Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, technical support, and inventory control. CRM is a customer-focused service designed to help solve customer issues through customer requests, one-on-one customer interactions, and direct communications. Think about the information that is collected in an e-commerce website like Amazon: product information, customer information, shipping information, products ordered, customer reviews, policies, FAQs, etc. It includes the following functions: sales force automation, sales promotion analysis, client history, sales сoordination, marketing support, transaction history, sales projections, fundraising support, and inventory control. There are four primary uses for CRM systems: Marketing Management, Product Sales, Order Processing, and Customer Support.
Marketing management is primarily associated with developing campaigns, generating leads, and inputting those leads and other related information into a database. Marketers are looking for specific type of information that a CRM can provide: what type of marketing campaign, who was its target audience, how many people responded, what is the contact information of those who responded, and what were those who responded looking for.
Product sales is about turning leads into sales. Sales is usually directly related to cash receipts brought into an organization. In a broader sense, such as with a non-profit organization, sales can also include non-cash donations and volunteer labor. CRM software tracks which sales person is assigned to the lead and the status of that lead.
CRM software may or may not handle the order processing directly. It should however, be able to track orders, generate invoices, and provide reports on the amount of inventory available.
Customer Support manages 5 primary types of issues when communicating with clients: billing / invoice, technical / how to, access / permissions, product ordering / product shipping, and general information. Both CRM software and Knowledge Management (KM) procedures should be in place to adequately help customers. Good marketing and good sales people can get customers to initially spend money with a business, but it is product value and the quality of customer service that will keep them coming back. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which is more than just software, is a critical component to providing quality customer service that does affect the overall health of a business.