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CRM

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - is an approach (combination of practices, strategies, systems) to manage an organization's customers (both existing and potential). It helps in maintaining and analysing customer interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. It provides insights for customer retention and customization thereby improving sales. 

 

An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by R Rajesh on 22nd November 2017. 

 

 

Question

Q 50. Customer Relation Management means different things to different professionals in different industries. Please write a detailed note to bring out the meaning of CRM.

 

Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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Background:

For any business to be successful, customer is the key . If a company is aware of what its customer wants or needs, then half the job is done. The next half is to execute them to action. In old days, businessman (individual) or marketing team/person(s) from companies used to approach people with different tactics. 

 

They would go to households in a locality and try to obtain a view on how their products are working and what are the concerns faced by the customer and what are the customer views on their products and how things can be improved. Also some business/marketing persons might also record these customer painpoints/observations through a survey.   As time progressed,  technology changes also happened. With the advent of technologies in computer industry, storing of information and analysing that became much easier and quick. This resulted in several softwares which effectively could encapsulate all essential things for a company to manage relationship with its customers.  Managing such relationship with customers is termed as Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

 

So what is CRM ?

It is an effective approach to manage a company’s customers –both existing and also potential customers, in the future. 

 

What does it do ?

1. It collects information on customers across different channels such as website, telephone,

    email, live chat , social media...
2. It provides an insight into customer’s information on buying preferences, purchase history,

    concerns etc.,..

 

How does it work?

1.With the help of CRM based softwares, customer information is collected, consolidated and

   documented in a database  
2.With the customer information stored in a database, it becomes easier for the business users

    to access and manage those information
3.Customer interactions are recorded through multiple channels such as email, phone, webchat,

    social media etc, which is limited only by the capability of the CRM software/system used  
4.Providing automation of various workflow processes

 

What are the benefits?

1.Customer retention  - ability to effectively address the needs of existing customers and ensure

   they are satisfied and continue their relationship with the company.
2.Customization – Providing customised products/services to every single customer  as per

    his/her or their(set of customer stakeholders) needs.
3.Potential customers can be targeted.
4.Customer pulse (concerns, taste/needs,...) is known or can be captured quickly.

 

Conclusion:

There are quite a few CRM softwares which can effectively help to understand the customer needs and thereby help a company to increase its satisfaction index.  A company should know what it wants to satisfy the customer or to increase its business growth and ensure that that its CRM strategy is aligned accordingly.

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'CRM' is sand for ‘Customer Relationship Management’

While interacting with its customers, CRM is all about –

·        principles,

·        practices and

·        guidelines

 

Organization's view:

          It includes direct interactions with customers, example: sales & service.

 

Customer's overall experience actually enhanced by CRM.types.png.b4acdcdf521b1b5c134c671c34c56528.png

 

A.   Strategic: Customer Centric

B.   Operational: Integration & automation of Sales/Support/Marketing.

C.   Analytical: Collect customer’s data & present it to management to take decision.

D.   Collaborative: include external stakeholders and share customer information throughout organisation.

 

Components:

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CRM includes 1. Data Warehouse - Centralize customer information 2. Opportunity Management - Track sales opportunities 3. Track & measure of marketing campaigns ) - Track sales opportunities 4. SaaS- Automate marketing interactions 5. PaaS - Provide business intelligence 6. Contact manager system integrating emails, documents, tasks, schedules, faxes etc.- Facilitate communications  7. CCRM (Customer Centric Relationship Management etc.

  

Customer Satisfaction:

It helps customer a lot by increasing loyalty and usage behaviour and by reducing customer complaints.

Organisation can distinguished profitable customer, integrated across channel assistance, salesforce effectiveness & efficiency, competitive pricing, customised offers/products/services, improved customer service, individualised campaign, single channel association with customer.   

 

In practice:

a. Call centres, b. Contact centre automation, c. Social media, d. Location-based services, e. Business-to-business transactions

 

CRM market

a. Salesforce.com b. SAP c. Oracle d. Microsoft Dynamics (Axapta).

 

Break Down Of CRM:

1. Software

2. Cloud Solutions

3. Management

 

 

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Increasing competition and decreasing customer loyalty have led to the emergence of concepts that focus on the nurturing of relationships to customers. If the customer is satisfied and retained with you then, it will help you to improve your business profitability. Generally companies generate better results when they manage their customer base in order to identify, acquire, satisfy and retain profitable customers. 

 

Maintaining the customer base aimlessly will not be helpful for the organization. Not All customers are of  equal importance and may not be worth on retaining at all. Some of the customers may not be helpful in the organization profitability - those are high cost-to-serve, Debtors, payment defaulters, not loyal - switching frequently between suppliers.

 

The goal must be a better management of customer relationships across the different points of customer contact. Customer relationship management is all about retaining customers, capturing customer lifetime value, maximizing new business opportunities, and sustaining profitability

 

 

Type of CRM characteristic

 

1. Strategic CRM :  It is a core customer-centric business strategy that aims at winning and keeping profitable customers

 

2.Operational  CRM : It focuses on the automation of customer-facing processes such as selling, marketing and customer service

 

3.Analytical CRM : It focuses on the intelligent mining of customer-related data for Strategic or tactical purposes

 

4.Collaborative CRM: Collaborative CRM applies technology across organizational boundaries with a view to optimizing company, partner and customer

                                      value.

 

Misunderstanding of CRM:

 

1.         CRM is database marketing: In Database marketing data used to build and exploit high quality customer databases for marketing purposes. As CRM software generates such database ,it sometimes misunderstood as database marketing, CRM is much wider in scope than database marketing, it is based on strategic, operational and collaborative approach.

2.         CRM is a marketing process: CRM software applications are used for many marketing activities like market segmentation, customer acquisition, customer retention and customer development, which creates misunderstanding on CRM as a marketing process. However CRM can be used for sales and service, HR can use customer preference data to recruit & train frontline staffs. Hence CRM is more than marketing process.

3.         CRM is an IT issue : Most CRM implementations require the deployment of IT solutions, some people thinks it is a IT initiative and hence IT issue. IT is an enabler which helps to gather the insights about the customer. An overarching goal of many CRM projects is the development of

relationships with, and retention of, highly valued customers. This may involves behavioral changes ,where IT may not play any role.

 

4.         CRM is about loyalty schemes : Loyalty schemes are commonplace in many industries, such as air miles, payback points etc. CRM may help the organization become more effective at customer communication and offer development. This loyalist scheme may help to retain the customer but all CRM implementations are not linked to loyalist scheme.

 e

  

Let’s discuss on CRM in different Industries for different professionals with certain considerations ,which may not be limited to this list.

 

 Hotel/Hospitality:

In Hotel industry the best in class hospitality attracts the customer, quick response in customer service adds happy customer too.

 

CRM consideration would be

 

1.         To identify frequent customers who books premium accommodation (High Profit)

2.         Customers/Guest room preference on food or room type etc – smoking or non-smoking, standard or de-

            luxe.

3.         Option on online booking  and interaction facility 

4.         Helps to run the promotional scheme on weekend break to customers who have indicated their complete

            delight in previous customer satisfaction surveys.

5.         For Immediate assistance, Car hire service,

6.         Wish the guest on their birthday/anniversary etc. who had stayed in the hotel

7.         Customer feedback surveys

 

Telecom:

In telecom industries looking at tough competition, it is required to design and develop customer centric strategies to grab the share and to sustain in long run.

 

CRM consideration would be

 

1.         Competitive analysis

2.         Error free order entry /Billing

3.         Value based customer service

4.         Proactive churn mitigation

5.         Encouraging prepaid customer to move to post paid

6.         Customer-friendly help desk and call center

 

Banking

Availability of several banking service provider, customer used to switch one to another based on competitiveness. Retaining them to increase profitability is the most warranted.

 

CRM consideration would be

 

1.         Value added cross selling of other products like loan, FD etc.

2.         Mobile banking

3.         Online money transfer

4.         Online statements

5.         Toll free customer service

6.         Assigning relationship manager for privileged customers

7.         ATM facility

8.         SMS on deposit/transfer/withdrawal

 

Insurance:

To maintain competitive edge and viability, insurance companies are focusing intently on delivering superior customer service by claim settle ratio ,attractive offers etc…

 

CRM consideration would be

 

1.         No claims discount structure

2.         Offer of other insurance at discounted rates

3.         Bonus on second anniversary of policy

4.         Tips of value/other product offers

5.         Offers at highly attractive terms for customer 

6.         Offer alternative payment mechanism

 

Airlines:

Airlines success heavily depends on its ability to intelligently manage sales, marketing and service processes and to draw mutual advantages from understanding of airline’s customers

 

CRM consideration would be

 

1.         The behavior of employees

2.         Web Check in facility

3.         Flight in time or Punctuality

4.         Proper baggage handling

5.         Seat occupancy

 

Automobile:

Success in automobile industries depends on understanding purchase cycle intimacy and analysis of ownership experience with a Web enabled systems making easy to capture crucial customer insights in the midst of the buying process

 

 CRM consideration would be

 

1.         Purchase experience

2.         Workshop service/ on road service

3.         Vehicle performance

4.         Dealer business performance

5.         Behavior of the sales and service staff

6.         Reminder /follow up call for service

 

FMCG:

FMCG companies have relied heavily on brand strength to generate and secure customer demand that translates into shareholder value.

 

CRM consideration would be

1.         Setting up national-level call centers to address consumer complaints/feedback

2.         Launching targeted catalogues

3.         Web based consumer research

4.         Unique features offered by the specific brand

5.         Coverage of national distribution

6.         Dominance of market leadership

 

If you look at the competitive approach of the organization due to customer awareness and expectation, then it obvious that there is no strategic alternative for enterprises rather than CRM - a relentless customer centric approach in order to achieve current, future and lifetime profitability by creating customers for life. Hence CRM is the core business strategy that integrates internal processes and functions, and external networks, to create and deliver value to targeted customers at a profit. It is based on high quality customer related data and enabled by information technology.

 

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CRM is basically used to attract and retain customers ,having a CRM in every company is mandatory so that he can help to filter out the concerns, risk or issues and deal with customers accordingly 

They help to build a long term relationship with profitable business 

They understand the customer needs in every aspect and helps the delivery team to perform and provide accurate results 

 

 

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CRM:

 

CRM in general means same, rather should mean the same. Yet it means different to different professionals in different industries.

This is mainly due to the expectations from different industries that varies. But obviously it is acceptable.

CRM typically also connects to the behavior of a person or CRM towards its customer/s.

Since the people behavior, be it customer or CRM matters as it is not constant & ever changing, it also matters to differentiate the perspective of understanding the CRM as such.

 

The important point to be noted in this role of CRM is "Relation" & also "Customer"

If we just go a bit deep, then the words Customer & also Relation mean very big. & when we connect these two great words/terms, it creates an essence that this could be more on a intangible level. & hence it also creates an essence to customize with respect to industry or any other factor for this matter.

 

This is similar to the word LOVE.

 

Love in general should mean same but

Love towards Mother,

Love towards Children (OWN)

Lover towards Children ( OTHERS)

Love our country

Love towards wife or girlfriend or any friend

 

all those expression differs.

 

CRM is a same principle with varying expressions in correlation to the behavior & other factors

 

 

 

 

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Every Business that produces a Product or Servive has a Customer in sight/mind !!

Attending to that customer : addressing the queries of the customer, resolving all Post delivery of the product/service queries/concerns and being there to assist the guest involves Customer Relationship Management !!

The nature of the relationship could be B2B or B2C. Irrespective of the nature, there is always a Buyer(Customer) & a Seller(Vendor).

Examples : In Hospitality industry attending to the Room Guest & Restaurant Guest is facilitated by a B2C CRM system

Within the Hospitality Industry, the Vendors who provide the raw material Eg : Vegetables, Meats and other produce, share a B2B relationship with the Hotel Operator.

In simple terms, to a layman, CRM involves attending to all Buinesses "Customer assistance needs" through the customer's preferred mode of communication/assistance. The Modes of communication today are diverse : By Phone, A Site Visit, via Email, via Chat and so on !! The Seller need to be aware of the customer preferences and try to assist / attend to guest through the prerferred mode.

Yes, a Brand with excellent CRM system in place is very likely to enjoy continued "Customer Patronage".

Recent Example : 2 Days ago one of my friend wanted to by a Mobile. After selecting Mi4, he was keen to pick it up from a store instead of having to wait for it after making the purchase online. Google assistant advised to check at www.poorvika.com. There was a representative to assist with 3 rings. The nearest store to us geographically was identified by the Call centre Rep. A walkin to the store facilitated instant purchase. The next day, there was a call made to confirm if the purchase was made and if any further assitance was needed. The CRM system ensured : 1) Guest got speedy attention and correct advice 2) The brand put in place a system to capture conversion percentage and also make sure a strong lead was not left out till a purchase was made. An example of a Good CRM system.

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If we look back one and a half decades ago, we had marketing, sales and customer service activities, in an organization, each area managed by the respective functions. The term ‘Customer Relations Management’ evolved subsequently and it continued to evolve with varying dimensions and scope.

 

While we can find various definitions for CRM, one common intent that emerges is that it is an approach to get the customers and company connected better. Considering the challenge in getting a universal definition, I would put down the below points that relate to the intent of CRM, furnished with no order or sequence in mind.

1.    Provide better responsiveness and service

2.    Provide single point of contact from company

3.    Long term customer retention

4.    Obtain feedback on customer satisfaction and loyalty

5.    Examine customer behavior patterns

6.    Wooing customers to buy more / additional products / services.

 

CRM is sometimes looked upon as a function (department) in an organization.

 

One of the most popular development that we saw during early 2000s is the growth of call centers. So much so, that the Call Centers became an outsourced activity surmounting geographical barriers.

 

The advent of Information Technology has also transformed the outlook of CRM. Various CRM softwares have emerged. Good or bad, it is a fact that CRM has become highly depended on IT.  In fact in one of the definitions, CRM is understood as a software.

 

In most Websites, if you click the “contact us”, you can no longer expect to obtain telephone number by which you can call and talk to someone. You may see a page that will ask you several details, or present you with several options to choose from and you will end up getting answered by the machine! Even if there is a telephone number, it will lead you to an automated voice response, which will keep on guiding you to select various options depending upon what you are seeking. Getting a person to interact would be a final option, if at all it happens!

 

While the above methods may have some advantages in terms of standardized and sometimes quicker response, it could also be very frustrating for a customer who may not get the answer to any specific problem for which a solution is being sought.

 

The CRM practices are bound to undergo more transformation in the days to come and have already been seen as an important factor for competitiveness.

 

With the above said, in today’s world, any organized business is not complete without a CRM in place.

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Customer Relation Management in the context of my organization which is in to providing Information Technology to Insurance business of our mother organization is as follows. From IT team we have our IT director who is the representative interacting with IT director from onshore, who will interface with the Business director. This business director is the Customer Relation Manager who interacts between business and IT team. Here Customer Relation Management is a connecting bridge between business and IT team to bridge any gaps in communication and to make sure that customer needs are worked upon effectively. In case of telecom sector Customer Relation Management covers on call support to help customer with any issues faced at any point of time. Also in case of privileged customers there are special contact personnel engaged to address any special needs of these customers. In case of retail industry customer relationship management is about closely working with the customer and helping build business on regular basis.

Customer Relation Management also owns the responsibility of exploring on the innovation and its needs based on market needs.

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be related or associated to the strategies, Technologies and Practices that organisations use to accumulate and  manage and analyse the interactions with customers. Most of the times, the whole approach is based on a software which allow the organization to retain and maintain data about all transactions done. The biggest benefit is that customers can be determined as unique identities through identities like Name, phone number and various other identification objects ideally known as User ID (UID). The softwares provide the option of accumulating data of all unique customer’s interactional data throughout the lifecycle of the Customer with the organisation!!

Given the competitive market , The organisation which can be in touch and sync with it’s customer has an upper edge. The data thus accumulated through the CRM helps the organisation to :

-          Improve Business relationship with the Customer

-          Retain Customers

-          Improve Business Operations and Thereby Impact Business Growth

Efficient CRM Systems ate capable of compiling relevant information about customers , like personal information, Purchase History, Buying Preference, concerns, feedback etc, across different Business Channels or Point of contacts between the customer and the organisation

The most common channels or customer touch points, in current times are

-          Company Website

-          Company Mobile application

-          Social media like Facebook & Twitter

-          Contact center , live Chats

-          Direct mailers (Somewhat out of vogue in many industries)

The benefit of a good CRM system is that –

-          It provides convenience to the organisation to align required data , as the software consolidates and documents the relevant information into a single CRM database.

-          It Records various customer interaction across all channels and provides as an output easily accessible MIS or reports – this enables managers to track performance and productivity of many workflow processes, Thus providing inputs for business Excellence.

Let us look at some effective applications of CRM Softwares:

Marketing Automation: Automated Marketing propagation , Lead generators, Lead covertors

Sales Force Automation: With GPS technology, tracking of location is possible which helps in proper territory mapping , internal Touch points, Work Closure mapping(Contacts and Follow ups included), which helps to avoid duplication of work and also measure and analyse productivity.

Contact center Automation :  Helps to make the process easy and convenient for the Agents/ Phone handlers at the Center. There are Softwares that help to track the complete lead time of a request and facilitates reminders for follow ups – All automated and accurate!!

Example: I know of a QSR which tracks it’s Customer Buying habits in individual outlets:

At a macro level , one of the analysis that the CRM provide is in a 4 cell Matrix of all the orders done in the outlet on regular intervals

 

High Frequency Low Bill value

High Frequency high Bill Value

Low frequency Low bill value

Low Frequency High Bill Value

 

** LSL & HSL of bill value is defined

** Customers have UID (Mobile phone numbers)

** LSL & HSL for frequency of Customer visit/ order is defined.

The above set analysis matrix helps the organisation to understand the customer shift in the above table and understand the impact of ongoing promotions on the sales in the outlet.

It also helps each outlets to plan local Marketing activities based on the intelligence provided by the matrices.

 

With the internet boom, most of the available CRMs in the market are now hosted on the cloud, thereby facilitating easy access to users across the globe.

Nowadays, there are Social CRMs which add value to organization and customers by enabling “ Customer Community” management. Customers can post reviews of service abd products and engage with other customers .  These are recent trends and the new developments in technology will surely bring about many more innovations in the CRMs in the near future.

Having mentioned all the advantages of an effective CRM, it is of utmost importance that we must also touch the Problems that an CRM can bring about. Without, proper management, inspite of all the technological wonders, a CRM System can become just another useless data dump – All data available should be connected,distributed, organised and Analyzed effectively justify the purpose and capability of an necessary investment- A State of the art CRM system that is designed to meet the needs to execute business excellence in an organisation.

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Customer relationship management is nothing but it's managing all of company relation  and I traction with customers a d potential customer. 

It is a type of system which helps companies to stay connected with their customers and streamline there processes and make profitability. 

People when talking g about CRM,  mean they are talking about a system or a tool that helps with contact the management,  sales management,  productivity and much more. Solution of this system will focus on everyone and make relation of company with Individual whether it is customer,  supplier,  service people,  it makes relation with them all throughout your lifecycle. This system helps to find new customers,  winning their business and providing support and additional services throughout relationship. 

It works fine E with sales,  customer service,  Business development,  recruitment,  marketing and any other pine of business for a company.  It is a better way to interact with all and maintain relation with all to succeed. 

CRM as a tools helps you and your company to store customer information, record service issue,  manage marketing campaigns, all at a single place. And make it possible that everyone gets the information. 

Every one in the company is able to see Information about customer,  what they bought,  when  they bought,  their experiences with the product. It is very beneficial to small businesses. 

Although CRM system have been used as sales and marketing tools,  service team are seeing great benefits in using them. Today's customer can raise an one  gannet social like on twitter,  then email or then phone to resolve privately. This system manage enquiry at one platforms across all channels without losing track. 

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