Customer Relationship Management

Many of us are familiar with the idea of a customer-centric approach to business. In fact, we can experience the benefits of this business philosophy in daily activities ranging from the experience at the grocery store to the customer service call that turns out, unexpectedly, to be pleasant. There is good news for those who are interested in managing business organizations such that customer needs are truly met. Jobs in the field of customer relationship management are in demand.

What is Customer Relationship Management?

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, refers to a business policy designed to reduce costs and increase profit by securing the loyalty of customers. Some people associate CRM with software programs that record information about customers and allow businesses to offer discounts according to that information. An example of this is for a business to provide a free item or discount on a customer’s birthday. However, the customer-centric approach is as old as business itself. Long before IT swept the modern world, wise business owners used various methods to research their customers’ habits; they also encouraged front-line salespeople to create trustworthy, personable relationships with the clientele. In today’s competitive business world, customer relationship management involves complex processes that must be accepted company-wide in order to succeed.

Why CRM Matters Now and in the Future

CRM involves both macro and micro-management in order to be effective. Though CRM entails befriending the clientele, there are serious choices involved in exactly which methods will cause the majority of customers to truly respond and maintain their loyalty. Although some small businesses spend only a few hundred per month in basic CRM strategy, large companies may spend millions in order to select and initiate a CRM plan. One of the key challenges can lie in implementation. In spite of large sums being spent in the process, if those who directly interact with customers are not clearly aware of how to project the company’s philosophy, the plan can fall flat. Also, due to the success of CRM in recent years, there is increased competition among businesses which further complicates developing a wise plan. In future, customer relationship management will increasingly consider the consumer’s neighborhood of business in order to discover a fruitful niche.

Where Can I Find Jobs in CRM?

Businesses in all fields that have direct customer relationships have the need for CRM. This means that the prospective job availability is spread across the country and involves many different types of businesses including banks, retailers and technological companies. Some businesses will emphasize the software side of CRM while others will focus on customer service, and many will require both aspects. In 2012, CRM jobs are expected to be in demand, and growth in this field is likely to continue.

How Can I Prepare for CRM Opportunities?

In choosing a regionally accredited school, you will want to consider an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree. The associate’s degree involves a two-year program which works well for those who are not sure if they want to fully invest in the field before giving it a try. However, this degree does limit graduates to junior or entry-level positions. A bachelor’s degree requires four years and allows for a standard starting salary in the field as well as some opportunity for advancement. To secure high level employment in this field, a master’s degree is beneficial. This equates to two additional years following completion of the bachelor’s, six years of educational training in total. A master’s degree can help you to begin your employment at a higher salary and facilitates your ability to apply for increasingly higher levels jobs within the company.

Customer Relationship Management and You

CRM is likely to bring interesting challenges in upcoming years as companies compete using new technological platforms. If the customer-centric approach to business appeals to you, now may be a great time to leap into this established, yet growing field. Those with expertise in customer relations will always be needed in business. Those who understand both people and technology will have many intriguing opportunities in the future.

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