Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of those great concepts that swept the business world in the 1990’s with the promise of forever changing the way businesses small and large interacted with their customer bases. In the short term, however, it proved to be a cumbersome process that was better in theory than in practice for a variety of reasons. First among these was that it was simply so difficult and expensive to track and keep the high volume of records needed accurately and continuously update them.
The evolution of the CRM systems
The 1980’s saw the emergence of database marketing, which was simply a catch phrase to define the practice of setting up customer service groups to speak individually to all of a company’s customers. In the 1990’s companies began to improve on Customer Relationship Management by making it more of a two-way street. Instead of simply gathering data for their use, they began giving back to their customers not only regarding the apparent goal of improved customer service but in incentives, gifts and other perks for customer loyalty.
In the beginning, there was PIM, or Personal Information Manager - a limited use, all purpose electronic diary with basic database functionality, that you could use to start organizing your names and addresses, and time, amongst other things. These PIM's are useful personal productivity tools, but they tend to fall over when applied in a business environment with a more demanding requirement.
The PIM slowly morphed into the CMS, or Contact Management System, as a result of its increasing take on by people in sales and marketing, incorporating a more specific set of requirements to help them scale the coalface.
Contact Managers are fantastic, flexible productivity tools for most anybody or organization. They are also more robust, with improved industrial strength database engines, which are better able to manage larger volumes of data. Contact Management software became SFA, as in Sales Force
Automation systems, what now forms the cornerstone of modern CRM applications. CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management, which is the industry term for the set of methodologies and tools that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way. Not to mention that some mutated into ERM, sometimes referred to as eCRM (electronic Customer Relationship Management), PRM, with Pro and Lite versions of everything to take products in and out of their respective weight divisions.
Real Customer Relationship Management as it’s thought of today began in earnest in the early years of this century. As software companies began releasing newer, more advanced solutions that were customizable across industries, it became feasible to use the information in a dynamic way. Instead of feeding information into a static database for future reference, CRM became a way continuously to update understanding of customer needs and behavior.
Branching of information, sub-folders, and custom tailored features enabled companies to break down information into smaller subsets so that they could evaluate not only concrete statistics but information on the motivation and reactions of customers.
The Internet provided a huge boon to the development of these vast databases by enabling offsite data storage also called SAAS (Software as a Service). A good example for nowadays CRM is Zimplu CRM which can store companies database in cloud computing. Users are now able to access their information wherever they are.
SAAS is not a new concept, in our days using a CRM software without mobile integration will slow you down. Creating and launching a CRM software in 2012 is even worse; it will be a big failure for any company. What is coming from behind is Mobile CRM, experts expect that Mobile CRM market will boom in 2012, an opportunity of billions of dollars.