Customer relationship management (CRM) is the combination of practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving customer service relationships and assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth. CRM systems compile customer data across different channels, or points of contact between the customer and the company, which could include the company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns.

CRM examples in practice

Traditionally, data intake practices for CRM systems have been the responsibility of sales and marketing departments, as well as contact center agents. Sales and marketing teams procure leads and update the system with information throughout the customer lifecycle, and contact centers gather data and revise customer history records through service calls and technical support interactions.

Social media in CRM involves businesses engaging customers directly through social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media presents an open forum for customers to share experiences with a brand, whether they are airing grievances or promoting products.
To add value to customer interactions on social media, businesses use various social CRM tools that monitor social media conversations, from specific mentions of a brand to the frequency of keywords used, to determine their target audience and which platforms they use. Other tools are designed to analyze social media feedback and address customer queries and issues.
Companies are interested in capturing customer sentiments, such as the likelihood they will recommend products and their overall customer satisfaction, to develop marketing and service strategies. Companies try to integrate social CRM data with other customer data obtained from sales or marketing departments to get a single view of the customer.

Another way in which social CRM adds value for companies and customers is through customer communities, where customers post reviews of products and can engage with other customers to troubleshoot issues or research products in real time. Customer communities can provide low-level customer service for certain kinds of problems and reduce the number of contact center calls. Customer communities can also provide new product ideas or feedback that companies can use in lieu of feedback groups.

CRM applications built for smartphones and tablets have become a must-have for sales representatives and marketing professionals who want to access customer information and perform tasks when they are not physically in their offices. Mobile CRM apps take advantage of features that are unique to mobile devices, such as GPS and voice recognition capabilities, to give sales and marketing employees access to customer information from anywhere.

A CRM system in a B2B environment helps monitor sales as they move through the sales funnel, enabling a business to address any issues that might come up during the process. CRM systems in the B2B market help create more visibility into leads and, therefore, increase efficiency throughout the sales

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