Creating a good customer experience depends on how well a company uses customer relationship management. Customer relationship management is a strategy for understanding customers and their needs in order to optimize interactions with them.¹ The use of technology helps create stronger relationships with former, current, and prospective customers. Customer relationship management (CRM) enables an organization to actively manage customer relations; this means developing an organization’s methodologies, internal operations, software and Internet capabilities to better address a customer’s needs.¹
Using CRM, a company can keep track of key customer information such as contracts, communications, accounts, purchases, and preferences. These allow a company to match a customer’s needs with products and services. Through customer relationship management, managers can: identify best customers, enrich and customize the way an organization communicates with customers, manage marking campaigns, reduce customer response times, and serve a wider geographical region.¹
CRM software ranges from complex to very simple and can include online data and off-the-shelf software. Using spreadsheets to keep track of customer relationship data is considered simple customer relationship management. Prices for CRM systems have dropped so much that even small businesses are able to afford the technology and programs.¹ Many small businesses employ CRM in small steps, first starting with something like a sales force automation system or call center software. As a company grows, it might consider expanding CRM.
An advanced CRM system provides companies with many benefits. First, a central database is created. All employees can access the central database to view and update customer data. This helps improves customer service, loyalty, and data. Secondly, CRM allows for customer analysis. Customers can be segmented, enabling a company to customize marketing and sales campaigns. Third, customer service is improved. Customer service allows customers to self-order and self-help using online systems. This reduces order entry costs and customer service costs. Additionally, CRM allows for prospect tracking. Prospect tracking tracks sale leads from start to finish. Finally, CRM enables reporting. CRM allows forecasting revenues using automated reporting and trend analysis, resulting in better decision-making.