Magazine article New Zealand Management

A to Z Our Guide to Who's Who in CRM: If There's One Thing You Need to Know about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in 2004 It's This: CRM Is Not the Same Thing as Contact Management. Why Is This Important? Because, According to CRM Specialists, New Zealand Businesses Still Regularly Confuse the Two

Magazine article New Zealand Management

A to Z Our Guide to Who's Who in CRM: If There's One Thing You Need to Know about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in 2004 It's This: CRM Is Not the Same Thing as Contact Management. Why Is This Important? Because, According to CRM Specialists, New Zealand Businesses Still Regularly Confuse the Two

Article excerpt

Unlike contact management, CRM is less about what you know about your customer and more about what they know about you. CRM strategies encourage customers to believe a business knows their needs in advance, and helps businesses to anticipate customer needs rather than just react to them.

Contact management tools are best described as a subset of that; they help businesses to track and access up-to-date customer-contact information like details of the last customer enquiry or the customer's account status. Despite this confusion, CRM specialists say New Zealand businesses are increasingly aware of the impact good CRM tools and practices can have on businesses' growth and customer satisfaction.

Helen Robinson, managing director for CRM specialist Pivotal Corporation, thinks CRM in New Zealand is now in a settled state. "CRM is widely understood to be necessary--both from a strategic perspective and technologically."

New Zealand businesses see the benefits and will continue to make CRM investments, she says. "CRM is expanding into the dynamic front office, or demand chain automation, where there is further value. Things like business process management, analytics, marketing automation and execution will enable organisations to adapt quickly and effectively to changing business requirements."

And smaller businesses now realise that CRM strategies are not just for large enterprises according to Microsoft New Zealand solution specialist Charlie Wood. "They [can be] affordable and easy to install for smaller businesses," he says.

Research last year from Gartner showed 15 percent of global businesses with up to 500 PCs had a clear CRM strategy and employed CRM software. It predicted this penetration would grow to about 40 percent within the next five years. "As CRM tools become more mid-market friendly, they will be used to level the playing field and gain competitive advantage" says Wood.

Tony Bullen, Asia Pacific managing director for CRM specialists Stayinfront, says that while CRM decisions should not be based solely on technology, technological innovation is driving the CRM market.

Recent IT evolutions in IP telephony, automated voice response software and radio, wireless and other mobile technologies, are examples. "CRM options in 2004 resemble an a la carte menu. Companies that compete on price shouldn't over invest in CRM; but those that compete on customer service should realise its positive impact," he adds.

But how much do well-tailored, customised, and supported CRM investments cost SMEs?

Many New Zealand CRM brand resellers are also small businesses and so well positioned to understand small business pressures, says Wood, while agreeing the full cost of a CRM project can be hard to pin down. "While companies of all sizes can pay one amount for software licensing and an equal amount again for support and training, those costs rise exponentially if the software requires a lot of customisation or the business needs extra support."

Costs can also increase if a business decides to add CRM tools to an existing financial or ERP software suite instead of investing in a full ERP suite that includes CRM. With "sole CRM" implementations, the quality of software integration becomes more important and consulting may be more expensive.

No one suggests CRM investment is cheap. But the up-front expenditure can be offset if companies use hosted software services through application service providers (ASPs) to trial CRM without purchasing a software licence. The business then has access to CRM tools through an online connection for a monthly fee. "The [ASP option] gives customers some flexibility. It's a low risk entry to CRM," says Wood.

However, even hosted CRM services must be strategically planned--something smaller businesses may struggle with.

Bullen says analysing and supporting the New Zealand SME market is tricky because small companies rarely employ people with CRM skills. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.