The concept of Customer Relationship Management has a number of different definitions. It is not only used to denote the software used for managing relationships, but also for Customer Relationship Management as a strategy. Some see the concept as a tool, a clever trick used by marketing and sales departments. Let’s take a look at these differing views.
Customer Relationship Management as software
The terms Customer Relationship Management and CRM are often used to denote the software, although it might be more practical to use the term CRM software when referring to the software.
Customer Relationship Management as a strategy
Customer Relationship Management is more than just software. CRM is a strategic tool. Perhaps we could even call it a strategy: a way to ensure that the customer and their wishes are central to the organization.
Customer Relationship Management as part of an organization's DNA
The use of software and a strategy with a strong focus on the customer relationship are just two definitions of the concept of CRM. Some organizations believe that CRM lies within the DNA of the organization. That without a customer-focused element in the organization’s DNA, the use of CRM and CRM software is nothing more than a clever trick which will not last. Especially in a world filled with social media, which enables customers to share the experiences they've had with the organization. The customer-oriented and social aspects of the organization need to be real and sincere in order to be sustained in this online world. And the strategy and the software are no more than vital tools.
New definition of CRM
So it might be time for a new definition of Customer Relationship Management; a definition that encompasses the software, the strategy, and the organization's own DNA alike. Only when organizations harmonize all three will they function in a truly customer-oriented way. The social and customer-oriented DNA of the organization will then form a foundation for a solid strategy, and the CRM software will enable it to work.