- Product Features
- Expert Review
Really Simple Systems (RSS) is an award winning, easy-to-use, cloud-based CRM with an integrated support system and marketing system. Having more than 17,000 users from over 11,000 businesses, it’s one of the world’s largest CRM vendors. Their client base has some big names including The Red Cross, Royal Academy of Arts and the British Museum.
RSS is designed for small and mid-sized B2B businesses with 5 or more users and works well where users are working from different locations. Having said that, RSS has many single user systems as well as a few 100+ user systems. Though it’s an extremely simple application, in terms of functionality it can be compared to high-end CRM’s like SalesForce, Insightly, Sugar CRM etc.
The recently launched Version 5 has included a number of improvements, including a new user interface, improved search functionality and some neat features like Google maps. RSS also includes an integrated email marketing module allowing users to mail directly from the CRM and design emails and newsletters.
In addition, RSS is compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and has introduced new functionality to their CRM to help its customers comply. If you are using the integrated marketing module you can capture marketing consent from your contacts either through a web form or an email link that records the who, what, where and when of the consent. Then when mailing contacts, you can cross-refer the consent data so that only those who have specifically consented to receive information are mailed. So, you can rest assured that if you do business in the EU, you’ll in turn be set to meet the stringent GDPR regulations to be introduced on 28 May, 2018.
- All customer data is stored in the EC
- Customer data is only accessed by their personnel when requested by the customer, and then only from within the EU, in the UK and in Hungary, where their support team is based. They have strict policies in place for how staff access customer data, enforced by contracts of employment.
- RSS have amended their Data Breach Policy in accordance with the provisions of GDPR.
Pricing. There are four price package options available:
Just like Bitrix24, Zoho etc., Really Simple Systems offers a free CRM which allows up to 2 users and 100 company records. It offers all the features to manage customers, prospects and sales. There’s no time limit on how long you can use the CRM so you can continue using it forever!
The Starter plan is aimed at business start-up and provides everything you need to get your organization moving in the right direction. The upper limit on the number of company accounts has been increased to 1,000, and there is now no upper limit to the number of users. The price includes the two-way email synchronisation feature, 1 GB document storage, custom settings, reports and API integration.
The Professional plan includes all the same features as the Starter plan but with an increased limit on the number of company records at 5,000 and 5GB of document storage. It also includes the User Permission Levels feature which allows managers to control access levels across their team.
The Enterprise plan is a full suite sales, service & support, and marketing CRM that is user-friendly and fast to implement. Easy to use for everyday users, and yet has advanced reporting and control for managers. With the Enterprise plan there is no upper limit on company records or users. It costs $50 per user per month for the sales CRM and the optional marketing module, or service & support module, can be added free of charge with 5 or more users.
- Free Trial: Yes (for 14 days on Professional plan)
- Ideal for: Small and medium businesses
- Training required: No – it’s really easy to use and there’s lots of useful resources available to help you get started
- User Limit: No
- Mass import/export: Yes
- Email marketing campaigns: Yes
- Lead Capturing: Yes
- Customer Support: Free (telephone, email, online chat)
- Awards: Software satisfaction award (multiple times), Euro Cloud 2014, database marketing award
Brief company background
Established in 2004, RSS launched their free CRM in 2010 which quickly surged the number of users. The company has offices in UK, Hungary and Australia. Staff comprises 16 fulltime employees with no hierarchies. John Paterson, the CEO & founder, has lifelong experience overseeing different CRM’s as a salesperson, sales manager, sales director, COO and CEO. He has run several well-known companies including Systems Union Group, Oxygen Solutions and Zeus Technology.
Set up & getting started (5/5)
Really Simple Systems lives up to its name when it comes signing up. All you need to get started is to key in your email address, they’ll mail you your credentials… and that’s it! It’s a web-based cloud application, and you can access it through any web browser. No setup, no credit card, and no hassle.
The workspace is an amalgam of simplicity, aestheticism and cutting-edge features. To keep the work area neat and tidy, the three major modules: sales, marketing and service & support are on separate pages but can be accessed quickly via the accordion menu. There are customizable dashboards for each module where you can add/remove widgets to highlight what’s important to your business.
You’ll also find links to video tutorials and live webinars to help you get started. Each page of the CRM has a “pull-out” Help Drawer which tips and advice on using that particular page and there are links through to the relevant page of the RSS Customer Support Hub for further details.
Though it doesn’t quite have workflow rules that automate the business processes as we see in BlueCamroo, Maximizer etc. yet certain important actions e.g. email notifications, are automated.
There is only one menu bar that has all the main menus – it not only keeps the work area uncluttered but also increases accessibility. Each and every single piece of info regarding an Account/Contact is on the same page and in a perfect logical order. In short, we totally loved the well thought-out workspace.
Missing from Version 4, the new Version 5 now has Quick Add buttons to add company records, contacts and opportunities, which helps to speed up transactions.
One minor hassle is if you fill a form and accidentally click another button, you’ll be redirected to the other page without any warning and the information you’ve entered will be lost.
User interface (9/10)
If we were reviewing RSS 10 years ago, we would have easily labelled it the most user-friendly interface while comparing it with complex systems like SAP, Siebel etc. But today, most people would compare any application with Facebook and Twitter. Of course, a functionality-rich CRM like RSS can’t be as simple as Facebook, yet it has an amazingly user-friendly interface. Everything is pretty much where you would expect it to be.
Considering the free CRM, and three pricing options start $15 per user per month, Really Simple System is one of the most affordable CRM’s available. From 2017, RSS has introduced annual payment plans which, effectively, gives you one month free per year.
Integration with 3rd party apps (6/10)
RSS allows integration with KashFlow, Sage One, and Xero, three of the most popular accounting packages for small businesses. It also integrates with and embeds Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar, the free web based diary that can be easily shared among your colleagues, co-workers and subcontractors. Again, social media integration is missing which can be important for some businesses.
Personalization & Customization (6/10)
Customization is available with all price plans. The data tables that feature throughout the CRM you can edit the columns that are displayed and you can easily personalize them by dragging and dropping the columns. You can add custom fields to all the major forms including Account, Contact, Activity, Task and Opportunity. For data entry, a field can be either entered into a simple text or numeric box or selected from a dropdown list.
Mobile support (5/5)
To use the mobile version of RSS, just log on using your mobile device’s browser and the system adjusts automatically – no need to download or install any additional software.
Really Simple Systems CRM is designed for teams having 5 to 10 members, however, you can add unlimited users in all plans except the Free plan. Some big organizations with more than 300 users are successfully managing their business using RSS.
Customer support (10/10)
Our experience with their customer support was simply impeccable. You can get in touch with the support personal via email (recommended), live chat, phone or even request a call back, and rest assured that you’ll get quick and comprehensive response.
Backup and security (10/10)
Following are the security measures taken by RSS:
- Data is available for download at any time which you can keep as a backup
- RSS is registered under the Data Protection Act, and complies with EC Data Directives
- Two datacenters are running concurrently; if one fails, everyone is seamlessly switched to the other. This methodology has helped RSS achieve an uptime of 99.999%
- Your data is backed up every night, and stored offsite in a fireproof safe
- No customer can access another customers’ data, and role-based access gives the management total control to decide who can access what
It’s the main dashboard that gives a quick overview of pending tasks, sales funnel, and opportunity and forecast summary. It also features the Help Drawers and links to the comprehensive Customer Support Hub.
Contact Management (Accounts and Contacts)
Really Simple Account & Contact Management keeps all your customers and prospects in a simple two-tier data structure: Accounts (companies and organizations) and Contacts (people who work there).
Both the menus offer a wide range of useful features to make managing even complex businesses a breeze.
RSS tracks all your potential and closed deals, allowing you to prioritize sales effort and giving you visibility of your and your teams’ sales pipelines.
Just like Contacts and Accounts menus, it also keeps all the related info on a single page. The opportunity management system is a godsend for businesses that offer multiple products and services to their clients.
Since there is no built-in calendar, the tasks are stored as a list which can be ordered by priority or date. A more automated and visualized task list as we can see in some powerful CRMS like InfusionSoft, InTouch CRM, or Salesforce, could make RSS more desirable.
RSS features a listing report system and forecasting. There are several built-in reports that can be run or modified as required. You can create custom reports and reports can be downloaded to data files and PDFs.
The RSS Settings menu provides intuitive groupings of the various administrator controls e.g. subscription management, managing users, custom fields, company info, web-to-leads forms etc. Here, you can also download your data, view the system log and view/update subscription agreement.
This module allows you to measure performance of all your marketing campaigns with powerful marketing management features which include integrated mass emailing and allow capture leads from the web. The sophisticated contact segmentation tool lets you select contacts using the data held in your CRM and how they have responded to previous mailings. Drip marketing gives you the opportunity to send emails at pre-defined intervals and is a useful addition to the web-to-lead forms tool for running campaigns following online registrations.
Service and Support Management
Customer Service & Support uses Case Management to track support and service requests and escalate them to meet target service levels.
CRM Timeout Settings – New feature 2018
By default, the system will log users out after 2 hours of no activity. This is a security feature so that if they leave their workstation unattended nobody else will be able to access their data. This new feature allows users to override it, so users can be logged in continuously for up to two weeks or until they log out.
Quotations – New feature 2018
Their latest CRM feature, Quotations, allows users to create a sales quotation directly from an opportunity and send it to their contact. Available in the Professional and Enterprise plans, when a Sales Opportunity is created, a quotation can be generated directly from the opportunity. It can be viewed on screen, downloaded to files and sent to your customer or prospect. This feature includes a customisable template which allows users to upload their company logo, set up the organisations details, bank account and taxation information. All quotations will then be standardised. All stored sales Quotations are included within the document storage limits for the user’s price plan. For the Professional plan its 5GB and for the Enterprise plan its unlimited. In this first development Quotations are only available for single currency use and for a single rate of taxation.
Advantages of Really Simple Systems CRM
- Quick, intuitive and robust web-based cloud CRM makes managing your business a snap from anywhere, anytime
- Every piece of related info is on the same page, so you can perform any operation on your Contacts without having to switch between tabs
- Ideal for small companies not in need of complex functionality and also for larger organizations where user adoption is the main issue and willing to trade deeper levels of functionality for ease of use
- Four affordable pricing packages: Free (2 users, 100 Accounts), Starter $15 per user per month (1,000 Accounts and unlimited users), Professional $33 per user per month (5,000 Accounts and unlimited users), Enterprise $50 per user per month (unlimited Account and unlimited users with all features).
- Personalization and customisation
- Handy email scheduling using DribbleMail™
- Tracking of opens and click-throughs from multiple links within the email and unsubscribed and bounce handling
- Spam score reporting; and clickable graphs and reports
- Top-notch data security and first-rate customer service
- Support Hub features step-by-step guides on all features
Areas of concern
- Info was lost when we accidentally clicked another menu while adding new contacts
- No social integration at the moment
- No built-in calendar
- Though RSS is a simple app overall, some features e.g. Web-to-lead forms, are complex
- Service & Support menu needs to be activated by the Customer Support team
- Doesn’t support multiple languages and currencies
Though we noticed some minor shortcomings, RSS is unquestionably a solid application offering a useful mix of user friendliness and powerful functionality. With incorporated sales, marketing and customer service, Really Simple Systems has succeeded in formulating an all-in-one app for small businesses, yet their packages are ridiculously affordable. The 14-day free trial gives you ample time to test-drive the application before purchasing. With our rating of 8.8/10, we definitely give RSS two thumbs up.
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