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A n I n t ro d u c t i o n t o C u s t o m e r R e l a t i o n s h i p
M a n a g e m e n t
The problem
An organisation is likely to be comprised of different departments, each of which may
conduct different dealings with the same customers.Without an effective and well-
planned Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution in place there is no guar-
antee that these departments will have effective communications with each other. For
example, information held by a customer services department of great interest to the
marketing department could remain inaccessible and hence under utilised.
Such a breakdown in communication may lead to customers receiving contradictory
information from the organisation. CRM aims to eliminate this by integrating channels
to provide a single, reliable portal to the data. Another major CRM process is the logging
of all customer interactions making them available to appropriate employees. Knowledge
of prior contact can help application of a more personalised and unified approach to
future customer dealings.
This demonstrates two crucial challenges for organisations: internal cooperation
between departments and external communications between business and customer.
The CRM philosophy
Customer Relationship Management originated as a business philosophy designed to
strengthen and develop the organisation's relationships.The three central tenets of CRM
have generally been the understanding, anticipation, and management of the needs of an
organisation's current and potential customers.
1
The primary motive for implementing a
CRM solution is usually regarded as the retention of existing customers.
By understanding more about customers' needs, CRM aims to develop stronger rela-
tionships and information networks in order to keep existing customers, and to develop a
marketing strategy for the acquisition of new business. Understanding how and why a
customer interacts with an organisation is increasingly considered to be of paramount
importance. It enables organisation to provide better customer support, to target products
or services more accurately, to increase revenue, to exploit under-utilised resources, and
discover business opportunities.
Essentially, CRM aims to collate all the disparate information about customer, sales
figures, marketing effectiveness and market trends, allowing an organisation to make
better use of the valuable data in its possession and gain the advantage of a single, `360-
degree' profile of customers across multiple lines of business.The efficient flow of infor-
mation between different lines of business (LOB's) will show a consistent and unified
front to customers, whichever interaction channel, email, letter, telephone, they use to
contact the organisation.
Customer Relationship
Management
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1
Brown (ed.), Customer Relationship Management, p. 339.