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An Overview of E CRM and its applications in the Digital Arena

By July 16, 2021August 18th, 2021E-Commerce CRM

Introduction

CRM is a strategy by which companies optimize profitability through enhanced customer satisfaction with ardent focus on automating and enhancing the customer- centric business processes of Sales, Marketing, and Service. CRM also focuses on added customer loyalty that directly affects the organization’s bottom line. Due to the increasing momentum of Internet in running the business process has led companies to shift their focus to E CRM which gives it an opportunity to reduce customer service costs, strengthen the customer relationships and enhance communication prospects by sending personalize marketing messages by enabling the strategy of mass customization. This has paved the way to introduce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) by using E-Commerce called E-CRM. E-CRM can be defined as a sum total of all the activities to manage customer relationships by using the Internet, web browsers.

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. E CRM is a concept derived from E-commerce. It uses net environment i.e., intranet, extra-net and internet. It concerns all forms of managing relationships with customers making use of Information Technology (IT) to integrate internal organization resources and external marketing strategies to understand and fulfill their customers’ needs. E-CRM is the customer focused management of the whole e- business relationship with each customer, in order to measure, create and increase income and reduce costs for each customer & segment and thus to generate greater positive lifetime value.

In simpler form E-CRM means CRM-database access via the Web. It means Intranet access for internal users, extra-net access for business partners and customers and of course, Internet access for the market at large. E CRM expands the traditional CRM techniques by integrating new electronic channels, such as Web, wireless, and voice technologies and combines it with e-business applications into the overall enterprise CRM strategy.

Traditional CRM + Internet = E CRM

What is the difference between CRM and E CRM ?

CRM
E CRM
Customer contact made through fax, retail store & phone. Internet, PDA technologies, email, wireless are used for customer contacts. 
Views differ based on the audience, and personalized views are not available.Personalized individual views based on purchase history and preferences. Individual has ability to customize view. 
More time involved in implementation and maintenance is more expensive as the system exists at different locations and on various servers. Less time involved as Implementation and maintenance can take place at one location and on one server.

Goals of E CRM

  • Effectively managing differentiated relationships with all customers and communicating with them on an individual basis. Companies can supercharge profits by acknowledging that different groups of customers vary widely in their behavior, desires, and responsiveness to marketing. 
  • To reinforce the reliance of customers and create additional customer sources, firms maintain the relationship in two general categories B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to Customer or Business-to-Consumer) so that the implementation of CRM should come from respective viewpoints.
  •  It increases customer loyalty and customer retention by improving customer satisfaction, E-loyalty results in long-term profits for online retailers as they incur less costs of recruiting new customers.

Why E CRM is essential in the digital world?

E CRM is considered to be essential in the digital world because of the changing dimensions in CRM as listed below 

  • Emergence of new technology 
  • Effects of Globalization and Market penetration across the globe has become inevitable 
  • Changing scenarios of expectations and attitudes of Customers and Stake holders
  • Revenue generation strategies facilitating more avenues to measure, create and increase the profit from the business
  • Cost reduction scenarios

Technical Capabilities of E CRM

Let us understand the technical capabilities of E CRM

  •  Customer Campaign: Customer analytic software predicts, measures, and interprets customer behaviors, allowing companies to understand the effectiveness of E CRM efforts.
  •  Real Time Data Mining: Data mining software builds predictive models to identify customers most likely to perform a particular behavior.
  • Business Analytic: Campaign management software leverages the data warehouse to plan and execute multiple, highly targeted campaigns overtime, using triggers that respond timed events and customer behavior.
  •  Software Simulation : Business simulation used in conjunction with campaign management software optimizes offer; messaging and channel delivery prior to the execution of campaigns, and compares planned costs and ROI projections with actual results
  • Software Engine: A real time decision engine coordinates and synchronizes communications using business intelligence.

Different levels E CRM

There are three different levels of E CRM

  • Foundational services
    This includes the minimum necessary services such as web site effectiveness and responsiveness as well as order fulfillment.
  • Customer centered services
    These services include order tracking, product configuration and customization as well as security/trust.
  • Value added services
    These are extra services such as online auctions and online training and education

FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF E- CRM

  • Organization Objectives 
  •  Focus on All Business Aspects 
  • Define the Business Problem 
  • Establishing Proper Metrics 
  • Business Processes not Technology 
  • Implement Change 
  • Using Skilled Managers 
  • Choose the Right Vendors 
  •  Ease of Usage

Applications of E CRM

  • With the creation of Sales Force Automation (SFA), the trend of the upcoming Internet can be seen as the foundation of what we know as E- CRM today. 
  • Data collection, aggregation and customer interaction is easy due to its application because customer preference information is gathered quickly using website, email questionnaire and after proper analysis they are able to satisfy their needs accordingly. 
  • Due to improved communication technology, different departments in company implement (intra-organizational) or work with business partners (inter organizational) more efficiently by sharing information. 
  • Companies use the Internet to acquire products or supplies for in-house production. This is known as e procurement used to achieve cost efficiency.
  • Usage electronic chat as a means of technical support and customer support. This helps any company to save time and effort. 
  •  Maintain a central server or email list as a method of distributing information.  Building sales and sales revenue by increasing the area of operation and reducing operating costs, hikes the efficiency of the supply chain management. 
  • The customer-centric information store consolidates information about millions of customers together with preferences, permissions, and information that may be useful to them. 
  • The analysis and segmentation engine helps in leveraging this customer information to build a business campaign strategy and evaluate its success. The personalization engine helps in personalizing the entire customer experience, configuring unique sets of messages and offers to each customer.
  • The broadcast engine helps to proactively deliver information and offers to every customer via the media of his or her choice. The transaction engine helps to facilitate the interactions between customer and the company, either exchanging information or driving transactions. 
  • Equipped with such infrastructure, companies can continually create significant customer value at Internet speed, automating the who, what, when, where, and how of sales and marketing.

Advantages of E CRM

The Key advantages of E CRM are 

  • Better levels of customer service
  • More effective customer life cycle management
  • A single 360 degree‘ customer view
  • Higher sales (better conversion rates etc.)
  • User-generated content
  • Site stickiness
  • Increased customer switching costs
  • Decreased costs (through customer self service etc.)
  • Reduce customer acquisition costs
  • Improve customer retention

The E CRM has five engines as shown in the pictograph below

Crm Engine

7 “C” contributing to the effectiveness of E CRM

The 7 C’s which play an important role in making the E CRM as an effective and efficient CRM for business are listed as below: 

  • Context 
  • Content 
  • Community 
  • Customization 
  • Communication 
  • Connection 
  • Commerce
Effective Crm

Steps leading to Success of E CRM

The steps which can help in the successful functioning of E CRM are:

  • Many factors play a part in ensuring that the implementation any level of E CRM is successful. One obvious way it could be measured is by the ability for the system to add value to the existing business.
  •  There are four suggested implementation steps that affect the viability of a project like this:
    • Developing customer-centric strategies
    • Redesigning workflow management systems
    • Re-engineering work processes
    • Supporting with the right technologies

The major inclusions in a successful E CRM

  • Knowledge management

    Acquisition of information about the customer
    What actions to take as a result of this knowledge
  • Database Consolidation

    Re-engineering the business process around the customer
    All interactions with customers recorded in one place
  • Integration of Channels and Systems

    Respond to customers through their channel of choice
    E-mail, phone, chat line, etc.
  • Technology and Infrastructure 

    Organization and scalability of technology must be able to handle increased volume of customers

  • Change Management 

    More than a change in technology is required
    Change in attitude and philosophy is key
    Product centric focus vs. customer centric focus

Future trends of E CRM

There are 2 major trends of E CRM in a futuristic perspective 

  • CRM as a Strategic Function
      • Crucial element of e- business – planning and understanding goals
      •  Invite interaction from customers 
      • Merge vendor functions
      •  New technology
  • Mobile CRM (mCRM)
    • One subset of Electronic CRM is Mobile CRM (mCRM). This is defined as “services that aim at nurturing customer relationships, acquiring or maintaining customers, support marketing, sales or services processes, and use wireless networks as the medium of delivery to the customers.
    • Three main reasons that mobile CRM is becoming so popular:
      • The first is that the devices consumers use are improving in multiple ways that allow for this advancement. Displays are larger and clearer and access times on networks are improving overall.
      • Secondly, the users are also becoming more sophisticated. The technology to them is nothing new so it is easy to adapt. 
      • Lastly, the software being developed for these applications has become worthwhile and useful to end users.

A Future perspective of E CRM

  • Future trends of E CRM
      • Wireless-enabled CRM 
      • Improved productivity and efficiency 
      • Faster response times 
      • Faster sales
  • Future applications of E CRM
    • Integration of telephone, e-mail and Web environments
    • Allowed the company to bring together all the members of the customer service community: marketing and sales, finance and accounting, distribution
    • Customer access to every company function in one familiar placeϒ Customer interaction whenever they wish
    • E CRM paid for itself in only 6 months

Conclusion

The E CRM functions and applications are presented in detail in this eBook. As a summative analysis it is also important to analyze the challenges involved in implementing the E CRM and parallel discussion on the corrective action to counter the same and ensure that the E CRM implementation is successful without any hassles.

The key challenges will be as follows

  • Difficulty in measuring and valuing intangible benefits.
  •  Failure to identify and focus on specific business problems.
  •  Lack of active senior management sponsorship.
  •  Poor user acceptance.
  •  Trying to automate a poorly defined process.

Some of the proven corrective actions 

  • Offering an efficient customer self-service where customers could learn about products, purchase service plans, phones and accessories, manage their account, request service and support all in one place
  •  Improve quality of service while reducing costs
  •  Reduce the number of calls to the service center