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What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?

So many clichés have been said about how important the customer is to any business. There are those that consider the customers king, and there are those that emphasize how they are always right, no matter what the argument is about. Businesses are highly dependent on customers, that huge efforts and budget are invested in earning and keeping them. One way for any big company to go to in terms of building and maintaining customer base is through the use of technology.

A very good application of technology, which is also a great marketing tool, is nicknamed CRM. What is CRM (customer relationship management)?

CRM refers to the practice of putting the customers in focus and building the business around them. Technology has allowed the streamlining of the process for faster response to the needs of both the customer and the business. CRM helps track and organize the profile and contact information of new and existing customers.

The software application allows access to any information and previous interaction with specific customers, so that any department in the company will know how to serve them better based on their requirements.

CRM can also be used for target marketing. The regularly updated information can help the business owners analyze the market behavior and needs, so that they can be able to design programs that are more useful and suitable.

There are several aspects to a CRM implementation and every one relates to each other.

Operational – includes front and back offices. Front office refers to direct relations with customers like sales and customer support services through phone, email, or Internet services. Back office includes supporting departments that do billing, maintenance, marketing, finance, and manufacturing.
Business/Trading relationships – supports the operational aspects in terms of maintaining relationships with vendors, partners, suppliers, retailers, distributors, and other networks
Analysis – allows business owners to gain insight of the whole business and its customers for target marketing, business strategies, and achievement of bottom lines.

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"Customer relationship management is a broadly recognized, widely-implemented strategy for managing and nurturing a company’s interactions with clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service."