Every packaged software system has arbitrary limitations. In this, Zoho isn’t unique in this regard but as a market leader, I don’t think there are enough candid evaluations of factors that really can make an implementation more difficult than it needs to be. Overall, I really like Zoho but there are just a few things that drive me nuts! Here you go:
- Reporting in general and lack of any report access on a mobile phone. That is right. You cannot access reports or dashboards at all from the mobile application. This is insane.
- You can’t format reports in any meaningful way. No bucket fields, not calculated fields and you can’t store your desired sort column and its settings, no shading or coloring of columns or rows. It is ridiculous.
- Webform spam – This is unique to Zoho or at least I have never seen this elsewhere before. If you use their webform generator, there are script kiddies that will spam your CRM because the connection is completely not secure. There isn’t even IP address filtering. An unscrupulous person can scrape the JS from your contact page and create leads that are simply ads that you need to delete!
- Formula fields are weak and do not have any ability for cross module access – that is right. You can’t write a formula that accesses values from other modules. No rollups, no cross module functions at all, nothing! This is also true of workflows.
- 50% of help pages don’t match current version. They refer to previous releases so the screen shots don’t match. None of the help pages have a “is this useful” thumbs up and down facility to flag pages that need to be fixed.
- It is not easy jump between applications. The great thing about Zoho is the extensive suite of applications. You just can’t easily access them from Zoho CRM
- Desk (OK, not Zoho CRM) has no installation design manual. It assumes you have used competing products like Zendesk.
- Phone support is appalling (terrible technology, ridiculous techs, call backs messages never returned, promises not kept.)
- Layouts don’t allow adding simple instructional text to a screen. Data fields only.
- Number of API calls limits are a joke. How they can ever think they can have a vibrant developer community creating integrated third party apps with these limitations is beyond me.
- There is a strange limitation on the number of specific fields on a layout. For example, a custom layout can have up to 500 fields (which is fine) you can only have 80 text fields (which can be a problem)
- You can only export 3,000 records for a data export….the first 3,000. You have to use a back up to get at data of any tables larger than 3,000 records and you are limited to two free downloads a month. If it is only 3,000, then how about the last 3,000–wouldn’t those likely be more useful.
- Cannot do lookup relationships with non-primary key. You connect the records by scrolling through record numbers is you use record numbers with no additional information about the record values.
- Contact Roles is the stupidest thing ever. The way it is modified, is completely stupid. Why is this simply not a field?
- Cannot customize the Lead conversion screen to change defaults – For example, the lead conversion screen requires a close date be entered manually. You can’t set a default value! You can’t use a calculation. You can’t hid values and you can’t add text to the screen to inform the users of policies and procedures. You can’t create and enforce default deal names.
- Workflows can’t take formula actions or even basic calculations or concatenations – if you have a workflow that updates a record, you can’t do a calculation to determine its new value! You can call a function however but means that for a workflow to be useful, programming is required.
- Formula fields don’t calculate on the fly. Reports don’t have new values – Formulas only recalculate when a record is accessed and saved. There is no way (out of the box) to force an update, for example, when you need month end reports.
- You can’t go back to the lead source or notes. Leads disappear on conversion.
- When Lead converting, you can’t convert a picklist on Lead to a text field on Deal, Account or Contact. You need to have the picklists in sync between the two modules. There is also no facility for global picklists so you have to manually make sure the picklists have the same choices (spelled perfectly the same) on the different modules.
Workflows do not trigger on data import (record create or edit)
When deleting a record, related records are not deleted creating orphaned records
Tooltips do not show when a user has only Read Only access to a particular field
DKIM and SPF set up is far more difficult than it should be
Shockingly there is no way to upload or access through the API multi select lookup relationships. This makes them completely useless. They can’t be restored from a backup.
Their customer service has no portal for a user to see the status of their tickets. In fact, they don’t even have a problem tracking system so you can’t even be given a ticket number unless you beg them. You would think they would use their own product, Zoho Desk, for their own problem tracking. Their support is very good for educating the clients in how to use the system, but when you find an actual bug, it is very easy to fall through the cracks. I have had bugs that linger for 6 months or more.
Campaigns can’t trigger to put a campaign member on a particular list based on email opens. SO I can’t create a list of email opens.
They lie when they say it can support multiple sales processes but at the end of the day, deal stage is required and the steps in stage are fixed across all layouts unlike the implementation in other CRMs (like Salesforce). Multiple layouts, but only one set of stages that are required on all layouts. The issue is of they way they implement multiple layouts is discussed below. Terrible implementation. Unusable feature.
Mail chimp support is a total joke. Not usable at all. When syncing, it doesn’t compare to all email addresses in Zoho, just the primary! Duplicate records abound! Is this their way of getting users to adopt Zoho Campaign? I don’t know.
I have never seen such a ridiculous feature implementation as Layouts. This allows you to have more than one screen layout for a module. Great. This allows one class of users to see a more simplified view of the data fields that another set of users sees. All good, except for one little thing. If you have a picklist that spans across multiple layouts, you can’t add to the picklist choices! In fact, you can’t add any fields at all. If you add the field to one layout, and you try to add it to another then it says duplicate field! There is no way to clone fields or field attributes across layouts once they have been created. Whose world is that static? Of course, this is an undocumented limitation so you go down the path thinking that layouts can be helpful only to find later that it is useless and unmanageable.
Email templates do not provide for cc or bcc fields and they have no plan to fix this. This makes templates unusable in certain industries that need to have email copies for rules compliance.
Leads require a Last Name (and there is no way to set a default if none is available). This is annoying. Sometimes a Lead is just a company name or in B to C, it is just a first name.
There is no way to do product bundles or kits in their Product module
There is a limit in the role hierarchy depth that is only 4 deep.
The integration of CRM to Zoho Books is very weak. There is no greater integration using Zoho books than QuickBooks or any other package. What is most annoying is that you can’t go from a CRM Sales Order to a Books Sales Order. You need to re-enter the data. On Books, you cannot link an invoice to a Deal!
Additional Storage can’t be purchased online and with no support over the weekend, it is easy to get yourself into a situation where your system is down for the weekend.
If we have missed something or have been unfair in any of these, please let us know. We will skewer other systems as we get to them!