Customer relationship management (CRM) consists of the processes a company uses to track and organize its contacts with its current and prospective customers. CRM software is used to support these processes; the software system can be accessed, and information about customers and customer interactions can be entered, stored and accessed by employees in different company departments. Typical CRM goals are to improve services provided to customers, and to use customer contact information for targeted marketing.
While the term CRM generally refers to a software-based approach to handling customer relationships, most CRM software vendors stress that a successful CRM effort requires a holistic approach. CRM initiatives often fail because implementation was limited to software installation, without providing the context, support and understanding for employees to learn, and take full advantage of the information systems.