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Customer relationship management (CRM)

CRM

CRM, or customer relationship management, is a vital part of organizations today, because today organizations are more likely to see the customer as a stakeholder in the business, and be looking for their feedback and empowerment in order to make the company more effective.  “At heart, CRM is a smart marketing tool supported by technology that allows users to manage all of their customer interactions. CRM systems go an important step beyond data warehouses.

They marry information across a company’s product lines – magazines, newsletters, conferences and events – to eliminate “data silos” (Keys, 2002).  The company needs to use Customer Relationship Management to its utmost advantage because of its core strategy o f being close to and relating to the customer in an atmosphere of positive communication in which trust is formed by the customer for the product and service.  “CRM has come to mean different things to different people.  For some managers, CRM means sales force contact software like salesforce.com.  For others, it means telephone call centers for contact management.  Many attention focus their loyalties on software programs like Total Rewards” (Winer, 2007).  For the modern company, CRM must mean all of these things and more for the marketing strategy to really work.

Many solutions must be foreseen.  One solution is to use CRM to bolster the company internally.  Another solution is to use Customer Relationship Management to market more effectively and reach the client better.  “When customer relationship management CRM) came on the health scene approximately six years ago, some viewed it with skepticism and primarily saw it as a way to refine rather than reinvent marketing. More progressive marketers adopted the CRM techniques of compiling all consumer and market data into a centralized database and used data mining to more narrowly define target audiences based on characteristics rather than general demographics” (Paddison, 2004).

Yet another option for the dynamic and modern company could focus more on the

management of the company than the client, and highlight management having a working

knowledge of marketing and being able to work with marketers and consultants in a

proactive manner that reflects the abovementioned external dynamism of the wireless

communications  market.  “Work with someone from your marketing or planning

department to develop a series of questions that will determine the baseline financial

savvy of your department heads. Then conduct one or two focus groups with a

representative cross section… A key goal of the focus group should be determining how

well your managers understand the reports they receive” (Macevicuiate, 2001).  These

solutions can work in both long-term and short-term formats to help the company remain

competitive.

In terms of applying CRM to the current perceived instability and constraint in the

economy in the assignment parameters, it is better to cull support from the more cautious

side of CRM demonstrated, as one source states that “it should be applied only to

processes vital to a company’s competitiveness” (Paddison, 2004).  This informative

article also gives cautionary examples of what can happen in CRM systems when

mismanagement and other obstacles are presented to given an overall holistic application

of CRM IT systems.  In cases like these, workload is increased in a way that is inefficient

to the company. In a competitive business environment, this does not help the customer

in the long run in this case example.

The dynamic, modern company can make strides in functionality of CRM in terms of keeping up with and integrating with other companies in the IT environment to present more unified platforms for the applications.  One example of this kind of partnership that could be engaged is that of the modern company with Sage Software, in terms of CRM applications being shared on a platform of service.  “At Insights 2005, its third annual business partner conference, Sage Software (formerly Best Software) introduced Sage CRM, full suite configurable customer relationship management software for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that is available both as a hosted service at SageCRM.com and for on-premises deployment. In addition, an ACCPAC edition provides bi-directional front office/back office integration” (CRM, 2005).  This shows an integration of database technology that is very important considering the parameters required, in terms of hem and haw firm examples which remain coded quantities.  “Web-based, configurable CRM software suite, Sage CRM, is offered in ACCPAC edition that provides bi-directional front office/back office integration with ACCPAC Advantage Series accounting and operations management software. Supporting technology options include Outlook and Lotus[R] Notes integration as well as IBM[R] DB2[R], MS SQL, Oracle[R], and Sybase[R] database options. Software also offers support for wireless devices such as PDAs and cell phones” (CRM, 2005).  This shows the integration of the CRM to the modern company’s databases.

Overall, the main point is the difference between formal and informal market research.  Formal market research appears to be more common because it was described in more depth, in terms of how companies can listen and learn through formal means of observation such as experiments, surveys, and focus groups.  Informal market research is more about establishing close customer contact.  Marketers also talk about how companies can follow lead users.  Lead users are companies or individuals who are ahead of the curve in terms of their needs.  Another important point was the explanation of empathetic design through CRM, which focuses on observing how customers really use things and then responding.

CRM cultures in organizations which are universal and would require little adaptation, such as a positive and customer-centric attitude and a causal and laid back manner of calm and confidence.  But when a group of managers gets too fascinated by their own authority to see that they are working within a community of individuals who may have equally valuable contributions to make regarding the decision-making process, there will be no employee motivation.  Management is not the lone representative of a business; it is bigger than that- there are lessons to be learned and given from and by everyone involved.  A cohesive business is a successful one, and a company can only be cohesive when all levels of employees believe that they can speak up and make a difference.  The more people who can get involved in the process, the more it will be an accurate reflection of the company and community’s true set of standards and complementary goals.  “With a true CRM system, marketers no longer have to sift through client bases and their respective promotional histories to pinpoint which sales approaches produce the highest response, lowest cost-per-order and best net profit. CRM systems do it for them, in a more efficient manner” (Keys, 2002).  Overall, this system is much more convenient, but it is no replacement for leadership and people skills in the work environment.

REFERENCE

Padisson, N. (2004).  CRM grows up: CRM can transform the role and financial impact

of organizations’ marketing initiatives.  Health Management Technology.

Slack, N (2001).  Operations and Management.  New York:  Thompson.

Winer, R. (2007).  Marketing Management.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Pearson Prentice

Hall.

CRM Software is deployed on-premesis or as hosted service (2005).

Product News Network.

Keys To Implementing A Crm System (2002).  Circulation Management.

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