As the Internet is becoming more and more important in business life, many companies consider it as an opportunity to reduce customer-service costs, tighten customer relationships and most important, further personalize marketing messages and enable mass customization. ECRM is being adopted by companies because it increases customer loyalty and customer retention by improving customer satisfaction, one of the objectives of eCRM. E-loyalty results in long-term profits for online retailers because they incur less costs of recruiting new customers, plus they have an increase in customer retention. Together with the creation of sales force automation (SFA), where electronic methods were used to gather data and analyze customer information, the trend of the upcoming Internet can be seen as the foundation of what we know as eCRM today.
As we implement eCRM process, there are three steps life cycle:
- Data collection: About customers preference information for actively (answer knowledge) and passively (surfing record) ways via website, email, questionnaire.
- Data aggregation: Filter and analysis for firm’s specific needs to fulfill their customers.
- Customer interaction: According to customer’s need, company provide the proper feedback to them.
eCRM can be defined as activities to manage customer relationships by using the Internet, web browsers or other electronic touch points. The challenge hereby is to offer communication and information on the right topic, in the right amount, and at the right time that fits the customer’s specific needs.
When enterprises integrate their customer information, there are three eCRM strategy components:
- Operational: Because of sharing information, the processes in business should make customer’s need as first and seamlessly implement. This avoids multiple times to bother customers and redundant process.
- Analytical: Analysis helps company maintain a long-term relationship with customers.
- Collaborative: Due to improved communication technology, different departments in company implement (intraorganizational) or work with business partners (interorganizational) more efficiently by sharing information.
Implementing and integrating
Several CRM software packages exist that can help companies in deploying CRM activities. Besides choosing one of these packages, companies can also choose to design and build their own solutions. In order to implement CRM in an effective way, one needs to consider the following factors:
- Create a customer-focused culture in the organization.
- Adopt customer-based managers to assess satisfaction.
- Develop an end-to-end process to serve customers.
- Recommend questions to be asked to help a customer solve a problem.
- Track all aspects of selling to customers, as well as prospects.
Furthermore, CRM solutions are more effective once they are being implemented in other information systems used by the company. Examples are transaction processing system(TPS) to process data real-time, which can then be sent to the sales and finance departments in order to recalculate inventory and financial position quick and accurately. Once this information is transferred back to the CRM software and services it could prevent customers from placing an order in the belief that an item is in stock while it is not.
Today, more and more enterprise CRM systems move to cloud computing solution, “up from 8 percent of the CRM market in 2005 to 20 percent of the market in 2008, according to Gartner“. Moving managing system into cloud, companies can cost efficiently as pay-per-use on manage, maintain, and upgrade etc. system and connect with their customers streamlined in the cloud. In cloud based CRM system, transaction can be recorded via CRM database immediately.
Some enterprise CRM in cloud systems are web-based customers don’t need to install an additional interface and the activities with businesses can be updated real-time. People may communicate on mobile devices to get the efficient services. Furthermore, customer/case experience and the interaction feedbacks are another way of CRM collaboration and integration information in corporate organization to improve businesses’ services.
There are multifarious cloud CRM services for enterprise to use and here are some hints to the your right CRMsystem:
- Assess your company’s needs: some of enterprise CRM systems are featured
- Take advantage of free trials: comparison and familiarization each of the optional.
- Do the math: estimate the customer strategy for company budget.
- Consider mobile options: some system like Salesforce.com can be combined with other mobile device application.
- Ask about security: consider whether the cloud CRM solution provides as much protection as your own system.
- Make sure the sales team is on board: as the frontline of enterprise, the launched CRM system should be the help for sales.
- Know your exit strategy: understand the exit mechanism to keep flexibility.
Channels through which companies can communicate with its customers, are growing by the day, and as a result,their time and attention has turned into a major challenge. One of the reasons eCRM is so popular nowadays is that digital channels can create unique and positive experiences – not just transactions – for customers. An extreme, but ever growing in popularity, example of the creation of experiences in order to establish customer service is the use of Virtual Worlds, such as Second Life. Through this so-called vCRM, companies are able to create synergies between virtual and physical channels and reaching a very wide consumer base. However, given the newness of the technology, most companies are still struggling to identify effective entries in Virtual Worlds. Its highly interactive character, which allows companies to respond directly to any customer’s requests or problems, is another feature of eCRM that helps companies establish and sustain long-term customer relationships.
Furthermore, Information Technology has helped companies to even further differentiate between customers and address a personal message or service. Some examples of tools used in eCRM:
- Personalized Web Pages where customers are recognized and their preferences are shown.
- Customized products or services.
CRM programs should be directed towards customer value that competitors cannot match. However, in a world where almost every company is connected to the Internet, eCRM has become a requirement for survival, not just a competitive advantage.