A consumer relationship system is a software program customized to handle the customer service needs of an organization. It allows employees to manage data related to customer contacts ranging from requests for information to complaints about products and services. Companies can use out-of-the-box software designed for generic purposes, and they can also order custom products programmed to fit specific purposes. This may be necessary if a company has large and complex needs.
Such software can create an interface between consumers, staff, and products themselves. The consumer relationship system maintains a database of products and services with relevant inventory and location information. It also records customer data. When salespeople interact with customers, they input data into the system to track customers and serve them more effectively.
Customers may be able to enter the consumer relationship system though online order forms, surveys, and other communications. They can also contact company representatives directly to discuss issues the automated aspects of the system cannot resolve. For example, a customer may have a product complaint that requires escalation to a supervisor to get an appropriate resolution, or a customer may want to speak to a representative to learn about different product options.
One useful function of a consumer relationship system is automated support. Sophisticated systems may have artificial intelligence (AI) interfaces that can handle basic questions and complaints to allow technicians to focus on customers who need personal assistance. Such programs can also send out product and order reminders, including shipping notifications to customers who commonly order the same thing.
At the company, staff members can access the consumer relationship system and use it to analyze overall performance and customer service. They may use polls and similar tools to see how consumers feel about the company, and they can also keep track of complaints and note how long it takes to reach a satisfactory resolution in complaint situations. The system can also be used to track sales and services, and to help companies make inventory decisions. If a store in one region is going through a product very rapidly, for instance, the consumer relationship system may prompt the parent company to send more supplies.
Costs for a consumer relationship system can vary. The more features, the more expensive it tends to be. Companies may charge reduced fees for licenses to use the software on multiple computers, and may also offer package discounts. Such discounts can bundle the initial purchase with service fees for a year or more to provide the company with products and support for a flat fee.