Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to the practices, strategies, and technologies that organisations use to manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, to improve customer satisfaction and retention. CRM has been an integral part of the business world for several decades, and its evolution has been shaped by a range of technological, economic, and social factors.
Some of the best CRM providers in the UK include:
The History of CRM Explained
Although the actual concept of customer relationship management (CRM) is not as recent as the advent of the various options and software solutions is much more recent. The basic premise has always been that keeping customers and clients engaged with the brand or company is better for business, both existing and for the future.
When Did CRM Originate?
The concept of CRM can be traced back to the 1970s when companies began to use mainframe computers to store customer data. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the term “CRM” began to be used, and the first CRM software was developed. This software, known as ACT!, was released in 1986 and provided businesses with a way to manage their customer contacts and interactions.
CRM in the 1990s
Throughout the 1990s, CRM software became more sophisticated, with companies like Siebel Systems and Oracle entering the market. These companies developed software that allowed businesses to not only manage customer contacts but also to analyse customer data and generate insights into customer behaviour.
CRM in the 21st Century
In the early 2000s, the rise of the internet and e-commerce led to a shift in the way that companies approached CRM. With more customers interacting with businesses online, CRM systems began to incorporate digital channels such as email, social media, and chatbots.
Additionally, companies began to focus on using CRM to improve customer service and loyalty, rather than simply managing customer data.
The mid-2000s saw the rise of cloud-based CRM, which allowed companies to access their customer data and CRM software from anywhere, as long as they had an internet connection. This made CRM more accessible and affordable for smaller businesses, as they no longer had to invest in expensive hardware and software to manage their customer data.
In recent years, the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning has led to a new generation of CRM software that can analyse large amounts of customer data to generate insights and predictions about customer behaviour. This has enabled companies to personalise their interactions with customers and deliver more targeted marketing and sales messages.
What Is the Goal of CRM and CRM Software?
Despite the evolution of CRM over the years, the fundamental goal has remained the same: to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. CRM has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes, as it allows them to manage their customer interactions and data more efficiently and effectively.
What Are the Benefits of CRM?
Access to Customer Data
One of the key benefits of CRM is that it allows businesses to create a single, unified view of their customers. By storing all customer data in one place, businesses can gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviour. This allows them to personalise their interactions with customers, anticipate their needs, and deliver more targeted marketing messages.
Better Customer Service
Another benefit of CRM is that it can help businesses to improve customer service and support. By providing employees with access to customer data and interaction history, they can provide more informed and personalised support to customers. This can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
CRM can also help businesses to improve their sales and marketing efforts. By analysing customer data, businesses can identify trends and patterns in customer behaviour, allowing them to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.
Additionally, CRM can help businesses to identify potential sales opportunities and track the progress of sales leads, leading to more efficient and effective sales processes.
Overall, CRM has played an important role in the evolution of modern business practices.
From its early roots in mainframe computing to its current form as a cloud-based, AI-powered tool, CRM has helped businesses to manage their customer interactions and data more effectively. As businesses continue to adapt to changing technological and economic environments, CRM will remain a key tool for improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business performance.