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A person using Zoho CRM by ZBrains Plus

Zoho CRM Plus: The Ultimate Unified Experience Solution

Zoho CRM Plus is a unified customer experience platform that helps you deliver an exceptional experience to every customer across all stages of their lifecycle and convert them into brand advocates.

The CRM Plus platform includes 9 powerful services in a single interface. Few other platforms, if any, provide such much high-value functionality across so many software apps at such a competitive price.

  • Zoho CRM: Sales automation and complete pipeline management
  • Zoho SalesIQ: Live chat and visitor tracking
  • Zoho Desk: Help desk
  • Zoho Projects: Project management
  • Zoho Campaigns: Email marketing
  • Zoho Analytics: Unified insights across teams
  • Zoho SalesInbox: Exclusive sales emails
  • Zoho Social: Social media marketing
  • Zoho Survey: Customer surveys

Empowering Business Growth: The Versatile Zoho Suite

Zoho CRM Plus is pre-integrated, providing access to shared customer data and a unified experience from a single console. Its simple onboarding mechanism has users up and running in the cloud from day one.

Zoho CRM

Highly rated on just about every customer review site, Zoho CRM offers powerful enterprise-level functionality that is highly configurable and easily customized to support faster onboarding, multiple pipelines, and reporting. As an added bonus, it is loaded with functionality that enables reps to prioritize tasks and stay organized, resulting in better throughput for businesses with larger pipelines.

Zoho SalesInBox

Zoho SalesInBox enables reps to prioritize communications by segmenting emails between active deals, regular contacts, and internal communications. It integrates with all leading email clients (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, and more) and synchronizes with email campaigns.

Zoho SalesIQ

Zoho SalesIQ is an all-in-one live chat and analytics platform. Its digital engagement tools let marketing, sales, and support teams communicate with site visitors at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Users can also easily build chatbots and personalized message routing. 

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a full-featured help desk application that simplifies customer service operations, improves agent productivity, and delivers quality, lasting customer experiences.

Zoho Projects

Projects is Zoho’s cloud-based project management software, used for comprehensive project planning, efficient work tracking, and effective collaboration between teams. The functionality of Zoho Projects compares favorably with Asana, Trello, Smartsheet, Jira Cloud, Monday, and similar systems.

Zoho Campaigns

Zoho Campaigns provides the toolkit teams need to create email designs that elicit responses, customize messages, deliver emails to inboxes, connect with new customers, and trigger automated workflows.

Zoho Social

With Zoho Social, your teams can schedule unlimited posts, monitor what matters, and create custom analytical reports.

Zoho Survey

Zoho Survey turns survey creation into both a science and an art. With over 25 question types, features like skip logic and piping, customizable themes, and more, the perfect survey is just keystrokes away. The SSL-protected surveys can be shared instantly via email and social media.

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics delivers powerful functionality paired with point-and-click simplicity. Users are able to generate insightful reports without needing to write SQL queries, although this capability remains available. It also features Zia, an AI-based voice assistant that provides sales teams with insights that make them more productive.

Customizing Zoho CRM Plus for Optimized Business Processes

  • Flexible Customization Options: Zoho CRM Plus provides businesses with extensive customization options to tailor the CRM software according to their specific requirements. Users may customize fields, layouts, modules, and workflows to their particular business processes. This flexibility allows businesses to create a CRM solution that reflects their workflows and captures the information they deem essential.
  • Customizable Sales Processes: Zoho CRM Plus enables businesses to define and customize their sales processes based on their unique sales methodologies. Sales stages, deal closure criteria, and sales forecasting can be customized to match the organization’s specific requirements. This customization ensures that the CRM system aligns with the company’s sales strategies and enhances sales team efficiency.
  • Personalized Dashboards and Reports: With Zoho CRM Plus, users can create personalized dashboards and reports to gain insights into their sales, marketing, and customer service activities. The CRM suite offers a drag-and-drop interface, allowing users to design customized visualizations that display key performance indicators and metrics relevant to their business. This customization empowers users to monitor and track the data that matters most to them, facilitating data-driven decision-making.
  • Workflow Automation: Zoho CRM Plus offers robust workflow automation capabilities that allow businesses to automate repetitive tasks and streamline their processes. Users can define custom workflows to automate lead assignment, task creation, email notifications, and more. By automating routine activities, businesses can save time, reduce manual errors, and ensure consistent and efficient operations.
  • Integration and Extensions: Zoho CRM Plus supports integration with various third-party applications and extensions, enabling businesses to further customize and extend the functionality of their CRM system. Through integrations, businesses can connect Zoho CRM Plus with other tools they use, such as marketing automation platforms, accounting software, or e-commerce platforms. This integration capability allows for a seamless flow of data and streamlines cross-platform operations.
  • API and Developer Tools: Zoho CRM Plus provides APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and developer tools that allow businesses to develop custom integrations, extensions, or applications on top of the CRM suite. This customization capability enables businesses with specific requirements or unique workflows to extend the functionality of Zoho CRM Plus according to their needs.
  • Mobile Customization: Zoho CRM Plus offers mobile apps that can be customized to reflect the branding and specific requirements of a business. Users can tailor the mobile app’s interface, layout, and functionalities to match their business processes and ensure a consistent user experience across devices. This customization empowers mobile users to access and manage customer data while on the go.

By leveraging the customization capabilities of Zoho CRM Plus, businesses can create a CRM solution that aligns with their unique workflows, captures relevant data, and enhances overall productivity and efficiency. The flexibility to adapt and customize the CRM system allows organizations to optimize their sales, marketing, and customer service processes, leading to improved customer satisfaction and business growth.

What is the Difference Between Zoho ONE and Zoho CRM Plus?

The difference between Zoho CRM Plus and Zoho ONE is that CRM Plus unifies customer-facing teams to improve customer experience, while ONE enables businesses to operate lead to cash on one singular platform, consolidating vendors and software silos while streamlining your business operations.

  • Zoho CRM Plus includes the 9 essential enterprise-level applications to unify your sales, support, and marketing teams, providing a 360-degree view across all touchpoints for a consistent experience at every stage of the customer journey.
  • Zoho ONE, with more than 45 web applications, is an enterprise-level, all-in-one suite for running your entire organization. From sales, support, and marketing through finance, HR, recruitment, and more, Zoho ONE provides everything companies need to grow their business.

Should I Purchase Zoho CRM Plus or Zoho ONE?

The CRM Plus bundle is the obvious choice for companies that want to save money by only licensing customer-facing teams. Zoho CRM Plus is usually the best fit for companies that only want the functionality offered by its 9 applications. Although priced higher per user license, only customer-facing teams must be licensed. 

Zoho ONE, on the other hand, is priced lower per license than Zoho CRM Plus, but all employees must be licensed. 

Important note: While it is more expensive per user, Zoho does have a separate pricing model for those that want access to all the Zoho ONE apps but do not want to license every user in their organization

The Zoho ONE bundle is ideal for companies that need all employees to use the software. It’s also cost-effective for those who will ultimately pay less to license all employees (at the lower rate) than only those who are users (at the higher rate).

Regardless of the Zoho CRM chosen, either bundle provides substantial savings compared to licensing the included apps separately.


Still not sure what to purchase? Don’t worry. Talk to the experts at ZBrains who have worked with businesses similar to yours to help them migrate from their legacy systems. We can help you identify the apps that you should use to achieve your goals and prepare a cost-benefit analysis to gauge the best fit.

Reach out today for more information.

ZBrains Zoho Desk Help

Zoho Desk Help: How to Automate and Customize Support Tickets for Best Customer Satisfaction

Zoho Desk helps you streamline customer service operations, increasing productivity and providing exceptional customer service.

What is Zoho Desk?

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based customer service and help desk automation solution designed to streamline the way businesses handle their customer support operations and provide a top-notch customer experience.

By integrating your help desk into your Zoho CRM using Zoho Desk, you’ll enjoy:

  • An abundant feature set
  • A strong out-of-the-box integration with Zoho CRM
  • The ability to create and view tickets within Zoho CRM (without needing to leave it)
  • Cost savings over purchasing a standalone help desk software

However, you’ll want to explore Zoho’s customization and automation features to get the most out of your Zoho Desk integration. Here, we’ll look at some of the best practices and features ZBrains has identified to help you set up your support ticket system within Zoho Desk. By leveraging these helpful tips and features, businesses can optimize their customer support operations and enhance the customer experience.

Customizing Tickets in Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk makes it easy for users to create and manage their tickets, customize them with custom fields to capture the right data needed for each situation, and initiate automation workflows that allow end users to track ticket progress better.

Using the custom fields, users can also track and report on the tickets handled within Zoho Desk, enabling them to generate insights into customer service trends and make data-driven decisions on improving the overall customer support experience. 

Zoho Desk comes with plenty of user-friendly features, such as Blueprints, though most users will want to customize their help desks according to their own unique systems and processes. 

What are Blueprints in Zoho?

Blueprints in Zoho are pre-built applications that enable users to easily take advantage of a wide variety of preconfigured business processes. With drag-and-drop design patterns, users don’t need technical or coding knowledge to create efficient, customized workflows that suit their needs.

Configuring Blueprints is a powerful way to automate ticketing operations, as they allow users to assign priority levels and approval mechanisms based on the type of issue being handled. But in terms of customizability and scope, Blueprints have their limitations.

Due to the pre-built nature of Blueprints, many of the underlying components that make up each application are hard-coded and can’t be changed without replacing them entirely. This means that while you can customize many elements, reaching a level suitable for maximum efficiency might not always be possible with a blueprint-based solution.

For the same reason, some of the features that Zoho’s standard applications offer might not be available on a Blueprint. For maximum impact, custom-built operations are best—and the good news is that they’re easy to set up.

Implementing and Automating Ticket Statuses

Ticket statuses are paramount to the operations of a help desk, but we’ve found that the stock statuses in Zoho aren’t sufficient for most users’ needs. Instead, we prefer using the following statuses:

  1. New (default status): This is the starting point of an open ticket. Any time a new ticket comes in, it defaults to this.
  2. In Progress: This is probably the most important status, as it indicates that a ticket has been assigned to an agent and is currently being worked on.
  3. Scheduled: If you need to schedule a ticket for a later date, this is the status that should be used to indicate that the ticket has been scheduled and will be worked on at a specific time.
  4. Awaiting Approval: This is a great way to keep track of tickets that need approval from team members or supervisors before they can be closed.
  5. Awaiting Client: This is used when a ticket requires further input from the client before it can be closed. After a week without a client response, automatic approval will occur.
  6. Awaiting Employee: This status is similar to the “Awaiting Client” status but is used when a ticket requires further input from an employee. Clients don’t see employee communications, so employees can use this status to comment internally and reply externally.
  7. Awaiting Vendor: This is used when a ticket requires input from Zoho, and it can be set to send automated reminders every couple of days.
  8. Completed: This closed status allows the customer to reopen a ticket if they are not satisfied with the outcome.
  9. Closed: This is the final status; unlike “Completed,” this one can’t be reopened.
  10. Closed/Deal Created: This status is used when a ticket results in an upsell, cross-sell, or other deal.
  11. No Support Plan/Out of Scope: This status can be used for tickets that don’t fit into any other statuses, such as classifying tickets as needing no support, being out-of-scope, or requiring no further action.
  12. Approved: Zoho has its own approval system, so this status is not used much.
  13. Rejected: Again, Zoho has its own rejection system, so this status is also not used much.

Comparing Service Performance to SLAs

Service level agreements (SLAs) in Zoho are extremely important for setting and monitoring customer service expectations. They assure customers that certain services or tasks will be completed within a predetermined time frame, and they provide a basis for tracking and measuring customer service performance.

Since they commonly include requirements for resolution, response, and resolution times, they also serve as a way to compare actual customer service performance to the desired level of customer service.

The best way to compare service performance against SLAs is to use reports based on your ticketing system. Reports can give you an overview of how well your team is meeting customer expectations in terms of response time, resolution time, and first-contact resolution. You can also use reports to analyze customer satisfaction scores, agent performance levels, and resource utilization statistics.

Technically, a 100% rate is ideal for SLAs as this would indicate that the team is meeting all of the customer service criteria within its SLA. However, depending on the size and complexity of your operations, it may not be feasible to reach a 100% rate, as certain tasks or services are more difficult to complete than others.

Particularly during the holiday season or times of high traffic, it can be difficult for agents to keep up with the influx of tickets. As such, 90% is generally a good target for SLAs. Pay attention to your reports if you aren’t meeting this expectation—reviewing progress through different ticket stages can help you identify where delays are occurring. 

Customizing Supervisor Rules

Supervisor rules are time-based actions (i.e., automatically executing on or after a certain time) that enable supervisors to take control of tickets quickly and effectively. These rules are customizable, so you can set conditions that best suit your organization’s needs.

For example, a supervisor may decide to set a rule that automatically assigns a Zoho Desk ticket to the team leader if it has been open for more than two hours without any action. Alternatively, they may want to set a rule that sends a reminder to team members if they haven’t updated a ticket in a certain period of time.

When it comes to supervisor rules, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Always keep these support tickets moving. The longer a ticket stays in one state, the less likely it is to be resolved.
  • Prioritize tickets based on customer need and urgency. This will help prioritize support efforts and reduce resolution time.
  • Make sure rules are well-defined so that your team members understand when they should take action.
  • Use custom supervisor rules to ensure that tickets are managed AND resolved promptly.

With the right supervisor rules in place, users can perform better against their SLAs. They can also ensure that customer service best practices are adhered to, resulting in a higher level of customer satisfaction.

If you need further help—or if you’d like an expert perspective on support ticket system best practices—reach out to ZBrains’ team of Zoho specialists

A Business Department Using Zoho Desk Teams and Zoho Desk Departments

Using Zoho Desk Teams and Departments Effectively

Running a help desk system provides tremendous business value by keeping customer requests from falling through the cracks, helping to improve the customer experience and lower churn. Working with a platform like Zoho Desk also benefits managers and executives, who can use support desk performance data to improve customer outcomes and overall productivity.

Generally speaking, Zoho Desk works like any other help desk or customer service desk–think Zendesk or Freshdesk. It issues tickets, assigns them to individuals, and then tracks their progress as each ticket gets resolved. 

That said, there is still a lot of confusion that exists about the platform. One question in particular that we often get at ZBrains when our users are setting up Zoho Desk is the difference between Zoho Desk Teams and Zoho Desk Departments–as well as how you use them appropriately.

Because there is a major difference between the two, let us take a closer look at each of them, including the various scenarios in which you would use each. 

Zoho Desk Teams and Ticket Management

In Zoho Desk, a Team is a group of “agents” all sitting in the same department. When you upload a new profile to Zoho Desk, they appear as individual “agents.” You can then create “Teams” into which you can add multiple agents. A Team might represent a subdepartment, a project, or any kind of subdivision within a department. 

When a customer submits a new ticket, you can assign it to an agent, a Team, or an agent within a Team. That agent or Team will then get to work on the ticket by following the ticket blueprints, which you will have already set up. 

Zoho Desk will then track that ticket via various metrics, such as response times, customer satisfaction ratings, and product-specific issues. These metrics can be agent-specific or department-wide. 

What are Departments in Zoho Desk?

“Departments” are how you fully segment Zoho Desk to represent the departments or segments within your company. You can, for example, use it to differentiate between different brands, knowledge bases, locations, and other entities within your organization. 

When Should You Use Zoho Desk Departments? 

In short, we would advise you to only set up a new Zoho Desk Department if you need to. For example, if your organization deals with separate brands or knowledge bases, it stands to reason that you would want to keep these brands apart. 

In fact, you may already have separate domains–and, therefore, email addresses–linked to those separate brands. In this case, you would benefit from setting up entirely separate Zoho Desk interfaces to keep them distinguishable from one another. 

Another scenario where using different Zoho Desk Departments is appropriate is when you want to keep two departments within your organization separate. 

Take, for example, your HR and Customer Service departments. It is highly unlikely that you would want to reassign tasks between these two departments–and you are likely to have different sets of users working in those areas, anyways. In this case, it makes sense to keep them separate and to set up entirely distinct departments. 

When Should You Not Use Zoho Desk Departments? 

While there are advantages to using separate Zoho Desk Departments, there are cases where the extra effort is not appropriate. Since setting up separate Departments is a big task, it is worth avoiding it, if possible. 

Further, remember that there is a hard cut between Departments. As a result, you cannot assign tickets to another department within your organization. If you have multiple teams that collaborate closely, working within a single Department allows them to retain this functionality.

Effectively, as long as your teams operate within the same knowledge base, brand, and department, using “Teams” as your ticketing differentiator should make the most sense. 

Of course, we also recognize that every company’s structure and needs are different. If you have any other questions about Zoho Desk Teams and Zoho Desk Departments, reach out to the team at ZBrains. Our team of Zoho experts can help you clarify the specific solution that is best for your requirements.