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Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to manage a company's interaction with current and potential future customers, in all aspects - whether it is sales or service related. CRM also helps to analyze customer data collected through multiple sources, and present it so that business managers can make more informed decisions.

The primary goal of customer relationship management systems is to integrate and automate sales, marketing, and customer support. Therefore, these systems typically have a dashboard that gives an overall view of the three functions on a single page for each customer that a company may have. The dashboard may provide client information, purchase history, previous marketing activities, and more, summarizing all of the relationships between the customer and the firm. Operational CRM is made up of 3 main components: sales force automation, marketing automation, and service automation.

Sales force automation works with all stages in the sales cycle, from initially entering contact information to converting a prospective client into an actual client. Marketing Automation focuses on easing the overall marketing process to make it more effective and efficient. Service automation is the part of the CRM system that focuses on direct customer service technology.