1 APPENDIX B ELECTRONIC CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT Content B.1 CRM and Its Relationship with EC B.2 Delivering Customer Service in Cyberspace: CRM Applications and Tools Managerial Issues Real-World Case: FLOWERS.com Uses Data Mining to Foster Customer Relationship Management Learning Objectives Upon completion of this appendix, you will be able to: 1. Define CRM and describe its types, scope, benefits, and limitations. 2. Describe e-crm, its usage, and implementation. 3. Relate CRM to EC and customer service. 4. Explain CRM analytics. 5. Understand e-crm applications by category. 6. List and describe the tools for customerfacing applications. 7. Describe customer-touching applications and tools. 8. Describe the major customer-centric applications and tools. 9. Explain mobile and on-demand CRM.
2 B-2 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B.1 CRM AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH EC Customer relationship management (CRM) recognizes that customers are the core of a business and that a company s success depends on effectively managing its relationships with them (see Seybold 2006 and Payne 2005). CRM focuses on building long-term and sustainable customer relationships that add value both for the customer and the selling company. (See also crm-forum.com and crmassist.com.) Just like their offline counterparts, online companies also must deliver customer services. Customer services are an integral part of CRM. WHAT IS CRM: DEFINITIONS, TYPES, AND CLASSIFICATIONS Greenberg (2004) provides more than 10 definitions of CRM, several provided by CEOs of CRM providers or users. Scott and Lee (2005) and Payne (2005) provide several additional definitions. Why are there so many definitions? The reason is that CRM is relatively new and still evolving. Also, it is an interdisciplinary field, thus each discipline (e.g., marketing, MIS, management) defines CRM differently. Here is one definition: customer relationship management (CRM) A customer service approach that focuses on building long-term and sustainable customer relationships that add value both for the customer and the selling company. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business strategy to select and manage customers to optimize long-term value. CRM requires a customer-centric business philosophy and culture to support effective marketing, sales, and service processes. (CRMguru.com 2007) Types and Classification of CRM Three types of CRM activities can be distinguished: operational, analytical, and collaborative. Operational CRM relates to typical business functions involving customer services, order management, invoice or billing, or sales and marketing automation and management. Analytical CRM involves activities that capture, store, extract, process, analyze, interpret, and report customer data to a user who then analyzes them as needed. Collaborative CRM deals with all the necessary communication, coordination, and collaboration between vendors and customers. For details, see mariosalexandrou.com/definition/crm.asp. Tan et al. (2002) and Payne (2005) distinguish the following classifications of CRM programs: Loyalty programs. These programs try to increase customer loyalty. An example is the frequent-flyer points given by airlines. Prospecting. These promotion programs try to win new, first-time customers (see Chapter 4). Save or win back. These are programs that try to convince customers not to leave or, if they have left, to rejoin. When one of the authors of this book left AOL, for example, the company s representative offered many incentives to return. Cross-sell or up-sell. By offering complementary products (cross-sell) or enhanced products (up-sell) that customers would like, companies make customers happy and increase their own revenue. Another classification of CRM programs divides them by the service or product they offer (e.g., self-configuration, account tracking, call centers). Section B.2 presents these programs.
3 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-3 e-crm Managing customer relationships is a business activity that corporations have practiced for generations. As evidenced by the many successful businesses that existed before the computer, companies were not required to manage one s customers well. However, since the mid-1990s competition has intensified, and CRM has enhanced various types of information technologies. CRM technology is an evolutionary response to environmental changes, making use of new IT devices and tools. The term e-crm was coined in the mid-1990s when customers started using Web browsers, the Internet, and other electronic touch points ( , POS terminals, call centers, and direct sales). e-crm also includes online process applications, such as segmentation and personalization. The use of the Internet, intranets, and extranets made customer services, as well as services to partners (see PRM in Chapter 5), much more effective and efficient than before the Internet. Through Internet technologies, data generated about customers can easily be fed into marketing, sales, and customer service databases for analysis. The success or failure of CRM efforts can now be measured and modified in real time, further elevating customer expectations. In the Internet-connected world, e-crm has become frequently a requirement for survival, not just a competitive advantage. e-crm covers a broad range of topics, tools, and methods, ranging from the proper design of digital products and services to pricing and loyalty programs (e.g., see e-sj.org; jsr.sagepub.com, and e-crmguide.com). Note that e-crm is sometimes referred to as e-service. However, the term e-service has several other meanings. For example, some define e-service as EC in service industries, such as banking, hospitals, and government, whereas others confine its use to e self-service. To avoid confusion, we prefer to use the term e-crm rather than e-service. Note that people use the terms e-crm and CRM interchangeably. Most vendors use just CRM, and the accounting profession literature uses that term most often. e-crm Customer relationship management conducted electronically. THE SCOPE OF CRM For online transactions, CRM often provides help features. In addition, if a product is purchased offline, customer service may be offered online. For example, if a consumer purchases a product offline and needs expert advice on how to use it, he or she may find detailed instructions online (e.g., livemanuals.com). According to Voss (2000), there are three levels of CRM: 1. Foundation services. This includes the minimum necessary services, such as site responsiveness (e.g., how quickly and accurately the service is provided), site effectiveness, and order fulfillment. 2. Customer-centered services. These services include order tracing, configuration and customization, and security/trust. These are the services that matter the most to customers. 3. Value-added services. These are extra services, such as dynamic brokering, online auctions, and online training and education. The Extent of Service Customer service should be provided throughout the entire product life cycle. Four parts compose the value chain for CRM (Plant 2000): 1. Customer acquisition (prepurchase support). A service strategy that reflects and reinforces the company s brand and provides information to potential customers to encourage them to buy.
4 B-4 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management 2. Customer support during purchase. This service strategy provides a shopping environment that the consumer sees as efficient, informative, and productive. 3. Customer fulfillment (purchase dispatch). This involves timely delivery, including keeping the customer informed about the fulfillment process, especially if there are any delays. 4. Customer continuance support (postpurchase). Information and support help maintain the customer relationship between purchases. Case B.1 provides several examples of how companies use e-crm, and the Real- World Case at the end of this chapter provides an additional example. CASE B.1 EC Application HOW COMPANIES USE e-crm Almost all large companies have a formal CRM program (Agarwal et al. 2004). However, CRM programs may be implemented in a variety of different ways due to the large number of tools available (Section B.2). Here are a few examples of how companies have implemented CRM: Continental Airlines monitors telephone calls to its data center, using software from Witness Systems (witness.com), which uses software agents to analyze recorded conversations. The analysis tells Continental Airlines what customers really want. It also helps the company craft marketing plans and business strategy. Results serve customers better and resolve problems immediately, saving the company $1 million annually. To increase efficiency, Continental Airlines uses Call- Miner, a labor-saving Witness Systems program that automatically transcribes conversations into digitized text. Micrel Inc., a leading manufacturer of integrated circuit solutions for enterprise, consumer, industrial, mobile, telecommunications, automotive, and computer markets has become known for being fast on its feet in responding to customer needs. To improve response time and relevancy of information delivered to customers online, the company uses a sophisticated self-service search and navigation engine that directs customers to the right information at the right time to help them reach buying decisions. As a result, Web site traffic grew by 300 percent; the retention rate for new site visitors increased by 25 percent; the company saved $40,000 a year; and customer satisfaction increased significantly (see IBM 2006 for details). Employees at more than 200 Sheraton Hotels owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts are using a new e-crm system to coordinate fast responses to guests complaints and unmet needs. When an employee does not respond to a request or complaint within a time frame predetermined by hotel management, the color of a computerized notice changes from green to yellow and possibly to red. Red triggers management to quickly intervene and perhaps include special compensation for the guest. Starwood has reported significantly better operating results since it implemented the system. For details, see Babcock (2004). Online-only bank NetBank Inc. uses CRM to leverage customer contacts via the Web and call centers by analyzing customers profiles in real time and presenting the employee interacting with each customer with potential for cross-sell and up-sell offers. The bank now can do more targeted marketing campaigns that better address its customers needs. Boots the Chemists, a U.K. retailer of over 1,400 health and beauty stores, uses business intelligence and data mining (e-crm analytics) to learn about customers in its e-loyalty programs. The retailer uses data mining to acquire insights into customer behavior. Customer service agents can analyze, predict, and maximize the value of each customer relationship. This enables better one-to-one marketing efforts and reduces customer dissatisfaction. In a similar manner, outdoor product retailer REI brings customer data into a single location and analyzes and manages it in real time. The results are used for various CRM initiatives. See Amato-McCoy (2003) for details. (continued)
5 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-5 CASE B.1 (continued) Harrah s Entertainment Inc. treats its customers differently: The more a customer spends in a casino, the more rewards the customer gets. The company assigns a value to each customer by using data mining. FedEx s CRM system enables the company to provide superb service to millions of customers using 56 call centers. Each of its 4,000 call center employees has instant access to a customer s profile. The profile tells the employee how valuable the customer is and the details of the current transaction. The more an agent knows about the customer, the better the service provided. Customers use one phone number regardless of where the company is or the destination of the package. The CRM reduced calls for help, increased customer satisfaction, and enabled better advertising and marketing strategy. For details, see Guzman (2004). Questions 1. Identify common elements of CRM in these examples. 2. In addition to customer service, CRM systems provide managerial benefits. Identify and discuss these benefits. 3. Why is data mining becoming so important in CRM? BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS OF CRM The major benefit of CRM is the provision of superior customer care through the use of the Internet and IT technologies. In other words, CRM makes customers happy by providing choices of products and services, fast problem resolution and response, easy and quick access to information, and much more (see Seybold 2006 and Section B.2). Companies try to gain competitive advantage over their competitors by providing better CRM. The major limitation of CRM is that it requires integration with a company s other information systems, which may not be an easy task. In addition, as will be discussed later in this section, justifying the expense of CRM is not easy. Also, it is difficult to support mobile employees with some CRM applications. It is only in the last few years that m-commerce has encouraged the creation of exciting CRM applications. CRM IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES According to a CIO Insight study (2004) and Petersen (2006), culture, commitment of top management, and communication lead to CRM success not technology. Bohling, et al. (2006), Holland and Abrell (2005), and Seybold (2006) highlight some important steps in building an EC strategy that is centered on the customer. These steps include a focus on the end customer; systems and business processes that are designed for ease of use and from the end customer s point of view; and efforts to foster customer loyalty (a key to profitability in EC). To successfully make these steps, businesses must take the following actions: Deliver personalized services (e.g., dowjones.com) Target the right customers (e.g., aa.com, national.com) Help customers do their jobs (e.g., boeing.com) Let customers help themselves (e.g., iprint.com) Streamline business processes that impact customers (e.g., ups.com, amazon.com) Own the customer s total experience by providing every possible customer contact (e.g., amazon.com, hertz.com) Provide a 360-degree view of the customer relationship (e.g., wellsfargo.com, verizon.com)
6 B-6 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management Many of these steps are valid both for B2C and for B2B EC. In B2B, CRM is known as PRM (see Chapter 6). Large-scale CRM implementation is neither easy nor cheap. Tan et al. (2002) suggest five factors that are required to implement a CRM program effectively: 1. Customer-centric strategy. A customer-centric strategy should be established first at the corporate level. The strategy must be based on and consistent with the overall corporate strategy and must be communicated across the whole organization. 2. Commitments from people. The more commitments from people across the corporation to the transformation of the business strategy, the more likely the CRM implementation will succeed. Employees should be willing to learn the necessary technological skills. 3. Improved or redesigned processes. It is inherently difficult to identify the processes that need to be involved and frequently redesigned when implementing CRM. 4. Software technology. CRM software can record business transactions, create operations focused databases, facilitate data warehousing and data mining, and provide decision-making support and marketing campaign management tools. Companies should select the appropriate CRM packages to meet specific corporate CRM needs as well as to enable integration with legacy enterprise applications, such as the ERP system. Major CRM vendors are Siebel, Oracle, SAP, IBM, and Nortel/Clarify. Smaller players are BroadVision, Onyx, Microstrategy, E.piphany, Roundarch, and KANA. Major CRM consultants are KPMG Consultants, Deloitte Consultants, and the Patricia Seybold Group (see Greenberg 2004). 5. Infrastructure. Effective CRM implementation requires a suitable corporate infrastructure. This infrastructure includes network setup, storage, data backup, computing platforms, and Web servers. However, only effective corporate infrastructure integration can provide solid support for CRM implementation. Agarwal et al. (2004) and Bohling et al. (2006) claim that many CRM projects are disappointing at the beginning and require remediation because companies do not manage them properly. They offer an extensive methodology on how to implement CRM. See Compton (2004), CIO.com (2006), and Hagen (2006) for additional tips on CRM implementation. INTEGRATING CRM INTO THE ENTERPRISE Some CRM applications are independent of enterprise systems. However, many CRM applications must be integrated with other information systems. CRM lies primarily between the customers and the enterprise. The communication between the two is done via the Internet, regular telephone, snail mail, and so on. However, to answer customer queries, it is necessary to access files and databases. In medium and large corporations, these are usually part of a legacy system and/or ERP system. Companies may check data relevant to a customer order with their manufacturing plants, transportation vendors, suppliers, or other business partners. Therefore, CRM needs to interface with the supply chain, and do so easily, inexpensively, and quickly. In addition, CRM must be integrated with the data warehouse because, as Online File W4.6
7 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-7 showed, it is easier to build applications using data in the warehouse than using data residing in several internal and external databases. Finally, CRM itself collects customer and product data, including click stream data. These need to be prepared for data mining and other types of analysis. The integration of ERP and CRM must include low-level data synchronization as well as business process integration so that the integrity of business roles can be maintained across systems and workflow tasks can pass between the systems. Such integration also ensures that organizations can perform business intelligence across systems. JUSTIFYING CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CRM PROGRAMS Two major problems arise when companies try to justify expenditures for customer service and CRM programs. The first problem is the fact that most of the benefits of CRM are intangible, and the second is that substantial benefits can usually be reaped only from loyal customers over the long run. This is true for both offline and online organizations. In a 1990 study published in Harvard Business Review titled Zero Defections: Quality Comes to Services (see details at Reichheld and Schefter 2000), researchers demonstrated that the high cost of acquiring customers renders many customer relationship programs unprofitable during their early years. Only in later years, when the cost of retaining loyal customers falls and the volume of their purchases rises, do CRMs generate big returns. Therefore, companies are very careful about determining how much customer service to provide (see CIO Insight 2004 and Smith 2006). For approaches for CRM justification, see CIO.com (2006) and Bonde (2004). Metrics in Customer Service and CRM One way to determine how much service to provide is to compare a company against a set of standards known as metrics. Metrics are either quantitative or qualitative. (See Jagannathan et al and Sterne 2002.) The following are some Web-related metrics a company can use to determine the appropriate level of customer support: Response time. Many companies have a target response time of 24 to 48 hours. If a company uses intelligent agents, a response can be made in real time or the system can provide an acknowledgment that the customer s message has been received and a response will be forthcoming. Site availability. Customers should be able to reach the company s Web site at any time (24 hours a day). This means that downtime should be as close to zero as possible. Download time. Users usually will not tolerate downloads that last more than 10 to 20 seconds. Timeliness. Information on the company site must be up-to-date. The company sets an interval (e.g., every month) at which information must be revised. If a set interval is not used, companies may have new products in stores but not on the Web or vice versa. In either case, it may lose potential sales. Security and privacy. Web sites must provide sufficient privacy statements and an explanation of security measures. (This metric is measurable as yes or no either the statement and explanation are there or they are not.) On-time order fulfillment. Order fulfillment must be fast and comply with promised delivery dates. For example, a company can measure the time it takes to fulfill orders, and it can count the number of times it fails to meet its fulfillment promises. metrics Performance standards; may be quantitative or qualitative.
8 B-8 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management Return policy. In the United States and several other countries, return policies are a standard service. Having a return policy increases customer trust and loyalty. The ease by which customers can make returns is important to customer satisfaction. Navigability. A Web site must be easy to navigate. To gauge navigability, companies might measure the number of customers who get partway into an order and then bail out. analytic CRM Applying business analytics techniques and business intelligence such as data mining and online analytic processing to CRM applications. e-crm Analytics Analytic CRM refers to the use of business analytics techniques and business intelligence such as data mining and online analytic processing (see Turban et al. 2008) to CRM applications. Exhibit B.1 illustrates the basic concept. On the left side we see the many sources of customer data including real-time Web movement activities and real-time customer interaction and activities in POS and even while playing slot machines in the casinos. The large amount of data is processed and stored in a data warehouse (Section B.2) and/or in a data mart or just in databases. Several types of analytical tools can be applied to create, for example, customer profiles (Chapter 4) used for planning advertising and marketing campaigns. As Web sites have added a new and often faster way to interact with customers, the opportunity and the need to turn data collected about customers into useful information has become apparent. As a result, a number of software companies have developed products that do customer data analysis (e.g., SAP s Business One CRM, Microsoft s Dynamics CRM 3.0 or higher). Analytics can provide customer segmentation groupings (e.g., dividing customers into those most and least likely to repurchase a product); profitability analysis (which customers lead to the most profit over time); personalization (the ability to market to individual customers based on the data collected about them); event monitoring (e.g., when a customer reaches a certain dollar volume of purchases); what-if scenarios EXHIBIT B.1 Original Customers Data CRM Analytics Storage Processing Analysis Decisions Actions Call Centers Blogs, Discussion Groups Salespeople Purchasing Records Surveys (opinions) Complaints Data Warehouse, Mart, Databases Data Mining Business and Predictive Analysis Customers Profiles CRM Customer Service Self-Service Advertise Marketing- Strategy Communication Collaboration Internet Activities Web Mining
9 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-9 (how likely is a customer or customer category that bought one product to buy a similar one); and predictive modeling (e.g., comparing various product development plans in terms of likely future success given the customer knowledge base). Benefits of CRM analytics lead not only to better and more productive customer relations in terms of sales and service but also to improvement in advertisement planning and analysis, marketing strategies, and supply chain management (lower inventory and speedier delivery) and, thus, lower costs and more competitive pricing. To derive the most benefits from e-crm, it is necessary to properly collect and analyze relevant customer data. Nemati et al. (2004) provide results of a study on the integration of data in e-crm analytics. Analytics can analyze and document online customer or visitor patterns to acquire and retain users. Using data mining properly provides companies with valuable information on how to serve customers online. According to a 2004 CRM study (CIO Insight 2004), 75 percent of all large CRM users are using or will soon use CRM with data mining and analytics. FUTURE DIRECTIONS OF CRM Greenberg (2006) points to the following CRM future directions: The customer experience with products, services, and the company providing them will be the foundation for CRM s going forward and increasingly will be a consideration for corporate strategies. Metrics will be developed to measure the success of the customer experience, and the idea that value resides with the customer will be critical in the future. CRM, as we know it, will disappear by the end of CRM on Demand will become preeminent, and though on-premise vendors will continue to survive, most companies considering IT investments and system investments will choose on-demand products for the enterprise and as a platform. For advantages see CIO.com (2006). However, the on-demand functionality will still not be as complete as on-premise by year s end, though that won t matter. Also see IBM (2006). The open source movement and companies such as SugarCRM will become a credible competition in the on-demand market. (Open source CRM established itself as a solid alternative in 2006.) CRM will be integrated increasingly with strategies for social networking and at the application level, with social networking tools such as podcasting, blogs, and wikis, in addition to the harder core social networking applications, such as LinkedIn. A large number of tools and applications can provide CRM, as Section B.2 will illustrate. Section B.1 REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Define CRM. 2. Describe the benefits and limitations of CRM. 3. List the major types of CRM. 4. Define e-crm. 5. Describe some implementation issues relating to CRM, including integration with the enterprise. 6. Discuss the issue of justifying CRM service. 7. Describe metrics related to CRM and customer service.
10 B-10 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B.2 DELIVERING CUSTOMER SERVICE IN CYBERSPACE: CRM APPLICATIONS AND TOOLS CRM applications are customer service tools designed to enhance customer satisfaction (the feeling that a product or service has met the customer s expectations). CRM applications improve on traditional customer service by means of easier communications and speedier resolution of customer problems, starting with automatic responses to questions, customer self-service, or allowing the customer to request a telephone call from a customer service employee. Today, in order to satisfy increased customer expectations, EC marketers must respond by providing the best, most powerful, and innovative CRM systems. They must create customer-centric EC systems. Customer service (or support) is the final link in the chain between providers and customers. It adds value to products and services and is an integral part of a successful business. Almost all medium and large companies today use the Web as a customer support channel. CRM applications on the Web can take many forms, ranging from providing search and comparison capabilities to allowing customers to track the status of their orders. The first step to building customer relationships is to give customers good reasons to visit and return to the Web site. In other words, the organization should create a site that is rich in information, hopefully with more content than a visitor can absorb in a single visit. The site should include not just product information, but also have value-added content from which visitors can get valuable information and services for free. Exhibit (in Online Chapter 13, p ) lists some ways in which online businesses can build customer relationships through content. CLASSIFICATIONS OF CRM APPLICATIONS The Patricia Seybold Group (2002) distinguishes among customer-facing, customer-touching, and customer-centric intelligence CRM applications. Exhibit B.2 shows these three categories of applications. The exhibit also shows how customers interact with these applications. Customer-facing applications. These include all the areas where customers interact with the company: call centers, including help desks; sales force automation; and field service automation. Such CRM applications basically automate information flow or support employees in these areas. Customer-touching applications. In this category, customers interact directly with the applications. Notable are self-service activities, such as FAQs; campaign management; and general-purpose EC applications. Customer-centric intelligence applications. These are applications that analyze the results of operational processing and use the results of the analysis to improve CRM applications. Data reporting and warehousing and data mining are the prime topics here. To this classification of CRM applications, we add the following fourth category: Online networking and other applications. Online networking refers to methods that provide the opportunity to build personal relationships with a wide range of people. These include chat rooms, blogs, wikis, and discussion lists. We use these four categories of applications to organize our presentation of CRM applications in the remainder of this section. (Further details on the first three categories can be found at psgroup.com, in the free download of An Executive s Guide to CRM.)
11 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-11 EXHIBIT B.2 CRM Applications Customer Systems Customers Customers The Customer Experience Seller Customer-Touching Systems Users Self-service Customer Support E-Commerce Campaign Management Integration Customer-Facing Systems Seller Suppliers Contact Center Sales Force Automation Integration Field Service Automation Back-Office Systems Customer-centric Intelligence Supplier Systems Source: An Executive s Guide to CRM, Patricia Seybold Group, March 21, Used with permission. CUSTOMER-FACING APPLICATIONS Customer-facing applications are those where customers interact with a company. The primary application is Web-based call centers, otherwise known as customer interaction centers. Customer Interaction Centers A customer interaction center (CIC) is a comprehensive customer service entity in which selling companies take care of customer service issues communicated through various contact channels. It allows customers to communicate and interact with a company in whatever way they choose. Providing well-trained customer service representatives who have access to data such as customer history, purchases, and previous contacts is one way to improve customer service. New products are extending customer interaction center (CIC) A comprehensive service entity in which EC vendors address customer-service issues communicated through various contact channels.
12 B-12 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management the functionality of the conventional call center to , fax, voice, and Web interactivity (e.g., Web chat), integrating them into one product the CIC. A multichannel CIC works like this: 1. The customer makes a contact via one or more channels. 2. The system collects information and integrates it with a database, then determines a service response. 3. The system routes the customer to self-service or to a human agent. 4. The service is provided to the customers (e.g., the customer s problem is resolved or the question is answered). telewebs Call centers that combine Web channels with portal-like self-service. An example of a well-managed integrated call center is that of Bell Advanced Communication in Canada, whose subscribers can submit customer service queries over the Web. From the Bell Advanced Web site, a customer can fill out an form with dropdown menus that helps pinpoint the customer s problem. Then, the call center picks up the and either answers the question immediately or tries to have a human response within 1 hour. Another example is a product called Customer Service Management Suite from epicor.com, which combines Web channels, such as automated reply, Web knowledge bases, and portal-like self-service, with call center agents or field service personnel. Such centers are sometimes called telewebs (see Diorio 2002). Case B.2 provides an example of a teleweb. CASE B.2 EC Application DEVELOPING IBM S TELEWEB CHANNEL IBM s sales of technology to large and small businesses began in the 1960s with sales representatives, individually or in teams, calling on customers to sell their business machines. A transformation of the sales and marketing channels began in the 1990s with a decrease in the cost of electronically offered support tools. Initially, in the early 1990s, 130 call centers provided support to customers in 150 countries, using 5,000 agents who were available to answer questions and take orders by telephone. These centers were organized into 25 specialized call centers by the mid-1990s, each specializing in areas such as multilingual support or Web responses. Concurrently, an e-commerce channel was built at ibm.com. However, the company discovered that online customers were seeking help from human representatives, and call-center use increased with Web usage. This led to the integration of the telephone-based system and EC by connecting Web sites with customersupport call centers known as the TeleWeb. The TeleWeb provides seamless service, improves selling leverage and market coverage, and reduces costs. The various communication channels used by customers now are integrated to provide around-the-clock support for the programs and applications offered by IBM. Such integration has increased customer satisfaction and decreased the need for human agents. Specific innovations that led to the success of the TeleWeb include dedicated telecoverage representatives for specific business accounts; e-sites customized for individual accounts; online support, 24/7; and continual experimentation with innovative ways of handling customer needs (e.g., click-and-connect or call-me-back buttons). By integrating TeleWeb channels, putting more services on the front and back ends of the buying process, and involving humans in the middle process, IBM reaps many benefits. Two of those benefits have been the freeing up of agent time, which has saved millions of dollars, and larger order sizes (30 percent more on Web-only transactions). Sources: Compiled from Diorio (2002), pp , and ibm.com (accessed January 2008). Questions 1. What are the advantages of the multichannel TeleWeb? 2. Why is IBM so committed to the TeleWeb project? 3. What were the success factors of the project?
13 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-13 A comprehensive description of Web-based call centers, including a tutorial, articles, and information on leading vendors is available at callcenters.org. For more examples of CICs and call centers, see callcenterops.com. Intelligent Agents in Customer Service and Call Centers To ease information overload from CRM activities, companies can use intelligent agents. Of special interest is a suite of five agents ( SmartBots ) from Artificial-Life Inc. (artificial-life.com). Exhibit B.3 shows how five intelligent agents function in a call center. As shown, an agent called Web Guide can interactively assist customers to navigate a Web site using plain English or another language. An agent called Messenger evaluates incoming and generates auto responses. The Call Center agent provides the problem-resolution component to the conversations between the Web Guide and customers. It also refers the customer to a real person, if necessary. The EC agent executes EC-related tasks, such as providing real-time information on account status. Finally, the Sales Rep agent can create a user profile based on information collected from the other agents. For further details on agents, see agentland.com and Gateau et al. (2004). Automated Response to (Autoresponder) The most popular online customer service tool is . Inexpensive and fast, disseminates information and conducts correspondence on many topics, including responses to customer inquiries. The ease of sending messages has resulted in a flood of customer s. Some companies receive tens of thousands of s a week or even a day. Answering these s manually would be expensive and time-consuming. Customers want EXHIBIT B.3 Intelligent Agents in Call Centers Call Center Agent Customer Service Web Guide Agent EC Agent E-Commerce Server Customers Internet Web Server Product Database Messenger Agent Autoresponse Sales Rep Agents Direct Sales and Marketing Mail Server
14 B-14 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management autoresponders Automated reply systems (text files returned via ) that provide answers to commonly asked questions. quick answers, usually within 24 hours (a policy of many organizations). Several vendors offer automated reply systems known as autoresponders, which provide answers to commonly asked questions (see D Agostino 2006 for an overview). Autoresponders, also called infobots and on demand, are text files that are returned automatically via . They can relay standard information for support of customer service, marketing, and promotions. (See egain.com, aweber.com, and firepond.com.) The egain system (egain.com), for example, looks for certain phrases or keywords such as complaint or information on a product and then taps into a knowledge base to generate a canned, matching response. For messages that require human attention, the query is assigned an ID number and passed along to a customer agent for a reply. Exhibit B.4 shows this process. Note that the answers and their relationships to problems (questions) are stored in a knowledge base and are updated each time a human agent provides a new solution. Such systems are known as response management (ERM) systems (see D Agostino 2006). Severina Publications is a full-service Internet publishing and marketing company that offers autoresponders as a service to clients as well as a library of autoresponders as part of its Internet marketing strategy. Examples of the company s responders are: retrieves a list of 12 ways to promote a Web site offline. retrieves a list of classified ad sites on the Internet. retrieves a list of e-zines on the Web. Many companies do not provide actual answers in their automatic responses but only acknowledgment that a query has been received. Customer queries are classified in a decision-support repository until a human agent logs in and responds. This can be done in a call center using intelligent agents. EXHIBIT B.4 An Intelligent Autoresponder answer answer 8 7 Human agent composes an answer Updating knowledge Corporate Memory Queries-Answers Knowledge Base, Business Rules, Cases 5 YES 1 Customer I have a problem it to My Company My Company 2 Automatic acknowledgment: received 3 Check content of message (e.g., keyword against business rules in the knowledge base) 4 Is there a good match? Autoresponse is generated with an answer NO 6 Send problem to a human agent
15 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-15 Sales Force Automation Salespeople constitute the major contact point with customers (both individuals and businesses). The more computer support they have available, the better (quicker, more accurate) service they can provide to customers. Sales force automation (SFA) applications support the selling efforts of a company s sales force, helping salespeople manage leads, prospects, and customers through the sales pipeline. An example of such an application is a wireless device that allows quick communication with the corporate intranet. The Maybelline case (Online File W1.2) provided another example; that company implemented a reporting system involving mobile devices. For further discussion, see information on B2E in Chapter 6; for advanced software products, see salesforce.com. sales force automation (SFA) Software that automates the tasks performed by salespeople in the field, such as data collection and its transmission. Field Service Automation Field service employees, such as sales representatives, are on the move, and they interact directly with the customers. Field service representatives include repair people (e.g., from the telephone or electric company) who go to customers sites. Providing service employees with mobile devices can increase customer service. Field service automation applications support the customer service efforts of field service reps and service managers. These applications manage customer service requests, service orders, service contracts, service schedules, and service calls. They provide planning, scheduling, dispatching, and reporting features to field service representatives. Examples are wireless devices, such as provided in SFA. Some of these are wearable devices (see Chapter 9). CUSTOMER-TOUCHING APPLICATIONS Customer-touching applications are those where customers use interactive computer programs rather than interacting with people. The following are popular customer-touching applications. Personalized Web Pages Many companies provide customers with tools to create their own individual Web pages (e.g., MyYahoo!). Companies can efficiently deliver customized information, such as product information and warranty information, when the customer logs on to the personalized page. Not only can a customer pull information from the vendor s site, but the vendor can also push information to the consumer. In addition, these Web pages can record customer purchases and preferences.typical personalized Web pages include those for bank accounts, stock portfolio accounts, credit card accounts, and so on. On such sites, users can see their balances, records of all current and historical transactions, and more. American Airlines is an example of one company that uses personalized Web sites to help increase the bottom line, as shown in Case B.3. E-Commerce Applications As described in Chapter 1, e-commerce applications implement marketing, sales, and service functions through online touch points, most typically the Web. These applications let customers shop for products through a virtual-shopping-cart metaphor and purchase the products in their shopping carts through a virtual-check-out metaphor. Customers may also perform self-service support tasks such as checking order status, history inquiry, returns processing, and customer information management. This provides convenience to many customers and also saves them money, thus, increasing their satisfaction. Chapter 3 provides details on such EC applications.
16 B-16 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management CASE B.3 EC Application AMERICAN AIRLINES OFFERS PERSONALIZED WEB SITES In late 1998, American Airlines (AA) unveiled a number of features on its Web site (aa.com) that some thought made the site the most advanced (at that time) for personalized, one-to-one interactions and transactions on the Web. The site s most innovative feature was its ability to generate personalized Web pages for each of more than 1 million registered, travel-planning customers. How was AA able to handle such a large amount of information and provide real-time customized Web pages for each customer? The answer intelligent agents. BroadVision (broadvision.com), a major developer of one-to-one marketing applications, developed the AA site using a complex software called One-to-One Application. One of the core components needed to generate personalized Web pages is intelligent agents, which dynamically match customer profiles (built on information supplied by the customer, observed by the system, or derived from existing customer databases) to the database of contents. The output of the matching process triggers the creation of a real-time customized Web page, which for AA can contain information on the consumer s home airport and preferred destinations. By using intelligent agent technology, AA built a considerable edge over its competitors. Personalizing Web pages offered the potential to increase customer loyalty and cement relationships with customers. The Web site also fostered the community of AA frequent flyers. In May 2002, AA launched the new and improved Web site using the flexibility of Art Technology Group s (ATG) Relationship Management platform. The new site offers more value and convenience and greater personalization with its platform upgrade, new booking engine, and improved navigation. Today, most competitors have similar systems. Sources: Compiled from aa.com (accessed January 2008), broadvision.com (accessed January 2008), and Yoon (2002). Questions 1. What are the benefits of the personalized pages to AA? 2. What role do intelligent agents play in the personalization process? Web self-service Activities conducted by users on the Web to find answers to their questions (e.g., tracking) or for product configuration. Web Self-Service The Web environment provides an opportunity for customers to serve themselves. Known as Web self-service, this strategy provides tools for users to execute activities previously done by corporate customer service personnel. Personalized Web pages, for example, are one tool that may support Web self-service. Self-service applications can be used with customers (e.g., to support CRM; see rightnow.com) and with employees, suppliers, and any other business partners. A well-known example is FedEx s self-tracking system. Previously, if customers wanted information about the whereabouts of a package, they had to call a representative, give the information about their shipment, and wait for an answer. Today, customers go to fedex.com, input their airbill number, and view the status of their package shipment. Many other examples exist, ranging from checking the arrival time of an airplane to finding the balance of a checking account. Initially, self-service was done in voice-based customer response systems (known as voice-activated response [VAR]; e.g., intervoice.com).today, these systems are integrated and complementary to Web-based systems. Some self-service applications are done only online. Examples are using FAQs at a Web site and self-diagnosis of computers online. Updating an address with a personnel department can be done online or via VAR. The benefits of Web self-service for customers are quick response time, consistent and sometimes more accurate replies or data, the possibility of getting more details, and
17 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-17 less frustration and more satisfaction. The benefits for organizations are lower expenses of providing service (up to 95 percent savings), the ability to scale service without adding more staff, strengthening business partnerships, and improved quality of service. It is not easy to implement large-scale self-service systems. They require a complex blend of work processes and technology. Also, only well-defined and repeatable procedures are well-suited for such systems. For further details and implementation tips, see IBM (2006). Of the various self-service tools available, three are of special interest: self-tracking, FAQs, and self-configuration. Self-Tracking. Self-tracking refers to systems, such as that of FedEx, where customers can find the status of an order or service in real (or close to real) time. Most large delivery services provide such services, as do direct marketers such as Dell, Amazon.com, and Staples. Some auto manufacturers (e.g., Ford) allow customers to track the progress of the production of a customized car. Some employers, universities, and public agencies will let job applicants track the status of their job application. Customer Self-Service Through FAQs. Every Web site needs a frequently asked questions FAQ page that helps customers help themselves. A FAQ page lists questions that are frequently asked by customers and the answers to those questions. By making a FAQ page available, customers can quickly and easily find answers to their questions, saving time and effort for both the Web site owner and the customer. An effective FAQ page has the following characteristics: The FAQ page is easy to find. The FAQ page should be available from a navigation bar or navigation column, even if it is on a pull-down menu. Alternatively, include a prominently placed link on the homepage and on every page offering customer service. The FAQ page loads fast. The FAQ page should deliver answers to questions a customer might have, and do so fast. Both purposes are best met with text; only rarely will diagrams, pictures, or art be justified. If the number of questions or the length of the answers increase page size enough to negatively impact loading time, then the FAQ page should be divided into a number of smaller pages by category (e.g., product FAQ, customer support FAQ, shipping FAQ). Alternatively, create a FAQ index page with all the questions and link to individual pages with answers. The questions are easy to find. Do not force visitors to page down through screens of questions and answers to find the question they want to ask. List all questions at the top of the page and use an internal hyperlink to take the visitor to the repeated question with an answer further down the page. After each answer, include a back to top link to assist visitors who have additional questions. Questions should be grouped by category, with headings, and in a logical order (e.g., questions about placing an order should precede questions about shipping). The answers are written from a customer s perspective. Answers should be written in a simple and straightforward manner with a focus on telling the customer what to do and how to do it. Limit the use of technical terms and clearly explain any that are used. If the Web site serves two or more distinctive markets, more than one FAQ page may be needed to serve each type of customer. The answers do not repeat information offered elsewhere. Writing duplicate information is a waste of FAQ space and creates problems when the original information is updated and the FAQ page is not. For example, the answer to the question, Is my credit card information safe? should include a one-word answer yes with a link to the privacy policies page. Similarly, do not be afraid to refer the answers to complex questions to user manuals or technical documents, especially FAQ page A Web page that lists questions that are frequently asked by customers and the answers to those questions.
18 B-18 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management if they are available online. Finally, if the answer to a question is best provided by an external Web site, create a link to that page, but in a new window so that the customer can easily return to the original Web site. Offer an opportunity to ask a question not on the FAQ. Because no FAQ page can answer every question a visitor might ask, every FAQ page should also have an address, telephone number, a search this site box, and a prominently placed ask your question here box. The FAQ page is never done. Customer service representatives should always be looking for new questions customers are asking that need to be added to the FAQ page. Be open-minded in this process; many people may be asking the same question in different ways. By definition, a FAQ page is not intended to answer every question that is asked or submitted, but someone should be responsible for looking for truly frequently asked questions. Similarly, at least twice each year relevant staff should review each question to ensure that the question is still justified and that the answer is correct. Perhaps every new staff person should be required to read the FAQ page and suggest additions, deletions, and changes. Self-Configuration and Customization. Many build-to-order vendors, from Dell to Mattel, provide customers with tools to self-configure products or services. One of the best ways to satisfy customers is to provide them with the ability to customize products and services (see Chapters 1 and 2). Holweg and Pil (2001) assert that in order to have an effective build-to-order system, companies and their suppliers must first understand what customers want. This can be done by finding the customers requirements (e.g., via self-configuration) and then linking the configured order directly to production so that production decisions are based on real customer demand (see the Dell case in Chapter 1). In addition, customers should be linked interactively to the company and if necessary to product designers at the company. According to Berry (2001), the superior new retailer provides for customization, offers superb customer services, and saves the customer time. data warehouse A single, server-based data repository that allows centralized analysis, security, and control over the data. CUSTOMER-CENTRIC APPLICATIONS Customer-centric applications support customer data collection, processing, and analysis. The major applications are as follows. Data reporting and warehousing CRM data need to be collected, processed, and stored. Here, we present two elements of the process: reports and data warehouses. Data Reports. Data reporting presents raw or processed CRM-related information, which managers and analysts can view and analyze. Reports provide a range of tabular and graphical presentation formats. Analysts can interact with the report presentation, changing its visual format, drilling up into summary information or drilling down into additional detail. Data Warehouse. Medium and large corporations organize and store data in a central repository called a data warehouse so that it will be easy to analyze later on, when needed. Online File W4.6 describes this process. Data warehouses contain both CRM and non CRM data. According to the Patricia Seybold Group (2002), data warehouses can be effective CRM tools if they contain the following information: customer information used by all operational CRM applications and by possible analytic applications (such as customer value scores); information about the company s products and services and the channels through which it offers them; information about the company s marketing, sales, and services initiatives and customers responses to them; information about customer requests and the company s responses; and information about customer transactions. For more information, see Dutta and Roy (2006).
19 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management B-19 Data Analysis and Mining Analytic applications automate the processing and analysis of CRM data. Many statistical, management science, and decision support tools can be used for this purpose (e.g., see Turban et al and Seybold 2006). Analytic applications process a warehouse s data, whereas reports merely present that information. Analytic applications are tools that analyze the performance, efficiency, and effectiveness of an operation s CRM applications. Their output should enable a company to improve the operational applications that deliver customer experience in order to achieve the CRM objectives of customer acquisition and retention. For example, analytic applications may be designed to provide insight into customer behavior, requests, and transactions, as well as into customer responses to the corporation s marketing, sales, and service initiatives. Analytic applications also create statistical models of customer behavior, values of customer relationships over time, and forecasts of customer acquisition, retention, and desertion. See SAS (2007) for additional information and examples. Data mining is another analytic activity that involves sifting through an immense amount of data to discover previously unknown patterns. In some cases, the data are consolidated in a data warehouse and data marts; in others, they are kept on the Internet and in intranet servers. For more on data analysis and data mining, see Online File W4.6 and Nisbet (2006). An example of analytic CRM is provided in Case B.4. CASE B.4 EC Application HOW HSBC MEXICO ATTRACTS NEW BUSINESS AND MAXIMIZES EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS WITH CRM The retail banking environment is very competitive and is operating in a rapidly fluctuating business environment (currency exchange changes, interest rate fluctuations, deregulations, online banking). With 1,900 branches, over 17,000 employees, and over 6 million customers, this bank faces both opportunities and stiff competition. Using CRM, HSBC Mexico was able to become one of the fastest growing financial services firms in Mexico. This is how they did it. The bank s executives decided to use EC to target customers with intelligent offers that can increase profitability. This is done by using CRM solutions that provide the right product or service, at the right time, and through the right channel. In the competitive environment, it was necessary to keep the existing customers and develop more profitable relationships with them. The CRM targeted the most valuable customers (including the ones that have a potential to become so). The company needed to find such customers and then reach out to them with excellent services and one-to-one intelligent offers that give them what they really need or want. Using analytic CRM (mainly data mining, due to the large number of customers and data about each) and campaign management software (both from infor.com, a global software company for enterprise solutions), HSBC Mexico was able to improve its interactions with customers, support the cross-selling of services, and identify and retain the most valuable (and profitable) customers. The solution also works in real time, so when an employee talks to a customer, or answers an , the employee can find the customer s profile online in a second. A major portion of the project was to integrate the CRM with other information systems as well as align it with the corporate business goals. Using the software, HSBC is able to plan, develop, execute, manage, and analyze the results of multichannel marketing campaigns. The channels are: , Web portal, ATMs, and face-to-face conversations. The bank also pushes special offers and uses relationship building programs (e.g., preferred relationship-based pricing). The information collected also helps to improve asset allocation strategies to the branches. (continued)
20 B-20 Appendix B: Electronic Customer Relationship Management CASE B.4 (continued) In its first year, the bank s CRM offers generated 23,000 new accounts, and its CRM-based campaigns brought in 22 percent of all credit card accounts, 12 percent of all personal loans, and 8 percent of all car loans. The retention rate of profitable customers increased from 77 percent to 90 percent. The bank is planning even more one-to-one offerings. Also, by coordinating offers in real time across its network of ATMs, call centers, online banking sites, and retail branches, the company continues to increase its offers acceptance rates. Finally, HSBC Mexico captured Gartner s prestigious CRM Excellence Award for Large Enterprises. Sources: Compiled from Infor (2006) and Lager (2006). Questions 1. Why was it necessary to define the business goals? 2. Why does the bank want to raise the retention rate? 3. Enter infor.com and check their SSA Outbound and Inbound Marketing Products. Which one was used here? Why? 4. What CRM tools are being used here? 5. Many banks offer gifts to anyone who opens an account. Are CRM-based decisions to go to one-to-one incentives really superior? ONLINE NETWORKING AND OTHER APPLICATIONS Online networking and other applications support communication and collaboration among customers, business partners, and company employees. Representative technologies are discussed here. Online Networking Representative online networking tools and methods include the following: Forums. Available from Internet portals, such as Yahoo! and AOL, forums offer users the opportunity to participate in discussions as well as to lead forums on a niche topic. Chat rooms. Found on a variety of Web sites, they offer one-to-one or many-tomany real-time conversations. Usenet groups. These are collections of online discussions grouped into communities. (See usenet2.org for details.) Blogs and Wikis. Blogs and wikis are becoming the major online networking tools (see Chapters 2 and 8). Blogs enable companies to approach focused segments of customers. In addition to Stonyfield Farm (Chapter 2), airlines, cruise companies, banks, and similar businesses sponsor blogs for their customers. Companies can learn from the blogs and try to improve their operations to make customers happier. For example, by monitoring its blog U.S. Cellular learned that many teenagers were unhappy due to the limited time on their cell phones. The company then started offering unlimited call me minutes to attract the teenagers. Note that wikis can be considered collaborative whiteboards because everyone can participate. newsletters. These newsletters usually offer the opportunity for readers to write in, particularly in Let us hear from you sections. Users can find newsletters of interest by browsing a topic in a search engine. Many newsletter services (e.g., emarketer.com) invite you to sign in. Others (e.g., aberdeen.com) only allow access to articles to users who register. Usually registration is an opt-in option (i.e., a person can opt out of the list at any time). Discussion lists. A discussion list is a redistribution tool through which an is sent to one address and then is automatically forwarded to all the people who subscribe to the list. The following text discusses these last two networking tools in more detail.