be, so give yourself the tools that will make that possible. It doesn't have to be one CRM package; if you're using multiple systems, as long as they can be integrated that's fine.

To answer your original question, you can have 2 e-mail addresses - [email protected] and [email protected]. Just make sure that the people who are interacting with your customers have knowledge of what has passed through these inboxes.

answered Apr 8 '10 at 22:25
Tomas Kohl
276 points

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