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CRM Basics



A Peep into the Past

CRM first appeared in 1980s. In the budding stage it was in the form of Customer Information System (CIS). This first generation applications were single function solutions designed to support a specific set of employees. Typical applications were at help desk, sales and marketing department, or a particular function within a call center. Then it shaped to Contact Management, Sales Force Automation (SFA), Call Center and Customer Contact Center(CCC). These CRM applications increased the functionality of the software.

These applications offered inter-operable modules that included marketing, sales, analytics, customer service and call center support functions. Today it has matured to CRM and also Mobile CRM (m-CRM). The term CRM was first coined in early 1990s. It is a major strategic approach to customers and businesses are investing millions of dollars to acquire CRM services and solutions. It is the leading business strategy of the new millennium.

(Reference: White Paper on QoS of Web Service for different service based on Customer Segments in CRMby Wei Du .)

What is CRM

CRM methodology enables the organization to understand the customers' needs and behavior better. It introduces reliable processes and procedures for interacting with customers and develop stronger relationships with them. The process helps organization in assimilating information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness, and market trends. Then this information is used to give insight into behavior of customers and value of retaining those customers. The whole process is designed to reduce cost and increase profitability by holding on to the customer loyalty.

A simple installation and integration of the software package doesn't ensure success. It has to be absorbed into the system. Employees have to be convinced about its positive attributes, then they have to be trained. The existing business processes have to be modified. The company has to decide what kind of information is to be collected about the customers, what is to be done with the information, and prioritize this accumulated information. The company must drill into this database of its customers and ascertain their buying patterns, product preferences, the potential for add on sales etc.

A good strategy will be to integrate every area of touch point with customers like marketing, sales, customer service, and field support. This is achieved with the integration of the people, process, and technology in the business.