Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) is a phrase that describes how your business interacts with your customers. Most people think of CRM as a system to capture information about your customers. However, that is only part of the picture. CRM involves using technology to gather the intelligence you need to provide improved support and services to your customers. In other words, CRM is also about what you do with that information to better meet the needs of your existing customers and identify new customers, resulting in higher profits for you.

Online customers have a special set of expectations that set them apart from traditional customers. In particular, they expect lots of information about your company and your products to be available online with minimal searching, close to immediate service, opportunities for self-service via your website, speedy shipment of products, and after-sales support. Therefore, you need to consider CRM principles when doing business online.

Benefits of CRM

CRM is about making each and every customer feel like they have a one-to-one relationship with you. Effective CRM gives you the opportunity to show your customers that:

  • You know and recognize them.
  • You understand them.
  • You care about their needs, questions and concerns.
  • You want to deliver services and products they need the most.
  • You appreciate their business.

CRM will also benefit your company by allowing you to:

  • Develop superior services and products that meet your customers' identified needs.Enhance marketing towards the most profitable customers to improve your bottom line.
  • Improve efficiency by providing support and services to customers online (through frequently asked questions, for example).
  • Anticipate future business needs based on data on historic sale and service trends.
  • Increase your customer base as you develop new ways to engage in business online.