Thursday, November 29, 2007

Customer Relationship Management

What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) combines business strategy and technology to identify, acquire and retain profitable customer relationships. CRM creates a comprehensive picture of a customer across all channels by analyzing information collected during every transaction and interaction (such as purchases, support calls, returns, and other activities). This multi-dimensional analysis reveals a wealth of customer information. Some customers are more valuable than others, so organizations must maximize their marketing, product and service investments based on a customer's true value to the company. Better Management presents extensive resources on Customer Relationship Management topics to help you develop strategies for optimizing your customer relationships.

Goals of CRM

1) Grow customer revenue and profitability over time.
2) Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by providing better customer service.
3) Optimize management of customer life cycles.
4) Improves the efficiency of your sales and technical staff.
5) It allows easy access to customer service records, contact information, assigned assets and sales development.

Customer Relationship Lifecycle

There are three major areas that focus on customer satisfaction,

1) Sales.
2) Marketing.
3) Service.

The professional sales force predicts and proposes the real-time analysis of information and distributes this information to the company and business partners.Marketing concentrates on personalizing customer preferences and offering them satisfying experiences.Service is associated with the companies' call centers and coordinates interaction between web, e-mail, and other communication Medias.

Customer Management Tools

1) E-mail, telephone, and postal mail.
2) The Internet should be one of your primary tools for sales research. News articles, financial statements, and the company web site are often excellent indicators of what kind of business your customer is really doing.
3) Promotional materials like a mouse pad or t-shirt with your company name will serve as a subtle of your relationship.

How much does CRM cost?

A recent (2001) survey of more than 1,600 business and IT professionals, conducted by The Data Warehousing Institute found that close to 50% had CRM project budgets of less than $500,000. That would appear to indicate that CRM doesn't have to be a budget-buster. However, the same survey showed a handful of respondents with CRM project budgets of over $10 million. License fees for a typical web-based CRM solution range from 60-$80/month per user. However, the major costs associated with CRM are not the license fees, but the time an organization spends keeping the CRM system current. With many CRM solutions, the value of the time invested keeping the system current is 10X the CRM license fees. Low user acceptance is often challenging as it is difficult to get teams to give up existing processes. This is particularly true when the alternative requires an additional 30-60 minutes of data entry each day.

What causes CRM projects to fail?

The lack of a communication between everyone in the customer relationship chain can lead to an incomplete picture of the customer. Poor communication can lead to technology being implemented without proper support or buy-in from users. For example, if the sales force isn't completely sold on the system's benefits, they may not input the kind of demographic data that is essential to the program's success. One Fortune 500 company is on its fourth try at a CRM implementation, primarily because its sale force resisted all the previous efforts to share customer data.

Current Developments and news of CRM

*Quantum Corp., a storage provider, announced it has received two distinguished awards for achieving excellence across all key aspects of the customer experience through its service and support programs.

*For the second year in a row, Quantum has won a NorthFace ScoreBoardSM Award for exemplary customer service from Omega Management Group Corp.

*Quantum also has been honored as the winner of a Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) 2006 STAR Award for Best Practices.

*COMET Group Selects Kaidara to Enhance Customer Service and Support.


Customer relationship management today is about tracking and analyzing explicit information on current customers as well as sales prospects. CRM software needs to be deployed in a rigorous, disciplined, coordinated manner to achieve any promised potential.

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