Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business philosophy designed to improve satisfaction of existing customers and to acquire new customers by communicating with them and better understanding their individual needs. The role CRM is playing in business is getting more important than ever. More and more companies are pursuing CRM, investing huge amounts into CRM-related staff training and latest technology, spending majority of their time nurturing and maintaining customer relationships. However, it takes two hands to clasp. CRM cannot be a one-sided thing, and companies must look at things from the customer perspective. Before a real relationship can be built, they must answer one big question-do the customers want to have relationships, especially long-term ones, with them? The answer is yes and no depending on several factors.
First, types of products and services, i.e. convenience products, shopping products, specialty products, customers purchase, to a large extent, determine if customers want to keep long-term relationships. Generally, customers are more interested to keep such relationships with companies that supply high-tech, time-sensitive, or expensive products for user support, after-sales service, and other concerns.
In addition, customer background such as character, education, profession, income, and hobbies also come into play. For example, customers who are well-educated and enthusiastic about gizmos may be happy to receive updates on the latest products or discounts from their suppliers. On the other hand, such relationships may not be on the top of priority list of customers in the lower income group.
Most importantly, how companies handle such relationships and how such relationships add value for customers play a critical part. Issues of concern include how companies communicate with them, handling of private information and treating customers as individuals with...