According to APICS Dictionary, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is defined as “the collection and analysis of information designed for sales and marketing decision support…to understand and support existing and potential customer needs. It includes account management, catalog and order entry, payment processing, credits and adjustments, and other functions.”
The CRM system definition, then, would be a set of software applications that help an organization determine the needs and preferences of their customers by managing, organizing, tracking and storing all customer interactions. CRM systems use advanced technology to replace the handwritten, manual documentation processes of the past. CRM systems allow users to document everything, from simple contact information to specific conversations with customers.
CRM systems are valuable because the information they provide can help boost the general business goals of an organization. For instance, if sales consultants know the specific needs and preferences of their customers, they can deliver a more personalized service creating a more client-focused environment. CRM systems also provide a central documentation location, allowing employees across different departments access to the same information.
You can’t define CRM systems without mentioning some of the key customer management services and benefits it offers organizations. Here are a few:
- Manage customer contact information
- Organize customer interactions in a central location
- Track customer habits, actions and preferences
- Weaken expense and business risk
- Measure success of campaigns
- Provide instant metrics
- Manage customer service requests
- Track industry trends
- Create more personalized customer experiences
Organizations can choose from a wide range of CRM systems, but in order to get the most insightful information, it is important to choose a CRM system that is closely tailored to the business goals of your organization.