The business world knows that acquiring new customers five times more expensive than preserving one. For brands to develop strong and valuable relationships with clients, it is now critical to have customer relationship managers, especially when myriad companies are vying for customer attention. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a branch of study that addresses this very issue and arms management students with tools and skills essential to encourage and develop the company-client relationships. Unique handling of situations and tailored services are some of the things that often augment the integrity and preference of a company in the eyes of customers and ensuring this is the key objective of CRM.
Difference between CRM and PR
CRM is not PR, the difference lies in the fact that PR deals with the public image and presentation of a company to the market, CRM on the other hand focuses exclusively on building and sustaining relationships with individual clients and amending the services of the company for better customer satisfaction. CRM can also include creating data-banks for forecasting sales trends and automation of sales force among different other domains of business management. The course varies from one institution to other and is often dependent on the duration of the curriculum.
However, the fundamentals of CRM courses across institutions are –
Customer Relationship Management,
Sales & Distribution Management,
CRM in Service Industry,
Advanced CRM, B2B Markets
CRM, Marketing Research and E-Business
Where to study
Courses in customer relationship management are just coming up in India and presently there very few institutions that offer such curricula. However, given the growth rate of the field and the demand for human resources in the sector in India, we will soon see world-class full-time courses in CRM in institutions of repute.
Colleges/Institutions offering CRM courses
IIM – Ahmedabad
Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning – Pune
JK Business School – Gurgaon
XLRI Xavier School of Management – Jamshedpur
AEGIS Institute of Customer Experience Management – Coimbatore
Apeejay School of Management – New Delhi
Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning – Noida
Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning – Bangalore
Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning – Nashik
Indian Business School of Advanced Management Studies – Mumbai
A well-designed course in Customer Relationship Management imparts required skills essential to build in career in this sector. With a post graduate degree or MBA in customer relationship management, aspirants can look for opportunities in the domains like banking, finance, accounting, insurance, legal, sales, marketing, IT, manufacturing, management consulting, public sector, research and consulting in India or globally. Designations include Manager-Client Servicing, Customer Relationship Manager, CRM Specialist, Relationship Manager, Product Manager etc.
In India opportunities mostly lie in banking, internet services and e-commerce sectors. However, organisations in utility sectors or chain operations also recruit Customer Relationship Managers.
Job profile responsibilities
Customer relationship managers ensure companies’ growth and success in profitability, reputation and customer satisfaction. A CRM manager is concerned with improving the customer’s satisfaction and the chances of their return for future business deals. He/she also work closely with the marketing department and provide employees with knowledge and tool to serve customer needs in a better way.
The primary task of a CRM is to sustain client relationships and in case any relationship isn’t working, it is his/her job to mend it through client meetings and by effectively implementing systems, software, apps and programmes to ascertain how their clients operate.
Customer relationship managers have to keep and constantly update client databases. Analysing success of particular relationship strategies and documenting the learning from the exercises to design future marketing policy – are essential part of their job profiles. Acquiring new business and business referrals are also expected from these managers.
Successful companies always put in place systems to indentify and understand clients’ need, and work towards providing it in a best possible form. For new products and services companies often conduct market research, but while dealing with established client-relationships they make use of CRM.
To start with great people skills, a lot of critical thinking and the use of abstract ideas will help customer relationship managers in a great way in building long-term relationships. Excellent communication and presentation skills are also desirable. Confidence in interacting with clients and prospective contacts, an empathetic approach coupled with great negotiation skills are added advantage, while good time management and pro-active approaches are immensely beneficial for the managers.
A substantial technical know-how is a prerequisite for professionals in this field and aspirants can try out with free CRM software from intouchcrm.co.uk, opencrm.co.uk and zoho.com. Websites like marketingweek.co.uk and thedrum.com also deal with this at a great length.
Thinking “outside the box” helps in maintaining thriving consumer relationships and track offers, experiences, and products that others are not providing. It is an office based jobs where the professionals do research on marketing techniques, train employees, or meet customers. A CRM manager is expected to be a graduate in business-related field, preferably in marketing. However, a certificate or diploma in customer relationship management is always an advantage.
Build up and accomplish marketing campaign strategy and analyze impact
Correspond with stakeholders both internal and external to meet customer expectations
Negotiate contract renewal, draft reports, and provide progress analysis
Supervise and offer support on execution of service agreements
Develop relationship with external stakeholders to uphold business objectives
Match customer requirements with technical limitations