|Dr. M. Dhanabhakyam,|
Lecturer in Commerce,
Department of Commerce,
Coimbatore � 641 046.
M.Phil Research Scholar,
Department of Commerce,
Customer relationship management (CRM) covers methods and technologies used by companies to manage their relationships with clients. Information stored on existing customers (and potential customers) is analyzed and used to this end. Automated CRM processes are often used to generate automatic personalized marketing based on the customer information stored in the system.
Customers are the core requirement for any business and as such there is a need to faster and maintain great customer relationship with them
This customer relationship management takes a refreshing look at the key requirements for a CRM process that integrates our organization with those of our customers. We will learn how to introduce a successful customer relationship management program in our organization and reap the enormous benefits as a result.
e-customer relationship management applications designs to meet the critical requirements of businesses that need to accommodate rapid growth, shifting market demands, and rising customer expectations. Our applications conform to the client's unique requirements and helps strengthen customer relationships by automating important sales, marketing, customer support, engineering, and quality assurance processes across the organization. The customer self-service applications that we develop allow customers online access to in-depth information on the company's products and services, order history, product updates, and service request fulfillment.
e-customer relationship management services provides to engage customers, suppliers, employees and partners in a broader communications web, allowing them to collaborate, exchange data and conduct business online in a safe and efficient manner. We are committed to providing clients with state-of-the-art e-customer relationship management services by integrating technology, innovation and strategy with their business processes.
CRM revolves around the management of customer life cycle as indicated in the above figure. Start with customer acquisition either through the traditional advertising or through referrals. Then we move on customer development through personalization of communication and customization of products and services through a mutual learning process. Then leverage the customer equity through cross selling and up selling. Work for the retention of existing customer and also benefit by the new customers that they get through their personal referrals.
Over the years, there has been a visible change in customer Expectations due to rapid changes in technology and development of new economy. Organizations globally are gearing up to meet the challenges offered by the new wave of business partners. The lifestyles of individual have undergone major changes with mobility, Internet, and technology playing a very major role in individual�s behavioral patterns. Customers have become more demanding, and to retain the customers organizations are confronted with improving their pre and post sales service offering.
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Using the Internet and e-business to provide products and services and information to customers requires that you really know and understand your customers� needs. When customers contact is traditional business by visiting the store or office or contacting someone personally by phone, you have the opportunity to hear their questions and offer solutions based on personal communication. If they have a misunderstanding about our product or a sales objection we can deal with it immediately. When people visit our online business at website, we will not even know they are there. we do not have the opportunity to ask or answer questions. It is therefore vitally important that we anticipate their questions and concerns and provide the needed information in a way that makes it easy for them to fully understand our offering. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a way to get the maximum value from your e-business investment.
What is CRM?
CRM is the broad category of concepts, tools, and processes that allows an organization to understand and serve everyone with whom it comes into contact. CRM is about gathering information that is used to serve customers�basic information, such as name, address, meeting and purchase history, and service and support contacts. In a supplier relationship it might be procurement history, terms and conditions, or contact information. This information is then used to better serve the clients.
Customer relationship management is a corporate level strategy, focusing on creating and maintaining relationships with customers. Several commercial CRM software packages are available which vary in their approach to CRM. However, CRM is not a technology itself, but rather a holistic approach to an organisation's philosophy, placing the emphasis firmly on the customer.
CRM governs an organization's philosophy at all levels, including policies and processes, front of house customer service, employee training, marketing, systems and information management. CRM systems are integrated end-to-end across marketing, sales, and customer service.
A CRM system should:
� Identify factors important to clients.
� Promote a customer-oriented philosophy
� Adopt customer-based measures
� Develop end-to-end processes to serve customers
� Provide successful customer support
� Handle customer complaints
� Track all aspects of sales
� Create a holistic view of customers' sales & services information
There are three fundamental components in CRM:
� Operational - automation of basic business processes (marketing, sales, service)
� Analytical - analysis of customer data and behavior using business intelligence
� Collaborative - communicating with clients
Operational CRM provides automated support to xxx "front office" business processes (sales, marketing and service). Each interaction with a customer is generally added to a customer's history, and staff can retrieve information on customers from the database as necessary.
According to Gartner Group, operational CRM typically involves three general areas:
Sales force automation (SFA)
SFA automates some of a company's critical sales and sales force management tasks, such as forecasting, sales administration, tracking customer preferences and demographics, performance management, lead management, account management, contact management and quote management.
Customer service and support (CSS)
CSS automates certain service requests, complaints, product returns and enquiries.
Enterprise marketing automation (EMA)
EMA provides information about the business environment, including information on competitors, industry trends, and macroenvironmental variables. EMA applications are used to improve marketing efficiency.
Integrated CRM software is often known as a "front office solution", as it deals directly with customers.
Many call centers use CRM software to store customer information. When a call is received, the system displays the associated customer information (determined from the number of the caller). During and following the call, the call center agent dealing with the customer can add further information.
Some customer services can be fully automated, such as allowing customers to access their bank account details online or via a WAP phone.
Analytical CRM analyses data (gathered as part of operational CRM, or from other sources) in an attempt to identify means to enhance a company's relationship with its clients. The results of an analysis can be used to design targeted marketing campaigns, for example:
� Acquisition: Cross-selling, up-selling
� Retention: Retaining existing customers (antonym: customer attrition)
� Information: Providing timely and regular information to customers
� Other examples of the applications of analyses include:
� Contact optimization
� Evaluating and improving customer satisfaction
� Optimizing sales coverage
� Fraud detection
� Financial forecasts
� Price optimization
� Product development
� Program evaluation
� Risk assessment and management
� Strategic Marketing
� Operational marketing
Data collection and analysis is viewed as a continuing and iterative process. Ideally, business decisions are refined over time, based on feedback from earlier analyses and decisions. Most analytical CRM projects use a data warehouse to manage data.
Collaborative CRM focuses on the interaction with customers (personal interaction, letter, fax, phone, Internet, e-mail etc.)
Collaborative CRM includes:
� Providing efficient communication with customers across a variety of communications channels
� Providing online services to reduce customer service costs
� Providing access to customer information while interacting with customers
� Driven by authors from the Harvard Business School (Kracklauer/Mills/Seifert), Collaborative CRM also seems to be the new paradigma to succeed the leading Efficient Consumer Response and Category Management concept in the industry/ trade relationship.
Uses of CRM
In its broadest sense, CRM covers all interaction and business with customers. A good CRM program allows a business to acquire customers, provide customer services and retain valued customers.
Customer services can be improved by:
� Providing online access to product information and technical assistance around the clock
� Identifying what customers value and devising appropriate service strategies for each customer
� Providing mechanisms for managing and scheduling follow-up sales calls
� Tracking all contacts with a customer
� Identifying potential problems before they occur
� Providing a user-friendly mechanism for registering customer complaints
� Providing a mechanism for handling problems and complaints
� Providing a mechanism for correcting service deficiencies
� Storing customer interests in order to target customers selectively
� Providing mechanisms for managing and scheduling maintenance, repair, and on-going support
The following factors need to be considered:
� Scalability: the system should be highly scalable, as the volume of data stored in the system grows over time
� Communication channels: CRM can interface with a variety of different channels (phone, WAP, Internet etc.)
� Workflow - a company's business processes need to be represented by the system with the ability to track the individual stages and transfer information between steps
� Assignment - the ability to assign requests, such as service requests, to a person or group.
� Database - the means of storing customer data and histories (in a data warehouse)
� Customer privacy considerations, such as data encryption and legislation.
Improving Customer Relationships
CRM applications often track customer interests and requirements, as well as their buying habits. This information can be used to target customers selectively. Furthermore, the products a customer has purchased can be tracked throughout the product's life cycle, allowing customers to receive information concerning a product or to target customers with information on alternative products once a product begins to be phased out.
Repeat purchases rely on customer satisfaction, which in turn comes from a deeper understanding of each customer and their individual needs. CRM is an alternative to the "one size fits all" approach. In industrial markets, the technology can be used to coordinate the conflicting and changing purchase criteria of the sector.
Privacy and Ethical Concerns
The data gathered as part of CRM raises concerns over customer privacy and enables persuasive sales techniques. However, CRM does not necessarily involve gathering new data, but also includes making better use of customer information gathered as a result of routine customer interaction.
The privacy debate generally focuses on the customer information stored in the centralised database itself, and fears over a company's handling of this information. For example, there is virtually no way a consumer can determine if the company shares private (personally identifiable) data with third parties. Furthermore, companies may not always accurately declare to the consumer the types of information collected by CRM systems and the specific purposes for which the information is used.
Electronic Customer Relationship Management- e CRM
It is integration between the traditional CRM and e-business application. This small �e� has full potential to act as a gigantic E, boosting the organization�s performance and the overall structure of business. Essentially, e- enables an organization to extend its infrastructure to customers and partners in a way that offers new opportunities to learn customer needs, add value, gain new economies, reach new customers, and do all of this in real time.
e-CRM is not just customer service, self-service web applications, sales force automation tools or the analysis of customers' purchasing behaviors on the internet. e-CRM is all of these initiatives working together to enable an organization to respond more effectively to its customers' needs and to market to them on a one-to-one basis.
Reason for e-CRM
Globalization brought in its spate a new emerging trend of e-business reinforcing further the customer centric approach. Customers now-a-days hold supremacy as the de-facto rulers of the market since they drive the market trends, with their rational approach. This emerging scenario impelled companies to take a U-turn in their thought process and follow a customer-oriented methodology. At present companies cannot leap ahead on the basis of their capabilities and services, as it is the customers who matter at the end of the day.
According to industry research, it is 10 times more expensive to pursue new customers than to sell to existing ones. CRM can help gain a greater share of a loyal customer's business. Customers have always been at the core of business. The Internet economy has empowered the customer with more information and choice than ever before. In the digital economy, your empowered customer will:
� Value time, convenience, choice, flexibility, and simplicity
� Permit access to their information on their terms
� Expect you to learn from their interactions
� Look for customized, relevant & usable value at competitive price
� Demand consistent treatment across all modes of interaction - at the store, over the phone, on the web, at their home or business. Insist on every interaction to be a pleasant fulfilling experience.
Integrated Real-Time Information
The comprehensive Intelebiz CRM system captures every order, every payment transaction, every shipment, every communication, and every aspect involving customer relationship, all in real-time. Our E-CRM is integrated with its multi-channel sales, order engines and marketing engine. Customer support is made easy by virtue of having all relevant information in a single unified view.
Prioritization and Personalization
The application tracks all valuable customers and encourages them to do more business with company. It provides loyalty program, special offers, special pricing, special products and other exclusive services.
Buying Groups and Organizations
The system supports groups and other form of buying organizations that receive special pricing, aggregate their orders to a sum benefit, and need cumulative reporting.
The system has a configurable activity management system with a complete calendar, notations, categorized issue tracking, and resolution management.
Customer Communications- Trouble Ticket and Live Chat
Customer communications enables all email communications as well as trouble tickets and live chat supported by a configurable communications engine. Customers can easily submit a trouble ticket. A system events engine automates communications in step with order management workflow.
Customer Service and Self-Service
Our integrated service tools increase customer loyalty while reducing support costs. Customers can log in anytime to view their order histories, track packages, request refunds or view quotes. Customers can also submit trouble tickets while reviewing responses to their previous inquiries, or read through a published knowledge base.
New Customer Acquisition and Prospecting
This functionality enables tracking of all prospects according to stage of development and likeliness to make a purchase. Prospect records seamlessly convert into customer records with password protection and entitlements.
The attribution system enables the definition and storage of any number of aspects of each customer for use in prioritization, loyalty programs, determining customer acquisition sources, entitlements, and contractual obligations. Configuration of attributes is user-driven including the data type, display type, the universe of acceptable values, and behaviors, including whether or not ranges of values are accepted and whether the attribute is visible to customer.
Pricing Tiers, Volume Pricing, and Customer Specific Pricing
The pricing engine enables any number of pricing tiers (for loyalty programs and wholesale/distributor/retail pricing) and enables volume pricing (discounts for bulk purchases) within each tier. The pricing engine is connected to Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) such that customers can sign-in and get access to their own special pricing.
Benefits of e-CRM
Most of the organizations are investing huge amount of money in defining and automating there core business processes. No doubt, they have benefited by standardizing the processes, yet there are some unpredictable and unforeseen circumstances, wherein the expertise of the individuals is called for. This is where e-CRM comes into the picture.
� Captures and Reuses past experiences
� Ensures Knowledge Management- A strategy to organize and use available information, experience and expertise
� Focus on customers across organization
� Linking employees with customers
� Lower cost of service as servicing a customer online costs less because all functional areas of servicing a customer (sales, marketing and services)
� Help to capitalize on your most profitable customers
� Ability to increase marketing capabilities through gathering enhanced demographic data, e-CRM allows organizations to profitable consumer profiles for new customer acquisition
e-CRM is an essential tool for any organization's high performance and depends on worker's effectiveness more than their efficiency. By doing so, companies can engage their customers in an ongoing knowledge exchange in which the company can learn more about market and customer needs and work to develop and deliver the products and services that can exceed the customers' expectations and leap ahead of market trends.
Effective customer relation management through customer knowledge management
Customer relationship management starts with in depth knowledge of customers, their habits, desires and this needs, by analyzing their cognitive, affect behavior and attributes. CRM applies this knowledge to develop and design-marketing strategies, to develop and cultivate, long lasting mutually beneficial interaction and relationship with the customer. Customer knowledge and customer interaction on the basis of this knowledge are the two pillars on which any CRM design and its successful implementation rests.
Dynamic changes in the form of evolution of marketing environment and development of web as marketing medium and its global acceptance have forced organizations to change the way in which business is conducted, thus E-business has evolved and is expected that with in few years it will become so mature that it will be the sole survivor in terms of way of conducting business. Supply chain management system and customer relation management system are integrated to the existing ERP systems of the organizations to deliver value to the customer.
THE CRM VALUE CHAIN
Customer data -> customer information -> customer knowledge -> Wisdom to completely satisfy customers
Winning markets through effective customer relation ship management
Information technology and Internet are rapidly changing the face of what is possible in customer contact, care and insight. Moreover customer expectations for quality service, and value are rising continually. Keeping this in mind, successful companies are now gearing to organize their business around the types of customers they serve rather than organizing their business along the product lines or geographic business units. Today, with ever increasing focus on customers, companies are taking a process-oriented approach to customer relationship management.
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT�A FRAMEWORK
Customer relationship management (CRM) is comprehensive sales marketing approach to building long-term customer relationships and improving business performance. A frame works in designing a strategy for effective customer relationship management developing customer insight, use of technology in CRM customer contact, personalizing customer interaction, and achieving superior customer experience.
CRM solutions platform needs to be based on interactive technology and process. It should assist the company in developing and enhancing customer interactions and one-to-one marketing through the applications of suitable intelligent agents that help develop front-line relationship with customers. Such a system should identify appropriate data inputs at each customer interaction site and use analytical platforms to generate appropriate knowledge output for front-line staff during customer interactions. In addition, implementation tools to support interactive solutions for customer profitability analysis, customer segmentation, demand generation, account planning, opportunity management, contact management, integrated marketing communications, customer care strategies, customer problem solving, virtual team management of large global accounts, and measuring CRM performance would be the next level of solutions sought by most enterprises.