Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management
(CRM) is a customer-centric business strategy with the goal of maximizing profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction. Technologies that support this business purpose include the capture, storage and analysis of customer, vendor, partner, and internal process information. Functions that support this business purpose include sales, marketing, customer service, training, professional development, performance management, human resource development, and compensation. Technology to support CRM initiatives must be integrated as part of an overall customer-centric strategy. Many CRM initiatives have failed because implementation was limited to software installation without alignment to a customer-centric strategy.
There are many aspects of CRM which were mistakenly thought to be capable of being implemented in isolation from each other. 
From the outside of the organization, a customer experiences the business as one entity operating over extended periods of time. Thus piecemeal CRM implementation can come across to the customer as unsynchronized where employees and web sites and services are acting independently of one another, yet together represent a common entity.
CRM is the philosophy, policy and coordinating strategy connecting different players within an organization so as to coordinate their efforts in creating an overall valuable series of experiences, products and services for the customer.
The different players within the organization are in identifiable groups:
Customer Facing Operations - The people and the technology support of processes that affect a customer's experience at the frontline interface between the customer and the organization. This can include face to face, phone, IM, chat, email, web and combinations of all medium. Self-service kiosk and web self-service are doing the job of vocals and they belong here.
Internal Collaborative Functional Operations - The people and technology support of processes at the policy and back office which ultimately affect the activities of the Customer Facing Operations concerning the building and maintaining of customer relationships. This can include IT, billing, invoicing, maintenance, planning, marketing, advertising, finance, services planning and manufacturing.
External Collaboration functions - The people and technology support of processes supporting an organization and its cultivation of customer relationships that are affected by the organization's own relationship with suppliers/vendors and retail outlets/distributors. Some would also include industry cooperative networks, e.g. lobbying groups, trade associations. This is the external network foundation which supports the internal Operations and Customer facing Operations.
Customer Advocates and Experience Designers - Creative designers of customer experience that meet customer relationship goals of delivering value to the customer and profit to the organization (or desired outcomes and achievement of goals for non-profit and government organizations)
Performance Managers and Marketing Analysts - Designers of Key Performance Indicators and collectors of metrics and data so as to execute/implement marketing campaigns, call campaigns, Web strategy and keep the customer relationship activities on track. This would be the milestones and data that allow activities to be coordinated, that determine if the CRM strategy is working in delivering ultimate outcomes of CRM activities: market share, numbers and types of customers, revenue, profitability, intellectual property concerning customers preferences.
Customer and Employee Surveyors and Analysts - Customer Relationships are both fact driven and impression driven - the quality of an interaction is as important as the information and outcome achieved, in determining whether the relationship is growing or shrinking in value to the participants.
The technology requirements of a CRM strategy must be guided by an overall view of who is the customer and what value they are to get from engaging with the organization.
The basic building blocks:
A database for customer lifecycle (time series) information about each customer and prospect and their interactions with the organization, including order information, support information, requests, complaints, interviews and survey responses.