Rapid implementation of a real time CRM portal - Part I - The customer perspective requirements
Nethra Sambamoorthi, Ph.D
11 Bartram Road
Englishtown, NJ 07726
Before we understand the priorities on components of a CRM portal, where to start and how to proceed in building a customer relevant CRM portal, we want to bring out some clarity in those components and how those components are related. There are three major perspectives to running a company, namely, customer perspective, operations perspective, and management perspective. Customer comes first, defines the operations, and triggers the management to act to be alive and to be thriving in the competition. In this Part I, we discuss only the customer perspective.
Fulfillment of product or service needs
There is no greater need than this for a customer relationship. This is actually the promise of the relationship between a customer and a company and why come together for a relationship and why the customer buys a company's product or its services. This is the only reason why companies have to carefully develop their products and services; this puts them squarely into what they want to commit to the customer vs. what they do not want to commit. In fact this commitment is such an important concept, customers love if you have a fail safe delivery of the promise of the products and services and you can ride all the way to brand building. Do justice to one little experience of the customer at a time, you are set for life long relationship with your customers
Fulfillment of quality of life and experience
Ultimately products and services are designed, produced, sold, and serviced because it enhances the quality of life of customers or enhances the finer higher levels of experiences of life. While this says why people produce products and services and sell them very clearly, some where in the noise of running a business, this is lost after it is produced. I bring out these characteristics specifically so that companies have strong eyes on the metrics that speak volume to the fulfillment of quality of life and experience and strongly influence not only sustaining current product and services characteristics, but also the new product development
New enhancements to products and services
The dynamics and evolution of changes in the market, technology, societal relationships, demographic changes, national priorities, and some times national calamities will not let us sit in the same place in terms of the needs of customers and how the competition is addressing them. Corporations perish if they do not differentiate from their competition, and also if they do not invent their new products and services. Actually life will be very dull if there is no innovation and it certainly will not fulfill the quality of life and experience. This is an inherent expectation from the customers that the company innovates to keep up with the changes in the dynamics and evolution of the markets, technology, societal relationships, demographic changes, national priorities, and as said some times national calamities. In fact this is how brands are built - delivering the promises committed in the products and services, and steadily innovating to keep up with the changing dynamics.
Quality of communication
The quality of communication is the medium by which the above three customer perspectives are delivered and upheld. Generally CRM platforms seems to totally support this, by way of providing software technology, customer relationship portals, call centers, virtual agents, and traditional direct marketing tools. It is amazing some times the assuring voice of the support center and the clarity with which they can speak both in terms of content and the speech delivery. Every little other detail matters, when other things in the delivery are great.
Of course, this is the interest of the management and for the accountability of the operation and the very existence of the company; however it is surprising how many companies do not put enough effort of clear, simple, and yet closing steps in the payment processes and the communication to the customers. Generally 3 steps to a closure of an action is the best policy. The quality of these steps are shown, when you really want to revert back a genuine action, in this case posting a payment. After all, if the customer is not served well, there must be a recourse for that. This is a real example and this is none-other than a big dot com advertisement company. You can buy the service, very easy, but when I made the request to revert back because the product purchased is not a correct one, I still to get an answer and it is already seven days old story.
Reward for the relationship
This one has become synonymous in the current life style. Good customers expect to be treated well, differently and definitely expect some thing more tangible at the end of a typical relationship cycles, usually a year, if it is a daily relationship. More and more companies are paying dividends for better relationship. For example, in the case of insurance, a dividend at the end of the year; in the case of credit card payments, a credit back to the customers. The rewards may neither be a straight forward cash payment nor important for the relationship and again like anything else, this is an icing on the cake; if the cake is not good, nobody cares for the icing.
In the next part, Part II, we will discuss the operations perspective. Now the important exercise is to understand what constitutes the relevant data that the CRM representatives, those who deal with the customers directly, can use effectively and building infrastructure to deliver them to their finger tips, literally, consistently, accurately, relevantly, and fast. That is the purpose of a CRM portal.