The customer-oriented business knows its customers and their needs.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
refers to a collaborative philosophy or system of business practices implemented across an enterprise
to organize the acquisition, aggregation, and analysis of
Customer information is already captured from numerous points, such as
systems, call centers,
CRM Services allow
this information to be shared across the company in order to create a customer-centric organization.
The methods and software used for dissecting the collected customer data are called
business intelligence systems.
Once the data is analyzed, the most profitable customer demographics for the company can be targeted and
catered to, and the long-term retention of this group will result in increased
and therefore increased revenue.
Customer-focused organizational intelligence is also a way to differentiate a company. It can
unify disparate departmental goals, and improve the customer buying experience, effective
marketing campaign management,
sales, order fulfillment, and customer
Customer Interaction and Data Collection
The telephone continues to be the main point of customer contact for companies,
and call centers
are generally created to handle a large volume of calls. Therefore, of the various
kinds of customer
interaction services that should be integrated into a CRM strategy, quality, user-friendly
call center software,
including any voice
recognition software, VoiceXML
applications, or IVR systems that
recognize and reply to customer voice inquiries, are critical.
As customers demand the availability of goods and services via other media, many companies
refer to their call center as a contact
center. Contact center
management is an IT challenge, as the contact center software may need to be a central input site for contact management software, customer support software, and other customer contact. The customer profile data gathered in these systems, from name and address capture to the type of inquiry made, could be input from websites, emails, text chat, Voice over IP (VoIP), or even social networking systems, wikis, or blogs.
This data may also need to be routed across the enterprise for
CRM strategies, and is typically also
used for multi-channel marketing. The information from a contact center may need to be merged with
incoming customer information from other areas, such as
systems, mobile technology-based
relationship management (PRM) software, and
in a standardized data
warehouse before being cleaned, shared, analyzed, and customized, resulting in effective
The process generally requires an enterprise architecture composed of various
configurable Web Services
that allow for the company-wide integration of customer information input via the Internet.
The Right CRM for Your Business
These strategies imply a far-reaching implementation of a customer-focused mindset
as well as new working processes. The business challenges include solid executive
buy-in and change management, as well as some good
management to smooth the transition for employees.
The challenge to IT departments is how to best integrate collaborative information systems
using multiple technologies across an extended enterprise that may also include suppliers and partners.
Successful CRM initiatives are often strategically evolutionary, creating necessary buy-in by reaching short
term goals such as capturing visitor data to a website, before integrating enterprise-wide systems
designed to discover which customers to retain, and which programs to continue.
For more information on choosing the right CRM solution for your company, please read
our Customer Relationship Management First
Go to Bitpipe Research Guide: Customer Relationship Management.