Existence of Operational, Analytical, and Strategic CRM?

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Organizations have created techniques to appeal to the consumers of their goods and services due to the increased competition in the market. A corporation must devise strategies for preserving a competitive advantage if it wants to be relevant in the market. One of the key components of ensuring a business creates and maintains contact with its key customers is customer relationship management, or CRM. Both parties depend on one another, and their connection has an unrivaled amount of power. Customers gain from high-quality goods and services, while businesses can expand indefinitely because to consumer-driven innovations. Through CRM, needs and expectations of clients are attained. Companies must turn away from centralising their operations in their products and consider putting the consumer at the integral part of their services. As such, the paper will focus on the strategic challenges associated with CRM initiatives; it will analyse customer’s needs and expectations that prompt organisations to develop CRM. Finally, the paper will provide an analysis of ethical issues that need to be focused on the management of consumer data used in CRM.

Key words: organisation, management, CRM

Operational, Analytical and Strategic CRM: Do They Exist?

CRM continues to gain significance in the corporate world today. In fact, it cannot be surpassed, or lest the company crumbles down. Operational customer relationship aims at analysing group interactions with its clients with the aim of making sure they help the organisations run various operations smoothly (Becker, Greve, & Albers, 2009). Analytical CRM refers to mining of consumer information to help administration in making decisions concerning improvement of client interactions and their value. Strategic CRM, on the other hand, is customer-centric and focuses on winning and keeping profitable individuals. It involves development and implementation of plans to ensure value is added (Almotairi, 2009).

The main aim of CRM, whether strategic, analytical or operational, is attend to needs and expectations of customers coherently (Gupta, Aggarwal, & Rani, 2016). The life cycle of a consumer in the organisation must be enhanced in all ways, since the more the connection is active, the more clients are in position to place organisation in positive limelight. The fact that many corporations utilise the dynamism in the three concepts is not new (Almotairi, 2009).

CRM initiatives fall among the first aspect a business should think about in equipping its operations. Efforts refer to mechanisms put forth to ensure management of customer relationships is handled coherently. Organisation must gain substantial internal support to guarantee CRM projects are started and driven towards completion (Teng, Ong, & Poon, 2007). Notably, i is not only about maintaining customer relationships or generating new leads. Rather, it is about creating sustainable initiatives that make clients happy. CRM initiatives should be developed, as changes in consumer trends arise. Moreover, they can depend on technology to come up with newer strategies that can attract customers longer. Some of the initiatives used in CRM include aligning sales and marketing goals with needs of clients, conducting online surveys, considering live chats, and rewarding loyal clients (Peltonen, 2015).

CRM initiatives should be viewed as systematic process to develop solutions that can control expectations of consumers. Hence, companies should not think of trying to manage their clients from an online perspective, as it could be interpreted that the organisation is not genuine in its operations (Almotairi, 2009). CRM initiatives must also be conducted when the company has ample information about their existing customers. Therefore, businesses should ensure they have warehouse to store client data since it is helpful in tracking their lifetime value in organisation’s operations (Pedron, Picoto, Dhillon, & Caldeira, 2016).

Currently, consumers are more educated and connected with others through digital platforms. Organisations should allow them to be the people who can talk about the product and not company, since users are the customers themselves (Tahir, Waggett, & Hoffman, 2013).

Many strategic issues affect CRM initiatives. Channel use is a challenge in its execution. Oftentimes, the channel that organisation wishes to use to communicate with critical customers may not be the preferred mode of communication; hence, the initiative of CRM may not be completed leading to misplaced outcomes. On the other hand, if the company utilises multiple channels to reach its clients, there is a likelihood they will find much information nagging and, therefore, will eventually fail to maintain the relationship with the corporation, thus creating hiccups in the CRM initiative (Cambra-Fierro, Centeno, Olavarria, & Vazquez-Carrasco, 2017).

Another case is that the plan may fail to deliver the desired results due to conducting the effort at an ineffective period. Although the strategies of CRM should be done stepwise, a challenge comes in with the entry of new consumers in the business enterprise when a CRM strategy is being implemented (Abbas & Hafeez, 2017). The approach may be disadvantageous to the company, since they will have to customise each plan according to every client. As such, the process may incur enormous costs that organisations may shy from the bearing (Frow, Payne, Wilkinson, & Young, 2015).

Besides, gathering information from consumers can be tricky, since most clients may be inquisitive of their data due to the fear that it may be exposed to the wrong people (Shah, 2015). Also, creating a customer database is not an easy task, as it requires computer hardware, data software, analytical programs, and highly qualified personnel. As such, it can cost the company a lot of revenue in an investment they are uncertain (Tahir et al., 2013).

The purpose of any strategic CRM is to ensure a collaborative approach to analysing the needs of the customers and going ahead to implement the necessary changes. Managing client needs \ is vital to retain the employees in the customer lifecycle process (Khodakarami & Chan, 2014). Individuals have hopes that they usually expect the organisation to fulfil. One of the customer anticipations from the team is that a company will always put the necessary information about a product wherever they want to find it. Though consumers enjoy variety in the market, their brand loyalty is achieved when they can obtain data about a product they like from the organisation before their purchase (Shaon & Rahman, 2015).

There are often two levels of customer expectations that clients always need to have fulfilled. They can be desired and sufficient. The former are the anticipations that the clients expect from their interaction with a particular company, while the latter are those outlooks that an organisation find acceptable to be conducted by the organisation. Some consumers choose to have personal contact, and therefore, they need a follow up on their experiences (Steel, Dubelaar, & Ewing, 2013). In fact, most clients find advertising, sales promotion, and marketing messages a nuisance and instead prefer that the company makes a follow up of their experiences about a product rather than perform advertisements that offer neutrality to all consumers. The key to securing constant contact is ensuring that the organisation meets with customers personally and takes them through the production of the commodities/services they use, so that they can boost their confidence (Gupta et al., 2016).

The expectation of customers is also to be listened by the organisation, in which they are connected to through the products and services they purchase. Whenever consumers have an issue with the product they have purchased from a company, they expect to be given a response within the shortest time possible. When such situation arises, it is the role of the organisation to listen carefully and act quickly. A level of confidence is created when customers feel that their need has been satisfied within the short period (Teng et al., 2007).

At all costs, CRM is not without ethical principles. Ethics comes in when the organisation ensures it withholds information they have garnered from consumers. An establishment must prove to be confidential with the data they receive from clients. Customer information collected for CRM must be managed through secure, verifiable methods. While storing data retrieved from clients, there must be an agreement between the two parties, so that the consumer is aware of the process (Reimer & Becker, 2015). Furthermore, individuals should be given a chance to make alterations concerning their personal information whenever they find it necessary. A company should uphold the privacy of consumer data. Such data must be stored in a place that is inaccessible to everyone in the organisation (Teng et al., 2007).

Conclusion

In summary, the use of operational, analytical, and strategic CRM is employed by most organisations collaboratively and comprehensively to ensure the success of the team in maintaining a competitive advantage. While operational CRM keeps customers in the loop of services and operations that occur in the company, the analytical one helps in garnering data from consumers that is crucial in managing customer relationships. Strategic CRM proves significant in ensuring information obtained from clients is used stepwise in satisfying their needs and expectations. An organisation at the age of information technology must utilise CRM, as individuals have become more knowledgeable, and therefore, they require more attention from the firm they relate. As if not enough, organisations should seek to utilise the available digital platforms that can help them in gathering customer data, storing and retrieving it whenever they are conducting CRM. Moreover, it is essential for companies to utilise social media platforms to assist in dissemination of crucial information that can retain consumers and bring in new ones. To reach that effect, clients must be put at the centre of the organization’s operations. Since they have different needs and expectations that they usually want to be fulfilled, it is upon the enterprise to strategize on the best way to ensure those needs are met. However, the company must be cautious with information obtained from the consumers. The data must be treated with ethicality and confidentiality, since disclosure of such content to the wrong public can lead the organization in trouble. A robust CRM has more advantages to the company, as customer lifecycle process remains lively, and it is the pride of every organisation to make clients happy. As such, the functional relationship between customers and the corporation cannot be left in the hands of marketing, advertising, or product promotion messages.

References

Abbas, T., & Hafeez, S. (2017). Impact of CRM practices on service quality in the banking industry. Pakistan Administrative Review, 1(2), 130-144.

Almotairi, M. (2009). A framework for successful CRM implementation. In European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (pp. 1-14).

Becker, J.U., Greve, G., & Albers, S. (2009). The impact of technological and organisational implementation of CRM on customer acquisition, maintenance, and retention. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26(3), 207-215.

Cambra-Fierro, J.J., Centeno, E., Olavarria, A., & Vazquez-Carrasco, R. (2017). Success factors in a CRM strategy: Technology is not all. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 25(4), 316-333.

Frow, P., Payne, A., Wilkinson, I.F., & Young, L.C. (2015). CRM and customer management: identifying and confronting dark side behaviours. In B. Nguyen, L. Simkin, & A.I. Canhoto, (Eds.), The Dark Side of CRM: Customers, Relationships and Management (pp. 21-38). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Gupta, G., Aggarwal, H., & Rani, R. (2016). Segmentation of retail customers based on cluster analysis in building successful CRM. International Journal of Business Information Systems, 23(2), 212-228.

Khodakarami, F., & Chan, Y.E. (2014). Exploring the role of customer relationship management (CRM) systems in customer knowledge creation. Information & Management, 51(1), 27-42.

Pedron, C.D., Picoto, W.N., Dhillon, G., & Caldeira, M. (2016). Value-focused objectives for CRM system adoption. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 116(3), 526-545.

Peltonen, H. (2015). CRM system implementation supporting the management of customer relationships. Bachelor’s Thesis. Retrieved on December 20, 2017 from http://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/118578/Bachelor's+Thesis+Heidi+Peltonen+FINAL.pdf?sequence=2

Reimer, K., & Becker, J.U. (2015). What customer information should companies use for customer relationship management? Practical insights from empirical research. Management Review Quarterly, 65(3), 149-182.

Shah, D. (2015). The right marketing to the wrong customers? Rethinking conventional CRM strategies. In B. Nguyen, L. Simkin, & A.I. Canhoto, (Eds.), The Dark Side of CRM: Customers, Relationships and Management (pp. 199-219). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Shaon, S.K.I., & Rahman, H. (2015). A theoretical review of CRM effects on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Central European Business Review, 4(1), 23.

Steel, M., Dubelaar, C., & Ewing, M.T. (2013). Developing customised CRM projects: The role of industry norms, organisational context and customer expectations on CRM implementation. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(8), 1328-1344.

Tahir, H., Waggett, C., & Hoffman, A. (2013). Antecedents of customer satisfaction: An E-CRM framework. Journal of Business and Behavior Sciences, 25(2), 112.

Teng, K.L.L., Ong, S.G., & Poon, W.C. (2007). The use of customer relationship management (CRM) by manufacturing firms in different industries: A Malaysian survey. International Journal of Management, 24(2), 386.

March 02, 2023
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Economics Life Business

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