The better a business can manage the relationships it has with its customers the more successful it will become. Therefore IT systems that specifically address the problems of dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis are growing in popularity.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is not just the application of technology, but is a strategy to learn more about customers' needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them. As such, it is more of a business philosophy than a technical solution to assist in dealing with customers effectively and efficiently. Nevertheless, successful CRM relies on the use of technology.
In the commercial world the importance of retaining existing customers and expanding business is paramount. The costs associated with finding new customers mean that every existing customer could be important.
The more opportunities that a customer has to conduct business with your company the better, and one way of achieving this is by opening up channels such as direct sales, online sales, franchises, use of agents, etc. However, the more channels you have, the greater the need to manage your interaction with your customer base.
Customer relationship management (CRM) helps businesses to gain an insight into the behaviour of their customers and modify their business operations to ensure that customers are served in the best possible way. In essence, CRM helps a business to recognise the value of its customers and to capitalise on improved customer relations. The better you understand your customers, the more responsive you can be to their needs.
CRM can be achieved by:
- finding out about your customers' purchasing habits, opinions and preferences
- profiling individuals and groups to market more effectively and increase sales
- changing the way you operate to improve customer service and marketing
Benefiting from CRM is not just a question of buying the right software. You must also adapt your business to the needs of your customers.