Intro to CRM — Understanding and Managing Your Customer Relationships

Readers, Meet Your New Customer

short of time.” 1 Competition is fierce. Relying simply on price alone is not enough. And, sustaining loyalty is difficult.

Much like a marriage or friendship, the interaction between a business and a customer is a relationship. Yet, on average, American companies lose 50% of their customers every 5 years!


Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, was made popular around the turn of the New Millennium. Hoping it was not another passing acronym (and always trying to justify the importance of the marketing function), as a younger marketer, I was excited to see executives and year-end reports rally around the value of the customer vs. traditional financial statistics.

So what exactly is CRM? Following are some of my favorite definitions:

  1. Stanley“Customer Relationship Management, A Strategic Imperative in the World of e-Business.
  2. Frederick Newell, Loyalty.comCarlson Marketing Group

Customer Relationship Management maximizes the value of the customer relationship to the customer, for the customer’s benefit and the company’s profits. It’s about using information and engaging in dialog. CRM is a long-term solution. It’s about lifetime value and share of customer (or optimizing all of a customer’s purchases with your company’s products/services). Most importantly, CRM is a business process. It’s finding ways to add value to the customer relationship in the customer’s terms. It requires buy-in from the top and sharing information throughout the entire enterprise.

What it’s not… CRM is neither a marketing program nor a technology solution. It’s not an overnight cure. Customer Relationship Management is not simply a loyalty program.

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