How Can I Make My Operational CRM Investments More Effective?
Posted Oct 13, 2003
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Many organizations have invested huge sums of money in operational CRM systems for sales, marketing, and call centers that present great opportunities for efficiency. However, they only go so far in delivering ROI. For example, operational CRM for a call center can empower agents with ready access to basic customer information (name, address, recent purchases), improve call-handling times, and help track call center productivity. Yet, such an operational system is basically helpless to provide the agent with real-time intelligence to improve and customize an interaction. Adding a layer of analytics to these operational, transaction-focused systems can provide relevant information on what to cross-sell, whom to retain, and how to service customers. It is this type of intelligence that powers the increased ROI of operational systems. While operational CRM may facilitate faster and more efficient customer interactions, it does not provide the insights that would enhance the quality of those interactions. And in today's economy simply improving transaction processing is not enough. Customers are constantly evaluating the organizations they do business with, and weighing the alternatives. They expect individualized attention and to be treated with consistency, regardless of the communication channel. Until recently the business strategy of many organizations was product-centric, focusing mainly on how to sell more products and how to make the product line more profitable. Today, some of the most successful organizations are moving away from this paradigm to be customer-centric and look to leverage data across all product lines and channels to increase the profitability of the total customer relationship. Transforming to a true customer-centric organization requires a channel-agnostic approach, compelling the company to think about how to interact more effectively and consistently with the customer across all relevant channels. Organizations must access, consolidate, and analyze data about individual transactions from all touch points in order to create effective intelligence about service, retention, or cross-sell opportunities. Subsequent analysis provides knowledge about who is valuable or potentially valuable, how individual customers should be serviced and who should be targeted for what cross sell or retention opportunity. Creating this intelligence is not the final step. It also requires total channel alignment for delivery of consistent intelligence, at the right time to enhance all customer interactions regardless of touch point. Implemented effectively, analytical CRM can help organizations achieve maximum ROI by increasing revenue and decreasing costs. With more accurate insights into customer behaviors and preferences, marketers can more effectively attract and retain customers, increase the lifetime value of those customers, and use marketing dollars where they are most likely to produce optimal results. Leveraging this business intelligence through a company's operational CRM systems will ultimately facilitate better business decisions.
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