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What is a CRM system?

A CRM-System is a software solution for capturing and maintaining customer relationship. It provides a central collection point where companies can store information about customers and prospects, track customer interactions, and share important data with colleagues. In the best case, the CRM system provides companies with a 360-degree view of their customers. CRM system

This is a database application that enables structured and, if necessary, automated recording of all customer contacts and data. This data supports sales employees in many ways through its permanent and comprehensive availability. In larger companies, the data from the CRM system is often stored in a data warehouse for further manual or automatic evaluation using data mining or OLAP.

CRM systems are largely based on standard software products. These programs are available on the market in a wide variety of versions and price classes to meet typical requirements. For special needs, on the other hand, individual CRM solutions are usually developed. There are numerous offerings both in the commercial sector and for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Here are some systems mentioned as examples:

The ideal integration of CRM software is with the company's ERP program to avoid redundancies in data management. Such integration also improves data quality, as CRM accesses the "real" data, such as customer master data and transaction data from quoting and order processing. One problem with CRM is the immense amount of data that can be generated, which can affect the quality of the data. One solution is the so-called "dirty CRM" approach, where data quality is not the first priority, for example, when only mail addresses are known without any further information and the customer relationship is only established later. Many systems fail here because mandatory data or analytical tasks are not feasible.

As a rule, proprietary software solutions are the main choice for customer care. However, there are also software-on-demand, SaaS and open source solutions. On-demand solutions are available immediately, and in most cases users only pay for use and are spared an elaborate technical infrastructure. Open source solutions are largely freely available and therefore inexpensive to procure. When choosing, it is particularly important that the software can be adapted to the specific task in the company and that interfaces to the existing software landscape are available. The main costs of customer relationship management do not arise in the procurement of the software, but through personnel costs for the planning and execution of actions and for the maintenance of the data.

Another important cost item is the CRM Implementation. Here can be a CRM Consulting help to reduce these costs.

CRM systems and data

The type of data stored depends, among other things, on the specific objectives of the CRM and the company's industry. The range extends from simple contact data to sometimes very personal information, such as credit information, personal backgrounds, criminal records, or outstanding payments. When storing and processing this data, as well as when assigning access rights, it is essential to observe data protection. This applies without restriction, even if the data collected falls under the provisions of a data protection law but is processed outside the scope of that law.

If it is possible to control employee performance and behavior in the relationship between customers and employees, labor law regulations must also be taken into account. Given the legal situation, it is often best to refrain from storing and processing sensitive data (such as personal data) in order to respect the rights of the data subjects.

Benefit

Modern CRM systems make daily customer dialog much easier for employees. For incoming calls (Computer Telephony Integration - CTI) or e-mails, the corresponding customer data overview is automatically displayed based on the sender ID. This gives employees immediate access to relevant information. A clear contact history shows all interactions with the customer, including stored notes. In addition, emails and other files are directly linked, making it even easier to access relevant information. An integrated workflow engine with ticketing system also gives employees direct access to sales opportunities or service tickets.

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