What is Customer Relationship and Why is CRM important?
To answer this question, I need to tell you about the world before CRM evolved.
Let me put it in a story for a better understanding. Say, you move street after street, home after home to sell apples to people. Over the months, you implicitly make a note of rate of sales in your mind. Simple information, but it turns your business more profitable with respect to time, money and energy. At this point, few notes like which street contains more people, which home gives more sales consistently, helps. Now if you start selling apples, mangoes and 5 other fruits, the notes become a little elaborate – which family prefers what sort of fruits, quantity, frequency of buying etc,. This evidently saves your time and energy.

Now let’s say you got bored of fruit business and decided to sell clothes, which in reality is little difficult considering issues like experience and awareness about textiles. But let’s assume it’s possible here in this story. There are different clothes for men, women and children (boys and girls), various categories and varieties within. Going street after street would yield you to making note of different tastes of people in terms of color of clothes, types of dresses etc,. They might lead you to their relatives and friends so you are eventually finding new leads. This inherent nature of capitalizing on people’s interest and requirements evolves the need of maintaining relationship with the customer. Here comes Customer Relationship Management.

Over the fruit sales since the textile business has deeper information to note, you maintain a log sheet with names, addresses, phone numbers and other details. Over a period of years you might have already made N books and analysis becomes little difficult especially if you want to pass on the business to your heirs. Now imagine a retail Fruit shop or a Textile shop (hold your breath there is even more to come!). It involves, place’s rent, importing items, paying taxes, employees – their salaries, inventory, wastage, sales, accounts, profit, transport, complaints, investment on improvisation and all this done over a period of years together. Well, all this can be fed into an Excel sheet on your computer and analyzed. This is little modernization so little investment on gadgets but eventually more clarity and peace, so relieved! Now what if you have both Fruit and Textile shop? Tally and other similar accounting kind of software came for the rescue. What if you had a farm to produce fruits, vegetables and paddy and your own hotel? Bigger industries where the raw goods are purchased from one place, intermediate tools from other, made into products at your workshop and exported to another place with thousands of employees and mediators – more data?. As things get bigger, more is the complication. Now in this case, I need something more sophisticated to maintain customer relationship as well to make profits because there is a lot more heavier analysis involved.
Thus, CRM software evolved which lead to a smarter planet.
In digest, before CRM things were hard and complicated, after CRM things became smart, strategic, profitable and efficient. And, to explain the whole story succinctly, Efficiency and Quality at low cost are the necessities for the invention of CRM.
The principle goals are to find new leads (clients), retain the older ones, get back the ones separated in hold and to reduce the cost of customer service and management burden.
As entrepreneurship is on the rise in the whole world, the necessity of automation of business operations with a CRM is gaining popularity. What better than a fully functional feature packed CRM which is open source too!!
Well! you can have the cake and eat it too!!

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