E-CRM in simple terms can explain the management of customer relationships with the help of information technology. The process involved includes the collection and aggregation of data and interaction between the company and the customers. Customers are indeed the backbone of a company. If the millennials aren’t satisfied with the service provided to them, then it would be really difficult to continue in business. Thus, consumer follow-ups and other strategies are to be carried through the efficient use of Information technology to ensure that the customers are satisfied with the services provided. Lee‐Kelley, Gilbert, & Mannicom (2003) states that CRM puts customers as its priority which helps in the expansion of the company worldwide and increases the profit and loyalty of the customer as well as helps in reducing the costs. It creates records of the contact to a great extent and helps in the generation of tracking reports. It uses the software to create good communication and cordial relationships between the consumer and the company.
In E-CRM, internet-based technologies such as websites, chat rooms, e-mails, and other related technologies are used to attain the objectives of CRM. Thus, E-CRM can be considered the latest version of CRM. Not only the current customers but E-CRM principles and strategies let’s also the company deal with potential customers as well.
E-CRM makes sure that the customers are satisfied with the services. It includes even the small e-survey that is sent to the customers form to the e-mail surveys. In simple means, the methods opted for customer relationship management are digitized to achieve E-CRM. The E-CRM processes have three steps:
The information about customer preferences is collected by two means. Active collection of data involves the information obtained from the surveys filled by customers. This includes e-mail surveys, website surveys, and so on (Nihalani, 2019). The passive collection of data involves extracting data from the internet surfing records of the customer.
The data obtained through the various data collection methods are first filtered and only the necessary and useful information is stored. This information is further thoroughly analyzed with the help of different methods to extract the vital information that would be helpful for the company. The collected data is crucial in serving the customers better and enhancing the different customer services of the company.
Customer interaction is a crucial step in the whole process. According to the needs and requirements of the customer, the company provides the necessary feedback that would be helping to solve any issues that the customer has encountered while utilizing the services or the products. Customer interaction may take place either through conventional methods like call centres or via e-mail messaging or text messaging. The efficiency of the company lies in how they reply to or solves the problems encountered by the customers.
The companies may integrate their E-CRM techniques via three main components
As vital information is being shared by the customers with the company, whatever strategies or processes are involved in the business, all of these should make the customer’s needs a priority.
A proper analysis would help the company maintain a healthy and long-relation with the consumers. Whatever analysis is done on the data collected, it should yield reliable results and these results would help the company know the preferences of the customers well (San-Martín, Jiménez, & López-Catalán, 2016). Thus, the company can easily implement steps that would help to attract customers again and again to the company’s services or products.
As communication technologies have improved through the years, interdepartmental as well as inter-organizational matters can be easily discussed. Thus, the company can unite the process of different departments or different partners without much effort. This would help to serve the customers efficiently. No matter what help the customer wants, the interdepartmental efforts would help to serve the customers on time, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.
The E-CRM devised in different companies can be categorized into three different levels. These levels are decided based on the effectiveness of customer relationship management and how convenient it is for the customers.
Foundational services are the most primitive E-CRM services implemented by companies. This includes the effective management of the website (Velarde, 2011). Website effectiveness and responsiveness are basic customer management steps. These services also include order fulfilment as well.
The customer-centred services include the tracking of orders placed on the parent site, product customization, and product configuration. These services help the customers to have a better idea of the products or services for which they have paid. Timely information on the orders and developments would increase the rate of customer satisfaction.
Value-added services as the name suggests are extra services such as online training programs, educational services, and online auctions.
The implementation of the software helps to create offers that are customized for the customer based on what they have purchased earlier and also their interests. To satisfy the needs of millennial consumers it is important to focus on their needs and interests and make it the priority to achieve profit and support for the customer.
To pay proper attention to responsibilities as a whole
Customers mainly focus on the experience of the brands, the experience of good products or services with the help of different channels or touch points like devices, and many others. So, at this point inculcation of new partners in the eco-system is important and it is also important to pay attention to the trajectory as a whole instead of paying attention to individuals’ channels.
The consistency of the journey should be maintained properly. To meet the expectation the customer has towards different brands and companies, it is relevant to have a good interaction with the customer to recognize their interests.
Taking feedback from the consumers
The perception of millennial consumers towards brands or products keeps changing because the product they purchased one month ago might be outdated now or might they didn’t like it. So, noting those things will help to suggest other ideas to the customer and also take a review of the product or things (Ahuja & Medury, 2010). For that, taking feedback from regular and genuine consumers after the implementation of the delivery process is essential.
Interacting with the customers pretty often
Marketing automation is always included in the system of good and well-working CRM, which allows sending messages to the customer via email or contacting them regarding the launching of a new product, or special offers. So, if the customer finds that information helpful, they will eventually pay attention to those messages and support the content of the company.
Providing accurate information to the customer based on different aspects
It is important to provide millennial consumers, the relevant information which must be based on their interests, hobbies, or related to their age, gender, and many more. Including this strategy, will ensure that they develop a good perception towards the company and it will increase their loyalty and trust towards the company (Taylor & Hunter, 2002).
Learning and listening to the need of the customer
It is good to collect as much information as possible from the customer, as it will help to increase the profit of the company in the future. If the customer likes a product, then they will check out the product by clicking on the message or the link provided to them which enables the company to suggest to them some traits and facts which prove that the product is going to them (Kevork & Vrechopoulos, 2008). So, once they will buy the products and liked them, it will increase the company‘s profit and the customer will regularly subscribe to the emails provided by the company.
Providing customer service software
The customer might tend to have some sort of problem while or after purchasing the product. So, to solve this problem, the company should inculcate software which ensures that it interacts in favour of the customer by organizing conducive FAQs that direct the customer if there is a problem regarding the tracking of the product, purchasing the product and many others.
Capturing essential data
For successfully implementing E-CRM it is important to capture data from the right sources legally. But the main challenge is that as the data is in diverse formats, numerous methods have to be implemented to capture the data efficiently. For example, when a customer communicates with the concerned authorities of the bank, the formats of data generated include ATM transactions, online banking transactions, verbal communications with customer care representatives, interactions through e-mails, and so on (Santoso & Erdaka, 2015). The format data generated when the customer uses online banking or ATM transactions is almost the same. But this isn’t the case when the customer communicates via phone. Thus, the accuracy of the captured data is a major concern.
Assimilation of the captured data into databases
The data captured via different methods should be then incorporated into the databases of the company and further assimilated. Thus, for this, databases with the required structure and design have to be created well in advance as a part of E-CRM. These databases should be highly secure, as it contains the vital information of the customers.
After incorporating the data into the databases, it needs to be processed in such a way that it yields the necessary patterns or figures that would be helpful for the company. For this, the company should have a proper idea of the E-CRM and the objectives they want to achieve with the implementation of E-CRM. The output produced after the data processing may be categorized as:
Segments of the customers are created according to their purchase behaviour or pattern and their demographic profile. These segments may be based on income, product preferences of the customer, price sensitivity, etc.
Customer grievances are segregated from the captured data and grouped separately. These grievances are further addressed by the company with sufficient feedback.
The company should initiate and carry on with the conversation by viewing it from the customer’s perspective. This makes sure that the communication process matches the environment of the customer.
The banking sector is one of the first sectors to identify the potential of E-CRM strategies like the PwC and JP Morgan. Thus, this has been implemented in the banking sector through online banking, ATM transactions, e-mail, customer smart cards, computer networking, and data mining. These techniques helped the banking sector to know about the preferences of their customer and reach out to them to improve the services.
The main disadvantage when it comes to the implementation of E-CRM in the banking sector is that the data isn’t safe. The ATMs, online transactions, and even email conversations of the customers can be easily hacked by malicious hackers.
Amazon is among one of the first companies in the retail sector to adopt E-CRM to improve customer satisfaction. This has helped the company grow their business exponentially. As said by Gil-Gomez, Guerola-Navarro, Oltra-Badenes, & Lozano-Quilis (2020), the company stands as a model for other companies that wish to adopt E-CRM techniques in their business. Even though the company could increase the efficiency of operations, the chatbot system isn’t effective. Also, Customer grievances are not answered on time.
The company should be dealing with data and implementation carefully. When planning to implement E-CRM it is highly important to collect data legally. If not, this can lead to a violation of the privacy of the customers. As the millennials value their privacy a lot, proper permissions have to be acquired before using the data for analysis purposes. According to Alavi, Ahuja, & Medury (2011), E-CRM helps the company to gain the trust of its customers. Customers would always look up to buying products from companies they feel are responsible and committed to serving the customers. Thus, effective implementation of E-CRM strategies would not only improve sales and customer satisfaction but also the trust of the customers in the company.
The companies must not misuse the data or only focus on the results. Gaining trust must be the focus. All these data collections are done in such a way that it does not intrude on the privacy of the customers. The customers’ needs should be taken care of no matter what and also the company should not bother the customers just to take care of their needs.
The strategies include regular communication with the customers to be in touch even after even after the completion of the delivery process. Millennial consumers mostly focus on purchasing that product which is sophisticated, in trend, good quality, branded, affordable, and related to their interests and desire. The company needs to focus on what the customers want and needs to improve the profit of the company and the loyalty of the customer intact.
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