Time crucial for customers

Saving time is the number one priority of customer relationship management, says GartnerGroup research director Neil McMurchy.

CRM projects involve organisational and process changes and technological implementations.

“CRM is often mistakenly viewed as a technology issue – not as part of a business plan,” Mr McMurchy said.

“New technologies should be deployed with a view to value-added service – and if a cost reduction is achieved it’s a bonus.”

Mr McMurchy said, prior to committing to a CRM project, resources should be examined to determine whether they could manage the change.

He said, if not, the project should be segmented and phased into more manageable chunks.

“It’s about competitive differentiation – not inflicting technology on people,” Mr McMurchy said.

“If you don’t do ‘big bang’ implementation and perhaps do three-monthly roll-outs, one big project suddenly looks like a group of small ones.

“This approach recognises the immaturity of much technology, allowing problems and glitches to be ironed out in a manageable timeframe,” he said.

Mr McMurchy said consumers were increasingly intolerant of bad web experiences.

“Your new technology has to work very fast and be fault-resistant,” he said.

Mr McMurchy said the Sanity record chain was a good example of utilising technology to achieve CRM aims.

“The music retail industry has found itself being eroded by dot.coms so the knee-jerk reaction is to put up a web site,” he said.

“Sanity gives leverage to its physical stores as being the only reliable, face-to-face avenue for solving the logistics issues of online retailing.

“In other words, they are differentiating the physical stores as a superior customer experience.

“Using the web as a channel, Sanity is successfully dragging customers back to the area where it has strength.”

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