What is CRM and Why Is It Important?

Customer relationship management, or CRM, is a term used to encompass various activities companies undertake to build, maintain, and nurture trusting relationships between themselves and their customers.

CRM is about putting the customer first.

This can include direct interactions, such as marketing, sales, and customer service, or indirect activities, such as sales forecasting, development of buyer personas, and trend analysis.

CRM: OK, so what is it?

The term is often used to refer to the software (and providers) organizations use to manage and maintain these external customer relations. In recent years, significant developments in the areas of AI, cloud computing and storage, and robotic process automation (RPA) have led to huge strides being made in this sector of the software industry.

So with all that information at hand, just what is CRM? Well, it's all of the above. Organizations have significant technological advancements, the old-school approach of human interactions, and putting the customer first. The trick to staying ahead in today's rapidly changing business climate is to be able to mix and match these approaches to the benefit of both the company and the customer.

Bottom line, and why it matters

Building a solid, trusting relationship with your customers is the best way to keep them delighted with your company, product, and service. This is how the best companies in the world keep their customers returning (not to mention the word-of-mouth marketing potential!).

Why this should matter to you, no matter the size of your company:

  • Polls are continuously showing that for customers, it's all about the strength of a company's support. Nearly 80% report having canceled contracts due to poor customer service.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing is enormous. Gone are when you could just sell something and hope the customer goes away happy. They'll let you know, and more importantly, let all their friends and family know. That goes for the positive, as well as the negative, experiences.
  • It's far less costly to keep an existing customer happy than it is to find and onboard a new one.
  • The technology exists to automate large swaths of this process. So the marketing team can focus their energy and time on the real-time interactions that matter most, leaving the updated emails and customer contacts to the software.

Ways to strengthen your company's CRM: Technology

There are three areas to focus on to strengthen your company's CRM: transparency, responsiveness, and availability. No surprises here; technology can be a vital asset in each of these areas.


CRM software mostly comes with automation baked right in... it's just up to you to configure it. These tools can be used to guide the customer through the majority of their buyer's journey, leaving only exceptions or wildly divergent situations for someone to handle manually. The software can handle everything from initial contact and data collection and including shipping notices.

  • When a new site visitor signs up for email updates, their contact information is captured and entered into your CRM, which emails the customer a confirmation message.
  • When a purchase is made or a trouble ticket is entered, regular update emails can be scheduled to alert the customer to either the status of their order or where in the queue their ticket is, along with an estimate of when they'll see resolution.
  • And when an order is shipped, the customer will receive detailed tracking information automatically.

This is a brief example, of course, but it demonstrates the transparency people expect from the companies they do business with. If any step is missed, or if they are not kept abreast of developments in their order/ticket, today's customer has no problem jumping ship for a competitor who will keep them fully updated through the entire customer journey.


Chatbots, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), are the next wave of automation to consider when improving your customer experience. These bots allow customers to open a chat conversation at any time, even outside of office hours, and potentially have their questions answered immediately. The AI behind the chat partner learns on the job, so the more of these completed interactions, the better the answers the software provides will get. Chatbots won't replace your customer service representatives; however, when augmenting their ability to respond immediately or nearly, this technology can't be beaten.


As mentioned above regarding responsiveness, chatbots make 24-hour customer service possible without the need to outsource to a call center around the globe or employ overnight workers. With automation like this, your customers can log on and get help within moments, anytime. That level of availability is becoming a necessity in today's global marketplace.

Automation is CRM's best friend.

The ability to automate more and more easily repeatable, rote tasks such as those outlined above is making it even easier for companies to provide the level of customer service that the public is coming to expect. Built-in automation in most commercial CRM solutions, and third-party software such as chatbots (which are increasingly available in ITSM ticketing systems) are leading the way toward a more sustainable customer service model.

Along with maintaining a robust presence on social mediaso potential and existing customers alike can interact with a real person representing the brand in a consistent voice—this adds up to the always available, easily trusted retail partner that will excel in today's market.

Looking for more information about CRM? Do you want to start with HubSpot's "forever free" CRM? Contact us today.

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Jesse hails from Seattle, Wa. When he’s not creating great content, or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he’s probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

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