Cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - BENE­DICT KELLY

IF YOU ASKED South Africans if any ma­jor com­pany they deal with ad­e­quately man­ages the re­la­tion­ship be­tween them, you’d prob­a­bly get more peo­ple re­ply­ing no than yes. That’s be­cause even though most com­pa­nies have im­ple­mented what’s known as cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment (CRM) sys­tems, the fo­cus of those is more on the cus­tomer man­age­ment part and less on the re­la­tion­ship part.

The prob­lem that CRM hopes to solve is that in­for­ma­tion about you as a cus­tomer is scat­tered through­out the com­pany. The ac­counts de­part­ment may know that you pay your bills on time and the sales de­part­ment may know that you buy lots of prod­ucts. But be­cause that in­for­ma­tion isn’t avail­able to the cus­tomer ser­vice de­part­ment, you get treated like ev­ery other client.

The idea be­hind CRM is that ev­ery time you speak to some­one in a com­pany, what­ever you say is en­tered into its sys­tem and the next time you call, the per­son you’re talk­ing to will know al­most ev­ery­thing about you with­out you hav­ing to re­peat your­self. That sort of tech- nol­ogy is the foun­da­tion that al­lows the mod­ern con­tact cen­tre en­vi­ron­ment to work.

Sadly, as ex­pe­ri­enced by many, con­tact cen­tres sel­dom have ac­cess to the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion or, if they do, they don’t use it to save clients from hav­ing to re­peat them­selves. How­ever, in the sales en­vi­ron­ment such sys­tems are more ef­fec­tively used, be­cause mak­ing the sales op­er­a­tion more ef­fi­cient is typ­i­cally a com­pany’s top pri­or­ity.

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