CRM Magazine

A monthly magazine covering news, issues, profiles, and trends in the field of customer relationship management. Focuses on the integration of technology and organizational strategy to develop and maximize the potential of the relationships between organizations and their customers.

Articles from Vol. 13, No. 1, January

30,000-Foot Views of the Cloud
Cloud computing is the catchphrase of the moment, and whether the notion is lightning in a bottle or nothing more than vapor, it's having a radical impact on the CRM landscape. (See our cover story, "The Google-ization of CRM," page 22, for more on...
A Worthwhile Excursion into Call Recording: Find out How a Not-for-Profit Educational Traveling Company Boosted Customer Service with CallCopy's Recording Solution
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Elderhostel, a Boston-based travel organization, has a simple mission: provide exceptional learning opportunities to adults at a remarkable value. And the company's delivered: In its 30-plus years of existence, more than four...
CRM Magazine Best Practices Series: Software-as-a-Service Newsflash: Most of You Already Use It
You may notice something seemingly odd as you read this special supplement to CRM magazine: The various solutions vendors only briefly mention the benefits of deploying software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. These vendors prefer to concentrate on...
EchoSign Justifies Itself, and Then Some
EchoSign gives anyone who has to get a contract signed an electronic way of doing so. Using EchoSign, the customer is emailed a secure, electronic version of the contract. The sender knows when the contract arrived in the customer's email and how long...
Email: What's Inside? There Are Several Layers to Effective Email Messaging. Delivery Is the First One, but Getting Customers to Open and Act on Emails Is What Matters
ALL THE USUAL WARNING SIGNS were there. Facebook had notified me of a message received from a friend. Didn't matter that the subject line of the message read "eSxy vvideo wwith you. Youu're ince there." Didn't matter that the message body contained...
Give Customers What They Don't Expect: Raise the Bar, Instead of Falling Short of It
WHAT IF GOOGLE went down for two hours tomorrow? Would site users remember its 99.99 percent uptime--or would they focus on how inconvenient the downtime was for that two-hour period? Most likely the latter--a product of a customer environment where...
Hey! You! Get onto My Cloud!
MICROSOFT has known for years that the company that owns the platform owns the customer. But the software giant better be careful: The Internet has emerged as the new platform, with a well-established leader. Google, the king of search, has become...
Holiday Revisits: I Hope You Kept That List of New Year's Resolutions
I HAVE STRUGGLED and struggled with a topic for this month, O Loyal Reader, because I don't want to let you down. After fruitlessly flailing against a writer's block of Brobdingnagian proportions, I remembered the calendar is my friend. [Except where...
How Do You Evaluate Which On-Demand CRM Solution Is Right for You?
You have analyzed your organization's business needs and determined that an on-demand CRM solution will best meet your requirements. And you're not alone. Industry observers expect the market for on demand CRM to grow by more than 30 percent per year....
Lead Sweet Lead: A Realtor Discovers That as One Door (Fore)closes, Another Might Not Open
As home foreclosures surge to record levels, it's almost hard to believe how the real estate market is braving the financial storm. "An average of 75 [percent] to 80 percent of real estate agents in the San Fernando Valley aren't making any money,"...
Life in the Fast Lane of Context: Providing an Experience Requires a Better Understanding of Your Customers
I RECENTLY WENT to see The Eagles in concert. I can't tell you why, but I wasn't expecting much more than the peaceful, easy feeling of an evening spent listening to some old classics. All for the not-so-desperado price of $88 per ticket. Boy, was...
Marketing Portals That Deliver: Providing Great Sales Support in a Tough Economy
PROVIDE GREAT SALES SUPPORT, OR ELSE. Marketing professionals know that great support for their salespeople is a key deliverable in any economy. But when economic conditions worsen and fear of recession is rampant--certainly the case today--marketers...
Music in the Key of Savings: Yamaha Cuts Down on Its Paper Trail and Customer-Correspondence Time with an Electronic-Signature Tool
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] * Tell us about your organization. We're responsible for sales, marketing, and distribution of Yamaha musical products and instruments, AV products, and commercial audio products. We offer a full line of musical instruments...
Putting Your CRM Data to Work for You and Your Customers
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions have become a staple in today's organizations to collect and manage information about customers, and SaaS-based CRM solutions have made it possible to quickly and easily deploy and manage these applications....
Re: Tooling
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Business Problem: Customer service representatives are overburdened handling basic inquiries. Tech Solution: Web Self-Service Contact center agents are charged with handling various inquiries on a laundry list of products...
SaaS Integration Solutions: Is IT Keeping Up with Your SaaS Integration Needs?
SAAS APPLICATIONS DRIVEN BY BUSINESS USERS SaaS applications have gained traction for a variety of reasons: faster deployment, lower risk, improved operational efficiencies, simpler upgrades, and all while dealing with IT resource constraints. According...
Sales Contentment for Content Management: Monk Development Gets a Handle on Its Sales Process and Pipeline
There comes a time for any small business when the founders are no longer the ones pulling in new accounts. Suddenly, there's a sales force to consider. That change can be a test for the company's business model and sales process, and not every firm...
Seven Ways to Cut Costs and Improve Customer Service in a Down Economy
Through the ups and downs of the economy, one thing doesn't change. Your customers expect good--even great--customer service. Take your eye off the ball and watch a customer turn into your competitor's hottest new lead. Now's not the time to...
Shake Your Moneymakers: Here Are Three Areas in Which Technology Can Help Your Organization Sell Better
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SALES FORCE AUTOMATION (SFA) is hardly a new concept, and just about every forward-thinking business in the developed world has some sort of technology at work to maximize the efficiency of its sales agents. Note the word...
Simplify Feedback Management. Save Money. Gain Fresh Insights: And Make It All Happen Using SaaS Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) Technologies
Your customers want to give you more money, and they will tell you how to collect it. The key is to solicit their feedback, and then use it to make smarter decisions. IN 2009, FEEDBACK IS KING! Today, enterprise feedback management (EFM) is one...
Straight Talk: Advice from the Trenches of SaaS CRM
Reams have been written by analysts and pundits about the right and wrong ways to select, implement, and manage CRM software systems. Based on surveys, studies, and hands-on experience, there is certainly no lack of opinion for those about to embark...
Stuffing the Ballot Box-With Complaints: Will the Election Day Success of the CNN InfoVoter Hotline Change the Game for Governments and CRM?
In what many deemed one of the most important votes of our time, the 2008 election inspired millions of Americans to cast ballots--between 126.5 million and 128.5 million Americans, in fact, or approximately 60 percent of all eligible voters, according...
Taming the Digital Client in 2009: Technology Will Pave the Way to Customer Focus and Cost-Efficiency
IN THE FACE of an economic downturn that has been severe, multifaceted, and particularly complex, it's critical to note some companies have opted not to make any cuts to their 2009 CRM plans. One consumer packaged goods company, for example, cut...
Technology Helps Insurance Weather the Storm: The Industry Knows How to Write Policies, but Can It Create Efficient Policies for Its Own Business Processes?
People can be stubborn, especially when it comes to protecting their assets and homes. When Hurricane Gustav struck major metropolises of Texas in early September 2008, regional evacuations were issued, but some mulish residents tried to hold their...
The Feedback Funnel: Properly Harnessed, Customer Feedback Can Help Companies Forge a Competitive Advantage. but with Feedback Pouring in from All Directions, Companies Are Struggling Just to Keep Up
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AT VECTRA BANK COLORADO, customer feedback once took the form of paper-based surveys that were distributed throughout its various branches. Completed surveys were then accumulated and mailed back to corporate headquarters...
The Google-Ization of CRM: In the Rush toward Cloud Computing, the Company That Began as a Mere Search Engine Is Rapidly Becoming the Go-To Source for Low- and No-Cost Office Productivity Software. Handling Customer Information, Though, Requires Special Attention
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] FOR ABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, the decision was easy--and involved a measure of fate. Associate Vice President of Operations Kevin Roberts happened to be attending a Google presentation at the annual EduCause conference...
The Marketing Line for '09: Having Already Endured Nearly Two Years of Economic Decline, a Bleak Forecast Means Marketers Are in for a Bumpy Year
Bart van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board, did little to cushion the blow when he spoke at a conference last November: "The United States is not falling over the cliff," he said, "[but] 2009 is not going to be a pretty year." Marketers...
The Ne(x)t Generation
In a follow-up to his 1998 best seller Growing Up Digital, author Don Tapscott revisits the kids who grew up on technology and the Internet as they become the most influential generation in history. Ten years later, Tapscott's new book, Grown Up Digital,...
The Shots Heard 'Round the World: A Turbulent Economy Is Driving Some On-Demand Vendors to Reduce Fees. Is a Price War Looming in Software-as-a-Service?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Common wisdom in this industry tells us that CRM and related technologies are a must-have, with price a decidedly secondary concern compared to functionality. Yet when software-as-a-service (SaaS) became a viable means of...