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CRM Application - CRM Function Is Supported By Software?

Oct 17, 2007
Customer relationship management or CRM usually covers a wide range of theories, ideas and principles about handling and building relationships with customers using information pertaining to not only customers but also associates, suppliers, and employees.

A CRM application should ideally support an organization in implementing one of more functions of the three: operational, collaborative and analytical. Operational functions include automation of processes requiring assistance of a technician or sales representative. Collaborative functions involve self-service and independent handling of problems by customers on their own. Analytical functions include studying, representing and examining data about customers for research and development.

Operational CRM is widely implemented in call centers to support processes such as marketing, service and support. All correspondence with customers is stored as history information for future reference. Although customers may interact with different people at different times in their relationship, they would be saved the trouble of repeating the history of their relationship because of the stored data.

Collaborative CRM improves service and reduces cost because of its ability to allow customers to issue feedback and submit requests independently. The management of a company would find analytical CRM a useful tool for optimizing marketing strategies, targeting customers for cross-selling and retention campaigns, making decisions on pricing and research, and predicting the behavior of customers.

The operational CRM function is supported by software operated by agents. Collaborative CRM functions are supported by systems that interact with customers using tools such as websites, search functions, FAQ, and automatic call handling. Analytical CRM functions include aids that allow information to be filtered, reported, viewed and represented in graphs. The foundation of a CRM application lies in its database, which stores the operational, collaborative and analytical information about the customers.

Small businesses can benefit from a CRM solution as it requires least resources and funds and provides the most benefits. The vast database of customer information you build helps you shift your marketing and development strategy from a product-oriented to a customer-oriented approach. Needless to say, a customer-centric approach maximizes profit. As CRM solutions become web-based, you will be able to access customer information from any location or computer. Many of your processes, such as tracking of customer records will get automated resulting in reduction of cost and time.

A CRM application allows your customer to view the latest prices and available stock instantaneously from anywhere, helping them order products accordingly. You can use the application to obtain more accurate and effective data on sales analysis. While selecting a CRM solution, check if the software can be customized as per your unique needs. In addition, test if it's easy to obtain customer data from anywhere and on any criterion.

If you want a flexible CRM solution, it would be a good idea to select a web-based one that provides a number of useful collaborative tools. The interface should be user-friendly with plenty of features that allow customers to interact and obtain the required information in as few clicks as possible.
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