CRM 101: What is Customer Relationship Management?

Posted May 25th, 2012 by Diane Kulseth

A business that wants to succeed over the long-term is one that focuses on the needs and wants of its customers. But it is not enough to collate information about the target market, it is also important to effectively manage it. Here is where customer relationship management (CRM) comes into the picture. So what is CRM? It is essentially a philosophy that focuses on the collecting, aggregating, and analyzing customer data.

The information about the customers can be captured at multiple points including surveys, call center queries, sales information, and feedback forms. The data must be managed under one system and made available across the company. This allows the organization to have a strong customer-centric feature that can cement relationships.

You may be wondering, how can all the data be integrated in one place and what is CRM software? It is possible to collate and analyze all information using the CRM software. These types of tools are referred to as business intelligence systems in the industry. The system can identify high-value customers and the lifetime value of each customer. Using this type of technology, companies can focus their marketing efforts on customers that the company can build a long relationship with.

Implementing CRM Software Company-Wide

After understanding what CRM consists of, the next step is to implement the system throughout the organization. The business intelligence system that is used in lead generation, marketing, sales, order fulfillment including geographic location (if applicable), and customer support should be integrated with each other. That way, anyone from any department can get access to the customer’s complete profile and therefore provide better service.

For example, a salesperson at one of the company’s branch can retrieve data about the client’s past history with the company. They can upsell or cross-sell related products which can boost the firm’s revenue. Similarly, someone in the customer support department can immediately see what the problem is and whether the client has any past issues with the firm. They can then deliver faster and more efficient results because of the CRM system.

Getting the Right CRM Software for the Business

Even if you have an in-depth idea about what makes up a CRM system, there are still some challenges when it comes to picking the right CRM software. There are many systems available commercially. However, the features and functions on business intelligence tools can vary significantly. For example, some systems focus specifically on helping the customer support department gather data to provide better service. These kinds of system may integrate contact center management software wherein all queries made through text, email, chat, social networks, and through the websites are gathered.

On the other hand, there is also software with advanced features when it comes to customer profiling. It collates and analyzes the customer’s buying history and demographic to predict customer value. At the end of the day, the most important thing is for you to decide which system is best for you. This start with understanding what CRM strategy you want to implement within the organization. 

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