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The evolution of CRM – the path to a happy customer.

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CRM is now a fundamental part of every business but where did it originate from and how has it evolved?

There’s no doubt about it, CRM is fast becoming an integral part of many businesses. We all like being treated as an individual so when Joe Bloggs Enterprises calls you up and has a chit chat about how your trip to Paris was, you will undoubtedly leave that call thinking “That was nice of him to ask…!” Nice? Maybe. Business savvy? Absolutely. That is CRM working its magic.

Research by Gartner has indicated that the adoption of SaaS based technologies, including CRM will drive the increase in software spend throughout 2013 and into 2014. Fast emerging as the top application software investment priority, Customer Relationship Management systems form an incredibly important facet of every organization that you will meet, speak to or do business with every single day.

“CRM is fast becoming THE top application for investment by businesses.”

The origin of CRM

With a history rooted in the 1980s, the evolution of CRM began with the advent of database marketing. Organizations were able to generate personalized communications to a group of customers by analyzing data. Hard to track, unorganized and difficult to update, CRM systems of the 80s were not the seamless operations they are today.

The 90s arrived and CRM became more of a two way street, not only rewarding companies but also customers. As the likes of Airmiles, loyalty schemes and rewards came about, swapping customer data for freebies, it was a win-win for both parties and the evolving CRM industry was going from strength to strength.

Y2K hit, the dot-com bubble burst and the CRM market retracted. Too much, too soon meant the big players in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based industry reported huge losses in revenue. The knock on effect? Cloud based software was hit hardest as organizations stopped spending on “dot-com” technology.

evolution of CRM

Fast forward a few years and CRM systems now form the heart of millions of businesses across the globe. They are no longer slow, time consuming systems but smooth, streamlined operations that make our working lives easier.

CRM today

CRM systems have evolved and today are often service based, hosted in the Cloud with simple applications that even a ‘non-techie’ could use. As customers today expect more and more (and even more!) from companies, a simple CRM can turn that one off buyer into a regular customer. These intelligent additions to your business will afford you the ability to easily identify exactly when you last saw Mr Jones, what you spoke about, what he ordered, any of his queries or problems and any follow up actions that you needed to satisfy. The added insight into his favorite sports team or his recent golfing weekend just adds a friendly, personal touch to your conversation.

The result? Customers are no longer faceless behind an account number, but become individuals that each have their own wants and needs, their own preferences, they have come to expect a personal journey as a customer and don’t want to be perceived as another source of revenue amongst the masses. That is exactly where the magic of a CRM system comes into play.

Not using CRM for your business? You should be. Read more about the benefits of using a CRM system here.

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