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Customer relationship management (CRM)

It is a term applied to processes implemented by a company to handle its contact with its customers.

CRM software is used to support these processes, storing information on current and prospective customers.

Information in the system can be accessed and entered by employees in different departments, such as sales, marketing, customer service, training, professional development, performance management, human resource development, and compensation.

Details on any customer contacts can also be stored in the system. The rationale behind this approach is to improve services provided directly to customers and to use the information in the system for targeted marketing and sales purposes.

While the term is generally used to refer to a software-based approach to handling customer relationships, most CRM software vendors stress that a successful CRM strategy requires a holistic approach.

CRM initiatives often fail because implementation was limited to software installation without providing the appropriate motivations for employees to learn, provide input, and take full advantage of the information systems.

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Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.