Customer relationship management (CRM) describes technologies and strategies designed to improve the quality of service and support provided to a business’s customers as well as to maximize the revenue generated through customer interactions.
CRM applications primarily support the sales and customer support functions, although any touchpoint with a current, past, or potential customer, including marketing and field service, is relevant data for a CRM system. It is used in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets.
The conventional use case for CRM systems is to support a sales force with as much information as possible about customers and leads so that they can maximize their effectiveness during a sales call or follow-up. By looking up a customer in the CRM system, a salesperson can quickly reference the entire history of the account or lead, including closed business, call reports, contacts, org charts, customer challenges, technologies used, and much more. It can also provide notifications to sales teams, providing optimal timing for follow-up contact.
Today, CRM software is used in many business functions beyond sales. It can help the customer contact role in resolving complaints and technical support, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and retention. It is also used in marketing to optimize messaging and timing of promotions. It is used by field service technicians to understand the entire history of service issues, whether or not that technician has serviced the customer before.
At its most ambitious, CRM promotes the idea of the customer relationship as a lifecycle, smoothing transitions between marketing, sales, and support functions so that customers have a rewarding experience.