In business, there can be no doubts or arguments on who is the boss. The customer is the central aspect of business around which the organisation and its operations are built. And customer satisfaction is the key in a competitive business arena, where competitors vie for the customers’ attention and throw all kinds of messages and signals to make the customer pay focus on their product and service offerings. This is where CRM s/w comes into play, in helping business serve the customer better through smart and intelligent customer management. However, there is a difference between CRM Software and a Contact Management Solution, though they are found to be used interchangeably in some cases.
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM Software, is a way to centralise information about customers and helping the organisation and the departments share the information among themselves for ease of access. CRM Software helps in making smart, real time decisions that are accurate, appropriate and crucial for the right management decisions to be made. CRM S/w helps in collaboration among the various branches of business, which would invariably lead to performance improvement as well as better levels of customer satisfaction. CRM software helps in responding to changing customer needs in real time, which could be a source of competitive advantage, as it takes the right information and the resources to respond to customer needs before the competition does.
CRM software gives business the flexibility and the agility, where information that is centralised is effectively shared across all parts of the business that may have a stake in customer satisfaction and customer service. With a high level of information sharing, CRM s/w helps the different parts of the business know the customer better, which in itself provides more options for cross selling as well as up-selling of products and services, which could have a direct impact on the business bottom line.
The difference between CRM Software and a Contact Management solution lies in the fact that the latter helps in managing the management’s and the sales department’s time and resources better. The purpose of contact management solution is to ensure that all kinds of customer and prospect communications are effectively managed, and all the customer interactions are centralised at one place, which helps in improved information management. In effect, contact management solution helps in better customer relationship management, both of which could contribute for an improved business performance in the long run.