The generally accepted purpose of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to enable orginizations to better serve its customers through the introduction of reliable processes and procedures for interacting with those customers. A successful CRM strategy is usually implemented through a software package designed to support these processes.
Major areas of CRM focus on service automated processes, personal information gathering and processing, and self-service. It attempts to integrate and automate the various customer serving processes within a company.
It typically involves three general areas of business. They are a customer service system, a marketing information system and a sales force management system. The marketing information part provides information about the business environment, including competitors, industry trends, and macroenviromental variables. The sales force management part automates some of the company's sales and sales force management functions. It keeps track of customer preferences, buying habits, and demographics, and also sales staff performance. The customer service part automates some service requests, complaints, product returns, and information requests.
Integrated CRM software is often also known as "front office solutions." This is because they deal directly with the customer.
Many call centers use CRM software to store all of their customer's details on. When a customer calls, the system can be used to retrieve and store information relevant to the customer. By serving the customer quickly and efficiently, and also keeping all information on a customer in one place, a company aims to make cost savings, and also encourage new customers.
CRM solutions can also be used to allow customers to perform their own service via a variety of communication channels. For example, you might be able to check your bank balance via your WAP phone without ever having to talk to a person, saving money for the company, and saving you time.
Many other companies supply CRM solutions, including salesforce.com, Maximizer, Oracle Corporation, IBM, SAP, FrontRange Solutions, BMC, BroadVision, Epicor and hipergate CRM,. These pay varying degrees of attention to usability, integration, and privacy concerns - it being widely acknowledged as impossible to fulfil all three constraints - thus it seemed unlikely that any one vendor can dominate in the near term. However, those dealing in Total Information Awareness and fulfilling government contracts to gather data on citizens without their permission or knowledge, clearly have the advantage of prepaid integration contracts and no privacy limits whatsoever, effectively making CRM a key part of the U.S. military-industrial complex.
If a dominant provider of such "solutions" could gain a decisive advantage in this privacy-sensitive marketplace, this would raise significant antitrust concerns.