One of the things that we face on a regular basis with our clients is exactly what is CRM?  It’s interesting when people describe the acronym as it can either be customer relationship management, client relations management or it could even be the self title I provided myself: client relationship manager.  At the end of the day, all of those variations have one thing in common.  They are all about relationships.  CRM really is an art.

The beauty of CRM is that it isn’t just software, it’s a world of lifestyle.

What is CRM?

There are tons of interpretations of what CRM is.  There are really three areas that you would focus on when it comes these systems and that is: Marketing, Sales and Service.

These three areas are critical pillars to delivering a well thought out relationship management system.  A CRM system is really the touch point system that manages all interactions with your clients/customers.  Whether you are sending an email or making a phone call they are all activities that you would want to track and understand.

Other areas you could consider an important aspect are things such as surveys which also collect feedback or in some cases a pulse of what your customer is thinking regarding your services.

How about the corner store?

A good mentor of mine always reminded me of the corner store example.  If you go into older neighbourhoods or for older generations think back to the 50’s and 60’s where service was an art without computer systems.  You would walk into your local corner store and the store keep would know exactly what you were buying as he took note in his head of what was important to you.  Eventually he would adapt his products to suit the needs of his customer base.  The difference in our Internet and computerized world today is that this is done by computers.  When you’re a billion dollar company it only makes sense to use systems like this to help create a great customer experience.

What is CRM to the Corner Store

The Corner Store. Photo courtesy of dbking(CC Attribution)

So have we answered what a CRM is yet?

I think we have in general terms but I think every organization needs to define CRM in their own way.  The three pillars are obviously critical to how your organization sets itself up but you need to develop processes and ideas around what those pillars mean to your organization.

Good luck on your path to relationship management greatness.

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