A quick definition! CRM = Customer Relationship Management for customer measurement (software house speak) CRM = attracting and looking after your customers for greater loyalty and profitability(business speak). I know which I prefer! Smaller businesses can be scared away by big company speak, but CRM is too important a concept for us to ignore. The key parts! You satisfy a customer need. Your “CRM” starts before you have even one customer engaged. The purchasing experience will dictate and determine the future loyalty of that customer. Were they satisfied? Will they give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down on their network? Browsing -The customer has entered your shop, your e-commerce site, your marketing site, your magazine article… whatever their first contact with your organisation happens to be. Examine how you are presenting yourselves to your target base, is it as optimised as you can make to ensure customer engagement and capture? Committing to purchase – the customer has indicated to you that they are interested in purchasing your offering. Have you made this decision process an easy one for them? The purchase – as simple as possible and delivered in as friendly a way. Did the assistant look grumpy or happy? You want your customer to leave your sales point with a good vibe – this will enhance their enjoyment of the product/service offered. Quality – Did it meet/exceed expectation? Were your customers happy? Did you ask them? Ok, it appears that I am simply talking about good customer service, but this equates to customer experience and this, in turn, creates loyalty and better sales i.e. the CRM end-game. “How do I get customer data for my CRM process?” If you have a system that can capture some of that information for future use, great but it is not mandatory. For many smaller businesses, particularly those that have personal interaction with their customers, the CRM tool is the personal understanding of that customer that is held by the sales man, owner or retail assistant. On-line, your google analytics will tell you how you are doing and where you need to focus. Often, the interpersonal relationship creates an innate understanding of your customer through the interactions you engage in with the. The trick is to make sure that your business acts on that understanding to engender loyalty. Embrace the concepts of CRM. Look at your business and see how the concepts can be applied to give you and your customers benefit. In the incredibly tough market, you neglect CRM at your peril. Don’t fear the language that is used to sell software to big business, understand its message and apply it to your business. VOTE for this post HERE and win great prizes! This post is part of the SugarTone: Sweet Business Blogging Contest.