Consumers have made it clear: They want personalized shopping experiences that recognize their preferences across platforms and coordinate all their experiences with a given brand. That’s a challenge for most organizations, which are struggling to learn the best ways to personalize customers’ experiences. Any organization with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, however, should be well on its way to given that the personalization that customer wants.

CRM was once a fancy name for a contact system that sales teams used (sometimes) to track their contacts with customers. The members of the sales team were the method of personalization. They knew their customers by name, understood their preferences when it came to contracts and purchases, and they could track customer buying behavior with the CRM application.

Today, CRM is the method of personalization. Or, more specifically, it’s the tool used to create the same personalization that sales teams previously provided. Here are just three ways CRM taps into the growing demand for personalized experiences, although there a myriad of others. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Timing Is Everything

Some might call it just-in-time marketing customers’ desire to receive personalized, targeted marketing touches at the exact moment they need information or are ready to make a purchase. It’s a difficult strategy, but a good CRM system connects the right data to help determine what a customer needs at just the right moment. Then, your association can reach out with information, advice, comparisons, and even coupons at the exact moment the customer is looking for information or is about to make a purchase. Sometimes, the information provided can trigger the understanding of the need and initiate the buying process, as well.

Customers see this as the fulfillment of a relationship goal. They’re looking for a product that takes their wants, desires, and needs into deliberation and that provides more than just sales pitches. They want to partner with organizations that see them as people, not just a dollar amount in a ledger somewhere. Correctly timed, personalized communications build deeper customer loyalty.

Collaboration Is King

We live in an age when people want their voice to be heard. Customers’ particularly millennial want brands to listen to their thoughts, suggestion, and desires as they relate to that brand. They want to contribute in the personalization of their own experiences. CRM provides great communication tools that help organizations collaborate with their customers. Whether through social media, direct email, surveys, or customer interactions, organizations use CRM not only to track those communications but also to determine which customers have the most to offer, which are most representative of all their customers, and which could be a driving force or brand ambassador for the organization.

In return, customers feel involved and invested in the brand and its products and are more likely to remain loyal. They’re also more likely to share their experiences within their networked worlds, which further builds the brand.

Human Interactions

CRM applications have grown in sophistication over the years. Today, some aspects of the customer relationship can be automated to the point that it seems almost as if a real person is reaching out to the customer. For example, if a customer purchases your product today, that purchase can trigger a personalized email to be sent a few days from now to verify that the customer is happy with the purchase and requesting feedback from that customer. To the customer, the email appears to come from a real person. The customer’s impression is a positive one: The Company took the time to recognize the purchase and truly cares about the customer’s satisfaction.

Customers today demand personalization. They want to be recognized not only as a single person across all your platforms but also as a customer who contributes to your bottom line. Your CRM application is one tool that can help achieve this type of seamless, meaningful interaction with those customers. Whether it’s through perfectly timed contacts, collaborative personalization, or human-like interactions with the customer, CRM can help you build the experiences your customers crave.