After all this time of discussing the pros and cons of so many different CRM solutions, you might find yourself a bit frustrated, and asking, what is CRM really? Well, we all know that the definition is customer relationship management, but we all hate jargon, right? What does that actually mean, and what does it really pertain to?
What is CRM? Well, today, we’re going to actually look past the plethora of software solutions, policies and fluffy jargon, and actually figure out what the heck CRM really is all about. You’re going to find that this is a prime example of terminology ascribing confusion to a very simple concept, all things said and done.
CRM science actually overlaps a number of departments within a business, such as marketing, customer service, product management and customer-end financial departments. On the software side, CRM applications track marketing campaigns, inventory and product lifecycles, and customer accounts. These customer accounts usually contain financial records of transactions made, policies regarding accounts, payments due, problems that have come up with services, and other situations like this.
The bulk of interaction with CRM is going to be in customer service, and this is why fast CRM software that is efficient and easy to use is such a boost to making customer service also fast and efficient, and able to bring about more first contact resolutions.
Customer service representatives, regardless of the communications channels being used, have to access CRM software to look up a customer’s records. Through these, they can answer billing questions, review customer history (allowing them to see if a frequent problem has been occurring, which can mean a bigger problem is hiding there), as well as make modifications to account settings should customers wish to upgrade services, downgrade them or other similar issues.
For marketers, CRM and the software involved can track who is being marketed to, so that a good view of who prospects are can be obtained. This allows them to refine campaigns, drop leads that aren’t promising, and maybe spot leads with promise they had underestimated.
For product management and other middle fields related to it, they can easily track the state of a product, its current costs, and its current success, be it an actual product or a service (these concepts tend to overlap these days), so that they can make changes to facilitate more adoption from customers when the next lifecycle comes around.
CRM is the science of customer interaction with the company, and the products or services the company provides. It is the nerve center of customer experience, from marketing to rendering services, to providing all the information necessary to act when customer service or support becomes necessary for whatever reason.
Pretty much everyone in a company has to interact with CRM on some level, be they directly involved with the product/service provides, or whether they market to customers, or help customers in need of assistance.
So, what is CRM? When you really look at it from a distance, CRM is customer experience being applied practically in a company’s daily processes. It’s the most important science and technology a company has. This is why it’s so important to have good software for this, and a good strategy for applying it and your policies with customers.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.