Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a companys interaction with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and services.
CRM is a customer-oriented feature with service response based on customer input, one-to-one solutions to customers' requirements, direct online communications with customer and customer service centers that are intended to help customers solve their issues. It includes the following functions:
Sales force automation, which implements sales promotion analysis, automates the tracking of a client's account history for repeated sales or future sales, and ?oordinates sales, marketing, call centers, and retail outlets.
Data warehouse technology, used to aggregate transaction information, to merge the information with CRM products, and to provide key performance indicators.
Opportunity management which helps the company to manage unpredictable growth and demand, and implement a good forecasting model to integrate sales history with sales projections.
CRM systems that track and measure marketing campaigns over multiple networks, tracking customer analysis by customer clicks and sales.
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Impact on customer satisfaction
Firstly, firms are able to customize their offerings for each customer. By accumulating information across customer interactions and processing this information to discover hidden patterns, CRM applications help firms customize their offerings to suit the individual tastes of their customers. This customization enhances the perceived quality of products and services from a customer's viewpoint, and because perceived quality is a determinant of customer satisfaction, it follows that CRM applications indirectly affect customer satisfaction. Recently, research has been conducted to show how large corporations tailor their image and products, especially within the division of sports, to get the best response from target consumers. For example, corporations such as Target and Walmart seek sponsorships from auto-racing companies.
Secondly, CRM applications enable firms to provide timely, accurate processing of customer orders and requests and the ongoing management of customer accounts. For example, Piccoli and Applegate (2003) discuss how Wyndham uses IT tools to deliver a consistent service experience across its various properties to a customer. Both an improved ability to customize and a reduced variability of the consumption experience enhance perceived quality, which in turn positively affects customer satisfaction.
Thirdly, CRM applications also help firms manage customer relationships more effectively across the stages of relationship initiation, maintenance, and termination.
As well as tracking, recording and storing customer information, CRM systems in call centers codify the interactions between company and customers by using analytics and key performance indicators to give the users information on where to focus their marketing and customer service. The intention is to maximize average revenue per user, decrease churn rate and decrease idle and unproductive contact with the customers. CRM software can also be used to identify and reward loyal customers over a period of time.
Growing in popularity is the idea of gamifying customer service environments. The repetitive and tedious act of answering support calls all day can be draining, even for the most enthusiastic customer service representative. When agents are bored with their work, they become less engaged and less motivated to do their jobs well. They are also prone to making mistakes. Gamification tools can motivate agents by tapping into their visceral need for reward, status, achievement, and competition.
According to a Sweeney Group definition, CRM is "all the tools, technologies and procedures to manage, improve, or facilitate sales, support and related interactions with customers, prospects, and business partners throughout the enterprise". It assumes that CRM is involved in every B2B transaction.
Despite the general notion that CRM systems were created for the customer-centric businesses, they can also be applied to B2B environments to streamline and improve customer management conditions. For the best level of CRM operation in a B2B environment, the software must be personalized and delivered at individual levels.
Some CRM systems integrate social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to track and communicate with customers sharing their opinions and experiences with a company, products and services.
Enterprise Feedback Management software platforms such as Confirmit, Medallia, and Satmetrix combine internal survey data with trends identified through social media to allow businesses to make more accurate decisions on which products to supply.
The CRM Paradox, also referred to as the "Dark side of CRM", entails favoritism and differential treatment of some customers. This may cause perceptions of unfairness among other customers' buyers. They may opt out of relationships, spread negative information, or engage in misbehavior that may damage the firm. CRM fundamentally involves treating customers differently based on the assumption that customers are different and have different needs. Such perceived inequality may cause dissatisfaction, mistrust and result in unfair practices. A customer shows trust when he bonds in a relationship with a firm when he knows that the firm is acting fairly and adding value. However, customers may not trust that firms will be fair in splitting the value creation pie[clarify] in the first place. For example, Amazon test use of dynamic pricing (different prices for different customers) was a public relations nightmare for the company.