What Is Customer Management? (Hint: It’s Not Your CRM)

March 14, 2024 10 min read

Alex Doan

Alex Doan


Today’s buyers have several choices in any given product and service category. Many of these options offer similar benefits with slight variations. 

So, what differentiates businesses beyond their product?

 It’s the experience your product and team provide to your customers. 

Creating the best brand experience for your customers is critical in today’s competitive market. It’s important to think about your customer’s entire journey, considering every interaction to meet customer expectations and needs — and ways to go above and beyond them. You need to craft and execute a robust customer management game plan to effectively increase customer loyalty and satisfaction and, ultimately, revenue. 

Here, we’ll cover the pillars of a successful customer management program, its greatest benefits, types of customer management software, and best practices to implement today.

What Is Customer Management?

Customer management involves the processes and systems that manage all interactions across customer-facing teams and communication channels like email, phone calls, live chat, and social media.

That means customer management is not just one team’s job or responsibility. The most successful customer management programs are widely adopted across the organization to ensure a high level of consistent customer service and support.

3 pillars of effective customer management

Let’s look closely at the three pillars of customer management that are essential to managing customer relationships.

1. Processes and practices

You’ll need to create a system to manage interactions with existing and potential customers effectively. Establishing processes for all of your teams ensures that your customers receive a consistent experience throughout the customer journey

2. Relationship building

Your processes must work effectively at scale while personalizing your interactions with each customer. 

When you foster positive, long-term customer relationships through individualized experiences, your customers feel seen and heard. That’s above-and-beyond service they are sure to remember.

Better overall customer satisfaction increases your customer retention. Higher retention rates mean your company can serve its customers for extended periods. It significantly impacts the average contract value and lifetime value of customers.

3. Data-driven approach

Data analysis is critical in a customer management strategy as it keeps your operations in check and doesn’t let them stray too far from customers’ needs. 

The proper set of tools helps teams manage all necessary data to make customer relationship management systematic. These platforms can include contact center software, CRMs, customer feedback tools, and more.

A man talking on a phone getting customer feedback

Gathering and analyzing customer data helps companies understand what their customers need at a given time. Businesses can use this information to find the gaps in their offerings and optimize processes to bridge them.

Why Customer Management Is Critical in 2024

In today’s market, many organizations have to do more with less. They stretch resources and budgets to keep costs down while maintaining productivity and work quality.

The number one thing businesses can’t sacrifice is customer satisfaction. Now more than ever, customers need to be taken care of, feel supported, and get value out of every dollar. Remote work also requires more asynchronous collaboration. Companies are centralizing tools and consolidating tech stacks to make it easier for employees to remain efficient and effective.

Here are a few reasons companies should consider investing in their customer management programs. 

Win regardless of competition

Every business needs to be more adaptive to changing customer needs. It’s tricky to stay ahead and stand out. Effective customer management creates a comfortable experience for customers when they interact with your brand.

No one wants to switch to the competition, but certain events make customers question whether a different solution would be better. Companies focused on making customer experiences positive and memorable will win their trust and loyalty. 

Use data to tailor offerings

Customers’ needs can be perceived differently by the people who cater to them. Often, the perception stands far away from reality. The customer management approach relies on data that conveys an accurate and complete picture of what customers want or expect.


Analyzing customer data in real time makes it easier for you to tailor your offerings in order to make a significant impact. It helps you become more customer-centric by delivering a welcoming experience for them. Such encounters reflect on your NPS score and retention rate.

This analysis aims to cater to the needs of both current and future customers.

Reduce churn

With a solid customer experience delivered by customer-centric initiatives and support, it reduces churn. In other words, buyers are less likely to switch to competitors. It increases the average revenue per account, lifetime value of customers, and average contract value. 


These metrics show an accurate picture of how practical your customer experience really is. If they’re optimal, you know your customer management strategy is working. 

Increase sales and profitability

Customer management done correctly increases loyalty. Loyal customers mean repeat purchases, offering your team many upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Repeat purchases also support profitability since selling to existing customers costs much less than new customer acquisitions. 

Satisfied customers are also more likely to recommend your products and services to others with similar needs. Referral and word-of-mouth leads are usually less expensive than other lead channels.

For new customers, first impressions matter. Providing an excellent selling journey is critical to making your prospects feel comfortable moving through the purchasing funnel. The selling experience often reflects your customer experience, and it’s essential to manage the process even before the sale. 

Related: Winning Customer Retention Management Strategies & Tactics for Contact Centers

8 Customer Management Tools and Systems

While they may differ slightly from one company to another based on specific business needs, team sizes, and existing processes, these tools and systems are routinely involved in managing customer experiences throughout the buying journey.

1. Contact center platforms

Contact center platforms manage inbound and outbound customer interactions across phone, email, chat, and social media. These platforms offer several features to streamline communication and improve customer service efficiency.

Contact center platform features

Below are some notable features of a good contact center platform. 

Top 5 contact center platforms in 2024

Below are the top five contact center platforms for small businesses. 

  1. Nextiva 
  2. Salesforce Service Cloud 
  3. Aircall
  4. CloudTalk
  5. Gladly

2. Customer Relationship Management systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems store and manage customers’ data while continuously tracking their journeys. They help automate tasks and support multiple sales processes and marketing initiatives. CRM platform automation lets companies build and maintain customer relationships at scale. 

CRM system features

Below are some notable features of CRM tools. 

Top 5 CRM solutions in 2024

Below are the leading CRM solutions on the market.

  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • HubSpot Sales Hub
  • ClickUp
  • ActiveCampaign for Sales
  • Close

3. Help desk software

Help desk software streamlines internal support processes, making it easier for businesses to handle customer service issues and inquiries efficiently. It centralizes support ticket management, which helps companies track, prioritize, and address customer queries effectively.

Help desk software features

Top 5 help desk solutions in 2024

Below are the five leading help desk software programs on the market. 

  1. Zoho Desk
  2. Zendesk Support Suite
  3. HubSpot Service Hub
  4. Salesforce Service Cloud
  5. Freshdesk

4. Customer feedback management tools

Customer feedback management (CFM) tools collect and analyze customer feedback from various sources, including surveys, reviews, and social media. These tools help businesses understand customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.

CFM tool features

Below are some notable features of CFM platforms.

Top 5 CFM software tools in 2024

Below are the most popular CFM tools available on the market.

  1. Google Workspace
  2. SurveyMonkey
  3. Qualtrics CoreXM
  4. Jotform
  5. QuestionPro

5. Marketing automation platforms

Marketing automation platforms computerize marketing campaigns, personalize customer journeys, and nurture leads through different sales funnel stages. They allow businesses to talk to their current and potential customers in a more personal and timely way without having to do everything manually.

Marketing automation platform features

Below are some outstanding features of marketing automation platforms. 

Top 5 marketing automation platforms in 2024

Below are the foremost marketing automation platforms to optimize marketing efforts.

  1. HubSpot Marketing Hub
  2. Insider
  3. ActiveCampaign for Marketing
  4. Braze
  5. MailChimp

6. Customer data platforms

Customer data platforms (CDPs) unify customer data from various sources to create a comprehensive, single view of each customer. They personalize marketing and help make customer service management more effective.

CDP features

Below are some exceptional features of CDPs. 

Top 5 CDPs in 2024

Below are the best CDPs with advanced data management and personalization capabilities. 

  1. Treasure Data
  2. Segment
  3. BlueKai
  4. Adobe Audience Manager
  5. Klaviyo

7. Chatbots

Chatbots offer 24/7 customer support and answer basic questions without human intervention. They’re an efficient way to provide immediate assistance and improve customer satisfaction.

Chatbot features

Top 5 chatbots in 2024

Below are the prominent chatbots for automating customer service efficiently. 

  • Zendesk Support Suite
  • Intercom
  • Qualified
  • Tidio
  • Kore.ai

8. Feedback and review sites

These platforms encourage customer reviews and help businesses manage their online reputation. They build trust and help customers’ decision-making processes.

Feedback and review platform features 

Below are some notable features of review platforms.

Top 5 feedback and review platforms in 2024

Below are the leading feedback and review platforms that help businesses manage their reputation online. 

  1. G2
  2. Trustpilot
  3. Google My Business
  4. Yelp 
  5. Capterra

Customer Management Best Practices

Customer experience statistics show that how you manage customers directly reflects on your sales and profitability. Consumers are five times more likely to recommend a brand after an excellent customer service experience.

Happy customers amplify positive messaging directed at the target market. Below are a few best practices you should follow to run effective customer management processes in your business.

Make it personal

Create content aligned with buyers’ needs and interests at various customer journey stages to create an engaging experience. Set up your CRM, CDP, and surveys to aggregate customer data and use it as input to ensure informed follow-ups and make marketing messaging effective at various touch points. 

You can see purchase history and assess how a customer segment interacts with your web pages. Based on these insights, update your calls to action and make them more personalized. Personalized messaging and content delivery help businesses get closer to their customers and reap the potential rewards of a fruitful relationship. 

Streamline support

Customer service automation and AI can take over tedious tasks, including entering data, sorting through emails, or answering simple FAQs. This lets your team focus on more important things, like talking to customers. AI can also help you understand your customers better and offer them exactly what they want.

Ask for feedback

Ask for customer feedback and encourage them to answer what they like and dislike. Your customers are the best source to recognize opportunities to improve. Use these opportunities to create operations that deliver better experiences for customers. 


You can respond to feedback promptly and make necessary improvements, showing the customer their opinion matters and that you care enough to act on it.

Choose the right technology

There are several tools you can use when it comes to customer management. Tools enable you to make customer experiences seamless, but they require you to add a human touch by making customer experiences personal.

Choosing the right tools to integrate with existing business apps and systems can help you centralize data, allowing you to work on delivering experiences rather than connecting different systems.

Related: Learn about Nextiva’s customer management integrations

Track metrics

What you can measure is what you can improve. Track customer metrics such as resolution time, customer satisfaction score, retention, churn, lifetime value, and other valuations that help you improve your customer management approach. 

Adapt the strategy and processes based on these metrics as a source of truth. This will ensure your business grows with more repeat sales and improved profitability.

Nextiva voice analytics

Tackle Customer Management in One App With Nextiva

You need to make sure customers can reach your support staff without any hassle, helping you make an excellent first impression. 

Nextiva lets you take contact center operations to the cloud, adding more scalability and capabilities to deal with high call volume. It offers call queuing, customer service automation, call forwarding, and several other features, making customer service management a must for your business.

CX software service done right.

Integrate secure phone service, SMS, video, and team chat in ONE platform.

Alex Doan


Alex Doan

Alex Doan is an experienced senior marketing professional specializing in propelling growth for both B2B and B2C companies. Proficient in streamlining marketing operations for seamless sales transitions, utilizing analytics and consumer insights to achieve measurable outcomes. Committed to enhancing lead and customer experiences through effective journey mapping.

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