2 min readCRM Basics – Microsoft Dynamics Guide for Beginners – What is CRM Software?


This is very much a beginner’s guide to technology in customer service, often called CRM or customer relationship management systems. If you’re looking for the answer to the most basic questions (including what is crm), you’re arrived at the right place.

What is CRM?

At Redspire, we like a long yet all-embracing CRM definition as follows: CRM is “the aggregation of customer-centric strategies which drive new functional activity not only for sales, marketing and service, but often back office functions such as accounting, production, and shipping which demand reengineered work processes for everyone affected which require technology support to implement“. That’s pretty exhaustive but don’t worry – if the theory sounds overwhelming, you can look at the more practical side of CRM below.

What do you need to do when customers contact you?

  1. You need to ‘capture’ the enquiry. This now means dealing with telephone calls, email, texts, Tweets and Facebook comments and emails. Customer queries can also come in from web forums and customer self-service systems.
  2. Once the enquiry has been captured it needs to be sent to the right people to deal with it.
  3. The agents need to set up a file for the enquiry that links it to the customer’s record on your system.
  4. Now we’re on to actually answering the question, which can bring into play a whole host of other systems which hold customer data.
  5. The answer is then communicated to the customer.
  6. Finally, the file is completed with notes on the outcome of the query and closed.

In order to complete this complex process, the following technologies are used:

  1. Multichannel communication. There are a whole host of these systems today. Telephone call distributors, telephony integration, speech recognition, email response systems, chat and virtual assistants. Social media has a range of its own systems and mobile services are growing in importance too.
  2. Knowledge management. The encyclopaedias of information that customer service staff need to answer client questions are in this category. These resources can also be made available to customers directly for web self-service customer care. Databases, knowledge management software and communities and forums as well as video production systems can be considered in this class.
  3. Agent productivity solutions. The systems that allow agents to see a query through to its conclusion. This will include monitoring their performance for consistency and scheduling systems. Case management software, unified agent workspaces, workforce management, quality monitoring and process guidance systems belong here.
  4. Customer service analytics. To serve a customer well, it’s necessary to know as much as possible about them. These technologies – next best action and interaction analytics for example – facilitate this knowledge.
  5. Voice of the customer. Customers often solve their own problems and then share this advice. Voice of the customer systems keep an eye on this important information, including social listening platforms and enterprise feedback management systems.

Have you heard any other useful definitions of CRM? What is CRM for your business?