What is CRM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the set of strategies, processes and tools that are used to create more customer centric business models for competitive organizations. Identifying ways to achieve customer satisfaction and eventually loyalty is of high priority to most corporate executives. They understand that businesses that do not have satisfied customers are doomed to fail. Opportunities to achieve customer satisfaction objectives can be found at every interaction that company employees have with customers.

While CRM is a way of doing business and encompasses more than just technology, sophisticated software packages are often key tools to implementing CRM throughout a company’s operations. Here are some ways that successful businesses use CRM solutions.

Data Collection

Before companies can satisfy their customers’ needs they need to get to know their customers. Changes in the market and consumer attitudes can result in shifts in a company’s primary customer base. Data that is collected about customers through actual transactions or other communications like those conducted using social media platforms serve to define a company’s target customer. A good CRM system allows for configuration managed data storage that can be accessed by many different stakeholders. Data analysts use this data to determine whether there are differences between the customer groups that actually show interest in the products or services offered by their companies and the customer groups that are currently targeted by their organizations. CRM data also reveals customer preferences that can impact product composition and packaging as well as how services are delivered.

Marketing and Promotions

Businesses that can identify their most prevalent and profitable customers as well as the things that make them happy can absolutely spoil those patrons with customized promotions, loyalty rewards and incentives. Today’s technological advances in data analytics enable marketing professionals to determine if projected customer behavior and responses match actual responses to their targeted promotional campaigns. By monitoring customer responses, promotional activities can be tweaked early to avoid wasting marketing budgets. While businesses are likely to cater to their most important customers first, they should not completely ignore other customer groups. Customers who complain about product quality or poor service on social media, consumer review sites or other online channels can deal deadly blows to companies that are building or maintaining their brand’s reputation. Savvy business leaders often designate knowledgeable, customer service representatives to skillfully address issues that have been presented online by primary customers as well as occasional buyers.

Develop Employees

The most detailed and first rate CRM strategies, practices and processes can be derailed without the appropriate support from company employees. These employees must have access to professional development that focuses on the latest industry knowledge, updated company policies and classic customer care techniques. When these resources are available to employees, many of them gain skills that they can use anywhere. Providing this type of training to employees promotes the perception that workers’ professional needs are of concern to the organizations for which they work. Subsequently, those employees pass along that same attentive care to the organizations’ chief customers.


The benefits of CRM are well known. Customers receive products and services that they value, and businesses often experience increases in direct sales, cross selling opportunities and overall profits. Businesses that successfully implement customer relationship management (CRM) also achieve cost savings because they can stop focusing on activities that their target customers do not view as value added.