Many different types of programs and applications exist under the umbrella of customer relationship management (CRM) technology. Some of the technology is available as a free, web-based service for a small number of users, while other programs must be purchased and installed on a computer for a larger number of users to have access. Beyond a structured framework and interface, customer relationship management technology can encompass the integration of various contact channels and social media networks, development of applications for wireless devices, and business analytics.
Customer relationship management technology has evolved as a result of an increased demand for an effective, efficient method of contact management. Businesses owners find that the most successful CRM technologies enable sales representatives to improve customer service, remove location barriers, and cut advertising costs while boosting sales. New customer relationship management technologies have developed to facilitate quick deployment of email marketing campaigns and enable mobile access for professionals on the go. Integration of CRM technology with social media networking also has improved the overall connection between a business and a customer.
The most basic form of customer relationship management technology is available on the Internet as a free download. These open-source CRM programs are structured for general contact management. For tracking sales and productivity, a more advanced CRM program that will enable a larger number of users to have access is probably better, even though there is a cost for its use. A web-based CRM program is quick and easy to use and integrates well with various email accounts to enable a quick integration of existing contacts; a complete CRM strategy, however, should not be limited to one type of CRM technology.
In addition to a basic contact and email management CRM technology, a comprehensive strategy for managing customer relationships should take advantage of the limitless amount of information available online about existing and potential customers through social media websites. Social networking enables businesses to maintain instant contact with loyal followers and alert them to promotions and special events. Many social networks have built-in utilities to track new followers with automatic updates.
An extension of wireless technology has driven customer relationship management technology to a new level, and location and a desk are no longer restrictive. Many businesses have a website just like they have a phone number, but the development of a mobile application is the next step in successful customer relationship management. Mobile CRM technology allows businesses to stay more connected with customers, learn more about their behavior and activities, and even process transactions from start to finish from the convenience of a wireless device. The integration of mobile applications is a CRM technology that comes with simple tools for business analytics.