The goal of CRM is to evolve from a marketing model that was based on a product-centric marketing structure to one based on dealing with each customer as if that customer were the only customer. Managing customer relationships successfully means learning about the habits and needs of customers, anticipating future buying patterns, and finding new opportunities to add value to the relationship.
In the financial sector, for example, banks-early beneficiaries of successful CRM strategies-are using data warehousing and data mining technologies to learn to anticipate their customers' needs from the millions of transactions and interactions they have with their customers. The patterns of customer behavior and attitude derived from this information enable the banks to effectively segment customers by predetermined criteria. Such detailed customer data can provide answers to the following questions:
Which communication channel do customers prefer?
What would be the risk of their leaving the bank to go to the competition?
What is the probability the customer will buy a service or product?
With this knowledge, the financial institution can develop marketing programs that relate logically and psychologically to each customer segment, provide valuable customer information to the call/contact center, support cross selling and customer-retention programs, and assist the staff to maximize the value of each customer's interaction.
How does an organization manage each customer relationship individually? Several fundamental changes in business functions can be made on the way to a complete CRM solution. Marketing departments need systems that allow employees to track, capture, and analyze millions of customer activities, both interactions and transactions, over a long period of time. This knowledge helps the organization to create promotions, develop new products and services, and design communication programs that attract, reward, and retain customers. Two other fundamental concepts behind a successful CRM strategy are operational and technological excellence. Attaining leadership in these areas enables an organization to predict and maximize the value of each customer relationship.