The catch phrase of the 1990s, Customer Relationship Management, was an instant darling of large and medium business houses, which in theory promised to develop and manage a happy and cordial relationship with customers. Now a decade and more into customer relationship management, organizations are slowly realizing that the unwieldy process is no longer easy to handle easily, as they initially thought, and forging a relationship forever is not gaining ground.
The reasons for the slow progress of this magnificent management tool are not very difficult to understand, although it has taken years to dawn on the organizations. However, fundamentally, the theory of CRM, customer relationship management, is still the wonderful formula for insuring your customer base. Let us see the two biggest stumbling blocks on the road to successful customer management relationship.
Two of the Biggest Stumbling Blocks to CRM
1.The success of customer relationship management depends on whether each interaction of customers with the organization was satisfying enough.
2.The cumbersome process is cost ineffective and unfriendly to maintain and track product and user data accurately
However, software managed databases are coming close to inject efficiency with advanced features to track have changed the face of CRM vastly. Nevertheless, the recent advent of internet technology has proven to take CRM to an altogether different plane wherein customer can instantaneously interact with automated answer banks and/or a customer support executive.
So, What Is the Basic Structure of Automated CRM?
To make things simple, let’s take the three core structural elements of an automated CRM. These three can be enumerated as: 1) Operational structure, to automate the fundamental business processes like marketing, sales, and service;
2) Implementing analytical technology to support customer behavior analysis and finally,
3) Cooperative approach to ensuring customer contact through media such as web, phone, SMS etc.
Software based CRM brings in certain cutting edge advantages.
1. Round the clock and 365 days information delivery on products/services, usage, problem solving over the web.
2. Automated scheduling of sales and service calls
3. Automatic guidance to typical problems
4. Interactive web tools allow customer define quality and/or problems
5. Easy tracking of repeat customers facilitate quicker identification
Still There Is Shadow beneath the Lamp
As business world is moving towards ironing out lacunae, there still remains lot of things to attend to. Not all the customers who emailed to customer departments are satisfied. The general complaint is the quality of service remained the same despite interactive websites. Whosoever is answering the emails still has the traditional supportive back office works to do. Another point that could be sighted here is the bane of automated email reply.
The bottom line, however is, come what may, CRM is here to stay.
Customer Relationship Management
Changing consumer attitudes are driving Customer Relationship Management. Fuelled by Internet induced expectations and an even increasing mood of self reliance among customers, companies have to compete in an environment where communication, buying processes, data management, delivery and service are all-important in the battle for longterm, profitable relationships.
Customers now require:
– Control over the buying process (information, comparison,
selection, easy to find, use and respond to)
– The best possible price (including delivery, and without
compromise to brand or product quality)
– The quickest, slickest delivery system (preferably free)
– All payment options (secure)
– Communications designed to suit the particular need
(computerised; complex; caring)
The above apply whatever the form of trading:
These attitudes combined with the development of new technology and the growing convergence of a number of ‘new – new’ and ’emerging – new’ communications and distribution technologies such as:
– ‘Fixed link’ telephony and telemarketing
– Internet and VOIP
– Mobile telephony, SMS etc.
– Digital TV, Cable, Satellite
is leading to an increasing focus on Customer Relationship Management by all types of organisations, as they realise that technological change allows them to re-organise the way that they manage customer relationships and make them more profitable.
Organisations are searching for something far more holistic, consistent and yet dynamic.
To achieve that and a sustainable competitive advantage in Customer Relationship Management means working with the management team, staff and suppliers of the company, where reasonable and cost effective using technology (e.g. intranet, extranet) to help to deliver the actions necessary to maximise performance.
– Define profitable market sectors and customers
– Understand customers needs and expectations
– Identify profitable product and service propositions
– Create effective, efficient, adaptable, cost effective
Customer Relationship Management is: the customer focussed management of the whole relationship with each customer, in order to measure, create and increase income and reduce costs for each customer and customer segment and thus to generate greater positive lifetime value across the portfolio.
Customer Relationship Management requires the organisation to know the answers to questions such as:
– Which of my customers are profitable or unprofitable?
– Do I know their lifetime value?
– Which of my products and services are they buying and not
– Have I measured customers’ purchase behaviour patterns, their
loyalty/retention/repeat purchase and multiple product
– What channel preferences do customers have?
– Who are my most profitable customers and what is their
ranking/grouping by risk, by product service grouping, by
profit, and by revenue?
– What strategies can I use to improve a customer’s
It also requires the organisation to deliver customer value. Customers must feel that
– Understands what I want
– Communicates with me
– Provides me with added value
– Gives me reasons not to switch
– Treats me as an individual
To achieve these answers Customer Relationship Management requires focus on both sides of the equation:
– Customer Communications Management
– Process Quality Management
and on three key delivery mechanisms, those of:
To be fully effective at Customer Relationship Management an organisation has to position the business unit or enterprise (proposition, processes and people) so that the customer is as the centre of their business. True Customer Relationship Management means that the business has streamlined customer management through the integration of all customer ‘touch points’, such as marketing, customer service and payment in such a way that true customer satisfaction and loyalty appear to occur effortlessly.
Customer Relationship Management is not a ‘fad’ it is a business philosophy that helps to increase revenue, reduce costs and to build and retain a loyal customer base.