Customer engagement is the byword for many firms in the modern era, whether they work on a B2B or B2C basis.

The internet – especially the emergence of tablets and smartphones – has made it far easier for people to find out about potential new suppliers and make a switch, so firms need to take responsibility for maintaining relationships with their buyers.

How this is done varies from company to company, but installing a CRM system can give many firms a boost when it comes to connecting with customers.

Gartner recently revealed some of its research on the importance of CRM, ahead of a host of summer conferences on the topic of customer engagement and technology.

Distinguished analyst and vice-president with the firm Michael Maoz pointed out that this is an area that affects almost every company, whether they are operating in the public or private sector.

“However, in most cases, these organisations are not actually engaging with the customer, and instead they have been disengaging for a decade in order to lower costs. Furthermore, relatively few have an enterprise-wide approach to engaging with customers,” he added.

Businesses need to consider how employees, partners and consumers work with each other before planning their strategy, concluded Mr Maoz.

Aligning social, mobile and traditional channels is vital to engagement – CRM can obviously help with this, bringing the different information involved with these platforms together and making it easier to analyse.

It is also useful in a host of different ways, for instance by ensuring that firms can focus on keeping their customers’ information safe.

A well-implemented piece of CRM software can store all this data in one place rather than forcing firms to spread it across a host of areas, meaning that losses or mistakes are less likely to happen.

Emotionally engaging with customers is vital if firms are to succeed in the modern era, Gartner concluded.

Buyers with this kind of relationship “are more likely to complain less, compliment more, buy more and contribute more than those who are not”, concluded the consultancy.