Customer relationship management(CRM) is a widely implemented strategy for managing a companyâ€™s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processesâ€”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. Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments. Measuring and valuing customer relationships is critical to implementing this strategy.
Benefits of CRM
A CRM system may be chosen because it is thought to provide the following advantages:
- Quality and efficiency
- Decrease in overall costs
- Decision support
- Enterprise agility
- Customer Attention.
- Reduce cost.
- Increase profitability.
ChallengesSuccessful development, implementation, use and support of customer relationship management systems can provide a significant advantage to the user, but often, there are obstacles that obstruct the user from using the system to its full potential. Instances of a CRM attempting to contain a large, complex group of data can become cumbersome and difficult to understand for an ill-trained user.
Additionally, an interface that is difficult to navigate or understand can hinder the CRMâ€™s effectiveness, causing users to pick and choose which areas of the system to be used, while others may be pushed aside. This fragmented implementation can cause inherent challenges, as only certain parts are used and the system is not fully functional. The increased use of customer relationship management software has also led to an industry-wide shift in evaluating the role of the developer in designing and maintaining its software. Companies are urged to consider the overall impact of a viable CRM software suite and the potential for good or bad in its use.
Tools and workflows can be complex, especially for large businesses. Previously these tools were generally limited to simple CRM solutions which focused on monitoring and recording interactions and communications. Software solutions then expanded to embrace deal tracking, territories, opportunities, and the sales pipeline itself. Next came the advent of tools for other client-interface business functions, as described below. These tools have been, and still are, offered as on-premises software that companies purchase and run on their own IT infrastructure.
Often, poor usability can lead to implementations that are fragmented isolated initiatives by individual departments to address their own needs. Systems that start disunited usually stay that way: siloed thinking and decision processes frequently lead to separate and incompatible systems, and dysfunctional processes.
A fragmented implementation can negate any financial benefit associated with a customer relationship management system, as companies choose not to use all the associated features factored when justifying the investment. Instead, it is important that support for the CRM system is companywide. The challenge of fragmented implementations may be mitigated with improvements in late-generation CRM systems.