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A customer information file (CIF) is an electronic resource, often a particular file or folder, that contains specific information about a customer and his/her purchasing history. A CIF often includes customer identifiers as well as past purchases, information about lines of credit or accounts, and other parts of a comprehensive snapshot of how the customer has interacted with the business in the past.
Customer information files (CIFs) are used in specific ways in corporate IT architectures. They may be part of an integrated banking application package or are stored in a central data warehouse and then interpreted through middleware. Customer information files can be part of a process called cross-indexing, wherein businesses cull content from different channels to build a more centralized picture of a customer and his/her purchasing behavior.
The CIF is also part of an emerging trend called customer relationship management (CRM), wherein businesses use sophisticated tools and resources to keep in touch with customers and manage their relationships with them. Although a CIF is typically just a repository for information, CRM goes further and provides interactive platforms and tools that allow salespeople to pursue better results. A number of CRM tools vendors offer integrated dashboard systems that provide a multiview analysis of customers and evolving deals.