HISTORY OF CRM
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT is a concept that offered numerous benefits and long term changes to businesses. In the 1990’s companies began using it for a number of reasons. Big organizations used this method to interact with customers and handle all the voluminous data.
Large companies were using huge amounts of customer related information data and it was difficult to track down customers and their purchases, because the processing was too difficult. Also they needed something that updated the data constantly. But CRM only proved successful for long term results. The effectiveness for short term use was not up to par because it just ended up making the process more expensive and arduous.
EVOLUTION OF CRM
A limited use, all purpose electronic diary with basic data base functionality was what started all this data organizing. Those diaries, or Personal Information Managers, gave way to Contact Management System, or CMS which were flexible productivity tools, and could manage larger volumes of data. CMS morphed into SFA or Sales Force Automation systems, which us now the cornerstone of modern CRM applications.
It’s their new breed of products though, that, along with a host of others, have collectively redefined CRM. These grid-iron corporate offerings strive to give corporations the nirvana of a ‘unified’ view of their clients across the enterprise.1
In the last several years, CRM capabilities have evolved with recent software systems and advanced tracking features to increase its productivity. Perhaps the CRM currently in use is what the creators had envisioned originally.
The cost effective newer CRM systems are certainly a reason for even smaller companies to utilize them.
Even though CRM systems weren’t available yet, the 1980’s were a foundation for CRM software. The concept in vogue at that time was ‘Database Marketing’ – an earlier version of CRM. It was simply a phrase used to define the act of customer service groups speaking individually to customers.
The practice went well for key clients and became a valuable contrivance for opening the lines of communication and tailoring services to their requirements. But over time (and especially for smaller clients) the process became tedious and provided cluttered information without the insight.
Data collection was the easy part – it was impossible to process and analyze all the available data for the benefit of customer satisfaction. With time companies realized that it wasn’t all that information that they required. They found out they need the few basic data: what the customers purchased, how much money they spent and how they utilize the product.
In the 1990’s, this marketing system was instilled with a number of new techniques. That was when Customer Relationship Management was introduced. It now became a dual system, but now the customer got back more than just product satisfaction. Companies began giving them gifts, discounts, deals and even money. This was done to instill a sense of loyalty in the customer.
This was the beginning of frequent flyer programs, bonus credit card points. Previously customers were simply buying from the company and nothing much was done to build a relationship to get them to come back. CRM was now being used to increase sales and also improve customer service.
This was opposite to how the customer was being viewed earlier. Before the introduction of CRM, many companies didn’t care about catering to the customer. In the mind of the executives, they had ample resources and could simply replace customers whenever required.
That may have been acceptable before the 1980s, but with the onslaught of the Information Age, customers could now judge far better for their own good then before, and when they were not content with a company’s service they easily replaced it with so many other options available.
After that software companies began releasing newer, more advanced software that were used throughout industries, were customized, and the information was now being used in a usable, dynamic way.
Today CRM is being used in multiple ways. The CRM software doesn’t just feed information into a static database for future reference but it continuously updates the analysis of customer requirements and behavior.
CRM also helped develop strategies for more mutually beneficial work between different departments of an organization through shared information and understanding, leading to increased customer satisfaction.
The three major divisions that deploy CRM are the telecommunications, financial services providers and high tech corporations. And this software provides companies amazing feedback in terms of customer satisfaction.