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Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management
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In August 2000, the tyre industry experienced mass anxiety when Firestone was forced to recall many of its tyres due to a number of fatalities.
This triggered countless customer enquiries and, as a result, the Firestone website crashed, staying down for the next twelve hours. Michelin were also inundated with queries but, thanks to a newly installed CRM model, this did not pose a problem. They were able to successfully answer all questions as well as gather valuable data in order to facilitate future CRM strategies.
Michelin's success story is just one example of the importance attached to CRM. It highlights the move in recent years away from streamlining processes in order to cut costs towards the new strategy of knowing your customers intimately. The three major driving forces behind this initiative are:
• New software technology - collating and utilizing customer data is becoming increasingly easier.
• The Internet - not only is there greater competition on the web, the potential for accessing customer information is enormous.
• The changing customer - consumers today are more confident, sophisticated and, with more choice than ever, more demanding.
In a complete turnaround from a few years ago it is now the customer, not the company, who dictates what appears in the market.
''As customers change, learn, and evolve in response to the pressures they face, businesses that serve them must change with them or lose out.''
- Robert E. Wayland & Paul M. Cole
Virtually every organization today recognizes that CRM must play a part in their corporate strategy. Furthermore, it can no longer be seen as an independent entity, set aside from everything else. Paul Cole, national director of the CRM practice at Ernst & Young LLP in Boston, reiterates this view. He believes that ''we've been thinking too statically and looking on the customer relationship as a fixed asset rather than a continuous stream of interactions that can build or destroy that asset. It's the relationship and not the customer with an account number that drives your growth.''
And of course, there is a huge difference between having a CRM policy and actually practising good CRM. Essentially it comes down to one question; are you really listening to your clients?
This Briefing will help you to recognize the needs of the emerging new consumer of the twenty-first century and reconcile new technologies with a humanistic approach to CRM.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited; January 2005
86 pages; ISBN 9781846632723
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