CRM headed for the next level

KUALA LUMPUR: The practice of customer relationship management (CRM) has evolved from its initial sales-oriented focus, said Oracle Corp.

It said that while the first wave of solutions were anchored in fulfilling marketing, customer sales and services objectives, the next generation of CRM will see a shift in focus toward enhancing customer experience.

Businesses can no longer afford to ignore customer experience at every possible touch point, according to Chandru Relwani, Oracle’s senior director for CRM product management, who oversees the Japan and Asia Pacific regions.

“With the exponential reach of social media and other communications tools, you could potentially lose more than one customer with (just) one bad posting,” he said.

According to the Customer Experience Impact Report 2009-2011 by market research firm Harris Interactive, 86% of respondents said they stopped doing business with an organisation after only one bad experience.

In addition, 26% of consumers posted a negative comment on a social networking site after a poor customer experience, and about 79% of respondents said their complaints via social channels were ignored, the report said.

“CRM is now about support, search and knowledge. It’s about giving the customer the choice of channel interaction, ensuring that customer service is a uniformed experience across the board, and delivering relevant content and information,” Relwani said.

He noted that while most companies already have established CRM practices, few have transitioned to the next level — fully leveraging on their CRM tools to boost customer experience.

Asked which industry verticals had the most active adoption of CRM solutions, Relwani said the public sector tops that list; with more effective public outreach and case management for taxes as some examples of execution.

Another is the telecommunications industry, with the main focus on reducing customer churn and raising customer loyalty and advocacy.

He also said that in the retail space, where CRM usage is quite mature, those companies are in the midst of expanding onto the Internet and mobile platforms.

He said that some of the challenges cited by companies increasing their adoption of CRM solutions are finding the right customer acquisition and growth strategy; consolidation of existing systems and information; and the need to adopt an open platform to ease systems integration.

Oracle announced that it is one of the few vendors aligning its solutions to meet the needs of this evolving environment.

This includes the inclusion of Big Data analysis into CRM systems and a Real-Time Decisions (RTD) platform which combines both rules and predictive analytics for real-time decision management.

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