Customer Relationship Management is Important for All Businesses
Customer service is one of the most important parts of any business because I am pretty sure most businesses ride on the slogan that, “the customer is king.” In the police force, bodyguards are assigned to take all the care to protect the symbol, the office and the person who can be a president, secretary of state, queen or king. The guard can take a bullet for their client as long as the client remains safe. That is their work.
The same is for business. The customer is an important part of the organization. They need all the protection and satisfaction. This is very important especially taking into account that it is cheaper to sustain and maintain an existing customer than win a new one. Considering that even 20% of the customers are responsible for 80% of the organization revenues, customer management then becomes even more critical and important.
At this then, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) becomes an important arm of management for an organization. CRM as explained in a book, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) by Roger Baran, Christopher Zerres and Michael Zerres is a means of addressing the increasing competition, changing economic conditions and promotional dependence through the use of intimate customer knowledge; knowledge gained through relationship development and past marketing programs.
In a more scientific way, CRM is defined as a process that maximizes customer value through on-going marketing activity founded on intimate customer knowledge established through collection, management and leverage of customer information and contact history. It is about improving organization’s customer relationship to leverage on that customer value over time.
This explains the increased amounts of money spent to centralize, standardize and organize information by many organizations. A lot of data is generated through phone calls, emails, and purchases.
Take retail stores for example; Nakumatt, Tuskys, Naivas and likes, they generate a lot of data information for their customers. That was one of the reasons for the loyalty cards issued to customers. The store is able to know the customer value dependent on the purchases volumes and amounts spent over time.
Beside those details, the chain stores are also able to amaze data on consumption habits. If they observe for instance that you like purchasing electronics, they are able to inform you on new electronics in stock and then depending on your purchase power and spent amounts, they can offer matching discounts.
Occasionally this may not work depending on economic situations of the people. At this point, because the data shows low economic status, the retail stores can offer promotional discounts on a range of products to increase volumes of sale. Examples being the holiday promotions offered by virtually all the retail stores. Here huge volume returns is closely tied to the overall discounts offered closely determined by data on which goods move faster than others vs those that need to be off shelves.
Hotels also collect a lot of data from their customers. To improve the general experience of their customers, they are able to mine data on preferred cuisines, type of games, hobbies or fun activities.
Now suppose the hotels realizes there is a promotion taking place in one of their chain of hotels which gives huge discounts on a French cuisine for instance, the hotel can inform customers who love the cuisine of the promotion and often this increases revenues. The same happens for golf courses, horse racing or even outdoor adventure tours like in the Mara.
Banks, ICT firms such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple are also among the many enterprises with huge data banks. Back at home, take Safaricom, Airtel, orange KCB, Cooperative and many other companies for instance, they have lots of data concerning their customers. This helps them manage customers better depending on age, banking muscle, saving prowess and transaction frequency. They are able to match customer needs in terms of credit or investment advice.
Don’t be surprised to find an investment expert sent to you by your bank and you wonder how they have arrived on that decision. It’s the power of data. That is the connection between big data and obtaining maximum customer value.
The same goes for insurance firms and brokerage firms. They are able to know who deserves what type of covers. If you have a motor bike, they will give you the range of covers relevant for you and the same applies for those who have cars, aeroplane, houses and all types of assets.
Let me be clear now that CRM is not for big businesses only. Small businesses require it as much. For example, an individual with a kioski should know their repeat customers, their tastes, purchasing trends and enable them remain loyal. Something that is becoming harder with each passing day.
It is very important for the small businesses to keep records which become the data bank. With this, it becomes easy to leverage on that information for economic gain. Most important they should collect that information, organize it and centralize it for easy retrieval.
When information is collected, it is stored in a data bank or warehouse from where data mining, analysis and reporting can be done. Sorting can be done to ensure customers with like information and data are grouped for easier management. This enables easier customer relationship marketing and promotion.
Word of caution – for small businesses and huge businesses also – there is an increased call for customer information and data privacy. In Kenya, it is not taken very serious but never the less, it is good to protect customer information. Even before forwarding that mail, ask customers to opt in or sign in for those marketing and promotional content. Then you are litigation free and are at least on the safe side regarding privacy of your customer information’s data and their subsequent use.
CRM is great for businesses. To be of greater value to us, let us implement it not as whole but in parts depending on the task at hand and its relevance. It has great benefits for businesses in this age and era lots of uncertainty in the business world.
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