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Com­mu­ni­ca­tion opens doors, and loosens purse strings.

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Memory Lane -

In­ter­na­tional gi­ants en­ter­ing In­dia in a big way was an im­pend­ing trend only wait­ing to hap­pen. Get set to im­press cus­tomers and in­crease your bot­tom-line with the aid of the right CRM.

CRM will hap­pen. It’s sim­ply a ques­tion of how long it will take and in how many ways re­tail­ers will ben­e­fit. Cus­tomer Re­la­tion­ship Man­age­ment is im­por­tant, espe­cially for your re­peat cus­tomers and for them to feel ca­ma­raderie with you. A good CRM pack­age will pro­vide the right frame­work to re­tail­ers so that they can per­son­alise mer­chan­dise pur­chases, ser­vices and re­sponses across all com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels for the cus­tomer’s sat­is­fac­tion and for in­creased sales.

But be­fore re­tail­ers in­vest on CRM soft­ware, they need to en­sure it comes at op­ti­mal cost, with min­i­mal risk, high value, and a higher Re­turn on In­vest­ment (ROI). It should in­stall quickly, in­ter­face read­ily with ex­ist­ing sys­tems, be easy to learn and to use, and de­liver un­com­pro­mis­ing -per­for­mance.

In­dia has more than 129 mil­lion mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tion sub­scribers and the num­ber is ex­pected to go up to 300 mil­lion in 2008. This is a strong mar­ket­ing chan­nel re­tail­ers can­not af­ford to miss. “Truly loyal cus­tomers can’t imag­ine do­ing busi­ness with any­one else. They are your best means of ad­ver­tis­ing be­cause they’ve be­come ad­vo­cates for your com­pany. They bore their friends with sto­ries of how great you are,” writes Shaun Smith and Joe Wheeler, au­thors of Man­ag­ing the Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence.

To im­ple­ment the right CRM, re­tail­ers need to anal­yse cus­tomer pref­er­ences and trends, and then merge anal­y­sis with in­bound and out­bound call­ing via CRM tech­nol­ogy so that cus­tomers can com­mu­ni­cate with the re­tail chain by fax, phone, web, SMS and the like. The CRM frame­work links and in­te­grates th­ese chan­nels to in­di­vid­u­alise the cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence and en­sure sat­is­fac­tion.

Sim­i­larly, com­pe­ti­tion must be kept un­der check. If a re­tailer of­fers vol­ume dis­counts, its com­peti­tors must like­wise of­fer com­pa­ra­ble value to the cus­tomers. If a re­tailer has tools to reach more cus­tomers with per­son­alised pur­chase of­fers, or to process or­ders faster, or with fewer er­rors, or more ef­fi­ciently, other ven­dors must adapt or grad­u­ally sur­ren­der mar­ket share.

But un­for­tu­nately, only 30 per­cent of com­pa­nies world­wide have ac­tu­ally im­ple­mented a com­mer­cial CRM soft­ware pack­age. And most of th­ese are only a year old. Of this mi­nor­ity, 54 per­cent have im­ple­mented just one part of CRM. With so much room for im­prove­ment in meet­ing cus­tomer de­mands, CRM can only help.

Con­tact cen­tres form an in­te­gral part of CRM be­cause they di­rectly im­pact how cus­tomers feel about the re­tailer’s prod­ucts, ser­vices and busi­ness. With an ef­fi­cient sys­tem at the con­tact cen­tre, re­tail­ers can help cus­tomers buy what they want and need. For in­stance, re­tail­ers are yet to utilise the op­por­tu­nity of sell­ing daily needs to a pop­u­la­tion that is us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to pur­chase al­most ev­ery­thing.

If you are look­ing at mov­ing to cus­tomer-cen­tric mar­ket­ing, this means that all cus­tomer func­tions are sub­ject to CRM’S an­a­lyt­i­cal pro­cesses. This helps re­tail­ers un­der­stand both how the cus­tomer base is presently seg­mented and, for the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to what re­tail­ing val­ues. Other analy­ses iden­tify new ser­vices, eval­u­ate their ROI, shift fo­cus from less to more prof­itable cus­tomers, etc. The out­come from CRM an­a­lyt­ics is bet­ter ser­vice, im­proved plan­ning and prof­itabil­ity, and more ap­pro­pri­ate pric­ing.

CRM anal­y­sis can help re­tail­ers make a smooth shift to a cus­tomer-fo­cused en­ter­prise by al­low­ing pro­cesses like dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing cus­tomers into seg­ments, dis­cov­er­ing pre­cise needs of cus­tomers and re­design­ing com­pen­sa­tion and re­wards to ef­fect be­havioural changes. This process es­tab­lishes the con­text that stim­u­lates the cus­tomer to shop and buy. Hard­core -mar­keters make their own an­a­lyt­i­cal

If a re­tailer has tools to reach more cus­tomers with per­son­alised pur­chase of­fers, or to process or­ders faster, or with fewer er­rors, or more ef­fi­ciently, other ven­dors must adapt or grad­u­ally sur­ren­der mar­ket share.

un­der­stand­ings with the help of a CRM to eval­u­ate what their cus­tomers need.

Bet­ter ser­vices im­ply the cus­tomer’s im­proved abil­ity to make pur­chases. They will make in­formed de­ci­sions and be happy with their pur­chase. Such ef­fi­cient shop­ping will only mean a pa­tro­n­is­ing cus­tomer. For the re­tail­ers, this means higher trans­ac­tion rate, in­creased rev­enues, and a wider profit mar­gin.

Smart re­tail­ers are look­ing up new and crit­i­cal CRM tools such as the uni­fied agent desk­top that al­lows cus­tomer ser­vice agents to re­spond faster and with greater ac­cu­racy and con­sis­tency ev­ery time a cus­tomer picks up the phone, ac­cesses e-mails or chats. The uni­fied agent desk­top brings the cus­tomer into fo­cus at the desk­top and turns the agent’s screen into a hub that can ac­cess all en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tions and data­bases nec­es­sary to re­spond rapidly to the cus­tomer. The re­sult is in­creased qual­ity and de­creased op­er­at­ing costs, lead­ing to one of the most hand­some ROIS in the in­dus­try. It also elim­i­nates data re­dun­dancy like re­peat­ing cus­tomers with the same re­quests or re­ly­ing on agents to re­call the cor­rect sys­tems to en­ter a new cus­tomer record or ser­vice re­quest.

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