Customer Relationship Management has captivated the corporate world entirely. From the just-started ventures to the large corporations, every organization has just one thing on mind – how to utilize the CRM in the best way to hone customer relations. But what makes it interesting is that while CRM has become so popular, not many of us actually know about its history.
By history, I do not mean when the first CRM application was designed etc. Rather, what I imply is the multiple changes that CRM has undergone in the past several decades.
The CRM technology that supports the interactions between a customer and a business has evolved tremendously. Technological advancements, customer behavior and high-level phenomenon such as social media, etc. have all left their mark on the customer relationship management application.
The technological experts (who have monitored the CRM since its introduction) believe that each of the three initials of C-R-M have been the focus in different phases of the evolution period. To explain further, let’s say – in the first phase managing the data around a sales person’s activities (the”M” in CRM) was the focus.
Initially, unwieldy databases were the status quo. As a result, when the CRM system was introduced, the priority was to standardize processes through better management. In fact, it was a result of this focus on management that led most CRM systems getting designed to benefit managers more than the end users. For instance, users were compelled to feed data in the CRM. While this made the management reports better, the actual users did not gained anything out of the CRM.
The conceit of management continued for a long time. Most CRM systems focused on workflow process management, management-level reports, – NOT on optimizing the insights around customer histories. When it was gradually realized that such CRM systems were not creating meaningful experiences at different touch points, customer data came into the picture (the”C” in CRM).
Adding the C was a revolutionary yet ironical step. While Customer was always there in the term Customer Relationship Management, its actual significance came in later.
The era of cRm (i.e. R in the focus) is the one we are living now. Many industry leaders have believed that evolving further from the management of data and rich customer insights; we have finally arrived to focus on the RELATIONSHIP aspect. Today, every successful enterprise has attributed its success to enhanced relations with customers. And following this tactic are the small and medium-sized enterprises that have started investing in CRM cloud applications to focus better on the relationships customer have with them.
Experts believe that this period has turned out to be the most profitable among the three different phases of the CRM evolution. Focusing on the relationship has benefited both the customer and the actual front line users of a CRM system.
Users have been empowered with the tools which they need to provide an exceptional level of service. And that too, in a single, intuitive user panel that is accessible on any device. Result – Sales, marketing and support professionals are able do their jobs better with less stress and manual efforts.
The customers have benefited as the organizations have a complete record of their past transactions, buying patterns and preferences. Consequently, organizations have been in a better position to solve the problems and meet the customer needs across any channel.