Getting Started with Customer Relationship Management
More than ever, CRM is critical to an organization’s success. After more than a decade of harnessing cost-savings potential to remain competitive in an increasingly global economy, driving growth has replaced cutting costs as the most important goal for most CEOs. Hence it’s no surprise that CRM is back on the agenda of many top executives. To stimulate organic growth, organizations are beginning to explore a more disciplined approach to exploit untapped opportunities and make the most of relationships with customers. They seek new ways to increase wallet share, deploy new channels, penetrate underserved segments, reach out to new customers and enter entirely new markets.
In order to succeed and gain competitive advantage, an organization must achieve more than running effective marketing campaigns or operating an efficient call center. They need to take a holistic approach to CRM and put the customer at the center of their business. They need to identify sources of differentiation that are difficult to imitate and excel across and beyond customer touch points.
Hence, to achieve sustainable, profitable growth, CRM needs to encompass more than customer-facing operations alone. Entire business processes such as order to cash or customer problem resolution need to be streamlined, seamlessly connected to other critical business functions (from finance to the supply chain), and designed to meet customer expectations regarding quality, speed, convenience and reliability. Organizations need to break down the silos and redesign business processes from end to end, intertwined and coordinated across front and back offices for a common goal: to create and deliver value to the customer – and get value in return.
A customer-centric enterprise strives to continuously create superior customer value and consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience across all customer touch points.
Top-performing organizations have realized that they need to build their businesses around the customer to ensure long-term success. They know who their most valuable customers are and understand their needs and buying habits. They target and tailor their offerings and personalize their interactions with their customers. They design and continuously improve business processes across their entire ecosystem — including suppliers and channel partners — to respond quickly to changing customer needs. They strive to become fully customer-centric, deliver superior customer value and consistently provide an exceptional customer experience across all customer touch points. And they make every effort to build long-term relationships with their customers, recognizing that keeping customers is more profitable in the long run than winning new customers over and over again.
Essentially, this is what CRM is about. It’s a customer-centric business strategy – not a technology. However, IT is a mission critical element of this strategy, not just to understand each customer’s needs, but also to reshape business processes to meet customer expectations, empower employees to best serve the customer, and determine how to most efficiently and effectively deliver on those needs.
CRM Is About…
- Winning and keeping customers,
- Capitalizing on customer insight,
- Building long-term profitable relationships,
- Providing a consistent customer experience across channels,
- Delivering value to your customers,
- Achieving a sustainable competitive advantage
… to grow your business.
This whitepaper shows how CRM is a business strategy that helps organizations cope with three of today´s most urgent business imperatives: generating new growth, attaining operational excellence and enhancing competitive agility.
Organizations need to break down their silos and redesign business processes from end to end, keeping them intertwined and coordinated across front and back offices for a common goal: to create and deliver value to the customer — and get value in return. This article was published in the (Oct, Nov, Dec 2007) issue of SAP Insider and appears here with permission of the publisher, WIS, www.WISpubs.com.