1. CRM Architecture
Information technology plays the significant role in today’s CRM activity. That is why Internet (as one aspect of IT) is an important CRM tool (Newell 2000, p.70). Kalakota et.al (2001, p.174) also added:
CRM applications are also gaining a foothold in small and midsized companies. The technology enables these organizations to enjoy customer relationship capabilities that, until couple of years ago, only the largest enterprise with deep pocket could afford. Integrated applications providing a comprehensive view of customer information such as business functions as sales, marketing, customer service, and accounting are now available to organizations with fewer than 100 employees.
• Since technology is a critical tool for supporting a CRM implementation, it is important to determine how CRM and its supporting technology would work together at a company (Kalakota et.al, 2001, p.178).
There is a different between old CRM architecture and the new one. The old architecture simply focuses on the internal process in functional areas such as marketing and sales while the new one organizes business process around the customer’s needs (Kalakota et.al 2001, p.178). The reason for changing the paradigm in the architecture is because the old one tends to treat the customers equally. This will create more difficulties in creating closer relationships based on personalized service. In contrast, the new architecture integrates all the functional areas that enable the company to coordinate all activities associated with identifying, attracting, and retaining customers. As a result, organizations can provide end-to-end service to its customers (Kalakota et.al 2001, p.179). Admission
2. CRM Process Competencies
Furthermore, it is also important to identify the CRM core process competencies within the company (Kalakota et.al 2001, p.180). Kalakota suggested that the core CRM process competencies could be distilled into:
• Sales: Telesales, cross selling, and up selling. This application is used to qualify prospects (potential customers), to track contracts, and to refer them to the salespersons when appropriate. Therefore, additional sales can be created. This is important because in today’s business environment, companies must sell complementary products and services to deepen and lengthen their relationships to its customers. Available technology for this application is call center application that coordinates multiple channel communication with the customers such as web, phone, fax, e-mail, and interactive voice response systems.
• Marketing and fulfillment. It is more like sell well and deliver fast or it is more like an automating the marketing function since it’s harder to manage multiple marketing programs. Available technology for this application is automated customized newsletter. Usually this application uses the permission marketing method, where the customized newsletter is sent via e-mail to the customer’s mailbox, which the customers have given permission. Regarding the fulfillment, the application is dealing with the delivery of any customer’s needs such as delivery of product, service enquiry, direct mail response, billing or pricing issue, service enquiry, or literature request in timely manner. The Internet (by e-mail) really helps in supporting this application.
• Customer service and support. This application is important to retain customer loyalty in assisting customers to resolve his/her product or service problem. Today’s technology is ranging from the automated help desk to real time interaction between support department and customers via chatting feature in WWW.
• Customer billing. Billing document in today’s Internet marketing era can be used as the marketing channel alternative. By using Internet based billing delivery, the other marketing issue such as information about various billing features or some complementary/additional products can be inserted in the billing document. As a result, it can reduce the cost of maintaining customer relationship.
• Field sales and services. The applications enable account teams to seamlessly share information, manage sales, rapidly create customer quotes and proposals, easily configure products and services to meet the unique needs of each customers, and provide superior after sales service and support. It also covers the field support, when a problem cannot be solved over the phone and requires on location support. Latest technology covers the use of mobile devices where users can update opportunities, review account information, access calendar and contract details, order parts, and respond to service requests.