Excerpt: Customer Relationship Management refers to strategies, practices and technology that a company uses to analyse and manage the data and interactions with the customers, aiming to improve the business to customer relationship for the maintenance of customers and to increase sales.

Introduction 

The earlier customer relationship management was driven by the sales staff and was product-centred. It identified clients through statistics by various tools and applications. It was attentive to sales operation, customer care and support. It considered customer relationships as a business. They focused on the operation and analysis. The operational collected information and the analytical used to unify the data to support the decision-making department. It transfers data to information giving actual guidance to clients and product development.

Modern customer relationship management is somewhat centred on customers. Its predictions are better by the customer insights and even exceeds the expectations of the customers. The companies blend and evaluate the market and service fields based on the experience of the customers. They value the customer relationship.

Modern customer relationship management has a fresh theory of management called customer orientation. It includes first, discovering customer motivation and reducing the income loss (customer who knows you); second, constantly launching new products and channels and staying in touch with the clients (customers who can touch you); and the last, developing differentiated products and expanding the contacts of the clients to satisfy their needs (winning the customer). 

To gain complete knowledge about Salesforce CRM features Salesforce Training helps to a great extent.

Table of content:

  • Evolution of CRM
  • Developmental trends of CRM
  • Challenges of Customer Relationship Management
  • Features of CRM
  • Types of CRM system
  • Benefits of Customer Relationship Management
  • Importance of Customer Relationship Management
  • Future predictions of Customer Relationship Management

Evolution of CRM

In the 1950s

The businesses were used to record their daily tasks on paper and pen. They used to purchase file cabinets in bulk for the documentation process. It was frustrating and difficult to track updates and information. In the year 1956, with the invention of the first Rolodex, the storage of contact information regarding business was started.

Rolodex was invented by Hildaur Neilsen.

In the 1960s 

Many businesses reached the customers through scheduled face-to-face meetings. Sales Representative will sell the products by either direct meeting sales method or by cold calling.

In the 1970s

With the introduction of the mainframe computers, registration of customer information like names addresses on a digital database was possible. This also helped communication of business with the customers through targeted messages on a screen.

The customer’s database was for B2C(business to customer), and the business database was for B2B(business to business).

In the 1980s

In 1987 a digital version of Rolodex was launched called ACT by the conductor software. It had a built-in management tool for contact.

In the 1990s

Expansion of the database marketing system with features like analysing and tracking the customers’ data while also allowing the trivial tasks for automation and transformed itself to sales force automation. Tom Siebel left Oracle in 1993, and he founded Siebel systems. His company was at a lead and became the famous SFA provider of that time. In 1995 SFA’s became capable of converting leads and marketing campaigns at one click of the button, and then the term customer relationship management came into existence. In the year 1999, Tom’s company released the 1st mobile CRM, which was called Siebel Sales Handheld in the marketplace. In the same year, cloud-based customer relationship management was launched by SalesForce.

In the 2000s

This year came the Y2K bug, which was responsible for bursting the dot com bubble burst and toppling the CRM vendors in a shot. Paul Greenberg’s book called “CRM at the Speed of light” manages to save by shifting the conversation to a more understandable CRM system.

In the 2010s

With the arrival of big data and mobile computing, CRMs, we’re fully able to manage a pipeline of sales and deliver better customer experiences for multinational companies, mid-size organisations and small businesses. CRMs were able to unify with social media applications and a few other platforms.

Development trend of customer relationship management 

During traditional CRM practices, the responsibility of the systems was of the marketing, sales and contact agents. The marketing and sales team would bring the leads and then fill the systems with the information. The contact centres would collect and revise the data and customer history through technical interactions and service calls.

Now, Digitalization has been introduced in various fields of life and work. It has also been introduced in the business sectors as well. Customers can now know about different types of products, share reviews and comments, and show their tastes via digitalisation. 

Social customer relationship management is the engagement of businesses with customers through different platforms on social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Social media gives an open platform to the customers to share their views and experience with a brand.

Businesses use a variety of tools to monitor the social conversations by the mention of a brand or tracking the frequency of the keywords used to know the target audience and the platforms used by them. Other tools analyse media feedback address the queries of the customers. Companies want to capture the sentiment of the customers by their recommendations of the products to others and their satisfaction, to make strategies. They integrate different data to get one single data about the customer.

Another way in which digital customer relationships is giving value to the companies and customers is through communities, where customers post their product reviews. They engage with different customers to discuss issues or to do research about the products. These communities help in reducing the calls of contact centres. They also help to provide feedback and to get ideas about the new products, so the company doesn’t need to make any groups for knowing about these topics.

The CRM applications built for tablets and mobile phones should be made available to marketing and sales professionals.

Challenges of Customer Relationship Management

Nowadays, customers are getting more digitalised. Most of the customers are adapting to online purchasing, but it is a bit difficult for the companies to keep the customers. Online customers are flexible, and they change their purchasing place according to their needs and demand. Companies need digital CRM methods to cope with the new digitised ways.

  • Companies have to comprehend their clients deeply and provide well-maintained and timely services and good experiences to them. They need to adapt relatable and simple methods to keep their clients happy and satisfied.
  • Technologies give an upper hand to the customers by providing every inside and outside information to help them know and analyse what to choose and from where. The purchasing process through online mode is diversifying. The customers don’t have any limitations, and they can purchase anything from anywhere at any time. The purchasing power has become dynamic. Customers have control and can choose their paths according to their needs.
  • Companies need to change their brand management and operation mode to customer-centric. By combining digital technology with the business, they can gain customer loyalty, improve marketing and customer experience.
  • The customer’s purchasing abilities are becoming flexible, so the companies are also simultaneously required to become flexible. They need to build a strong technology system for better sales, content, effectiveness etc.
  • Companies need to improve their digital technology methods by upgrading themselves. They need to maintain the customer’s data carefully for the smooth operation of the business; otherwise, it will lead to slow processes and generate issues.
  • The customers face issues with interactions with the company through traditional techniques, which need to be improved for smooth chat and to gain customer confidence.

Features of Customer Relationship Management

There are a few features of CRM:

  • It provides access to the customer history and data, which helps the sales department to operate smoothly.
  • It gives access to all the information and data of customers. It creates reports on the behaviour of customers and the criteria.
  • It gives a database that shares and manages customers’ information.
  • It unifies with different systems such as inventory and billing through call centres and websites.

Types of customer relationship management systems

There are three categories of CRM systems:

  • Operational CRM – This focuses on helping the marketing team, sales representatives and customer service departments. They use the historical data of the customers for generating leads and to automate better experiences for users. These are better for companies with repeat sales and short sales cycles.
  • Analytics CRM – This collects customer data and then produces actions for the needs and wants of the customers. It focuses on making customer-centric business decisions and drives customer satisfaction. These systems are driven by machine learning and data mining. They are useful for organisations that deal with hundreds or thousands of customers daily.
  • Collaborative CRM – This happens when businesses share the internal data of the customers with external companies. This helps in collecting more data and to have a better understanding of the market and the behaviour of the customers. This is better for the markets where new products and innovation are the focus points.

Benefits of Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management enhances the company’s ability to coordinate service and marketing strategies for retaining long term relationships. Since the basic goal of every organisation is to meet customer satisfaction, sustainability and meeting customers’ demands are considered the CRM target. A better CRM strategy can be achieved by gaining customer loyalty.

The implementation of CRM brings improvements in overall customer satisfaction and experience and has a positive effect on the profitability of the company, cost reduction, great efficiency and improved customer support and service.

For customer loyalty, CRM allows the companies to gather both transaction and customer data, through which the information becomes manageable and accessible to all the stakeholders, which help identify the most loyal customers and effective marketing strategies. For diversifying the risks of losing customers, there is a need for SMEs.

 The data collected through CRM helps in the decision making, which helps in effective marketing campaigns for the companies with an impact on profitability and sales. With the help of market information, the companies can group the various customers according to their needs and reach their target.

Through CRM, the companies have a better understanding of the customer’s wants and needs, which gives a better method to meet them. CRM gives access to customer service databases. These all things keep the customers at the centre of the company strategies.

CRM is a management of data mining software tools. It does data analysis to find detailed, market-related information for a better decision-making process. Having all the information in a single database helps the company’s stakeholders to avoid misleading information and also to have an integrated and consistent source of data, a feature to reduce cost and increase efficiency.

Importance of Customer Management Relationship

A CRM can manage, optimise and analyse historical data of the trends and habits of customers with a CRM cleanup function. The management of data in one singular part is helpful for the company. It helps the marketing and sales department to monitor and talk with the divided groups according to their needs. It helps in both types of communication, internal as well as external. The CRM software tools make it simple for the employees to send alerts, messages or notes within the systems. CRM helps the sales team to follow the leads. They provide reminders and highlight promising leads. 

Future predictions of customer relationship management

Customer centralisation will be the key. It will focus on creating business to delight the customers. There will be a demand for smart-voice assistants to help the representatives with their tiring tasks. For high customer success, there will be an increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The use of blockchain technology might be introduced for protecting the data of the customer. The demand for personalisation and customisation are increasing for the sales team of tech. Without social networking, CRMs are particularly dead. All sales processes are completed through mobile.

CRMs have come a long way and have developed rapidly. With the introduction of technology, it has outgrown itself. It now focuses more on maintaining better relationships with the customer and their satisfaction. If this evolution maintains the same rapid pace, then in the upcoming days, it will show great development.

Author Bio: 

Amruddin Shaik is a Digital Marketer and Content Contributor, Who is working with MindMajix, a top global online training provider. I’m a tech enthusiast and have a great understanding of today’s technology. Having an In-depth knowledge of IT and demanding technologies such as Salesforce Tutorial, Business Intelligence, Snowflake, Cyber Security and Software testing etc.