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What Is a Specialized CRM and Why Should You Care?

agent using best of breed specialized crm

Do you remember the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?"

Choosing a new call center CRM system presents many different options and challenges for companies. It's helpful to remember what the "C" stands for in CRM and make sure to put the customer experience first. A customer service CRM should have all the tools agents need to do their daily work, increasing their efficiency while ensuring data accuracy and providing a quick, effective interaction for the customer.

The choices for a call center CRM can be divided into two main categories: generalized vs. specialized CRM, sometimes also called "best-of-breed." This post takes a look at both options and explores the pros and cons for each.

What to expect with generalized CRM

Generalists build CRM software that’s meant to be "all things to all people," serving as many customer and prospect-facing teams as possible across an organization. A broad, generic solution may or may not be the right choice for your call center CRM system, depending on your needs and priorities.

Pros of generalized CRM system

  • Everyone on one system across the organization theoretically makes life simpler for IT and Procurement
  • Allows for a broad range of add-on apps and customizations
  • Serves multiple teams and disciplines across the company

Cons of generalized CRM system

  • Often falls short in enabling the highly specialized work of consumer care, requiring costly customization to replicate a specialized CRM's out-of-the-box functionality
  • Can slow agents down by forcing them to switch between multiple screens to solve a case and open a new case for each individual issue
  • Often lacks automatic case queue refreshing, agent dashboards, and case prioritization capability
  • Vendor usually cannot offer any customer care best practices, instead relying on you to prescribe exactly how the solution will work
  • Typically requires you to use a third-party implementation partner
  • Often lacks key integrations to vital business systems like order management, so doesn't necessarily offer one system for all

What to expect with specialized CRM software

What makes a specialized or best-of-breed CRM vendor different from generalized CRM? Typically, they can offer much deeper expertise and a higher level of focus on working with consumer care teams to manage the day-in, day-out work of engaging with customers.

Pros of specialized CRM software

  • Offers key customer care functionality out of the box without the need for customization
  • Built to enhance contact center efficiency, accuracy, and the experience for agents and customers alike
  • Helps you prevent goodwill abuse and fraud, saving costs and mitigating risk
  • Gathers and manages important customer data all in one place, even across multiple brand names
  • Offers advanced pre-configured and user-configurable workflows to ensure cases are handled consistently without relying on technical resources to set up the system
  • Automates a broad range of enclosure and fulfillment options
  • Allows easy reporting and insight-sharing with the rest of the organization
  • Ensures security and compliance with FDA, FTC, HHS, GDPR, and more
  • Helps protect the brand through early detection of potential crises Integrates with key systems like order management, reservations, loyalty databases and more
  • Vendors typically have deeper expertise in customer care and can recommend best practices

Cons of specialized CRM software

  • Specialized nature of the tool means not all teams across the organization will be able to use it; for instance, a specialized CRM typically does not handle sales force automation (SFA)
  • Designed to handle consumer interactions, so configuration or customization may be needed in order to use the system for a different purpose

Why does it matter whether your call center CRM system is generalized vs. specialized? It comes down to agent efficiency as well as cost to implement a system that is fully configured for what you need it to do.

In the contact center market, there used to be two choices for specialized CRM: Astute Solutions and Wilke Global. With Astute's acquisition of Wilke in 2018, now there is only one true choice for call center CRM systems that provide everything customer care teams need. Interested to see how a specialized, best-of-breed solution can increase operational efficiencies without costly customization and third-party implementation headaches? Request a demo today.