Building Customer Relationships in Four Steps

In order to set up and manage your relationships with individual customers, you have to accomplish four basic things:

  • Identify customers individually. Obviously, you can’t have a relationship with an audience or a population, but only with an individual. So before you can establish a relationship you must be capable of identifying customers, one customer at a time. You don’t have to have each customer’s name and address, but you need to know that the customer on the phone right now is the same one who was in the store yesterday, or on your Web site the day before that.
  • Differentiate customers, one from another. Customers differ from each other, in terms of both their value to your business, and what they need from your business. What a customer needs from you will drive behaviors that you can observe. And behaviors will create (or destroy) value.
  • Interact with customers. Almost by definition, a relationship depends on some interaction between two parties. You want those interactions to be cost-efficient, so drive more and more interactions into more efficient channels. But you also want them to be effective — that is, to tell you something about the customer’s needs or value, for instance, that you can’t learn simply by observing.
  • Customize for customers. The “pay off step” for managing a customer relationship comes when your business behaves differently toward that customer. We call this “customization” even though we’re not necessarily talking about it in terms of literally customizing the product or service. But whenever I treat Customer A different from Customer B, based on what I think I know about their differences, I am “customizing” the customer’s treatment.

If you’ve ever studied Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) academically, there’s a good chance that these four steps – identify, differentiate, interact, and customize – are already familiar to you. Martha Rogers and I wrote and edited the CRM textbook for graduate-level business students, Managing Customer Relationships: A Strategic Framework, based on this “I-D-I-C” methodology. And at our consulting firm, Peppers & Rogers Group, a large proportion of the work we do can be understood in terms of dissecting how these tasks function (or don’t function) for a client’s organization.

But a couple of other things are worth pointing out about the I-D-I-C model of relationship management. The first two tasks – identifying customers and differentiating them – are steps that a company can take in the privacy of its own IT department. Your company has a database of individual customer records, you track the transactions of individual customers in order to better understand both their value and their needs, and yet the customer herself never really has to participate in the process. The customer, in fact, may not even be aware of the data you are compiling.

By contrast, the third step – interaction – demands the customer’s personal attention and participation. You can’t interact unless there’s someone else on the other end of the interaction, right? And the fourth step, customizing your behavior in some way to a particular customer, also involves the individual customer directly, as the “recipient” of this behavior.

So you could think of the first two steps of the I-D-I-C model as “analytical” CRM, while the next two steps are “operational” CRM. Analytical CRM is required to develop better customer insight, while operational CRM is how you deliver a specific customer experience.

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Better Targeting your Customers with CRM Value Chain Model

This article you will learn the following about CRM Value Chain Model in the following sections: 1) what is CRM, 2) how CRM works, 3) CRM strategies and models, 4) what is CRM Value Chain Model, 5) 5 primary stages for implementation of CRM Value Chain, 6) supporting conditions, 7) criticism for CRM Value Chain Model.
A customer these days is very smart and is already well informed and ready to make decisions before he approaches a business. The Customer Relation Management or CRM is the fundamental business policy that incorporates internal procedures and functions as well as external systems to generate and provide value to targeted customers while making a profit for a business.

CRM is enabled by softwares and Information Technology, which uses customer data derived from the internet and various other sources. It is used in all aspects of customer relations from identifying customers, building customer relationship, providing Continue reading “Better Targeting your Customers with CRM Value Chain Model”

CRM Value Chain

CRM value chain identifies five key steps in the development and implementation of a CRM strategy :customer portfolio analysis, customer intimacy, network development, value proposition development, and manage customer life cycle. In brief, the five steps are as follows.1. Customer portfolio analysis: this involves an analysis of the actual and potential customer base to identify which customers you want to serve in the future. Top of the list will be strategically significant customers, including those that will generate profit (value) in the future.

2. Customer intimacy: you will get to know the identity, profile, history, requirements, expectations and preferences of the customers that you have chosen to serve

3. Network development: you will identify, brief and manage relationships with your company’s network members. These are the organizations and people that contribute to the creation and delivery of the value proposition(s) for the Continue reading “CRM Value Chain”

Top 6 Trends in Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Takeaway: A few years ago, customer relationship management (CRM) was thought to be on the decline. But new trends mean the ride isn’t over for CRM software.

A few years ago, customer relationship management (CRM) efforts were reported as failures in terms of generating revenue, and the strategy was thought to be on the decline. But the ride isn’t over for CRM software. With the advent of social media and smartphones, businesses are reconsidering and re-evaluating CRM initiatives. The marketing and sales landscapes are changing to adapt to customer behavior. CRM trends in the coming months – and years – are bound to change how businesses deal with customers. But regardless of the technological landscape, successful CRM entails the observance of best practices and continued innovation.

Here we take a look at some of the top CRM trends on the horizon.

CRM Then and Now provides a timeline of how CRM has developed over the decades. The term became popular in the early 90s, when it began to be used to refer to front-office applications. Several people and organization were credited with coining the term, including Tom Siebel, John Anton and Gartner Inc.

Prior to the 90s, database marketing was used to gain insight into customer behavior through statistical analysis. The late 80s saw the introduction of PC-based contact management software. This system eventually developed into sales force automation (SFA).

Through the years, the CRM industry relied heavily on technology and software developments. Siebel, Oracle and SAP became early leaders in the market. E-CRM providers like Kana, Broadbase and e.piphany emerged a few years later, as use of the Internet gained ground. Salesforce also joined the CRM market around this time as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider.

When the dot-com bubble popped, major players in CRM felt the sting. But from 2000 onwards, and as social media and open source software entered the scene, CRM has experienced transitions and transformations geared toward a paradigm shift. And despite many setbacks, the field remains full of promise for both businesses and customers.

Top CRM Trends to Explore

Social networking sites are always changing user and customer experience, and innovating to meet customers’ changing demands. Customers now have the tools to express their opinions on anything, at any time and anywhere in the world. This has changed the role of customer feedback, and made it much more important; after all, customer feedback over social media has been known to make or break businesses. As a result, business entities are increasingly growing aware of the power of social media as a method for engaging customers and potential customers. Mobility is also creating technology and marketing trends thanks to the emergence of smartphones and tablet PCs.

So what’s on the horizon for CRM? Here are a few key trends experts expect will become increasingly important in the not-too-distant future.

1. Cloud-based CRM
Cloud computing services continue to rise, and CRM has not been left behind in this area. According to Peter Coffee, vice president and head of Platform Research, cloud-based software is a cost-efficient means of gathering customer data. Unlike before, on-site resources no longer need to scout for leads to input into a system for future sales calls; sources of customer data are already available. Cloud-based CRM will gain momentum as cloud-based applications continue to progress. (Read more about cloud computing in Cloud Computing: Why the Buzz?)

2. Social CRM
In 2008, Comcast was one of the first companies that first took to Twitter to interact with customers, confirming the power of social CRM. Social media marketing remains on an uptrend and companies are paying attention. Consumers are empowered by social networking sites to influence product or brand image and perception. Negative feedback no longer simply routes a call to customer service; businesses can expect feedback to reach potential markets before they do. Software vendors are now responding to social CRM needs. Social media optimization and gamification are gaining traction as marketing strategies, keeping customers engaged with the brand and company. (Learn more about the role of social media in business in Jedi Strategies for Social Media Management.)

3. Centralized Data
Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian once said that “datarati are companies that have the edge in consumer data insight.” asserts that CRM will continue to aim to understand customers through extensive data collection and analysis. Batchbook president Pamela O’Hara also notes that by centralizing customer data through CRM, businesses will be able to target and engage customers more effectively. CRM data won’t end with generating leads for the sales team but will be a continuing process that also includes maintaining relationships with a growing customer base. (For related reading, see Using Product Management Features in a CRM Solution.)

4. Mobility
Forrester vice president and analyst William Band observes how mobility has turned into a critical corporate component. Customers are no longer bound to PCs and are constantly accessing data on the go. Frontline employees and customer service resources will increasingly be empowered by mobile devices for support. On the other side of the coin, customer perception will also be shaped not only by real-world involvement, but also by online and mobile experiences.

5. Flexibility
In 2004, SugarCRM was launched as a CRM vendor in open source. Clint Oram, company co-founder and VP for product strategy, contends that flexibility for CRM users is key because it allows them to customize the software to meet their needs. Ease of integration and multichannel publishing are key corporate considerations. As a result, a flexible and accessible CRM platform is becoming increasingly important for users.

6. Crowdsourcing
With customers gaining voice through social media, enterprises are increasingly able take advantage of crowdsourcing for business improvements. Tapping current customers for fresh ideas, solutions and expectations can help employees across an organization provide the innovation and interactive relationship that a growing number of customers now expect. This means that CRM will no longer be just for lead generation and marketing, it will also provide a source for new innovation.

CRM in the Future

The marketing and technology aspects of CRM will potentially grow in coming years. Companies looking to harness the power of customer relationships should pursue strategies that are most in line with the type of customers they have and the type they want to gain. Thanks to social media and increasing interaction between people and products online, customers’ opinions about the products or services they use have become a business driver. As a result, companies must listen and respond to what people are saying and harness the power of current technology to continue to anticipate and deliver what their customers want.

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Customer Relationship Management CRM

CRM – principles, strategy, solutions, applications, systems, software, and ideas for effective customer relationship management
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is an essential part of modern business management. This CRM article is provided by Ellen Gifford, who specialises in helping organizations develop excellence in CRM, and this contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

What is Customer Relationship Management, or CRM? Customer Relationship Management concerns the relationship between the organization and its customers. Customers are the lifeblood of any organization be it a global corporation with thousands of employees and a multi-billion turnover, or a sole trader with a handful of regular customers. Customer Relationship Management is the same in principle for these two examples – it is the scope of CRM which can vary drastically.

CRM focuses on the relationship

Successful organizations use three steps to build customer relationships:

  • determine mutually satisfying goals between organization and customers
  • establish and maintain customer rapport
  • produce positive feelings in the organization and the customers

CRM conditions

The organization and the customers both have sets of conditions to consider when building the relationship, such as wants and Continue reading “Customer Relationship Management CRM”

Customer Relationship Management CRM systems in Perl

I’m looking for a CRM system implemented in Perl. As it turns out, so are the Perl Foundation.

So I thought I’d summarize my interpretation of the comments on that thread, as much for my own benefit as yours, and see if this post flushes out any further information.

We’ll start with the smaller/personal projects and work up from there…

John Cappiello

John mentioned that he was working on something. I sent John an email to ask for an update and he said it had “morphed away from a CRM into something not really overlapping much at all”.

Gábor Szabó

Gábor Szabó mentioned in the thred that he has “a simple CRM I use in-house that I plan to release as open source one day. It is written in Perl. While it is very minimalistic if you are interested I can show it and we can discuss what additional features Continue reading “Customer Relationship Management CRM systems in Perl”