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Microsoft® Access® Small Business Solutions: State-of-the-Art Database Models for Sales, Marketing, Customer Management, and More Key Business Activities by Brent Spaulding, Leigh Purvis, Larry Linson, Truitt Bradly, Teresa Hennig

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Chapter 5. Customer Relationship Management

What is the most important aspect of your business? Your relationship with your customers. Even dealings with your suppliers, your employees, and the lawn service are driven by the need to "do things right" so that your customers will be well-served and happy.

Customer relationship management (CRM) defines the methods businesses use to interact with their customers. The goal of CRM is to help you efficiently provide your customers with products and services, and give them prompt, courteous, and accurate responses to inquiries. CRM software focuses on enhancing your ability to save, retrieve, and use personal information crucial to the quality of your relationships with your customers.

While there are many CRM software packages available, the best-known of these are intended for large organizations, and are priced accordingly. They are designed to handle very large numbers—tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions—of customers. Packaged for enterprise-level organizations, they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to license, install, and set up, and additional tens of thousands each year to maintain and use. You might find a few other packages intended for mid- to large-sized companies with fewer customers, but they are still expensive and complex.

In this chapter, we offer you the alternative of creating a custom CRM database solution, one that is more appropriate for the size of your organization and tailored to serve your ...

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