An enterprise needs to put the customer at the centre of its thinking. This will allow it to identify a customer’s specific needs and offer 1:1 personalised marketing (“mass customisation”), deliver efficient and standardized customer service and be able to identify its most profitable customers. All of this should help increase customer retention, which in turn should cut costs and boost revenue.
What are the technologies which make CRM possible?
- Data Warehousing: A centralized database is needed to store all customer data and provide detailed and unified customer views
- Personalisation: Messages sent out to customers need to be tailored – by content, channel and time.
- Email Marketing: Email is perhaps the most cost-effective way to send out messages. The enterprise needs to send out millions of messages regularly to customers, and yet respect their privacy.
- Campaign Management: Analysing the responses from a campaign can help in boosting success rates, and providing a positive feedback loop to the marketing process.
- Reporting and Analysis: This rapidly-growing area of e-business analytics helps companies leverage the internal and external data stores by using sophisticated statistical techniques and algorithms.
- Call Centre: Many customers will still want to communicate with the enterprise. At these times, it is important to provide an integrated view of the customer to the service representative.
An enterprise needs to build/adapt its processes around customers. Technology can only be an enabler – the bigger challenge lies within. Enterprises need to truly understand where value lies. This clarity will help in defining the business rules to respond to specific events relating to the customer.
An excerpt from a recent Economist survey on E-Management on lessons learnt by companies that want to use the Internet to manage customer relations:
One [lesson] is that companies which thought of every sale as a separate transaction will increasingly make money not from a first sale but from repeat business. This implies creating a continuing relationship with the customer, such as service providers usually enjoy. A second lesson is the importance of being able to involve the customer in development, design and market research. A third is the need for speed: the Internet, with its round-the-clock, round-the-week availability, raises customer expectationsThe close contact with the customer fostered by the Internet is the most valuable commercial advantage a business can have.