In business, there are few qualities more desirable than efficiency. The appeal of a streamlined approach to all the various tasks involved in business, whatever the business is, is universal. This desire has been the driving force behind the concept of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for years, and efficiency pushes the development of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as well.
ERP deals with the entire process of how a company does business, while CRM focuses more on the customer side of the equation. Businesses must focus on both to remain competitive, but CRM is unique in what it offers companies as they approach and maintain customer relationships.
What is CRM?
True CRM is the most comprehensive approach a business can adopt to understand and relate to its customers. According to DestinationCRM.com, CRM is a strategy adopted across a business, one that brings together all available information and data to create a whole picture of the customer. It is a strategy that is designed to save money and improve profitability through the most thorough understanding of the customer that is possible.
CRM began as a software system that made pertinent customer data available to all necessary business personnel, from sales people to technical support to management. But it has become much more than that. It is a way for companies to know and care for their customers, provide them the services and goods they need when they need them, and avoid the kind of careless disregard that can so quickly kill customer satisfaction and loyalty.
When the small business owner starts out, he or she knows what is necessary to build a business. Provide something people need, take care of the customer, build relationships – all of the things necessary to get a business off of the ground. As companies grow, however, the customer can soon get lost in the shuffle. What was once understood is forgotten.
The common sense that goes into building a customer base can be easily lost in the corporate setting. And although some businesses are able to coast for years on previous loyalty, there is always the danger of customer’s recognizing that they do not have to accept indifference.
Software, Strategy, Relationships
Large organizations are not blind to this problem, and software solutions have been designed to meet the need of companies to understand their customers and to relate to them as best they can. By gathering and compiling all information pertaining to each individual customer, it is possible for even the largest organization to remember past interactions with customers and the desires and interests of those customers. With all employees of a company referencing this information, relationships can be maintained and strengthened.
Organizations all across the globe deal with the necessities of CRM everyday, as evidenced by one of the most popular CRM software company’s client list – Microsoft Dynamics CRM. According to Microsoft’s website, companies and organizations using their product include Hallmark Business Connections, the music service Pandora, the City of London and Interpol Washington.
The desire of streamlining and improving customer interactions is universal amongst companies and organizations, and CRM strategy and software is designed to meet this need.
Both ERP and CRM will remain necessities for the future of business. Companies must remain both efficient and relatable to be successful. The ERP approach will yield the necessary efficiency, and CRM will deliver the relationships building power companies need to thrive.