Where Customer Relationship Management Started From

Where Customer Relationship Management Started From


The Nigerian Telecommunication Commission (NITEL) experience…

Are you really wondering how customer relationship management gets started? Let me let you in on a little secret. This happened many years ago in Nigeria. Many Grandpa and Grandmas born in the 70s and below remember this organization and laugh uncontrollably at where we actually started from in term of GSM communication. In those days, only a few people had a telephone line in their houses. It is just like the Shelve TVs. The ones that have always have to receive neighbours and friends who always have to come to make and receive calls. That is just the simple monopolistic world of NITEL. Then you have to get your call cards and pay through your nose to NITEL for their epileptic services. You had no option then, if you had anything to do with communication, it has to be NITEL or NIPOST.

customer relationship managementn

From the picture I have painted above, you can see that in that scenario, NITEL call the shots. They treated their customers in a bad way. They have the feeling that they are doing customers a favour by serving them. This is a product-centric enterprise where product and competition is a deciding factor. That is not what I really want to discuss now. In this article, I will be focusing on the various stages of evolution of customer relationship management. Follow me as we do this together.


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Now the business of the day…


This is the era of NITEL and other big organizations that started the industrial revolution in away. Their focus is on how they can increase productivity and stay ahead of the competition. They always look out for cheap labour and cheap raw materials so that they can sell their products or services at pocket-friendly prices.


You should also know that product-centric enterprise at this stage of development does not have customers at the back of their mind. Their customer support is just reactionary as all attention is just on how the organization can boost productivity generally.



In the 90s, organizations started realizing that the bulk of their profit is coming from consistent and permanent customers. It also dawns on them that they could no longer take customers for granted as this happens to be the era where the next organization producing similar goods or services is just a “mouse click away”. This is the stage that organizations now realized that some customers are more important to the survival of the organization. They would not want to lose such type of customers. That made them start giving preferences to some customers above others.


21st Century….

The Twenty-first century can be said to be the age of enterprise customers. In the contemporary time, customers dictate the phase of production of goods and services. Organizations now strive to create a form of symbiotic relationship that allows them to gather as much information about customers and use that information as a tool for retaining customers for life. I can boldly say this is what CRM is all about.


POSER: Some have challenged me that this is not applicable to the Nigerian business environment. If you are a Nigerian, what is your take on this and if you are not a Nigerian, which stage is your country now. Please drop your answer in the comment box.


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