Customer relationship management : business process or software solution?

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Fitzgerald, Aveen
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Business Information Management
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Customer Relationship Management applications can enable effective customer relationship management, provided that an organisation has the right leadership, strategy and culture. Through extensive secondary research I realised that CRM is still perceived, by some, not as a business process but as a software solution. This paper will illustrate that CRM requires a customer-centric business philosophy and culture to support effective marketing, sales and service processes. I have chosen to employ a single case study approach to examine how CRM is operating as a business solution within First Active. The chief methodological strategy used involved both interviews (face-to-face and telephone) and participant observation. It was found that the level of focus on customer contact is increasingly becoming the distinguishing factor to determine success. CRM is fundamentally the expression of the customer-centric business philosophy and the response to the fact that the customers are now the drivers in our economy. Therefore, if profitability is the goal, CRM must be an integral part of any business strategy. CRM needs to be driven from top level management down. As customers are the company's most valuable asset, the organisation needs to develop a culture where loyalty, trust and commitment are the key drivers in sustaining a competitive advantage in the pursuit for customer share. CRM in the future will be less of an issue and simply a matter of how companies need to do business.