In the fast moving online world it is easy and cheap for businesses to establish the internet presence. In the online world building relationship with customers can bring a strong competitive advantage. A online CRM strategy can be benefit for an organization in the following ways
- It reduces the cost of communication with customers
- It improves sales targeting through better customer segmentation
- It simplifies the customer retention strategies
- It encopurages the development of a comprehensive database, with all staff being allowd access to important information
- It increases the loyalty.
But an article I went through recently it says that only 30% of the online retailers are thought to have CRM strategies. Which means online retailers can use e-CRM effectively in order to develop a straong stance in the market.
I thought to put all important steps of e-CRM in the following way
Step one- Identifying the online customer – The firms has to identify the customer segmentation well. Each market segmentation needs to be identified thoroughly. Are they are transactional users, non-transactional users, high value customers etc. Organization need to consider whether the respources are targeted to the high value users as attached with the pareto principle.
Step two Website design – In the online world in order to develop a strong relationship the website should provide the customer a good experience. The website design should be based on the industry its operates and the customer segmentation it targets. Eg- A firm operating in the travel industry should not use colors related to gaming sites. The web site should also encourage return visits. This can be done by using attractive and updates web contents.
Step three – Information gathering and handling- Firms need to develop strategies for gathering and analyzing information about the customer activities. A proper development of database is important. Rather than just developing a database firms should think about data mining to target effective communication and life style , behavioral identification the customers. Web tracking should be enabled such as time spent on each pages, web logs etc.
Step four – Communication with customers – There has to be always one to one communication with the customers. The customer complaints and queries need to be answered quickly, also it is always important to display a FAQ page in the web. The organization has to determine the communication ways according to the target segments. Whether its email, bulleting boards (site communication) etc
Loyalty and trust – Step five – Trust can be seen as a single important element in CRM building online. Because in the online world there is no physical interaction. Building initial trust is very important. There are few sets of questions the firms need to answer
Is brand development is based on recognition of arrtibutes of the customer base?
If loyalty programmes are used, is it cost effective?
Have customer attributes are identified?
Are there are community platforms?
As an e-marketer I can see the importance of the above five steps. Firms need to keep all these steps into mind rather than just developing CRM strategies without any clear and cut goals.