Customer relationship management refers to all of the different ways that you interact with your business customers. This includes phone conversations, email and direct mail campaigns or even tracking the products and services that your customers buy from you so that you can personalize marketing efforts and customer interactions. A customer relationship management program is a software program that allows you to manage all of these efforts. The best way to choose a customer relationship management program is to look at the specific communication features it offers, how you can access the program, its integration with other software or programs you use, and price.
The first element you need to consider when choosing a customer relationship management program is the communication features it offers. Generally, you want a program that allows you to communicate and track these communications in a variety of different ways. For example, you want a program that allows you to create and disseminate a marketing email campaign, track who opens and clicks on links in the email, who makes a purchase after reading the email and records all of this automatically in the customer’s file that exists in the CRM program.
Customer relationship management program systems also have different ways to access them. Some programs have to be installed on your computer, which means that this is also how these programs are accessed. Other types of customer relationship management program systems can be accessed online so that anyone with the log on information can access the information anytime and anywhere they have an Internet connection.
If you intend to integrate the features of the customer relationship management program with other programs you are using, you also want to check on the integration and compatibility features. If you use an iPhone, for example, to access the majority of your business communication, you may want to see if an application exists for the customer relationship management program you are considering.
After evaluating all of these features and needs of the customer relationship management program, you have to evaluate the price or cost. Not only should you consider the upfront cost of accessing the program, but you also need to consider any ongoing costs such as training, updates or other maintenance costs. For example, if it is a program that you load on to your computer, when the new edition comes out, find out if you have to buy the new edition or if you simply have to pay for the update.