The first and most essential step of customer relationship management (CRM) is to understand what it means. It is defined as the strategies, practices, and technologies adopted by a company or an organization in the management and analysis of the customer interactions and the relevant data all across the customer life cycle (Tandon, Sharma, & Bhulal 2017, p. 59). The goals of CRM in an organization include improving the relationship between the company and the customers since it directly addresses the concerns of the customers. In doing this, it assists in improving the business relationship with the customers of the company. The resulting impact is a driven growth of sales for the company.
In most cases, CRM is designed with the aim of compiling information from customers’ organization channels. In other words, Fogleman (2013) donates that it is a point of contact between the company and the customers through direct emails, social media, websites, live chat, and marketing materials among others. CRM is adopted in three primary systems which include CRM Software, CRM Technology Market, and Cloud Solution.
CRM Software- CRM software helps in consolidating the documents and information from the customers into a single database to enable users’ to access and manage the information. It is essential for the automation of various workflow processes within the organization such as alerts, calendars, and relevant tasks that are essential to customer service. It thus gives the management the ability to track performance as well as productivity by the customer information that has been logged into the system
Cloud-Solution-It is a cloud-based system that is adopted as a CRM to provide real-time customer or company data or information to sales agents both in the office. It becomes effective as long as the devices used are internet connected i.e. laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. However, if the company faces off/goes out of business, the access of the information can be compromised.
CRM Technology Market- Adopts the use of salesforce.com, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft as the main vendors preferred by many companies. The technology unites the administration, security, maintenance, and control functions of the database and the company information. However, it resides on the server of the organization and adopts the use of cloud computing hence allowing access to information in a remote place.
In the adoption of CRM, there are many challenges experienced by the companies. Some of them include;
- Difficulty in developing a ‘single view customer’ when different data sets are organized in a single dashboard.
- Reduced customer experience as a result of poor handling of technical support and long wait times on phone calls
- Duplicate or outdated information slows down the data processing.
Adopting CRM in the organization has many benefits i.e. enables easy management of customer information, improves business relationship with the customers, and enables a company to retain the existing customers. Namhee and McLean (2014) also denote that adopting proper CRM in a company increases sales due to increase in the customers through better services
Effective and satisfactory customer service requires an organization to adopt proper customer service strategy. CRM enables the company to have a proper management of customer service and provide information in an easy way that can be interpreted and understood by the company workforce and the customers. Studying this topic is hence essential in gaining the relevant skills and knowledge in effective customer service management.
Fogleman, D 2013, 'Customer Service', Training, 50, 2, pp. 44-45, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 August 2017.
Namhee, K, & McLean, G 2014, 'Customer Service Behaviours in Korea and Implications for Training: Lessons from an Exploratory Critical Incidents Study of Customer and Employee Service Encounters', Asia Pacific Business Review, 13, 1, pp. 1-20, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 August 2017.
Tandon, M, Sharma, N, & Bhulal, V 2017, 'The Impact of Customer Relationship Management and its Significant Relationship to Customers' Satisfaction in Cooperative Banking: (A Case Study of Kangra Central Co-operative Bank)', Global Journal Of Enterprise Information System, 9, 2, pp. 59-66, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 August 2017.