Building business – Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an umbrella term for methodologies, computer technology, software, and internet capabilities that enable a business to manage their customer interactions in an organized way.  CRM is a great tool to have when customers grow in numbers to be more than a few.

Such systems usually integrate a database that describes customer attributes and relationships in sufficient detail so enable management, salespeople, and service providers to retrieve specific customer and information to suit their own needs. It is a way of organising customer data and using it in a variety of ways that better focus business resources where they need to be.

CRM systems help match customer needs with products services and special offerings.  They usually have integrated calendar systems that enable the storage of customer purchase history.  It reminds staff and customers alike of future service time-lines and prompts follow up action.

It can be used as a business building tool that helps a business to identify and target ‘potential’ customers and various sections of ‘existing’ customers.  It can also help to manage marketing campaigns and generate quality leads for the sales process.

CRM systems help businesses to develop and keep track of numerous individual customer relationships simultaneously.  Any information can be stored in the computer based system.  For example, sales calls are made easy when the system has some notes about the customer involved – e.g. favourite pastime, spouse and children’s names.

The CRM system becomes the corporate memory and valuable personal information (freely given) aids relationship development.  The aim is to improve customer satisfaction and maximise profits.  The system can categorise customers, and the most profitable customers can be identified and marked for the highest level of service.

Many businesses use CRM software to help them manage their customer relationships more effectively. The technology is well developed.  It can be an office based system installation or it can be accessed as a SaaS (Software as a Service) via the internet.  CRM has recently become mobile enabled and some systems are available as open source software.  Open source code means that the source code is included with the compiled version and modification or customization is allowed and encouraged.

Until next time!