What Is a Customer Relationship Manager? (Duties and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customer relationship managers are skilled communicators who promote brands by cultivating lasting relationships with key customers. They implement policies to retain customers, gain new ones and ensure their satisfaction with the organisation. By understanding the relevance of customer relationship managers in fostering customer allegiance to an organisation's brand, you can decide if it is a career you might find interesting. In this article, we explain what is a customer relationship manager and explore what you need to do to become one.

What is a customer relationship manager?

A customer relationship manager is a professional who builds and maintains strong, long-term and beneficial relationships with an organisation's customers. By providing a positive post-sale experience to customers, the customer relationship manager helps build trust in the organisation and ensures they continue to patronise the brand and bring more revenue. To do this effectively, the role of a customer relationship manager involves understanding and fulfilling the wants and needs of the target customers. The customer relationship manager also grows the organisation's customer base by identifying the right opportunities to draw new clients.

Related: Your Guide to The Functions of Management

What are the duties of a customer relationship manager?

The duties of a customer service relationship manager can differ according to the industry they work in and the requirements of their employer. Some of the prevalent responsibilities include the following:

Build customer relationships

The principal customer relationship manager role is to build trusting relationships with the key customers of an organisation. For this, they take the time to understand customer needs and find constructive solutions to meet these. In large organisations with many customers, customer relationship managers may use customer relationship management software to organise and supervise teams to implement strategic plans for building profitable customer relationships.

Manage customer communications

Another essential role of a customer relationship manager is to act as their organisation's representative and keep their key customers well-informed about their business news, service features and product developments. They may communicate with customers through various channels like corporate letters, emails, newsletters, phone messages, social media posts, video posts, forum posts, podcasts, articles and blogs. By marketing existing and new products directly to the customers, the customer relationship manager can increase product sales and bring more revenue for the organisation.

Related: Guide: How To Become an Effective Communicator

Resolve customer issues

Customer relationship managers monitor letters, emails, messages, social media posts and online reviews from customers for any issues they might have with the organisation and its products or services. When they find customers with problems, they attempt to resolve their concerns as quickly as possible. Such prompt and helpful responses can make a positive impression on new customers, and they are then more likely to convert to loyal buyers. They may write positive reviews about the organisation and its products and make word-of-mouth recommendations to family, friends and acquaintances. That can fetch more business for the organisation.

Improve customer care

Excellent customer care is crucial for business success. When customers know that an organisation cares about customer issues and offers solutions and aftermarket services, they are more likely to continue buying from it and boost its business. The customer service relationship manager is responsible for planning and implementing customer care policies and reviewing existing strategies to improve them. They use customer feedback and surveys to understand what customers want and apply the information to improve their products, services, distribution and marketing to boost customer satisfaction.

Expand customer base

Along with retaining existing customers, the customer relationship manager works at attracting new customers. Growing the customer base can improve the organisation's business and bring in more profits. To do this, they may use various marketing strategies such as launching new advertising campaigns, targeting new age groups and locations, using sales techniques like upselling and cross-selling and offering discounts. The customer relationship manager may also update the organisation's website, network in related industries and partner with companies with complementary business interests.

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Monitor business competitors

Knowing its competition and the competitors' strategies can help an organisation to effect policies of its own. The customer relationship manager can help by monitoring the organisation's business competitors and noting what they are doing right. They may then use similar ideas to improve the organisation's business operations and its market standing.

What skills should a customer relationship manager have?

A customer relationship manager can benefit career-wise from the following skills:

  • Communication skills: Customer relationship managers require excellent speaking, listening and writing skills to interact well with customers and the organisation's employees and vendors.

  • Customer service skills: They can benefit from being calm, empathetic and patient and knowing how to respond to customer suggestions and complaints and resolve their problems promptly to ensure customer satisfaction.

  • Collaboration skills: To be effective in building customer relationships and expand the customer base, customer relationship managers may collaborate with the organisation's senior executive, other managers, salespeople and other employees.

  • Presentation skills: To discuss customer relationship strategies with the organisation's senior management and other personnel, the customer relationship managers may make informative presentations outlining their plans in detail.

  • Problem-solving skills: When customers have issues with the organisation's products and services, customer relationship managers can identify the problems and devise proper resolutions.

  • Negotiation skills: By being a good negotiator, a customer relationship manager can explain the benefits of the organisation's products and services and persuade current and new customers to purchase them.

  • Time management skills: Prompt responses to customer queries and the timely implementation of customer service strategies are the key to building lasting relationships with customers and ensuring long-term customer satisfaction.

  • Computer skills: Customer relationship managers regularly use computers, the Internet and customer relationship management software to build, document and maintain customer relationships.

  • Product and service knowledge: Up-to-date knowledge of an organisation's products, services, upgrades and issues can help the customer relationship manager to keep customers informed and make sales.

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

What educational qualifications should a customer relationship manager have?

Many employers may require a customer relationship manager to have at the minimum a four-year bachelor's degree in business administration, economics, marketing, public relations or management. Additionally, after selecting candidates, the employers may conduct on-the-job training to better inform them about the company products, customer service and operations management. They may also offer training for improving communication and interpersonal skills.

What is the salary of a customer relationship manager?

The national average salary of a customer relationship manager is ₹20,843 per month. The actual pay scale may vary by the employer, location, educational qualifications, skills and experience. Customer relationship managers may earn higher salaries if they have extensive work experience and proven relationship-building capabilities.

How to become a customer relationship manager

You can become a customer relationship manager by following these steps:

1. Clear 10+2

It is essential to pass the 10+2 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination from a recognised board. You can choose arts, commerce or science stream with mathematics as a selected subject. It may help to score more than 55% marks since college admissions can be competitive.

2. Pass college entrance exams

Passing various college entrance exams is a necessary step for gaining admission to graduate and postgraduate college programmes. Some of the competitive exams you can take are:

  • Symbiosis Entrance Test (SET)

  • Christ University Entrance Test (CUET)

  • Delhi University Joint Admission Test (DU JAT)

  • Integrated Programme in Management Aptitude Test (IPMAT)

  • Bharati Vidyapeeth Undergraduate Management Aptitude Test (BUMAT)

  • All India Management Association Under Graduate Aptitude Test (AIMA UGAT)

  • Common Admission Test (CAT)

  • Common Management Admission Test (CMAT)

  • Management Aptitude Test (MAT)

3. Get an advanced degree

A one-month/one-year certificate, a one-year diploma or a four-year bachelor's degree is necessary for getting an entry-level position in customer relationship management. You may require a two-year master's degree to advance to a senior role. While a degree in any stream can help you start in this career, the college graduate and postgraduate programmes that are most beneficial for becoming a customer relationship manager are:

  • Certificate in customer relationship management

  • Advance diploma in customer relationship management

  • Bachelor of business administration (BBA)

  • Master of business administration (MBA)

  • Master of business administration (MBA) in customer relationship management

4. Acquire work experience

An internship or part-time work experience in the customer service industry may help your career prospects. Prospective employers may shortlist your resume if you have worked in jobs that required plenty of customer interactions. These can include the following:

  • receptionist

  • cashier

  • barista

  • customer service executive

  • social media specialist

  • customer support specialist

  • sales representative

  • administration assistant

5. Send job applications

You can find customer relationship manager roles on online job sites like Indeed, company websites, professional networking sites and social media. Customise your cover letter and resume to match the customer relations manager's job description. If your application highlights your ability to take on customer relationship management responsibilities, prospective employers are more likely to invite you for an interview. Prepare well for the interview by practising answers to frequently asked interview questions.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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