Relationship Marketing is being spoken of as one key Business Philosophies of the progressive Organizations who are Customer Oriented or Customer Centric. Companies have realized that to be successful on the long term trajectory of successful business, they need to be closer to the market, get under he skin of the Customer, anticipate his needs and engineer products and services to satisfy the customer and engage his loyalty.
As competition is increasing, product innovation is definitely one of the key important elements that the Organizations need to depend upon to steer themselves ahead in the market. Along with the technical leadership the companies necessarily need to know how to reach out to the Customer.
Engaging the Customer, Understanding the Customer and building relationship has become the need of the day.
No wonder that every individual today is bombarded with calls, emails, personal visits, mailers and all sorts of marketing communications from different companies trying to vie for your attention. From the Credit card Company, bankers to the shopping mall as well as the local restaurant you frequent try to engage you into a relationship that goes beyond a single transaction.
One of the outcomes of the evolution of Relationship Marketing has been the birth of CRM solutions. Besides CRM we have also seen the birth of new departments and disciplines in Organizations namely Customer Service Department as well as Key Account Management. It is very easy for students to equate RM with CRM and that both are one and the same.
Relationship Management forms part of the vision and business ethics that the Company envisages to imbibe as its core value system. When an Organization chooses to build its business blocks around Relationship Management, the Organization is marrying its Profit Making goal with Customer Relationship to build a synergy by which all the divisions as well as the functions of the Organization look at their function and business through the RM lens. This helps build a strong customer orientation and culture of Customer Sensitivity across the Organization at all levels, branches and functions. In any Organization several of its departments are involved with the external customers. Starting with Marketing, Sales, Distribution to After Sales Service, Quality as well as Finance Departments are involved with Customers and their orientation towards the Customer interaction is fashioned by the RM outlook of the Organization.
CRM on the other hand can best be described as an enabler of RM in any Organization. CRM involves process including software and hardware components that automates and helps manage customer engagement. While RM works at a strategy level, CRM helps implement the Strategy. The success of CRM as a concept is widely seen due to the aggressive marketing of CRM solutions by the IT companies who have developed the CRM packages. This has helped the Multi National Organizations to implement standardized process of Customer management on large scale across geographies and markets.
Besides Software driven Packages, there are several services and schemes that are available locally that are tailor made to suit particular industry. In a market place where every company is vying for space in the minds of the customer what helps the company gain that customer loyalty is the RM outlook that comes across via the CRM channel.