Customer Relationship Management, as the name implies, is the set of collective processes that are used by a company to manage its customers. Earlier, marketing was targeted at products.

Products were made and then all effort was made to sell them. But now the market strategies have changed. These days, Customer is the focus of the entire marketing effort. First, he is approached, his needs and wants are surveyed and then the product is made. The goal is customer satisfaction. This change has occurred because the earlier strategy of 'selling a comb to bald men' resulted in good one time sale, but not in repeat sales. Repeat business takes place only if the customer has found the product/service useful and has faith in the seller brand. For this we need good relationship between the customers and the organizations. Customers need to be kept in touch with so as to not to break the link.

According to Berry, it includes attracting, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers. It includes keeping the details of current customers and prospects, for follow ups later. It also manages their feedback. CRM has improved the quality and promptness of services the customers can get. Communicating with customers on individual basis makes them feel special and gives them a sense that the product/service is made of them. The acceptance of
the product is much more than the one about which no input is taken from the users. This not only results in better one-time sales but also better customer satisfaction and hence, improved business. Happy customers always come back for repeat business.

CRM includes a set of strategies and guidelines to be used by companies. A software based approach is generally referred to as CRM. When the Internet, different web browsers and other touch points are used for CRM purposes, it is called ECRM or Electronic Customer Relationship Management.

Using eCRM not only reduces the cost of customer service but also helps in personalizing marketing messages. A method called Sales Force Automation (SFA) is used to collect the data about customers and analyze it according to the needs of the organization. It is important that the right amount of information reaches the right people at the right time and in the right manner.

eCRM makes communication between the organization and the customers highly interactive. Their problems, requests, queries or complaints are promptly attended. This helps not only in creating but also in sustaining long term relationships with the customers. Some companies provide personalized web pages to their customers where they have their own preferences.

Some companies also provide customized products for the individual needs and wants of the customers. DELL is one successful example of a company using this method. While placing the order, one can choose the entire hardware specifications along with a wide choice of the look and feel of the laptops. Some car manufacturers like FORD are also planning a system where customers can place an order through the FORD website and choose the exact features, color combinations and styles for their cars.

In today's world every company is connected to the internet, where every customer turns to the internet for information before buying any product or availing any service. Every customer is looking forward for such treatment, not giving personal attention to customers has become rude. eCRM is not just a competitive advantage but a must for surviving in the market.