What is Customer relationship management (CRM)?

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CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a business strategy intended to supervise relations with the customers. It is a vital tool for your business that will help you to manage your sales, marketing, and customers. The CRM system does away with the need to juggle memos and spreadsheets by allowing you to accurately recording emails, phone calls, meetings, interactions, and quotations. This information can be shared with colleagues to plan effective future strategies and offer the desired level of communication and support to the customers.

The CRM gives you the power to handle your new sales leads right from the first interaction through the sales transaction to closure. In addition, you can plan review tasks for your team and deal with all your campaigns and sales forecast. The system provides you with a distinct, end-to-end representation of a customer’s experience and journey with your company, with all the details about the customer recorded in one place.

Customer Relationship Management is about spending time on your existing customer base so as to retain their habit and increase their spending. The CRM system keeps track of every customer interaction, what they purchased, and to contact them after every few weeks with the anticipation that they may need something again and you are there to help them buy what they want. CRM can help create targeted marketing campaigns with the help of Artificial intelligence technologies by identifying customer purchasing patterns and predict future buying behavior.

Basic components of CRM
On a basic level, CRM system combines customer information and records it in a single database so that you can easily use and manage it. Many additional features have been added to the system over the years to make it more powerful and useful. These features include recording customer conversations over the phone, email, social networking sites, etc., automating various workflow processes like calendars, tasks, and notifications; and enabling managers to track efficiency and performance on the basis of the information recorded in the system. Here are some features offered by the CRM software:

Sales division automation: The tool can track customer conversations and automate specific business processes that will follow leads and turn them into new customers.

HR management: CRM tool can record employee data including their contact details, performance analyses, and remuneration within a company. This allows the HR department to effectively monitor the internal workforce.

Market automation: CRM can be used to automate marketing capabilities that would enhance selling campaigns at different levels. Whenever sales lead enter the system, the system will automatically send the leads marketing materials via email or social sites, with the intention of turning the lead into a complete customer.

Customer center automation: CRM tool will ease the tedious job of a customer center’s agent job by including prerecorded audios that assist in solving customers problems and sharing information. This will reduce the time of calls and ease customer care processes.

Workflow automation: CRM system will help companies to optimize their business processes by managing workload efficiently and allowing employees to concentrate on more creative and high-level assignments.

Location-based services: This CRM system includes technology to design location-based promotional campaigns by integrating with GPS apps. 

Types of CRM technology
The types of CRM offered by the key vendors of the technology are:
Cloud-based: The cloud-based CRM allows storage of data on a remote, external network that workers can access anytime. An external service provider oversees the installation and maintenance of the technology. This type of CRM is relatively quick and easy to deploy, especially for companies with limited resources. Data security and cost are primary concerns for companies using this type of system.

Open source: This system enables companies to make changes like addition or personalization of information links on social sites, helping companies to improve social CRM practices. Implementation of a CRM deployment method is dependent on the company’s business needs. The companies want to capture customer feelings so that they can recommend products and boost overall customer satisfaction by developing marketing strategies. They try to combine social CRM information with other user data gathered from marketing campaigns to get a 360-degree view of the customer.

On-premises: The companies employing the CRM tool are responsible for managing, controlling, safekeeping and maintaining the database and details. This approach allows the companies to buy licenses upfront rather than purchasing annual subscriptions from another provider. The software is hosted on the companies’ servers and they have to bear the cost of upgrades. Companies with advanced CRM needs use on-premises deployment.

B2B (Business-to-business) practices: The CRM system in the business-to-business environment allows sales monitoring during the sales process, allowing a company to deal with any issue that comes up at some point in the process. B2B CRM systems help develop more visibility into sales leads and enhance efficiency all through the sales process.

Mobile CRM: CRM solutions designed for smart devices have become indispensable for marketing representatives and sales professionals who have to get customer information in order to do their tasks when they are working in the field. This mobile app uses features that are present in smart devices, such as voice-recognition and GPS capabilities, to provide sales and marketing executives access to customer data from anywhere.

The challenges faced with CRM technology
Despite all the developments in CRM technology, the system can reduce to a mere overvalued database to store customer information if it is not managed properly.  All the information stored must be consolidated, shared, and structured so that people can easily retrieve the data they need. Companies will not be able to obtain distinct information about the customers if their data is not consolidated and arranged in a particular control panel or interface. Problems also come up when the CRM system contains duplicate data of customers or obsolete information. These challenges can impact the quality of customer experience as a result of prolonged waiting times during telephone calls and inappropriate handling of technical assistance cases.
CRM systems are well-suited for companies who invest time tidying up their current customer information to get rid of duplicate and uncompleted records before supplementing CRM data with third-party information sources.