|The generally accepted purpose
of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to enable organizations
to better serve its customers through the introduction of reliable
processes and procedures for interacting with those customers.
In today's competitive business environment, a successful CRM
strategy cannot be implemented by only installing and integrating
a software package designed to support CRM processes. A holistic
approach to CRM is vital for an effective and efficient CRM
policy. This approach includes training of employees, a modification
of business processes based on customers' needs and an adoption
of relevant IT-systems (including soft- and maybe software)
and/or usage of IT-Services that enable the organization or
company to follow its CRM strategy. CRM-Services can even redundantize
the acquisition of additional hardware or CRM software-licences.
The term CRM is used to describe either the software or the
whole business strategy oriented on customer needs. The second
one is the description which is correct. The main misconception
of CRM is that it is only software, instead of whole business
Major areas of CRM focus on service automated processes, personal
information gathering and processing, and self-service. It attempts
to integrate and automate the various customer serving processes
within a company.
Operational - automation to the basic
business processes (marketing, sales, service)
Analytical - support to analyze customer
behavior, implements business intelligence alike technology
Cooperation - ensures the contact
with customers (phone, email, fax, web...)
Operational part of CRM typically involves three general
areas of business. They are (according to Gartner Group) a
Enterprise marketing automation (EMA), Sales force automation
(SFA) and a Customer service and support (CSS). The marketing
information part provides information about the business environment,
including competitors, industry trends, and macroenviromental
variables. The sales force management part automates some
of the company's sales and sales force management functions.
It keeps track of customer preferences, buying habits, and
demographics, and also sales staff performance. The customer
service part automates some service requests, complaints,
product returns, and information requests.
Integrated CRM software is often also known as "front
office solutions." This is because they deal directly
with the customer.
Many call centers use CRM software to store all of their customer's
details. When a customer calls, the system can be used to
retrieve and store information relevant to the customer. By
serving the customer quickly and efficiently, and also keeping
all information on a customer in one place, a company aims
to make cost savings, and also encourage new customers.
CRM solutions can also be used to allow customers to perform
their own service via a variety of communication channels.
For example, you might be able to check your bank balance
via your WAP phone without ever having to talk to a person,
saving money for the company, and saving you time.