KATHMANDU: Customer relationship management (CRM) is a process of identifying, attracting, different-
iating and retaining customers. Top level management must have a customer centric philosophy and culture to support effective
marketing, sales and service processes. Few major objectives of keeping CRM intact is to find, attract, and win new clients while nurturing and retaining those the company already has.
CRM involves using technology to organise, automate and synchronise business processes — principally sales activities, marketing, customer service and technical support. There must be a system in place to handle it by a professional and trained customer interface department. Eventually what all businesses want is reduced cost of service and wonderful customer experience to enhance referrals and help sales staff close deals faster.
Simplifying CRMUnderstanding customer requirement is the key to success. There are nine vital questions that businesses need to answer to know their customers and their requirements:
• Who are your customers?
• What product or services do they prefer?
• Who are your competitors?
• Do you know what makes your customers their customers?
• Are any of your unhappy customers their happy customer?
• What do they expect from you?
• Does the competitor also have unhappy customers?
• Can you make them your customers?
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and think what you would expect from any service provider. Customers can be classified into four major categories:
Mercenaries: Those who always compare and shop around, not loyal to any brand and ready to switchover any time. But they are not fools.
Terrorists: These are hi-ghly unsatisfied customers, with low levels of loyalty and emotional attachment.
Hostages: They are loyal but not very satisfied. Due to some barrier, they are unable to change the
Apostles: These are the dream clients of every business. They are highly content and loyal.
CRM is an art. Businesses have to discover the essence to attract customers and try out that which will surely narrow the gap between
perceived and actually served quality. High value customer differentiation, proving them special treatment, loyalty enhancement programmes, collecting voice of customer (VOC) and treating them as opportunities for improvement rather than problems, are the basic starting points for humble start of CRM in the company.
Customers are the reasons why businesses exist. Hence, let us try to make our businesses customer centric. The next name of business
is profit, but if one customer is wowed by your service or product, you can pin your hopes on hundreds
of them coming to your business to be delighted.
(The author is the executive director of K-Lab in Tangal. He can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org)