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Encyclopedia > Customer relationship management

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broad term that covers concepts used by companies to manage their relationships with customers, including the capture, storage and analysis of customer, vendor, partner, and internal process information. A company in the broadest sense is an aggregation of people who stay together for a common purpose. ...



There are three aspects of CRM which can each be implemented in isolation from each other:

  • Operational - automation or support of customer processes that include a company’s sales or service representative
  • Collaborative - direct communication with customers that does not include a company’s sales or service representative (self service)
  • Analytical - analysis of customer data for a broad range of purposes

META Group (acquired by Gartner in April 2005) developed this conceptual architecture in the late 1990s, and dubbed it the CRM EcosystemCon. Self Service is the practice of serving oneself, usually when purchasing items. ...

A pioneer of CRM ,Help Desk Software since 1992 SOFFRONT the mid-market CRM leader gave a whole new interface and practical solutions to the CRM by offering end-to-end CRM Software solutions spanning marketing automation and sales force automation software, customer service and helpdesk software, sales order processing software, asset and project management software, defect tracking software and more.

The latest CRM functionalities

The latest CRM should incorporate features that extend the CRM functionality beyond sales, marketing, and customer support.

Some features are

  • Superior user interface
  • Support for Web Services
  • A framework, which should support integration with popular accounting systems.
  • Support e-mail client integration and advanced email support
  • Support perforce integration
  • Features to make the engine to support automated business rules, email support and alerts etc
  • Supports customization of UI,TOOLS,REPORTS,TEMPLATES etc.
  • Should be WEB and WAP enabled.
  • Zero footprint web browser : the CRM should be web based and operate from your browser. You can access the application just as you would access a web site like amazon.com. There must not be any requirement of writing code at the client’s end or any requirement to download a plug-in or an applet. Standard browser access is a must should support open technologies like http/xml which provides all the functionality.
  • All modules should be inherently integrated with each other. The complete breadth of crm functions spanning sales, marketing, customer support, employee support, partner management, defect tracking and customer portal applications must be integrated by design.
  • The product should support database like oracle, ms sql server and sybase. A single repository should hold all the data generated across various customer touch points.
  • If the modules are pre-integrated then you have the flexibility to start with what you need and activate the rest when you need them.

Should be release independent so that the customizations done at installation and over the years are preserved when you upgrade. There is no need to rework them.


Operational CRM provides support to "front office" business processes, including sales, marketing and service. Each interaction with a customer is generally added to a customer's contact history, and staff can retrieve information on customers from the database when necessary. Front office is an integrated CRM software. ... For the magazine, see Marketing (magazine). ...

One of the main benefits of this contact history is that customers can interact with different people or different contact channels in a company over time without having to describe the history of their interaction each time.

Consequently, many call centers use some kind of CRM software to support their call center agents. A very large collections call centre in Lakeland, FL. A call centre or call center (see spelling differences) is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. ...

Operational CRM process customer data for a variety of purposes:

  • Managing Campaigns
  • Enterprise Marketing Automation
  • Sales Force Automation


Collaborative CRM covers the direct interaction with customers, for a variety of different purposes, including feedback and issue-reporting. Interaction can be through a variety of channels, such as web pages, email, automated phone (Automated Voice Response AVR) or SMS.

The objectives of collaborative CRM can be broad, including cost reduction and service improvements.


Analytical CRM analyzes customer data for a variety of purposes:

  • Design and execution of targeted marketing campaigns to optimise marketing effectiveness
  • Design and execution of specific customer campaigns, including customer acquisition, cross-selling, up-selling, retention
  • Analysis of customer behavior to aid product and service decision making (e.g. pricing, new product development etc.)
  • Management decisions, e.g. financial forecasting and customer profitability analysis
  • Prediction of the probability of customer defection (churn analysis).

Analytical CRM generally makes heavy use of predictive analytics. Marketing Effectiveness is the function of improving how marketers go to market with the goal of optimizing their marketing spend to achieve even better results for both the short-term and long-term. ... Cross-selling is the strategy of pushing new products to current customers based on their past purchases. ... Up-selling is a sales technique, where a salesman attempts to have the consumer purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a better sale. ... Instance of retaining (e. ... Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of techniques from statistics and data mining that process current and historical data in order to make “predictions” about future events. ...


Several commercial CRM software packages are available which vary in their approach to CRM. However, CRM is not just a technology, but rather a comprehensive approach to an organization's philosophy in dealing with its customers. This includes policies and processes, front-of-house customer service, employee training, marketing, systems and information management. Hence, it is important that any CRM implementation considerations stretch beyond technology, towards the broader organizational requirements. Customers are waiting in front of a famous fashion shop for its grand opening in Hong Kong. ...

The objectives of a CRM strategy must consider a company’s specific situation and its customers needs and expectations.

Technology considerations

The technology requirements of a CRM strategy can be complex and far reaching.

The basic building blocks:

  • A database to store customer information. This can be a CRM specific database or an enterprise data warehouse.
  • Operational CRM requires customer agent support software.
  • Collaborative CRM requires customer interaction systems, e.g. an interactive website, automated phone systems etc.
  • Analytical CRM requires statistical analysis software as well as software that manages any specific marketing campaigns.

Each of these can be implemented in a basic manner or in a high end complex installation. This article is about computing. ... A data warehouse is the main repository of an organizations historical data, its corporate memory. ...

Key functionalities

A typical CRM system is subdivided into three basic sub modules:

  1. Marketing
  2. Sales
  3. Service

Sales Force Automation

Sales Management Sales Forecasting Pipeline Management Mobile Sales Sales Commissions Mgmt

Sales Order Processing

Order Lifecycle Management Quotation and Invoicing Inventory Management Shipping & RMA

Marketing Automation

Marketing Management Email Campaigning Direct Mail Campaigning Tele-marketing Marketing Analytics Transpromotional documents (enriching transaction documents with marketing content). Transpromotional (or Transpromo) describes a type of document or corporate communication strategy that delivers transactional information and promotional marketing messages. ...

Issue/Project Management

Defect Management Test case Management Product Release Mgmt Time & Cost tracking Project Management

Customer Help Desk

Customer Support Multi Channel Contact Center Mobile Support Customer Portal Customer Self Service Customer Survey SLA Management

Partner Management

CRM Portal Partner Lead Distribution Partner Self-service Partner Order processing

Helpdesk Software

Employee Help Desk Multi Channel Contact Center Mobile Support Asset Management Employee Portal Employee Self Service Employee Survey


Object API Web Services Back office integration

Several functionalities are:

  1. Service Order Management
  2. Service Contract Management
  3. Planned Services management
  4. Warranty Management
  5. Installed Base (Equipment) Management
  6. SLA Management
  7. Resource Planning and Scheduling
  8. Knowledge Management (FAQs, How to guides)
  9. Call Center Support
  10. Resource Planning and Workforce Management

Channels of communication

It is also important to mention here that a CRM system is capable of executing all the three sub modules via multiple communication Channels. These channels can be:

  1. Direct
  2. Online (Internet)
  3. Call Center (via Phone/FAX/Email etc)

All the three CRM Sub Modules (Marketing, Sales and Service) can be executed across these Communication channels. Based on these criteria, CRM offerings can be further sub divided into following:

Communication Channel

/ CRM Module

Direct Internet Call Center
Marketing Online Marketing Web Marketing Tele Marketing
Sales Online Sales Web Shop Tele Sales
Service Online Service Customer Self Service Portal Tele Service


While there are numerous reports of "failed" implementations of various types of CRM projects, these are often the result of unrealistic high expectations and exaggerated claims by CRM vendors.

Privacy and data security

The data gathered as part of CRM must consider customer privacy and data security. Customers want the assurance that their data is not shared with third parties without their consent and not accessed illegally by third parties. This article or section should be merged with Consumer privacy Customer privacy measures are those taken by commercial organizations to ensure that confidential customer data is not stolen or abused. ... Data security is the means of ensuring that data is kept safe from corruption and that access to it is suitably controlled. ...

Customers also want their data used by companies to provide a benefit for them. For instance, an increase in unsolicited telemarketing calls is generally resented by customers while a small number of relevant offers is generally appreciated by customers.

Market structure

Given below is a list of top CRM software vendors in 2005 with figures in millions of United States Dollars published in a Gartner study.[1] Gartner, Inc. ...

Vendor Global Revenue (US$)
SAP 1,475
Siebel 966
Oracle 368
Salesforce.com 281
Amdocs 276
Others 2,333
Total 5,698

SAP AG (ISIN: DE0007164600, FWB: SAP, NYSE: SAP) is the largest European software enterprise and the third largest in the world, with headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. ... Siebel is a brand name of Oracle Corporation. ... Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) is one of the major companies developing database management systems (DBMS), tools for database development, middle-tier software, enterprise resource planning software (ERP), customer relationship management software (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) software. ... Salesforce. ... Amdocs NYSE: DOX, headquarters in St. ...

See also

Enterprise relationship management (ERM) is software that analyzes data it has about its customers to develop a better understanding of the customer and how the customer is using its products and services. ... Business intelligence (BI) is a business management term, which refers to applications and technologies that are used to gather, provide access to, and analyze data and information about company operations. ... A customer is someone who purchases or rents something from an individual or organisation. ... Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... // (also known as Client Service) is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. ... Database marketing is a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of techniques from statistics and data mining that process current and historical data in order to make “predictions” about future events. ... Sales force management systems are information systems used in marketing and management that help automate some sales and sales force management functions. ... or WMS is an ERP (Enterprise resource planning) which is managed solely via the internet, A WMS gives organizations or businesses the ability to centralize a company at multiple locations. ...


  1. ^ Gartner, Inc (2006-06-12). Gartner Says Worldwide CRM Total Software Revenue Increased 14 Percent in 2005. Press release. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.

  Results from FactBites:
Customer Relationship Management System, customer relationship management , crm customer relationship management , ... (287 words)
Customer relationship management systems often incorporate solutions left over from the heyday of classical cold call selling.
One of the problems in developing customer relationship management systems effective for the new millennium is that the over saturation of advertising in practically every media threatens to dull client lead generation.
Repeat customers tend to be the bread and butter of most legitimate sales operations.
Customer relationship management - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2214 words)
Customer relationship management is a corporate level strategy which focuses on creating and maintaining lasting relationships with its customers.
CRM programs are not however considered universally good - some feel it invades customer privacy and enable coercive sales techniques due to the information companies now have on customers - see persuasion technology.
CRM is also important to non-profit organizations, which sometimes use the terms "constituent relationship management," "contact relationship management" or "community relationship management" to describe their information systems for managing donors, volunteers and other supporters.
  More results at FactBites »



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