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E-CRM DEFINED

Today most CRM programs, applications, and services depend more heavily on IT than in the past.
These programs, software applications, and services constitute part of what is known as electronic
CRM (e-CRM).
Electronic CRM (e-CRM) is the electronically delivered or managed subset of CRM. It
concerns all forms of managing relationships with customers when using information
technologies. It arises from the consolidation of traditional CRM with the e-business
applications marketplace and covers the broad range of information technologies used to
support a company's CRM strategy. The overall goal can be seen as effectively managing
differentiated relationships with all customers and communicating with them on an
individual basis. Since practically all CRM packages use some IT, the terms CRM and e-CRM
are used interchangeably by many.

E-CRM APPLICATIONS
To understand the difference, consider CRM from a companys point of view rather than from the
vendors. Companies are focused on enhancing customer satisfaction, improving customer loyalty, and
increasing profitability. Now, consider CRM from a customers point of view. A customer is interested in
simplified, straightforward, honest, consistent, interaction and relationships with a company. Toward
this end, the Seybold Group focuses on applications used to make it easy for a customer to do
business with a company. It distinguishes among customer-facing, customer-touching, and customercentric intelligence CRM applications. It also includes online networking applications that enable
customers to interact more closely with companies and other customers. Exhibit T1.1 shows these
three categories of applications, as well as how customers interact with these applications (i.e.,
networking).

Electronic Customer Relationship Management (E-CRM)


Electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM) involves the integration of Web channels
into the overall enterprise CRM strategy with the goal of driving consistency within all channels relative
to sales, customer service and support (CSS) and marketing initiatives. It can support a seamless
customer experience and maximize customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and revenue.

Different levels of eCRM


In defining the scope of eCRM, three different levels can be distinguished:

Foundational services:

This includes the minimum necessary services such as web site effectiveness and responsiveness as
well as order fulfillment.

Customer-centered services:

These services include order tracking, product configuration and customization as well as security/trust.

Value-added services:

These are extra services such as online auctions and online training and education.
Self-services are becoming increasingly important in CRM activities. The rise of the Internet and eCRM
has boosted the options for self-service activities. A critical success factor is the integration of such
activities into traditional channels. An example was Fords plan to sell cars directly to customers via its
Web Site, which provoked an outcry among its dealers network.CRM activities are mainly of two different
types. Reactive service is where the customer has a problem and contacts the company. Proactive
service is where the manager has decided not to wait for the customer to contact the firm, but to be
aggressive and contact the customer himself in order to establish a dialogue and solve problems.
Steps to eCRM Success
Many factors play a part in ensuring that the implementation any level of eCRM is successful. One
obvious way it could be measured is by the ability for the system to add value to the existing business.
There are four suggested implementation steps that affect the viability of a project like this:
1. Developing customer-centric strategies
2. Redesigning workflow management systems
3. Re-engineering work processes
4. Supporting with the right technologies
ADVANTAGES OF E-CRM

E-CRM can be defined as the use of the internet, various electronic touchpoints as well other telecommunications related means to initiate and
manage the relationship that exists between an enterprise and its
customers/prospects. There are many technology channels today through
which e-CRM programs are executed and managed.
There are many challenges inherent in the execution and implementation of
an e-CRM project. There are issues of high costs that normally attend such
programs. Beyond that however, other issues such as the difficulty in
establishing metrics for measuring the success or otherwise of the
program must be considered. Most e-CRM projects also record failures as a
result of their inability to zoom in and single out particular business
problems. Failure to establish and then carry the top management staff along
in e-CRM projects has been largely responsible for the death of many of such
projects as the top management have not bought into the project and as a

result not transmitted its importance to the lower echelon of the company
thus resulting in indifference on the part of those directly responsible for its
implementation.
The benefits which those channels confer on the enterprises include the
following:
i. Fostering Relationship with Customers: Trust is one of the scarcest
commodities in dealing with customers and it is not easily obtained.
Traditionally, it was the practice to just acquire the preferences of the
customers but with the increased competition and demands coupled with
their awareness, it is now far more important to initiate proactive programs
to stimulate one-on-one communication with customers geared towards
fostering trust and loyalty. e-CRM enables enterprises to create trust, get cooperation and then guarantee satisfaction with the customers.
ii. Provision of Personalized Services: Although it is not an easy task to achieve
personalization successfully and sustain it, if achieved, it can result in huge
positive gains for the enterprise. This is because it is difficult for competitors
to replicate a successful program due to its uniqueness. It furthermore drives
more sales and ensures efficacy and efficiency.
iii. Quality of Service & Delivery: Service delivery has become a major
determinant in the selection of service providers by customers. It is a major
factor in determining their retention and loyalty. Service quality possesses
five proportions; responsiveness, assurance, reliability, empathy and
reliability.
iv. Transaction and Processing Speed: The backbone offered by the internet
has enabled enterprises to establish e-CRM platforms via which they are able
to cut down on the time taken for processing customer queries,
acknowledgment of their orders,information regarding their payments as well
as delivery of the orders. This has gained time which can be easily converted
to other important issues thus resulting in higher efficiency.
v. Convenience: The ability to provide a convenient option to customers to
access its services has become a major determinant for the selection of
service providers by customers. This is very common in the banking sector
as customers seek options which will ensure that they go through as little
stress as possible in accessing their accounts and carrying out their
transactions.