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Customer Relationship & Experience
This section comprises various blogs and articles written by CRM experts about the development of Customer Relationship Management, creation of effective CRM strategies, how CRM helps in revealing customer insights as well as the benefits and challenges of implementing CRM in businesses.
12/06/2017

Customer Experience – The Most Essential Feature in 2017

Customer Experience-of-CRM-ASIA

Surveys show that most companies identify Customer Experience (CX) as the single most exciting opportunity for their business in 2017. It is no secret that businesses that execute a solid customer experience strategy achieve better customer satisfaction figures and higher revenues. A research conducted by American Express found that around 60 percent of customers were willing to pay more for a superior experience.

What is Customer Experience?

So what exactly is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) encompasses the interactions between a customer and a company throughout their business relationship. Interactions can include discovery, awareness, cultivation, offers, purchases and special services.

Customer Experience forms a very intrinsic part of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). A customer who has a great experience with an organization is very likely to retain their services and be a long-term loyal customer. In simple words, if a business wants its customers to stay loyal, it has to invest in providing a scintillating customer experience! Happy customers always remain loyal.

If a business treats its customers poorly by providing below par services and ignoring their grievances, the company is sure to lose them in a jiffy. This is the reason why businesses constantly strive towards providing better services and customer experience to compete with their rivals effectively.

Customer Experience is different from Customer Service

A customer’s initial point of contact with any business is generally through an interaction with an employee, either physically at a store or talking on the phone or even communicating through instant chats. This situation calls for good customer service by the employee to ensure the customer becomes more interested. However, it must be kept in mind that customer service is only a part of the entire customer experience.

For example, say you have booked a holiday resort on the phone and the employee who helped you with the booking was friendly and polite and put all your worries to rest. That’s good customer service. Then, say, the resort upgrades your room and provides you with amazing complimentary offers. That’s a good customer experience.

Like many other business features nowadays, customer experience has also changed. It is now more than just a person-to-person service. Also with the advent of advanced technology, organizations can now connect and engage with their customers in new and exciting ways such as Social Media and Customized Apps.

Source: http://www.crmasia.org

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23/05/2017

Why is CRM Essential for the Call Center Industry?

CRM ASIA

Anyone who has worked at a customer care or call centre knows very well how frustrating and annoying it gets when a relevant piece of information is not immediately available as an impatient customer awaits on the other end of the line. In order to remain competitive and deliver excellence, call centres need a tool that gives them a complete view of the customer life-cycle. As any customer care personnel will tell you, it is a very challenging job where multi-tasking is required, that too at lightning speed, in order to effectively tackle the huge volume of requests that are received every minute. If there is a delay in retrieving the required information, the customer may feel neglected and the business has a good chance of losing that customer.

To develop strong bonds with your customers, call centre businesses must automate their tasks so that more energy and focus can be given to the customers. And the best tool for this is, of course, Customer Relationship Management software. With a CRM in place, the customer care representatives can adapt quickly and accomplish superior results.

Five ways in which CRM helps the customer service business are summarized below:

  • Creating a Centralized Customer Repository– Even before the call, the call center representative will have all details of the customer with him. The rep will exactly know who the customer is and his needs based on his previous call history. Not only is the duration of call reduced by this, the representative is also able to add a personal touch to the conversation.
  • Planningbased on Analysis – The management will be able to get real-time data through CRM. This data can be studied and analyzed to maximize the performance of the organization and its resources. By monitoring data sets such as call volume, revenue per call etc., managers can come up with effective strategies to retain customers and enhance
  • Automating Call Transfer for High Priority Cases– Sometimes there are customer cases that require immediate attention and need to be handled on priority. To ensure that the high priority ones are resolved first, a robust software is required that is capable of automatically routing a call to a customer care rep based on urgency. CRM allows calls to be transferred from one agent to another quickly and seamlessly.
  • Evaluating an Employee– It is not beneficial for a call center to have employees who are indolent, tardy or not serving clients with sincerity and dedication. A CRM software enable managers to keep track of their employees. They can easily know which ones are doing well and which ones need more training sessions to get better.
  • Integrating With Other Software– To increase productivity and improve efficiency, CRM can be conveniently integrated with other useful software. Proper coordination among sales, marketing and customer service departments, eliminates the need to open multiple systems to acquire complete customer information.

At a call center, every call is important. Investing in a good CRM software empowers the employees with the appropriate tools to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Source: http://www.crmasia.org

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25/04/2017

Membership and Certifications at CRMAA

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Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia is the abode for professionals working in the domain of CRM (Customer Relationship Management), CS (Customer Service) and CX (Customer Experience). CRMAA provides the indispensable resources, training programs and tools to transform the existing CRM and CX strategies by converting the global insights into reality through most advanced assessment tools, training and thought leadership. CRMAA enables the businesses to become totally customer-centric. Many major organizations are dependent on CRMAA for customer-growth, sustainable customer retention and improvement in organisational performance. We assist the organisations to develop a culture of providing superior customer service and also build strong customer relationships.

Membership at CRMAA

CRMAA encourages all the business leaders to join Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia as a contributor and help as catalyst to develop the best practices and standards of CRM at national level in India. We believe that this network of our members, with their innovative brilliance and excellence, will create an ecosystem to strengthen the customer centric culture among the organisation. CRMAA wholeheartedly welcomes people who are passionate about synergizing the new dimensions of CRM as well as those who are willing to gain the efficiencies through shareable peer knowledge.

The Customer Officer Network (CON)TM of CRMAA provides a real time and dynamic  knowledge sharing and learning platform as an important hallmark in the niche segment of Customer Relationship Management. CON unite and engage with the best brains, companies and brands, in order to formulate a comprehensive national and global CRM measurement and performance standards. The membership will also assist the individuals to become and evolve as an efficient Customer Relationship Manager and various professional development programme are designed to help them grow in their professional life.

CRMAA Certifications

Exceptional service and support is not just a market differentiator; it’s a deciding factor in the purchasing decision of many buyers. Customers are no longer just buying a product, they are buying a solution that meets a need or delivers a specific business result. Ensuring that the solution is functioning and delivering the desired result is critical, and the service and support teams (i.e. customer service, technical support, field service, professional services and customer success) are directly responsible for the customer’s success. Some of the biggest reasons companies fail to deliver on the promise of service excellence include common service problems such as:

1. Lack of a clear service strategy or adoption of industry best practices
2. Poorly defined processes that slow response and resolution times
3. A lack of training programs that each staff to set proper customer expectations
4. Insufficient measures of success to ensure organizational performance
5. Poorly established communications processes that leave customers in limbo
6. Inadequate technology infrastructure to enable efficient service delivery

CRMAA facilitates its members by introducing exclusive advanced level of business workshops and specially crafted training and certification programmes in collaboration with CX University, Loyalty Academy, Service Quality Institute, Service Strategies, Arizona State University and Customer Experience Academy. CRMAA is committed towards building an ever-expanding resource pool of experienced and skilled individuals from this domain and business area.

Source: http://www.crmasia.org

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23/03/2017

Things to Consider while Implementing CRM Training Solutions

CRM Training Solutions - CRM ASIA

Many small businesses do not have extensive IT resources. For such businesses it is a good idea to use CRM softwares. Having a centralized system with automated functionalities improves accuracy, saves a lot of time and also enables companies to efficiently use the information that is available to them. Solutions that are cloud-deployed and work well with existing tools can save companies a significant amount of money in investments. However, to fully utilize CRM softwares to their potential, it is essential that companies up-skill their resources to understand the CRM solutions. Four information sources for companies which are looking to execute and optimize training in CRM are summarized as follows:

The Right Product – Not every product integrates well with CRM. Those that do not offer CRM integration with the company’s systems and performance only tend to make the training procedures more complicated. Sometimes employees are forced to adapt to software solutions instead of the other way round. Unclear goal often lead to failure in CRM implementation. A company should carefully analyze its existing processes as well as look into what its employees and managers actually want from consumer data solutions.

Public Resources – When companies purchase a CRM solution software, they must use white papers and case studies of customers published by the software company and start developing standards for training procedures. By studying how a similar business implemented its products can give business leaders a look into the opportunities and challenges on offer.

IT Staff – Most companies have a dedicated IT department with IT professionals on their staff. Some companies may not have a devoted department but may have employees familiar with certain software products they have worked with in the past. Since most product recommendations come from internal employees, companies must find implementation leaders who will continuously oversee technology adoption as well as how end users are affected by new solutions. Having such leaders is crucial during training processes to ensure that the CRM goals and guidelines are met.

CRM Consultant – Companies must carefully choose their CRM solutions. They must analyze which provider would be the best fit for implementation success. CRM consultants or partners must possess customer case studies, educational materials and implementation schedules for unique businesses, which companies should go through thoroughly. Businesses must clearly communicate their needs with respect to performance, training and integration to the provider. It is the job of the CRM consultant to listen to the requests made and respond with a recommendation for a unique training process. A skilled and hands-on CRM partner can easily help you achieve the requisite functionalities and make the most out of any software solution.

Source: http://www.crmasia.org/
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CRMAA – Career Defining Online Courses

CRM ASIA Online Courses

The two universities – CRMAA and CX University – jointly offer professional CX certification courses. These courses offer qualifications in the area of Customer Relationship Management as well as Customer Experience. Known as a New Generation Thinking Qualification, the courses are designed for professionals who are customer-sensitive and are seeking to develop and advance international best practices and excellence in business. The CX University in India is a collaboration between US-based CX University and CRMAA. The US-based CX University is an organization for a training and professional development that has been endorsed by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), which is the international organisation for customer experience professionals. The courses are created keeping in mind the six principles of the CXPA. The courses are created keeping in mind the six principles of the CXPA.

The CX online certification courses provide you with access to a wide range of CX knowledge and information ranging from the fundamentals to the best practices. Our Thought Leader Faculty Board is a resource to make sure that we stay on the leading edge of CX knowledge for professionals like you and others. The courses are developed based on the 6-core competencies, which are given as follows:

  • Customer Experience Strategy
  • Customer Centric Culture
  • Organizational Adoption & Accountability
  • Experience Design & Improvement
  • Voice of the Customer, Customer Insight & Understanding
  • Metrics, Measurement & ROI

With the growth and spread of the internet of things, we are visualizing a global democratization of information, knowledge, access, and remarkable power shifts which is creating a customer population that is more demanding than before. To add to it, all this is happening at a tremendous speed. This kind of literacy and awareness is building expectations in ways that we had never imagined. Just as we witnessed the flattening of the world due to the infusion of technology, we are witnessing a new flattening, turbocharged by the power of the customer. A new playing field is emerging, where the rules of the game are being defined by customers whose gradual increase in power and influence is placing higher expectations on organizations. Our courses are designed so as to provide you with the most comprehensive CX materials that is delivered to you in the most convenient modality. We have our On-Demand courses, which are basically virtual learning centers where you can explore through the CX material via online course delivery, key CX articles, videos, and hands-on learning activities. The On-Demand courses are listed below for you to explore.

  • CX 501: Customer Experience Strategy

This course introduces candidates to the significance of crafting a customer experience strategy in order to better prepare a competitive company in the market. This course focuses on how the customer experience strategy of companies is well aligned with their brand, technology, processes, people and overall business goals.

  • CX502: Customer Centric Culture

This course will build upon the customer experience strategy course by exploring the development of internal processes that will galvanize an organization’s assets to be customer-focused. In short, it aims to create understanding on how to build a robust and healthy customer centric culture.

  • CX503: Organizational Adoption & Accountability

This course addresses ways to overcome insular cultures, dysfunctional interactions and identifying internal handoffs that can affect customers. The concepts and ideas covered in this course show how to infuse customer centricity in customer facing units and how the back rooms of the organization are critical to success.

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Customer Relationship Management Solutions at CRMAA

CRM Solutions - CRM ASIA

The Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia, referred to as CRMAA, is a unique that has many academic orientations derived from business processes in real time. The academy is an international platform that allows business leaders of Asia to get together in a forum and share their CRM knowledge, resources and experiences. The objective of this Customer Relationship Management academy is to grow the CRM community by empowering its members as well as entrepreneurs and enabling them to avail the benefits of their various unique knowledge enhancement programmes. CRM Academy strives to raise the level of knowledge and its proper implementation by better comprehension of CRM concepts on a continuous basis.

CRM Solutions At CRM Academy of Asia

CRMAA covers the following specialties in which they create, develop and enhance advanced methodologies:

Advisory Services

CRMA offers expert advisory services which are suitable for any kind of Business Process management. It also provides guidance to design and implement various specially customized CRM modules for projects as well as for adherence to industry standard best-practices. To maintain sustained growth and success it is imperative to have a well thought out and effective Customer Relationship that produces the desired results. The CRM Academy assists many businesses in reaching the next higher level by using real time metrics and effective methodologies for both customer-retention as well as customer-acquisition.

Academy Events

CRM Asia enables executives and leaders of big businesses, who are involved in CRM specialization courses, to come together and pool and share on a huge global platform. It frequently organizes workshops, online programs, seminars and conferences, which often feature renowned subject matter experts and authors. Moreover, the academy encourages senior professionals from different organizations and industries to unite on their unique forum and talk about strategic and tactical dimensions of customer relationship management. The CRM platform possesses the potential to be extremely beneficial for the business goal and objectives of global enterprises and subject matter experts.

Learning and Certification

To encourage professionals to improve their qualifications and skills in the CRM field, CRMA gives out professional memberships and offers certifications. It is a New Generation Thinking Qualification, which was specially developed for customer sensitive professionals who want to create and grow advanced international best practices and distinction in business-customer relationships. For executives and professionals, CRMAA makes it easy to acquire national and international certifications from renowned institutions. These certifications benefit both established professionals and even emerging entrepreneurs in advancing their careers. CRMAA provides expertise, guidance and passages to marketing professionals for CRM best practices. The academy aims to provide the CRM executives with the newest techniques and skills in order to accelerate their growth towards being knowledgeable business leaders.

Thus we see how the CRM Academy can be called a one-stop-shop for all CRM Solutions. Apart from that, it acts as a unique international forum helping CRM professionals to grow, develop and contribute to the CRM community.

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The Development of Customer Service

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About hundred and fifty years before in the name of customer support, the shop owner was the contact point to solve the problem with the product purchased. Most interestingly the customer also had the connect with the local post man, barber and perhaps everyone in market.

Due to the Industry Revolutions, the situation gradually changed and at present, the Information and Telecommunications have given birth to the ever changing needs of customers which are rapidly growing and new mechanism have come along to carter and serve the rapid and inevitable tendency of change.

Below are the foremost landmarks which have resulted towards the growing demand for customer service:

  • 1868: First Ever Money Back Guarantee Scheme was launched.
  • 1876: Alexander Graham Bell invented and patented the electric telephone. The concept of Customer service grew to the next leap and over the next few decades the customer support was extended over the telephone. It resulted towards avoiding a travel across long distances for finding the product information or its repairs.
  • 1960: The unique physical ‘freephone’ service was launched by the British Post Office
  • 1960s: Private Automated Business Exchanges (PABX) was introduced to handle the volume of phone calls and it resulted and helped a large number of operators in handling several customer communications at one location.
  • Early 1980s: The discovery of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for auto response.
  • Mid to Late 1980s: First IT help desks appear.
  • 1989: Outsourcing of processes started when companies initiated towards cost savings and many customer service and support centres were setup abroad.
  • 1991: Invention and Emergence of the World Wide Web
  • Mid-1990s: CRM systems began to come forward which was majorly led by the software companies and as a result, more mechanized and sophisticated customer data tracking started providing gifts for customer loyalty such as cashback on credit cards, frequent-flier miles and discounts for multiple purchases.
  • Late 1990s-early 2000s: Outsourcing of customer support and service to international and inexpensive locations gained popularity.
  • Late 2000s: Technology further evolved and allowing the support agents to walk the user through the steps of solving them on their own.
  • 2008: Social Media Support
  • 2014: Highly Interactive and Dedicated Customer Service Apps
  • 2016: Artificial Intelligence

From the telephone switchboard to the high-tech contact solutions, the policy, methods and process for handling the customer enquiries has changed and crossed a long way. Taking a look at the timeline to date, one can only wait with anticipation for the next innovation to be added on the list.

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CRM Vision – From Top to Down

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Quite Often, CRM initiatives flows from the top to down. Senior management always expect to have reporting on sales, prospective sales, forecast, etc. and number of times, CRM is “sold as” the solution to this expectation.

I feel that CRM to a large extent is beyond this answer if designed like a strategy, it will provide you collective information about the customer’s needs and wants for helping you to design your product and services which solve their problem. However, over the time you are going to discover tried and true ways of developing and closing business by satisfying your customers. This intention of the top Management requires to be travelled across the organization in most effective manner to transform the human tendency of increasing sales by of any means.

While exploring the strategic alternatives of CRM strategy design and initiative you are required to be aware of the expectations and necessities of the senior management. The requirements must be aligned with the features and uniqueness of the products or service the company is selling. To meet these requirements of top management the front-line personnel is required to be informed fully about the thoughts and beliefs of the top management towards the customer service and relationship. The CRM initiatives require an active participation of the senior management as its involvement is extremely decisive. The cost swelling and implementation delays are avoidable and manageable with the active participation and involvement of the senior management.

Make sure that the senior management participates in CRM initiatives as the senior managers necessitate making the “tough” decisions and taking the call acceptable, desirable and unacceptable actions of the frontline employees. The success of this initiative is based and placed on the shoulders of the senior management towards the ROI of CRM initiative. At the end of the day, these senior managers are accountable for the success of your company’s CRM initiative: no-one else!

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CRM Strategy: Difficult but Imperative to Design

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Gartner in 2001 reported about the failures of 50% CRM initiatives and programme and since then it has diverted the attention of the experts, researchers and professionals towards exploring the reasons for this failure. The report came with an admonition that an over-weight of technology on the strategic direction was responsible for many of the reasons for failure.

The same has been supplemented by Forrester in 2009 depicting that a little had changed but reported a 47% failure rate among CRM strategies and the reason for these failures also was sounded in the name of technology dictating the strategy, rather than the other way around.

Tough the CRM industry has witnessed a sea change in last 7 years but still yet to learn the lessons of the past?
As advocated, CRM is a strategic tool that empowers the human resource to get better engage with customers within the framework of a customer-centric strategy.

Andrew Brittain, MD of digital agency Advantec says that even after having a CRM programme, if it is not achieving what was expected then the absence of a strategic plan may be the reason. And even those that do have a CRM strategy would be wise to revisit it regularly to guarantee that it is relevant for motive in an era of shifting customer behaviors and new growing channels.

Starting Point:
Designing of a CRM Strategy requires a large scale of efforts and set of exercises as it needs to take concern on the historical business processes which deal with customers directly and indirectly.

The base of every strategy should commence with thought for the assortment of the potential a company has and contain each step during the development, from designing the business process till technology selection and people. The fractional approach in designing this strategy by concentrating on one or two factors of these and overlooking others can create problems further, as each element of this strategy designated to serve the customer. If one part drops down, a ripple effect is resulted across the entire chain and set of elements.

Above all, the customer should be kept at the centre of CRM strategy instead of product and service. No doubt that it will completely change the thought processes in some cases, but as an important shift the whole team will understand from the start.

Steps for building CRM strategy:

  1. Understand the issues and challenges while interacting with customer.
  2. Identify customer journey.
  3. Clear vision across the Organization.
  4. Create cultural readiness to adopt a customer-centric approach
  5. Draft an implementation plan
  6. Select appropriate people / team
  7. Prepare an effective communication plan
  8. Provide compressive Training within the Organization
  9. Fix Benchmarks for measuring success of strategic initiatives.
  10. Celebration of excellence once it is achieved

The strategy must make sure a continuing process, going on to supervise, evaluate and improve the CRM, even after the CRM solution is chosen and integrated.

Strategic Priorities:

  • CRM objectives
  • Customer Requirements
  • Customer journeys
  • Strategic Data and System plan
  • Content strategy and process
  • CRM System selection
  • Training and Development
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CRM Systems: Revealing Customer Insights for Business Growth

CRM ASIA - Customer Insights experts

In the current scenario where most businesses are conducted online and digitally, access to customer data is of utmost importance. However, it is not a difficult thing to procure relevant customer data and almost every company has their means of obtaining it. The main skill lies in using that customer data in the best possible way and convert it into actionable business. This is where most companies struggle.

This is where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database or a CRM software is essential. CRM makes the most appropriate use of the data available and discovers valuable insights about customers, their target markets as well as how they respond. It then transforms those insights into actionable and successful business strategies. A careful study of the CRM database can uncover hidden facts about customers and help to identify new avenues of opportunities for growth of business. This blog talks about the ways in which CRM database can be used to uncover consumer secrets. They are summarized as follows:

1) CRM helps in Personalization

Every customer is different with varying tastes in purchasing habits. They are also different in the type of communication they respond to. In spite of differences, there is one thing common to most customers – they prefer to be treated as individuals and want their shopping experiences to be more relevant as per their preferences. Studies indicate that more than 80% of customers say personalization plays a significant role in their buying decisions. A robust CRM system helps in storing personalized information, which goes beyond names and email address, into recording interactions and habits. This information can be used to make suggestions to customers, provide them with relevant information as well as help in developing a personalized communication strategy for individual customers, which in turn boosts the image of the company in the eyes of the customer.

2) CRM helps in Identifying Top Customers

In terms of generating profits, all customers are not equal. Some are extremely beneficial to the company while others may just end up wasting time. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of profits are generated by 20% of the customers. This essentially means that businesses should focus more on that 20%. A CRM software provides analytical tools that help in identifying the top customers as well as the ones that are not so important. This information helps businesses to manage their workflow better and also utilize their resources more efficiently, which leads to higher customer retention.

3) CRM helps in Closing more Deals

To get an idea of whether or not business sales strategies are actually working, CRM is extremely helpful. CRM system logs every action and every document involved in a sale. It identifies the tactics that worked in closing a deal and also the ones that did not have any significant impact on customers. Using CRM businesses can pursue the successful strategies in future and discard the unsuccessful ones, saving time and costs.

4) CRM helps in Targeted Upselling

Upselling is a way of persuading customers to buy better and bigger. But this has to be done tactfully lest the customers get annoyed or irritated with constant bombardment of product offers that do not actually interest them. To achieve the best possible results, one needs to anticipate the customers’ interests and requirements and offer them the chance to enhance their purchasing experience. This can be accomplished by using CRM data, which brings to light hidden facts about customer behaviour and activity. It provides a 360 degree profile of the customer, which can be analyzed for customized targeting.

5) CRM helps in Customer Retention

CRM not only provides data and information about existing customers but also those customers who no longer do business with the company. Businesses can study and compare the data between loyal and broken customer relationships and get important information that helps them to understand which approach works and which does not. In other words, CRM can reveal the truth of customer engagement. CRM data helps in recognizing behavioral patterns and uncovering insights that can be utilized for customer retention. These insights also help businesses to resolve customer issues much quicker.

These points highlight the power of customer experience and the need for talent Customer Insights experts, who have the capability to grow businesses with effective CRM.

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How CRM Courses in India are Beneficial to Professionals

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In the current times, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) courses have acquired tremendous importance due to global operations of big corporations and rapid growth of e-commerce businesses. CRM is a sphere of study that deals with developing healthy and mutually beneficial relationships with customers and clients. It provides students and professionals with the tools and skills required for cultivating and improving customer relationships of organizations. Providing special treatment and tailormade services to individual customers boosts a company’s credibility and customer-preference tremendously, and that is the main focus of CRM.

Companies and organizations, which have universal customer operations such as banking, travel agencies, internet providers, airline services, business to business (B2B), business to customer (B2C), telecommunication operators etc., all have a customer relationship system set up. The jobs available in Customer Relationship Management are highly specialized ones, where only the best talents and highly skilled professionals are recruited.

More and more companies are setting up operations in multiple locations regularly. Most of these businesses provide services over the telephone or online over the internet. This has led to CRM courses gaining high importance over the last few years. Companies that have a wide reach and offer prompt customer services have been seen to attract more investors and emerge as market leaders, which highlights the significance of an organized and structured customer relationship management.

Main Courses and Careers in CRM

The following list provides the mainstays of CRM courses, which are followed worldwide across institutions and universities. The structure and diversity of the courses may, however, vary depending on the duration of the course. The primary courses are:

  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Services Marketing
  • Sales and Distribution Management
  • CRM in Service Industry
  • B2B Markets and CRM
  • Advanced CRM
  • Marketing Research and E-Business

A complete course in CRM teaches students the required skills that are essential for advancing one’s career prospects in this field. Getting a post-graduation in CRM like MBA, opens up a wide range of job options such as finance, research and consulting in different companies worldwide. A CRM certification allows one to receive high-paying work offers in industries such as finance, banking, sales, legal, insurance, IT, management consulting and manufacturing, to name a few. In India, career opportunities for professionals in the CRM field exist mostly in internet services, banking and e-commerce domains.

There are numerous career paths for students who successfully complete the Customer Relationship Management course. They can pursue various corporate designations like:

  • Manager-Client Servicing
  • Customer Relationship Manager
  • CRM Specialist
  • Product Manager
  • Relationship Manager
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10/11/2016

Four Step Guide to Meet CX Goals

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Every blank page in our shiny new calendars promises untapped opportunity, achievement, results, CX awesomeness. We have 12 months to kick butt with our customer-centric goals. To become NPS Olympians. To gear up, plan our journey, and climb to the summit, Sure, the CX professionals are a hopeful bunch. But, as they say, hope is not a strategy.

So, we thought we would share our practical guide to reaching customer experience strategy goals. And who knows, you might find a benefit for your own approach this year.

Step 1: Clearly and specifically define success.

Before you start the climb, you have to begin with the summit in mind. Superhero fantasies aside, what do you want achieve in 2017 with your customer experience efforts? Do you have a succinct definition of your customer experience goal? What will success look like and how will you know when you have arrived?

Here are a few examples:

  1. Delivering the best retail experience in the market, resulting in positive word-of-mouth.
  2. Delivering the most insightful, value added experience to prospects and clients.
  3. Becoming the easiest company to do business with, as evidenced by improved First Contact Resolution (FCR) and reduction in the proportion of customers experiencing issues.
  4. Pretty specific, right? As it should be.

The more specific the target, the clearer the actions required to hit the bullseye.

Step 2: Choose your metrics. If you start your journey without a clear direction, you’ll likely veer off course. So, once you know what you want to achieve, you need to settle on a short list of metrics you can track to determine progress. Think of them as a compass in your year-long climb to the summit.

A B2B telco provider, wants to reduce customer churn. So every quarter, leaders cross-reference customer feedback data with churn levels. Ever since this system was rolled out three years ago, performance has improved quarter over quarter.

A wireless communications provider, has decided that to bump up their Net Promoter Score (NPS) and reach their best-in-class goals, they should focus on lowering their number of detractors. They have monthly business reviews that include inspection of this one number. It helps them identify why detractors are unlikely to recommend, so they can prioritize action steps to address those issues.

Step 3: Set quarterly rocks that tie to goals. Defining your rocks — the big initiatives or changes you have to roll out each quarter—is hard work. But they’re important markers of your success. Think of them as waypoints, so you can chart your progress, and climb in stages. If you have a team supporting you, ensure that their quarterly rocks are aligned. Some questions to ask yourself in setting rocks are:

  1. What are the biggest areas of pain for our customers?
  2. Which issues are causing the most repeat calls?
  3. The most complaints?
  4. The greatest difficulty?
  5. A decline in Client Engagement, NPS or Satisfaction?
  6. What are the most common suggestions for improvement from our most important customers?
  7. What are our customers telling us they wish we did more of, differently?
  8. Which areas, regions, locations, or brands are under-performing?
  9. Which are performing at best-in-class levels?
  10. How can we help under-performing areas to improve and high-performing areas to share their expertise?

Answers to these questions will result in a list of quarterly rocks to consider. If necessary, prioritize them by considering their impact and feasibility. Some areas may simply be unrealistic to work on right now. If that’s the case, then move them to an issues list or parking lot for future focus.

Step 4: Get disciplined about reviewing progress and updating your rocks. You know where you are going. You know how you are going to get there. You know what indicators to track to ensure progress. Now, you need to establish a regular rhythm to review and adapt as necessary. Here are some key steps to take now to ensure this happens:

  1. Identify who needs to be involved in your business review meetings (e.g., senior-level champions, line leaders, product people, IT, HR, sales, marketing, or customer care).
  2. Schedule monthly, recurring customer experience business review meetings with all attendees.
  3. Develop an agenda for each meeting, and share with all attendees. Allot time in the agenda for attendees to review progress on the rocks.
  4. Schedule longer quarterly meetings to review upcoming rocks. These are where you’ll make any adaptations based upon prior quarter improvement, business, customer, and market changes.
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10/11/2016

How CRM can Overcome Challenges in Banking

banking-and-crm

For a company to succeed in increasing its sales, marketing and customer experience objectives it is essential to have a solid CRM strategy in place. However, in the case of a business that deals with financial services, a few special factors are considered during the implementation of CRM.

In the present age, the customer has many choices when it comes to the banking and financial industry. There is no real brand loyalty unless the customer is under a contractual obligation such as a loan or a mortgage. Most customers have financial services relationships with multiple banks or finance firms. Thus, banks and other firms providing financial services must initiate performance enhancement strategies to retain customers and convert leads to their brand. Performance can be improved by relevant and accessible information that can be quickly acted upon from systems. These systems should be capable of providing and supporting superior customer service and also be able to track, measure and analyze customer data and interactions. This is an ideal example of a CRM system today.

Benefits of CRM in Banking Sector

Having a robust CRM system in place is a good business strategy for banks. It helps in creating brand value, identifying new customers, understanding customer issues and providing timely, relevant and targeted information to customers. A CRM system provides the right kind of tools that segment and deliver the right service at the right time by acting on dynamic customer data. This allows businesses to track customer behaviour and develop strong relationships with valued customers. Businesses can correctly identify certain services and products that are beneficial to specific customers. All activities and their results can be tracked, measured and analyzed through CRM dashboards.

Challenges solved by CRM 

There are mainly 3 challenges faced by banks and financial services companies that a CRM system can solve:

  • Evolving Customer Profiles – Most customers are not loyal to one bank and their circumstances keep changing
  • Connecting the Dots – Identifying and analyzing customer profiles and services as well as marketing initiatives can help in finding opportunities to drive up conversion rates and increase the customer base
  • Responding Appropriately – Create, assign and track action items and measure the outcomes or results

CRM systems are capable of helping banks and companies offering financial services in providing superior customer value, retention and conversions. A few examples are given as follows:

Challenge 1: Evolving Customer Profiles
CRM helps to automate, sort and assign new lead records for further action by company employees and resources. It allows easy implementation of strategies and processes for managing landing pages on the web as well as site visitors. Moreover, a CRM system can score, track and update customer profiles. It can also generate new lead records for further action by other CRM processes and modules.

Challenge 2: Connecting the Dots
CRM-based customer service modules can provide conventional customer service capabilities, which are further improved by providing a full picture of all customer interactions. Creating and managing marketing strategies and pricing initiatives becomes streamlined and organized with CRM. Many CRM systems include social media listening tools. These enable you to track and respond to social media opinions in real-time.

Challenge 3: Responding Appropriately
Dealing with customer issues and troubleshooting them is the top priority for any service industry. A CRM system helps to provide on-time, discretionary decision support information for management and staff to act upon. By providing better levels of customer service, new opportunities for customer conversions can be identified.

Thus we see that CRM is an excellent enterprise tool for tackling the 3 customer-centered challenges that banks and financial institutions face. When implementing a CRM system at banks, two other common challenges need to be taken care of namely security management and integration with other banking/financial systems.

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10/11/2016

THE POWER OF PERSONALIZED PRICING

the-power-of-personalized-pricing

Grocery retail is an industry that sees constant scrambling for matching and competitive prices among the players. Every one is continually on the look out for ways to get ahead of the others. Amid such cut-throat competition a poor strategy can lead to missed opportunities and, in turn, adversely impact business both customer and money wise.

The grocery industry has currently become extremely competitive. The primary focus for the players is retaining key customers and strategically shifting out of the same pricing window as the others. For example, if one retailer reduces the price of oil to Rs. 99, typically, the competition will reduce their price to Rs.95 and so on. This pricing game is going to continue this way as long as there is transparency in retailers pricing. But what if there was a way to allure customers through pricing that is not directly visible to competitors?

With the help of personalized pricing strategies, retailers can develop individualized pricing for specific customers, key segments and key markets instead of following the other players in the same competitive race. Using these strategies retailers can optimize where and for what the key customers care the most.

There is thorough analysis done on individual customer insights to find out where most shoppers place their values, requirements and behaviours both in store and online. These analytical insights are useful in identifying which customers are willing to pay more for a specific type of product and which customers would buy if the price were lower. A recent study by LoyaltyOne found that 78% of shoppers in Canada would pay more for a superior quality product that was significant to their needs and values.

Currently it is the best time to make an investment in pricing – a smart investment. Bad investments in price, more often than not, lead to lost sales and profits, which can be really hard to get back. This can result in the market share and customer loyalty taking a huge hit. Smart investments at the right prices on the right products for the right customers can produce a sustained 1-3% increase in sales and profits as well as build price perception and customer loyalty towards the brand.

It is apparent that the future of grocery is transforming from the conventional approach of straight competitive pricing and price-matching to strategic, customer-focused pricing strategies and investments. This strategic approach towards pricing and commitment towards the customer will reap rewards for many years to come.

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10/11/2016

THE HIDDEN VALUE OF THANKS: 3 WAYS APPLE, LULULEMON AND OTHERS DO IT

the-hidden-value-of-thanks

Recent research shows a third of consumers prefer that companies thank them in the form of points or miles – indicating the pervasiveness of loyalty programs. But retail interactions occur well outside purchase, and recognition extends beyond loyalty programs. How some retailers are thanking customers in fresh ways
If love means never having to say you’re sorry, then loyalty should mean always having to say thank you..

It can come as a verbal word of gratitude, or in the form of rewards points. One factor does not change when it comes to retail: Consumers like to be thanked and recognized for their patronage.

That’s my takeaway after reviewing the results of a recent survey by TD Bank, which measured consumer attitudes about giving and receiving thanks in both personal and commercial settings. Not surprisingly, when it comes to being thanked by others, 84% of those surveyed said they prefer their thanks to come in person.

However, just how consumers like retailers and other companies to deliver their thanks is a different story.

For instance, 33% of those surveyed prefer companies to thank them with points, miles or other loyalty rewards. This is a great boost for loyalty marketing and rewards programs, but I don’t think the takeaway should be so cut-and-dry. Retail interactions involve much more than a purchase, and a rewards program will realize its full potential only if a retailer shows its thanks across all shopper touchpoints, such as the online experience, its social channels and customer care.
There are ways to generate customer recognition beyond traditional loyalty programs, as Apple, Lululemon and REI have proved. Let’s explore them; but first, let’s look at the research.

Gratitude Generates Loyalty

More than three-quarters of consumers surveyed (77%) said they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that expresses gratitude, according to TD Bank’s online survey, which took place in July.

That loyalty figure skews slightly higher among consumers ages 18 to 34 (81%) and women (80%). Meanwhile, 60% of the respondents said a direct thank you is more genuine, while 44% find a personalized thanks to be more authentic.

However, when asked specifically how they would like a company to thank them, 68% of all respondents chose rewards such as points, miles or other loyalty program benefits. Just 34% chose a verbal thank you.

As earlier stated, one-third of the respondents said loyalty program rewards are their most preferred way to be thanked (a close second to freebies). Just 13% of the respondents chose a verbal thanks as their most preferred form of recognition.

Other findings:

Younger consumers ages 18 to 34 are more likely to say freebies are their most preferred way to be thanked (39%, versus the 55-plus set, of which 25% most preferred freebies).

Of the 34% who said they like a verbal thank you overall, 38% fall into the millennial category (18 to 34) while 29% are older than 55.

The survey results aren’t good news for the stationery industry, as the good old-fashioned, hand-written thank you note did not fare well across any segment. Just 7% of millennials and 4% of consumers between 35 and 54 most prefer receiving a written thank you note from a brand. The figure does not much improve among those 55 and older – 9%.

3 Fresh Ways of Giving Thanks

It is not a revelation that consumers crave acknowledgment, but it is surprising to me how few consumers, across age groups, prefer a verbal or written thank you to a reward or freebie. I suspect this is a sign of conditioning because of the pervasiveness of loyalty programs.

But with that pervasiveness comes a higher bar – to stand apart and remain relevant as a retailer and a brand. This means resonating with the shopper, and making him or her feel genuinely appreciated, at all retail touchpoints as well as in unexpected places. Here are a few examples.

Teach them something new (about you): Retailers can invite customers to free events that educate them about products or processes central to that brand – further ensuring their relevance. REI, the outdoor activities company, offers a broad selection of free courses, from bike maintenance and GoPro training to land and water conservation. (Fee-based classes such as photography are discounted for those who become REI members.) Similarly, Apple offers free workshops that extend from the basics of using its products to digital photography, as well as free field trips for kids and teachers.

Bowl someone over: Retailers are familiar with the concept of surprise and delight – wowing a shopper with an unexpected gesture that will remain fondly in his memory for years. The classic example is when a call center employee at Zappos.com sent flowers to a customer whose mother died. In this area particularly, loyalty programs help because the insights they gather enable more tailored communications. Morton’s The Steakhouse once blew a customer away after he tweeted the chain jokingly requesting that a steak be delivered following a long day of business travel. To his surprise, an employee met him at the airport with a porterhouse steak, a colossal shrimp, a side of potatoes and silverware to boot.

Feed their passions: People choose brands that support their lifestyle interests; they stick with brands that encourage and share them. Lululemon, the seller of yoga, workout and athleisure clothing, provides its regular shoppers complimentary in-store yoga classes led by local instructors. For those who are not near a store or cannot make it, Lululemon offers free online classes. By extending these free services, Lululemon is reinforcing its support of a passion that is increasingly shared by its best shoppers. And so the bond strengthens.

Thanking customers across all touchpoints is good practice simply because it is good manners. It also could be good business. If practiced genuinely, an unexpected thank you brings its own rewards in the form of many welcome returns.

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09/11/2016

Challenges for CRM implementation in Public Sector

challenges-for-crm-implementation-in-public-sector

As we know, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy and methodology to manage ongoing and future relationships with customers. CRM today is growing rapidly and harping on this unprecedented CRM growth are public sector enterprises (PS). These are government organizations which work for the benefit of citizens directly or indirectly. Governments are increasingly getting on CRM bandwagon to improve services across multiple channels and deliver fair assessments to citizens being transparent in every possible way.  In this blog, I wish to discuss the key challenges which we faced while implementing CRM for public enterprises.

Stakeholder Management – Implementation of CRM program for public sector enterprises requires satisfying interests of multiple stakeholders. Stakeholders include central/ local governments, finance ministry for budget allocations, staff, IT department and citizens to name a few. Change Management is equally crucial challenge while dealing these enterprises. The resistance to change is pretty high due to the breadth of services offered.

Budget and Profitability – The most crucial of them all – Governments walk on a tight budget aiming to impart better quality of life for citizens along with meeting budget compliances. After all, governments and public institutions are run by tax payers’ money and they are very much answerable to their citizens. Several companies implement CRM programs with the sole aim of segmenting its customers and servicing the profitable customers in more favorable manner. However, in case of public sector organizations, all citizens need to be treated equally. Motive of profitability being absent makes it all the more difficult for convincing stakeholders, getting requisite approvals and. Governments, thus must provide citizens with transparent and impartial visibility to the policies and rules.

Complexity – Public sector industry is usually described by high regulations, standards, and policies which in turn leads to high response times due to presence of multiple legacy systems. In our public sector implementations, 360 degree customer data being fetched spanned across 20 disparate systems. All of this makes defining entire CRM approach a much more exhaustive and complex process for public sector enterprises. Silos are further underlined when citizen approaches the government via different channels/ departments. Last but not the least, governments are also marred by plethora of rules, policies, regulations and standards which makes the task of CRM implementation all the more difficult.

Data – The amount of customer information/ data for citizens is enormous. Public sector organizations are invariably looped in to various citizen service departments. All these departments are further interrelated making data all the more extensive. Plus, these PS enterprises also work on globally laid down regulatory frameworks which leads to increased amount of information exchange between states and countries.

Challenges for CRM implementation in Public Sector

Here, I wanted to share with readers a feel of how different it is to work for implementing CRM for a public sector industry vis-à-vis that for any other industry. Although CRM is ask for the day, public and other sectors quite differ in formulating the CRM strategy, in their approach and constraints. As part of my subsequent blog I will explain how we managed to address these challenges. I hope this blog provides budding consultants and business analysts an opportunity to gear up for their next PS implementation!

The only way that we could successfully overcome these was by finding solutions to address them. As part of this blog, I wish to discuss key aspects which helped us overcome these challenges during the course of CRM implementation.

Since stakeholders in public sector enterprises are myriad, the strategy to manage them effectively is to address key concerns which each of them have. In our implementation, we identified the following direct stakeholders – Client IT team (including their architecture division), business users of our solution, interacting legacy systems and their resources, and obviously the finance team. There were indirect stakeholders as well for instance, end customers. The needs of these indirect stakeholders were automatically met if needs of internal stakeholders are effectively handled.

Categorization done, what next?

The next step was to identify the key challenges and mitigation strategy for each stakeholder group. For instance, ‘change management’ was a key concern for business user community. A complete Organization Change management strategy was created to identify the impacted users, map the user roles to the system roles in order to prepare and train this user group. The business user community was continuously kept updated by showcasing application build (at key check points) and sharing proactive updates to build confidence, assuring them of new system meeting their requirements. Training documents were created and training sessions were conducted on key functionalities. Business SME’s were identified as solution champions to help improve the adoption of the solution in the user community.

From a complexity perspective, any public sector implementation is highly data intensive. Our CRM implementation was no different – complexity can be gauged by the fact that the planned solution was planned to replace an existing legacy system (built over a period of 20 long years!). One area was to identify key legacy systems – which fed information and others which queried information stored in application in order to provide real time 360 degree customer snapshot. Another piece was to classify and determine the best architectural approach for servicing complex business requirements. We implemented a business rule processing engine to process an intricate set of business rules and fetch requisite results. This rule processing engine churned close to 500 + rules on a daily basis. It also provided the flexibility to the business to modify their rules based on the changing environment, without having to depend on long IT cycles.

As they say, game of cricket is not over till the last ball is bowled. We actually realized this when it was a last minute regulatory change which was mandatory to be incorporated for the successful project completion. (Not doing was not an option as it would have compromised the entire implementation). Though this led to marathon meetings, consultations and negotiations, we were able to finally push it through. How did we do that? It was by having a strong risk management framework along with having strong communication mechanism in place, which was successfully leveraged. Hence, for any implementation, it’s critical to have risk identification and mechanism strategies.

Challenges are always there, and with CRM projects in Public domain these are myriad. Success does not lie in circumventing these, but in leveraging the right strategy at the right time!

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07/10/2016

Useful CRM Tips to Help Your Business Thrive

crmasia-crm-training-solutions

In today’s intensely competitive world, where businesses are scrambling to attract eyeballs, customer loyalty and satisfaction is of utmost significance. This blog discusses a few valuable tips on dealing with the competition and making your business flourish.

Key Lessons

  • Protect Customer Loyalty – Previously when businesses were few in number and there was less competition, customers had very little choice and made repeat buys with businesses even though they were not entirely satisfied. The scenario has changed today. Customers have a wide range of options available to them and it is important to treat them with utmost care as dissatisfaction can lead to immediate loss of customers.
    Moreover, businesses should not consider their past performance as an assurance for the future. A customer can be a long-term loyal customer but that does not mean that he will not switch to something better that is on offer. Over time, businesses change, their revenue and models change in order to stay relevant in the industry and grow their worth. Therefore, constant innovation is imperative to sustain and grow a customer base.
  • Track Customer Loyalty – Any thing that can be measured has potential for improvement. Previously, it was believed that customer loyalty was a non-measurable metric. However, nowadays with the help of CRM solutions, customer interactions can be captured and current trends and behaviours can be analysed. By tracking these metrics on a regular basis, a business can understand the areas of improvement better.
  • Innovate – Customers are always on the look out for better businesses and services. Most businesses fail to impress customers due to their similar nature. To create a successful business, it is necessary to innovate, think out of the box and develop something that redefines the industry space and attracts customers towards it. To build and design a brand’s loyalty program, businesses usually hire professional agencies.
  • Keep in Mind the 80-20 Rule for Customers – There is no business in which every customer proves to be profitable. Usually a small percentage of customers contribute the most to a business’ profit base. According to the Pareto principle, 80% of profits is due to 20% of the customers. This is the 80-20 Rule. Customer bandingor customer segmentation helps a business to identify which customers are worth spending marketing money on and which do not contribute significantly. This helps the brands to let go of the bottom customers and focus their resources on the top customers who bring in the most revenue.
  • Know your Customer better – Big brands may face a challenge to know their customers better. This is where good CRM solutions make an impact. After integrating customer loyalty programs and running multi-wave campaigns, it helps brands to identify customer preferences and thereby offer relevant services and products. Customer loyalty is the most important basis on which brands can build a strong foundation.

These aforementioned lessons can be incorporated in your campaigns with the help of CRM Solutions.

CRMA Asia

CRMAA, short for Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia is a one-of-a-kind initiative that enables and empowers the business leaders of Asia to come together and share their CRM experiences and resources. This Academy is a unique venture with various academic orientations derived from real time business processes. CRMAA strives to empower entrepreneurs and the member businesses to directly avail the advantages of their different knowledge enhancement programmes.

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19/09/2016

Join the Digital Open House September 21

cx-universiity

CRMAA stands for Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia. The Academy focuses on an exclusive program the purpose of which is to enable the business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs of Asia to come together and share their CRM resources and experiences. CRMA is a first-of-its-kind academy with various different academic orientations derived from real time business processes. CRMAA’s objective is to make the benefits of their various unique knowledge enhancement programmes available directly to businesses and its member companies. CRMAA aims to better the knowledge level and its implementation by deeper understanding of CRM concepts on a continuous scale.

Digital Open House

Still interested in joining us for the CRMAA -CXU Open House?

We hope our full house on the 14th didn’t dissuade you from checking out what we have to offer the Customer Experience professional community.

We invite you to register for another Open House

Attend our Digital Open House next week Wednesday, September 21 at 12pm (Eastern time zone).

CRMA, in partnership with CX University, is organizing a Digital Open House for CRM and CX professionals. The session would help the businesses and entrepreneurs to get valuable insights on succeeding in the customer experience industry. The Open House is free of cost and anyone can join from anywhere in the world. The CX University Open House will be conducted digitally through a web-conference on September 14, 2016 at 12 noon EST.

CRMAA is highly excited about this event as it provides a special opportunity for professionals in the field to get to know more about professional development training in Customer Experience from CX University, which is one of its partners. Together CRMAA and CX University collaborate to provide Professional CX certification, which offers qualifications in Customer Relationship Management and Customer Experience disciplines. As a New Generation Thinking Qualification, it has been designed for customer sensitive professionals, who are striving towards developing and promoting international best practices and excellence in business.

About the Session For those who seek to learn about Customer Experience and the competencies needed for success in the CRM field, this session is an ideal opportunity. Especially for on-the-go professionals, who want training at anytime and from anywhere, CXU has the answer!

In the session the attendees will learn about:

  • Online Courses and Program Options
  • Course Content, Structure and Access from any device
  • Confidence boosting test samples for knowledge affirmation
  • Membership in the virtual community
  • Faculty involved in CXU’s knowledge development
  • What participants say about their learning experience
  • Becoming a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP)

The session will be held via web-conferencing and professionals can sign in and attend from anywhere in the world. The sessions will be Live and promises to be very interactive and informative.

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Snapdeal`s New Logo seems New wine in Old Bottle.

snapdeal-new-logo

Snapdeal is one of the largest e-commerce firms in the country. Currently it is giving the brand its second makeover in six years. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Kunal Bahl, said in a statement that the objective of the Rs. 200 crore makeover was to get the next 100 million users on board.

The most significant change will be seen in the logo. The previously blue-white Snapdeal logo will now be vermillion and be depicted by two arrows forming a box. DesignStudio, a London-based design firm that has also designed the Air BnB’s logo, is responsible for creating it. The company will also be spending on various promotional events ahead of the year’s mammoth festival season. Since its inception in February 2010, this is Snapdeal’s second logo change.

Why now?

Snapdeal has made this announcement at a time when online retailers are experiencing a sluggish market in Asia’s third-largest economy. Lately the sector has faced various issues like drying up of funds, huge layoffs and to top it all, not enough profitability. Snapdeal, which currently caters to more than 6000 cities and towns in India, lags behind its major competitors Flipkart and Amazon on most metrics. A study by Nielsen revealed that Indian sellers recall Flipkart and Amazon better than Snapdeal. Sanchit Vir Gogia, the chief analyst at Greyhound Research had mentioned in July last year that Snapdeal had been facing an identity crisis since a couple of years and also had been losing relevance at an increasing rate. This explains their need for a multi-crore makeover. But will this overhaul help Snapdeal?

‘Lipstick on Gorilla’

It is believed that the re-branding is like repainting the body of the Titanic – Makes it look better but it will crash nonetheless. It is unlikely that just changing the logo will make a huge difference. Customer acquisition is key but there is a wrong belief that marketing and endless advertising increases customer acquisition. There has to be better products and services on offer to attract a strong customer base.

Others are of the opinion that large spending on overhaul makes sense only if it is accompanied by something new and relevant that promises to change the game altogether. Simply put, the customer may not change his behaviour because of a brighter coloured box but he might change if he is promised a swifter delivery than Amazon or Flipkart. If the makeover is not accompanied but a substantial service change, it can prove to be quite wasteful.

With the festival season approaching, most e-tailers spend heavily on branding and marketing at this time of the year. October and November are the months when India celebrates a variety of festivals including big ones like Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali. Snapdeal’s sales grew around 700% during this period in 2015. But such kind of splurging has a down side too. In the financial year 2015, Amazon India posted a loss of Rs1,724 crore as a result of such heavy spending. Similarly, Flipkart reported a loss of Rs. 2,000 crore, while Snapdeal reported a loss of Rs. 1,328 crore.

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19/09/2016
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Revolution of Indian Shopper

revolution-of-indian-shopper

The Indian economy has undergone various transformations since its independence. It has allowed several foreign businesses to enter its market and create a profitable niche for themselves. This has not only led to an increase in jobs but also provided the end consumer with more options. The average Indian consumer before liberalization used to lead an orthodox lifestyle with a limited mindset. The basis of this mindset was the 3 S – Savings, Spirituality and Safety.

The reason for this was that the average consumer belonged to a country that had been under the rule of foreign invaders since a century and eventually left crippled for the countrymen to rebuild from scratch. In such a situation every penny earned was priceless and had to spent wisely. The concept of risk or a different lifestyle was out of the question. This mindset was prevalent almost till the 1990s after which the evolution of the modern Indian consumer started.

The growth of economy ensued post liberalization leading to an increase in net disposable income for the average consumer. Upcoming industries like IT resulted in more income and consequentially a change in mindset for the Indian consumer. In today’s age the modern consumer has ready access to information and thousands of options to choose from. This coupled with the ability to purchase has resulted in the transformation of the average customer lifestyle.

No longer does the average Indian consumer have a traditional and spiritual mindset but instead has leaned towards a materialistic life, where he is driven to better his lifestyle every day. The consumer also understands the importance of social status and this has resulted in a major change in his consumption. He consumes what the other customers in the society around him consume. The mindset has changed from need-based to society-based.

However, although the consumer is now no longer as inclined towards the 3 S, he is leaning towards a fourth S namely Swadeshi, which means that he supports and has faith in Indian brands. A recent survey showed that out of the 20 top brands in India, 8 were Indian which reiterates the aforementioned point.

This statistic is an important one for future emerging brands as well as subject matter experts. There are several Indian companies which are worth more than some of the foreign companies. This provides encouragement to Indian entrepreneurs and drives them to create brands and build the future of the nation. The day is not far when the transformation of Indian customers towards Indian brands is substantial leading to more export value of products which would in turn generate more revenue for the nation and hasten its journey towards being a developed country.

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19/09/2016

Terrible business: how Indian start-ups are running behind valuation game but delivering awful customer service?

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When Gurgaon resident Aman Grover decided to buy a new mobile through Amazon, he wanted quick service. See what happned with him who narrates all the awful experience he had with amazon.

I want you guys to understand how AMAZON INDIA can humiliate, harass and question your integrity in no time. I just want you to be vigilant while dealing with these guys.(Long but worth going thru)

Following happened with me (and I am sure this will repeat again with some of your friends& family)

1. I ordered for a Nexus 5X thru amazon for INR 33000. After 3 days of ordering I found the phone was selling at 15% lower price. I checked amazon policy of return and decided for a refund of order under policy ‘Better price elsewhere”

2. Requested for a return of phone on 5th Nov 2015 and an Amazon executive came to my place in Gurgaon on 7th Nov 2015(between 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM) told his name as Alock and picked up the phone. He also gave me a receipt of pickup which is signed by him

3. After 3-4 days when I didn’t receive any refund from Amazon I started calling their customer care who continuously gave me assurance that refund is under process and I will receive it in some more days

4. When I didn’t get the refund after 10 days I started tweeting the issue and then came the U-Turn from amazon. They said my phone has never been picked up. I refused the pickup of the phone. I took a pause and asked these guys – Are you kidding me? My phone has been picked by Alock 10 days ago.

And the reply was unbelievable – Sir, We don’t have any Alock at courier station(And its amazon fulfilled order, their own courier). Do you have a video of the guy or handing over the phone? I said – WHAT? Who does that? Who does videography of a courier pickup?

CRM Asia spoke to 50 online shoppers in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore who had complaints about patchy service from a host of companies across the board, including Grofers, Pepperfry, Housejoy, UrbanClap, PepperTap, and others.

Shoppers in Bangalore complained about massive delays in furniture shipments from Pepperfry, made worse by a tough time scheduling handymen to put the furniture together after delivery.

Between January and September, investors put in US$7.3 billion across Indian startups. A bunch of these startups are in the customer services sector, meaning that they run businesses that promise people respite from their daily chores.

The trouble is, not only do they compete with other startups, but also with the local unorganized sector, where homekeepers have asked their local grocers to deliver stuff at no extra charge, local beauticians have taken care of patrons’ needs, and the neighborhood laundry guy has picked up customers’ dirty clothes for years.

“This is a Catch-22 for everyone. Out of ten companies that do the same thing, only two to three will survive. So they are under intense pressure to grow,” said a leading investor, who did not wish to be named because his company funds some of the companies mentioned, or their rivals.

“They are running at a 100 miles an hour and at a 100 miles an hour you can only do so much… any value proposition that says faster, cheaper, better would

Blow-hot-blow-cold

Sure enough, customers complained about unpredictability, saying experiences on apps that started off promising hassle-free services could turn utterly sour over lost orders, refunds, or untraceability of shipments. Leading app-based companies in India cater to thousands of people in many cities. Grofers, for example, said it takes in over 50,000 orders a day.

While customers acknowledged no company had messed up orders or services for them at all times, most claimed to be facing a rise in such incidents.

Unlike in developed economies, cheap labor in India has made many startups lean heavily on manpower, where companies maintain squads of delivery boys, drivers, and errand runners to serve customers.

And that’s with good reason. India’s peculiar problems, ranging from ever-present traffic snarls in metro cities, to patchy network connection, to a broken last-mile delivery structure, means technology cannot solve all ecommerce issues.

But training hundreds or thousands of employees to ensure a consistent level of service is a tough ask. And yet, since that’s what the companies promise, that’s what customers expect.

When companies own their fleet of delivery personnel and workers, they have more control over quality. But that’s a pricey proposition, and startups often mix it up with third party workers.

Glitches come from a variety of reasons, from untrained delivery boys to unstocked merchants to part-timers simply not showing up.

Saran Chatterjee, CEO of Housejoy, said:

The [services] market is highly unorganized. Their training is not standardized. While we have an onboarding process, we do see some problems,
Housejoy lets users book everything from plumbing services to beauticians on its app. Housejoy competes with UrbanClap.

Dude, where’s my cab?

In the taxi segment, one of the most booming app-based industries in the country, Ola has taken on drivers who are not conversant with city routes, or get lost on the way to pick-ups, many customers said.

Breakneck growth has taken a toll on its employee satisfaction as well, according to some drivers. In Bangalore, for example, three drivers Tech in Asia interviewed refused to ply on Ola Money, accepting only cash. They blamed a delay in processing by the company. The drivers did not want to be named because they are currently enrolled on Ola.

Ola hires more than 7,000 people in the country to serve 102 cities. Its Silicon Valley-based rival Uber employs about 200 people to serve around 22 Indian cities, and isn’t glitch free either.

Both Ola and Uber said they have trained drivers, many of whom are first time smartphone users, to use GPS for easy navigation. But India’s congested telecom lines often mean phones lose connectivity, and both driver and customer are stuck.

Patience pays

“The only way to build an execution business is to be patient,” said Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSPIRT, a think tank and policy advocacy group for startups. “Hedge fund money is not patient money.”

Three investors in the sector agreed that aggressive investors looking for exits could push fledgling startups to a stretch, but said eventually, it was up to founders to take a call on how much they wanted to chase growth, and at what expense. The investors did not want to be named because they have backed some of the companies named in the article, or their rivals.

Founders at various companies too said that the rush to grow did mean customer satisfaction would take some hit, but added that the age of chasing mindless growth over returns was slowly shifting in India.

The price of not doing that, of course, is that in the mad chase for growth, companies lose their core customer base. In the app-sea of sameness, user stickiness is hard to come by, even for established players.

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19/09/2016

Are you getting enough complaints? The Employee Experience Model

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The following is content taken from John’s best selling book The Customer Service Revolution(January 2015 Greenleaf Books)

Are you getting enough complaints? Think about the last several times you had a disappointing experience as a Customer. Did you tell anyone at the company? You left a business feeling frustrated, or hung up the phone more stressed than before you called. If you are like most people, you don’t bother to waste your time sharing your displeasure with anyone at the business that disappointed you. Why? Because most Customers don’t think anyone really cares, no one really wants to hear about it, or they will think you are trying to get away with something. So why would a Customer want to waste the time? How often does this play out in your business: Customers leaving unhappy without letting anyone know? If we are not making it easy for our Customers to give feedback, then it is happening to us more than any of us realize. Our Customers have better things to do with their time than hunt us down and complain and then feel that it didn’t make a difference.

Give permission and make it easy for them to share – There are several ways to give permission to our Customers to communicate with us. Now, I am not talking about Customer measurement devices that ask Customers their level of satisfaction and how likely they are to refer. While that is vitally important, what I am referring to is something totally different. I’m talking about giving your Customers permission to communicate easily, in a nonthreatening way, and not only giving them permission, but also asking for their advice and their feedback, both positive and negative. Few companies ask their Customers for praise, and lose the opportunity to celebrate and perpetuate outstanding performance. However, even fewer companies have the courage to ask their Customers for feedback if their experience was below what they were expecting. It is so simple. It is just marketing to your Customer on everything: invoices, orders, emails, at checkout, on the website, even in restrooms. Here are some examples of what companies have used:

“Please tell us about your experience. It is very important for us to know how we are doing.”
“We want your advice on how we can be better.”
“Did we hit the mark today? Tell us. Did we miss? Tell us, please!”
“Was someone a hero for you today? We want to recognize them.”
“Were we the best part of your day? If you can’t answer yes, we need to know why.”

Dave’s Corner
the following is written by Dave Murray,

Experience Engineer for The DiJulius Group.

Give me a T…When you hear someone cheering for a team, I am sure you are expecting to hear T.E.A.M. In this case, however, my cheer is T.E.E.M. That is short for “The Employee Experience Model,” also referred to as the Team Member Experience, or simply the Employee Experience. We all want to have great teams, and we all want to cheerlead and celebrate success, but do we all treat our team member as well as we should?

Building a World-Class internal culture – The T.E.E.M. is one of the main focuses of Commandment II, World Class Internal Culture. It is an extremely useful tool that guides us through the employee experience we are providing, from recruitment, to the interview, to orientation and through the first year. Each stage has standards in place that we use to guide every employee so that we are providing an excellent and consistent experience. Think about the last time your organization thought about your employees’ experience. Too many companies take employees for granted, mistakenly thinking that a paycheck twice a month is enough to keep them engaged and happy. Even worse, many companies out there have a “they’re lucky to work here” mentality. I encourage you to think about your culture. Do your employees truly feel valued? Do you have systems in place to ensure they are celebrated, when appropriate? If not, I am willing to make a bet that it is not happening often, if at all. If you just answered ‘no’ to the questions above, how is your turnover? I’d love to hear what you are doing to keep your team energized and engaged. Please share with me @ dmurray@thedijuliusgroup.com, or on twitter @DavidDMurray.

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19/09/2016

Price matters in Customer Eeperiences

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There is a chorus of voices across the business landscape with a resonant message: stage positive experiences for your customers and business performance will improve! Customer experience practitioners argue that doing so will make it easier to acquire customers, reduced churn, improve revenues and profitability, and in general, create brand loyalty. This is compelling logic, often supported by data. Is this really always the case?

Human experience is a complex human phenomenon. It is defined as an event, a thing, a happening, an instance, an observation, encountering or undergoing something. So, the pervasive logic is to design or stage effective and positive experiences for customers. The method to do this varies widely from industry to industry and company to company. Underlying all these variations are some common threads- these include identifying critical customer touch points through journey mapping; incorporating design thinking in multiple organizational processes, such as constructing customer feedback solutions through structured survey methodologies or unstructured listening posts in social media channels. Insights from the latter initiatives feed into a closed-loop change management program. All of this seems perfectly reasonable, and indeed this has become common practice in the CX field.

DO CUSTOMERS SATISFICE AND SACRIFICE?

Human decision-making is also a complex phenomenon. It is often assumed that people make rational choices. These are based on ordered preferences created after a diligent search for information. Customers, as many argue, will shop the internet, visit brick and mortar sites (showrooming), engage their friends and relatives through social media, and then make decisions to purchase. Once purchased, companies chase these customers to find out if they are satisfied with the experience through their journeys and transactions. But are customers really satisfied, or have they simply done that which many behavioral scientists (e.g. Schwartz et. Al. 2002; Simon 1955) have argued: accepted what they purchased because they do not possess perfect information for ideal-or perfect- choices? Therefore, they cannot make maximizing decisions. Rather, because they cannot possess perfect information they make “satisficing” decisions. This means that they will search for information up to the point where they feel their search is not delivering added value. At some point in their search they experience diminishing returns. So, do customers just “settle” for what is available to them, rather than continue their search for the perfect product or service (Gilmore and Pine, 2007). Are companies settling to offer products and services to meet this kind of customer threshold? Gilmore and Pine (2007) argue that customers that when customers cannot find what they really want they settle for what is available. This difference, they assert is sacrifice. Imagine that! Do you ever think of your customers as just settling for something offered? Do you ever consider that your customers in fact are compromising or sacrificing? If they do actually sacrifice, should we be measuring how much they sacrifice rather than how satisfied they are? And then focus on how the magnitude of sacrifice can be reduced. Do customer touch points offer the full picture?

A CASE IN POINT

Periscope IQ, a customer research organization, collected several million consumer surveys over three years for a large national retail organization and created customer touch point metrics. Indeed, the reported data showed that brand loyalty (likelihood to recommend – LTR) and overall satisfaction (SAT) were positively influenced by all the touchpoints in the customer journey.

However, when asked about their perceived value of the price paid for their purchases, customers reported a much greater affinity for price paid as compared to brand loyalty and overall satisfaction. Price had a much higher influence than other touch points in their journey.

Their study suggest that there are numerous implications when we understand the decision-making process and the attributions customer make to purchasing influencers. There is not a single company that can be everything to everyone, but they can all ask the following to filter the best mix of approaches to stage experiences and capture revenue growth, market share and increased profitability.

  • 1. Have all the relevant customer journey touch points in the CX system been identified?
  • 2. Is the promise of the brand being delivered, or are customers settling for what is offered?
  • 3. Are customers making sacrifices? How much? Are we losing loyalty because of it?
  • 4. Are customers being lost because price is more important than a positive set of experiences?
  • 5. Are new customers acquired only through staged experiences?
  • 6. What role does price have in customer acquisition and retention?
  • 7. Are customer journey touch points, their measurement and price value relationship tied to overall company strategies?
  • 8. Is the promise of the customer journey sufficient to win loyalty?

This blog post is not intended to prove anything, but rather to propose a deeper discussion about whether exemplary experiences across the touchpoints in customers journeys is sufficient. If indeed the propositions presented here do generate further consideration of what it means to fully capture customer experiences than the purpose of this blog will be achieved.

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11/09/2016

Join the Digital Open House

cx-universiity

CRMAA stands for Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia. The Academy focuses on an exclusive program the purpose of which is to enable the business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs of Asia to come together and share their CRM resources and experiences. CRMA is a first-of-its-kind academy with various different academic orientations derived from real time business processes. CRMAA’s objective is to make the benefits of their various unique knowledge enhancement programmes available directly to businesses and its member companies. CRMAA aims to better the knowledge level and its implementation by deeper understanding of CRM concepts on a continuous scale.

Digital Open House

CRMA, in partnership with CX University, is organizing a Digital Open House for CRM and CX professionals. The session would help the businesses and entrepreneurs to get valuable insights on succeeding in the customer experience industry. The Open House is free of cost and anyone can join from anywhere in the world. The CX University Open House will be conducted digitally through a web-conference on September 21, 2016 at 12pm (Eastern time zone).

CRMAA is highly excited about this event as it provides a special opportunity for professionals in the field to get to know more about professional development training in Customer Experience from CX University, which is one of its partners.
Together CRMAA and CX University collaborate to provide Professional CX certification, which offers qualifications in Customer Relationship Management and Customer Experience disciplines. As a New Generation Thinking Qualification, it has been designed for customer sensitive professionals, who are striving towards developing and promoting international best practices and excellence in business.

About the Session
For those who seek to learn about Customer Experience and the competencies needed for success in the CRM field, this session is an ideal opportunity. Especially for on-the-go professionals, who want training at anytime and from anywhere, CXU has the answer!

In the session the attendees will learn about:

  • Online Courses and Program Options
  • Course Content, Structure and Access from any device
  • Confidence boosting test samples for knowledge affirmation
  • Membership in the virtual community
  • Faculty involved in CXU’s knowledge development
  • What participants say about their learning experience
  • Becoming a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP)

The session will be held via web-conferencing and professionals can sign in and attend from anywhere in the world. The sessions will be Live and promises to be very interactive and informative.

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05/09/2016

CRMA Asia – The Professional Hub for CRM and CX

cx-online

CRMAA, which stands for Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia, is considered to be the home for CX (Customer Experience) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) experts and executives. It’s primary objective is to make the profession more progressive by providing professionals with the required tools, programs and resources. Brands and businesses, which want to become customer-centric, engage with CRMAA and see their CX and CRM insights transforming into reality with the help of the training, tools and leadership programs provided by the CRMA platform.

CRMAA guides its customers to achieve growth improvement, performance enhancement as well as customer-sustenance, which helps in developing a culture of superior customer-service and stronger relationships with clients. This is the main reason why some of the leading organizations depend on CRMAA for growth and sustenance. It not only provides tailored CRM and CX solutions but also ensure to adhere to the industry best-practices. It brings about speedy changes by prioritizing investments, executing joint customer relationship and experience strategies, and recreating customer journeys.

Membership at CRMA

All business leaders, experts and executives in CRM, who want to be a positive contributor to their profession and help in catalyzing Asia Incorporate through their excellence and expertise, are permitted to join CRMAA. Passionate and proactive professionals who aim to synergize new dimensions of CRM and gain efficiencies through shareable knowledge are heartily welcomed by CRMA. In view of this, CRMA offers its members a dynamic, real-time knowledge sharing platform, which is an important segment of CRM. CRMA offers membership to interact with the best minds, brands and companies so as to evolve a comprehensive CRM policy on a national and global level.

CRMA-Certified Professionals

CRMA’s main aim is to facilitate businesses and clients through an advanced level of seminars, consultations, workshops and training sessions that have been specifically created for the CRM and CX professionals. There is an ever-growing pool of talented, skilled and experienced professionals from well known industries in Asia, that is nurtured by CRMA. This pool constitutes of different CRM professionals from vendors, companies, shareholders and businesses. The knowledge pool helps the development of stakeholders and offers support by developing the standards based on ongoing evaluations and skill-building. It also assists members in designing and implementing customized CRM modules, which are tailored for the specific needs of each business and also adhere to the industry best-practices.

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29/08/2016
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Where is customer service moving in 2016?

where-is-customer

Why? People are now flooded with choices. But in our fast moving world we are running short of time. People don’t have time to try new things, so if they have faith in a brand they stick to it as long as they are pleased.

Therefore the need to build meaningful relationships between brand and customers is our prediction as to where customer service is heading in 2016. Sure, we can comfortably predict that technology will continue to develop to offer more channels and ways of doing business. However this will only succeed where it serves to add real value to the customer experience. Forget gimmicky gadgets, tricks and fads, customers want trust as well as speed in our choice rich yet time poor world.

Customers only remember the Wow! or the Ouch! service experiences. They rarely remember or talk about the OK experiences that they have. Wows create brand advocates. Ouches create brand saboteurs.

So given the choice of which lasting memories create, these have to be the positive Wows rather than the negativeOuches. Long lasting relationships are about love and admiration, trust and warmth.

So how can you develop long lasting relationships with your customers? Here’s our checklist to help give you a head start:

  • Make sure that you brand has credibility. Train your people with the product and service knowledge they need and make sure these standards are clearly defined and met.

  • Ensure that your service delivery and product quality is reliable and consistent. Customers do not like inconsistency and unpleasant surprises. Your processes as much as your people need to be customer-centric, designed to your meet customers’ expectations at all times. .

  • Know and understand your customer as well as you can. What do they like and how do they like it? Make your customers feel special by using technology intelligently and people skills sensitively.

  • Focus on your customers’ needs as much as your business’ needs. Make sure you maintain a sense of balance between meeting your commercial needs and your customers’ expectations.

  • Look for opportunities to Wow! your customer. Don’t just wait for things to go wrong to exceed expectations. Yes, recovering an Ouch! experience has to be done but service excellence goes way beyond complaint recovery. Instead, look to spot those small opportunities to give that little unexpected extra – remember train and reward your people to do the same.

We predict relationship building will take on even more significance in 2015. If you need to make a New Year resolution then how about this:

‘Invest in your people to look after your customers and they’ll take care of your business”.

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The magnitude of Recognizing “Customer passionate” Employees

the-magnitude

Why Employees Are the top secret to a immense Customer Experience Program in 2016

When it comes to creating an organization that is passionate about customer success, we often start in the wrong place. We start by focusing exclusively on the customer.

That may seem rational. But what we sometimes forget is that most of the time executives aren’t the ones interacting with customers. A truly winning customer experience program has to start by focusing on the employees that will execute it. After all, it’s the front line employees that are the biggest factor in determining what the customer experience will be. 2016 will be the year that smart customer experience departments start to focus on their employees as much as on their customers.

Happy workforce denote happy customers

A successful customer experience begins with engaged employees. That means creating a culture of customer passion where you incentivize employees to go out of their way to deliver the best possible customer experience. By doing so, you’ll create happy customers and perpetuate a customer-focused culture.

The key is finding an incentive that will resonate with and motivate your employees to be more customer obsessed. It might be bonuses, swag or recognition at high-profile meetings. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a perk your employees value and something that has the ability to permeate your overall culture.

Keeping a finger on the beat of employee happiness

It’s hard to keep employees happy without being able to measure how they’re feeling at any given time. Treat employees like you would your customers by consistently gauging their engagement through pulse surveys—so named because they allow you to keep a consistent pulse on what’s happening within your organization. Performing annual reviews and gathering periodic feedback is the sign of a dying organization. Instead,use an integrated, online-based survey software tool to easily implement and analyze pulse surveys about a variety of topics. It will allow you to iterate quickly, tackle problems in real time and apply positive lessons throughout the organization.

Disengaged employees are firing your customers. They provide a negative experience, which drives people away. Pulse surveys allow you to monitor and correct problems before they spread. They’ll allow you to mobilize your employees to deliver an exceptional customer experience and will help your employees know you care. Be sure to give your workforce the opportunity to deliver feedback to the very top, and then be transparent with the company about the feedback you receive. Without employee feedback channels you’ll struggle to identify and fix any employee issues that might stand in the way of serving your customers.

Empowering employees to take action

Focusing on employee experience as a part of customer experience lets your employees know that they are an integral part of company success and that they’re engagement is key to customer happiness. Empowering your employees to create great customer experiences is the key to building and sustaining a customer-focused business. And in the end, it leads to major strides in brand loyalty and retention.

During CXWeek, a conference devoted to bringing together the best brands and thought leaders in customer experience, Ritz-Carlton’s COO Bob Kharazmi shared an example of empowering employees to deliver fantastic customer experience. Recently, a Ritz-Carlton pool attendant overheard a guest with physical restrictions tell her husband, “I wish we could have a romantic dinner at the beach.” That pool attendant knew that it would be impossible for the guest to get to the beach with her wheelchair so he contacted the engineering department and together they built a wooden pathway from the pool to the beach so that her wheelchair wouldn’t sink in the sand. He then contacted the kitchen crew and had them set up a table on the beach so the couple could have a romantic dinner that evening. When the hotel notified the couple about what had been done, they were floored. They hadn’t told any of the hotel staff about the woman’s hope to visit the beach, but when an employee overheard it and recognized an opportunity, he was empowered to make something happen.

This is a perfect example of a company that has successfully empowered its employees to take action and make decisions when opportunities arise to provide an unforgettable customer experience. You can similarly empower your employees by removing unnecessary barriers that might block them from putting the customer first. Implementing immediate and meaningful ways for your employees to use their discretion to deliver better customer service without having to get approval from managers is perhaps the most immediate way to improve your customers’ experience.

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29/08/2016
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Genesys Buying Avaya’s Call Center Biz? 4 Industry Brains Weigh in

genesys-buying

Avaya has been under a debt of $6B and it was known for some time now that they would be doing some restructuring to reduce it. It is speculated that the company may sell off parts of their business including their call center. Reuters reported last week that there is a suitor for the call center division and it is Avaya’s long-time competitor Genesys. Genesys recently raised $900M and it seemed logical for the company to buy out this segment but still the news seems to have astonished many.
With over 300,000 customers, including more than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies, Avaya is an industry behemoth. The aforementioned deal would be the biggest alteration of the call center vendor landscape in years. It could well be the largest shift since 2009 when Avaya bought Nortel’s enterprise business. How would this transaction affect the industry? We asked some of the leading experts for their opinions.

“[It’s] more about buying market share than it is about technology. That said, some Avaya technology assets, like predictive dialing, could be a good addition to the overall Genesys CX platform. In terms of cloud [call center], while Genesys is ahead, both companies have a way to go. The benefit of a combination would be that instead of two R&D teams working on two different solutions, just one team would be working on one platform. And that’s where the value of market consolidation comes in.” – Dr. Amit Chakrapani, Managing Director, CRM Academy of Asia.

“There are so many things, more logical things that Genesys can and should be doing that are better than buying Avaya’s contact center business. If Avaya were to sell off its lucrative contact center business, I would much rather see it go to a pure-cloud provider as I believe hybrid models offer a lot of benefits and a nice approach for customer expansion.” – Aman Grover, Head Online Business, Bharti Airtel Ltd.

“The stars certainly seem to be aligning for this to finally happen. There’s a strong consolidation wave underway now, and this move would allow Genesys – and Avaya – to compete more effectively against Cisco. Avaya simply does nt have the financial resources to remain as an independent major in this space, and Genesys looks to be the best option for long term viability, and getting anxious Avaya customers back into buying mode.” – Tushar Kaul, Head IT, Toshiba India

”If Genesys were to buy Avaya’s contact center business I think it would be to acquire the customer base rather than to acquire the technology. Taking on the Avaya product line would be a gargantuan task for Genesys. A more likely scenario would be Genesys acquiring a company like Interactive Intelligence if they could raise the funds. Interactive Intelligence would provide Genesys with an outstanding cloud solution in PureCloud and would also offer Genesys a fast entry into the mid-market. I don’t believe an acquisition of Avaya by Genesys is likely.- Lt. Gen. Sudhir Sharma, Chairman, Mitkat Advisory

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29/08/2016

The most terrible suggestion I Ever heard about the Customer Experience

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BAD Suggestion #1

“Improvement in the customer experience won’t change your company`s overall revenue.”

Interesting perspective – but not true in the least. This opinion is probably why only 35% of companies with the least positive CX impact claim to see a link between customer experience and business results, while 73% of companies with the most positive CX impact admit there is a correlation between the two. Basically, companies who understand that the customer experience actually drives results are more likely to see results. Remember: It’s never too late. The first step is admitting there’s a problem, and taking the right steps towards change.

BAD Suggestion #2

“You don’t need 24X7 customer service to provide a grand experience.

For some small businesses that may be true, but if you are a large company – like an airline or a hotel – your customers will look for you at all hours of the day. In my recent visit to a renowned hotel the front desk was only open from 9 AM to 7 PM, which meant all checks-ins after that time were given written directions to “find” their room key. This is completely unacceptable. People save up their whole lives to travel to exclusive destinations like Hawaii. To travel that far and have to hunt down your own room key sets a terrible first impression, a negative customer experience, and is a poor start to any hospitality driven business.
But 24 hour customer service is not restricted to the hospitality industry. eConsultancy discovered 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase. Can you imagine how many abandoned online shopping carts exist without after-hour support? When we think about it this way it’s easy to see that the cost of implementing around-the-clock customer service is made up by the amount of sales you’ll make in return!

BAD Suggestion #3

“Social media won`t help to improve the customer experience.”

Since 67% of companies believe that social customer service is the most pressing short-term priority for the contact center. It’s important not to get caught being among the other 33% of companies that don’t value social support. And if you can’t take it from us, at least take it from Jeff Bezos, who makes an eye-opening point about how important online customer satisfaction really is;

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”
Since 46% of millennials “count on social media” when buying online, it’s about time we stop fighting the war against social support and admit that the customer experience can only get better when its utilized – #truestory.

BAD Suggestion #4

“Call-backs are not essential for helping to improve the customer experience.”

Where do people get this stuff?

Customers don’t just want call-backs; they need them to ultimately feel satisfied with their experience. Accenture’s “Global Customer Pulse Research Study” cited that 69% of respondents were “extremely frustrated” when placed on hold for a long time. Moreover, 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. Time is money, and if a company is willing to take both away from a customer, it’s easy to neglect a purchase.

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29/08/2016
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Customer experience is impossible in absence of customer engagement

customer-experience

How to measure the experience when your daughter smiles when she plays with a toy for the 1st time? The value of an in-store interface? Here is the CRMAA`s take on interrelationship among CRM, CEX, CEM.

“CRM’s function is to manage not the customer relationship – the constant wrong-headed misstatement about it from its naysayers, but to manage the business operations related to the customer. It also is required to capture, keep, and analyze the data about the customer so that insights can lead to a better engagement leading to a great experience, which enhances those ongoing interactions.”

Why is it remarkable?

Because it is the statement that there is no CEX without CEM and CRM! This is a pretty important statement. It is also something that not many vendors seem to go after through on, although it should be pretty obvious.

But I would go even further than this chain. Actually CRM, CEM, and CEX form a triangle. One can argue that there is no experience without engagement. Engagement often can be managed but essentially creates data (think Internet of Things), data also about the quality of a customer’s experience. This data then can be used for improved engagements and thus experiences. Does this work always? No, not yet – for several reasons. But will this happen? Yes, it will.

The technological ingredients are there: On the business side we have increasingly powerful systems and algorithms to collect and analyze structured and unstructured data that come from a variety of different sensors. Businesses are sitting on treasure troves of data with the amount of available data growing very fast, using tried-and-true as well as cutting edge technologies.

The list is long:

  • Our click-behavior is measured for years

  • Loyalty programs help companies to analyze our buying behavior and our needs even longer, online as well as offline

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon, and many other companies enable the aggregation of personalized external data into the mix – think “login using

  • Internet enabled appliances, from smart TV all the way to the smart wiring of the home

  • GPS, car technology like OnStar

  • Beacons, in-store wifi, mobile apps (the role of the mobile itself comes a little later …)

  • Interesting experiments like shopping displays that track eye movements, web apps that let you virtually try and share glasses, “mirrors” that let you virtually try on clothes, Amazons Dash experiment, and many others

  • The proliferation of communities and social media, including their integration into CRM solutions

  • Mobile payment

  • Uber, AirBnB and lots of other companies of the sharing economy

  • Predictive and intent-driven analytics algorithms that enable the mining of all this data and to provide customers with first grade experiences

Business executives are increasingly moving to an IT environment that is no longer focused on big, long projects but shorter, more sustainable efforts to drive change and innovation. Here are the pros and cons, and how to make it happen.

The list goes on and on. Priorities and hypes change over time but the theme is all the same. Companies collect more and more data in order to be able to get more of our business. But when do they get our business? If they demonstrate that they are best, or at least good enough, at delivering to customers’ needs. Yes, delivering to customers’ needs. This implies that this “delivery” adds value to the customer. Marketing alone is no longer enough to achieve this as negative feedback travels fast and far via social media and hashtags.

For time being, this linkage is not yet there because of mainly five reasons:

  • There are not yet enough sensors that do support the generation and structured collection of personalized data; this holds especially true, as companies will need to avoid the impression of being creepy.

  • Where there are the sensors we do not yet have the platforms that support the aggregation of data to build and maintain a valuable picture of a person.

  • Companies do not yet have a clear picture of how to tap into the wealth of data that can get generated. They are simply overwhelmed or struggle to formulate a business case.

  • Privacy! At the end of it the data that gets collected is not owned by the companies that collect it but by the persons that allow the collection, be it willingly or just accepting the inevitable – surrendering personal data in exchange for a product, service, experience that they want or need.

  • In combination with privacy there will be regulatory changes starting with how to legally “allow” the usage of data and going on to, but not ending with regulations about which data can be combined and used in what ways.

Where does this combination lead us?

Impressions shape experiences. Companies already now start doing this by managing the customer experience through the whole customer life cycle. They are starting to map customer journeys and to measure the resulting experiences in order to improve these experiences. In order to be successful at this venture, implementations of the concepts CRM, CEM, CEX need to be integrated. Silo’ed systems do not work anymore. This is where the triple play of CRM, CEM, and CEX comes into the picture. This is also why we still argue that CRM actually is a strategy.

CONCLUSION

A well-orchestrated CRM system — set up to collect and manage all data related to customers and to analyze it — is the very foundation. It is a platform. From here all analytics and segmentation needs to be driven, with the segment size stretching from one all the way to something far bigger.

The customer engagement, as an ongoing process, itself happens via any number of interactions, the touch points chosen by the customer, but offered by the company. Those touch points may be laid out like a path as a serious of steps but then the way they are used is the customers’ choice. These touch points are offered through a variety of systems and they, including the choice of individual touch points, deliver data that is invaluable for the further engagement.

But how to measure the, the experience of your daughter’s smile when she plays with a toy for the first time, or the quality of an in-store interaction?

Until here things are pretty straightforward: It “simply” needs strategy, a few connected systems and some algorithms in order to meaningfully engage with customers.

However, every engagement at every touch point also provides the customers that use it with an experience. But how to measure the experience of your daughter’s smile when she plays with a toy for the first time, or the quality of an in-store interaction?

Many of the ways to measure these experiences still rely on indirect means: surveys, scores provided by the customers, benchmarks. Entry IoT: An increasing number of different sensors allows to derive this date in an ever simpler manner via devices that are in-store (like surveillance cameras that are also a good way to identify where people are moving), or that we carry with us, starting with the smart phone, continuing with devices like Google Glass up to scenarios straight out of Minority Report. How about a doll that recognizes facial impressions, identifies tone of voice and how it is handled?

The important aspect is that all these sensors, current and future, create data that can be used to improve future interactions as well as current ones. It does not yet matter whether information about the experience is derived automatically or via asking the customer although getting a good result without contacting the customer is increasing the experience.

CRM’s role is to manage not the customer relationship, but to manage the business operations related to the customer. Its analysis capabilities turn data into insights. As such CRM is the foundation for good engagement and customer experiences across communication channels and touch points. Engagements and customer experiences feed back data to it to enable a virtuous circle.

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23/08/2016

CRMAA – For Superior CRM and CX Solutions

CRM Certification Courses - CRM ASIA

CRMAA stands for Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia. It is the home for professionals working in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and CX (Customer Experience) fields. The main objective of CRMAA is to make progress in the professions of CRM and CX by creating a forum or network of professionals. It provides the requisite resources, programs and tools to achieve this objective. CRMAA transforms CRM and CX insights into reality by offering the necessary tools, training and thought leadership to brands and businesses. These resources provided by CRMAA enables the businesses to become totally customer-centric.

Many major organizations are dependent on CRMAA for customer-growth, customer-sustenance and improvement of workforce performance. This helps them to develop a culture of providing superior customer service and also build strong client relationships. CRMAA customers are provided with CRM and CX solutions that are tailor-made to suit their requirements and also abide by the standard industry best practices.

Membership at CRMAA

CRM encourages all its business leaders to join Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia as a contributor and help in catalyzing the Asia Inc. with their innovative brilliance and excellence. CRMAA wholeheartedly welcomes people who are passionate about synergizing the new dimensions of CRM as well as those who are willing to gain the efficiencies through shareable peer knowledge.

To achieve this, CRMAA provides a knowledge sharing platform, which is real-time and dynamic. This is an important hallmark in the niche segment of Customer Relationship Management. CRM offers the concept of membership to engage with the best brains, companies and brands in order to formulate a comprehensive national and global CRM policy. Any individual who has the desire to be an efficient Customer Relationship Manager is welcome to apply for the CRMAA membership.

CRMAA Certifications for Members

The primary objective of CRMAA is to facilitate clients and members through an advanced level of seminars, business workshops, and consultations and specially created training sessions for CRM professionals. CRMAA strives towards building an ever-expanding resource pool of experienced and skilled individuals from well-known Asian industries. The pool consists of CRM professionals from various different industries who represent businesses, units, companies and even shareholders. This resource pool helps members in their professional development and also lends support by building the standards based on evaluations and skill-development.

CRMAA offers guidance and strategic advice that meet the requirements for Business Process Management. Further, it helps its members to create and execute customized CRM modules for their specific needs, ensuring that they adhere to the standard best-practices of the industry.

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10/08/2016

Why CRMAA is considered the Prime Destination for excellence in Customer Relationship?

CRM ASIA

The Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia (CRMAA) is a unique initiative that enables the business leaders of Asia to converge and pool their CRM experiences. The CRM Academy is a venture that is a first of its kind with various academic orientations derived from real time business processes. CRMAA aims to empower the entrepreneurs and the member companies to directly avail the benefits of their various unique knowledge enhancement programmes. CRMAA strives to elevate the knowledge level and its implementation by better understanding of CRM concepts on a continuous scale.

Value of CRMAA

The Academy discovers and develops advanced methodologies in line with the following specialties:

  • Advisory Services

CRMAA offers expert guidance on advices that are more or less suited to any Business Process management. CRMAA also provides guidance for the design and implementation of CRM modules that have been customized specially for projects as well as for adherence to standard best-practices of the industry. The key to sustained growth and success of your business depends on a well-devised Customer Relationship strategy that is efficient in producing results. CRMAA helps you reach the next level by using real metrics and tested techniques for acquisition and retention of customers.

  • Learning and Certification

CRMAA issues professional memberships and provides certifications to enhance one’s qualifications in the CRM field. It’s a New Generation Thinking Qualification, especially created for customer sensitive professionals, who are seeking to develop and further advance international best practices and excellence in business-customer relationships. CRMAA makes it easy to avail the fluent passages to complete authentic national and international CRM Certification Courses, from reputed institutions. These certifications benefit both established professionals as well as emerging entrepreneurs in their pursuit for career advancement. The academy is committed to provide expertise, guidance and channels to marketing professionals for CRM best practices. CRMAA takes it upon itself to regularly provide advanced tools and competent resources to its members in order to empower them towards implementing business transformations within their companies with practical CRM applications. In our current world, which is constantly evolving, customers are aware and educated and always prioritize value for money. Keeping this in mind, our unique forum unites resources that provide effective guidance for the emerging CRM executives of the world. CRM endeavors to provide the CRM professionals with the latest techniques and skills that help them to grow into successful business leaders.

  • Academy Events

CRMAA enables business executives and leaders, involved in CRM specializations, to come together and share in a worldwide network. It conducts seminars, workshops, conferences, online programs on a regular basis, which feature distinguished authors as well as subject matter experts. CRM encourages senior professionals from different service organizations and industries to collaborate on their unique forum and discuss strategic and tactical dimensions of CRM in their professions. Irrespective of whether one is a subject matter expert or an international enterprise, their business goals and objectives can hugely benefit from the CRM forum.

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27/07/2016
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Benefits of Attending the Customer Experience Summit 2016?

Customer-Experience-ManagementAsia-Summit-2016

CRMAA or Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia is a global non-profit organization created for providing support and guidance in accelerating future growth of the Customer Relationship Management field. CRMAA helps create a community and brings together like-minded professionals who are dedicated to advancing the applications and concept of CRM in various different industries for further strengthening their strategy. It strives to assist professionals to grow in their respective careers by establishing CRM as a validated, clearly-understood and significant discipline. As a collective body, CRMAA’s objective is to create a feasible opportunity and prospect for CRM and its beneficiaries.

CRMAA is an exclusive initiative for allowing convergences and pooling of CRM experiences for business leaders of Asia.It is a venture that is the first of its kind, with divergent academic orientations obtained from real time business dynamics. CRMAA aims to allow all the members and entrepreneurs to avail the advantages of different knowledge enhancement programs.

4th Annual Customer Experience Management Asia Summit

The 4th Annual Customer Experience Management Asia Summit is going to be held from 5th to 8th September 2016 at Marina Bay Islands, Singapore.

Why One Should Attend?

There are quite many reasons why one should not miss the opportunity and attend the summit, some of which are highlighted below:

Discover Inspiring Leadership – There will be two internationally acclaimed Big Ideas speakers apart from over 75% new speakers from CX Leaders across Asia. The summit will be the perfect gathering to find out what’s cutting-edge within the CX space.

New Connections & Networking – There will be more than 350 professionals in attendance from local and multinational blue chip companies. Events include drinks receptions, awards night, focused discussion groups and cafe zones in the networking hall, which would make it the ideal place for you to connect with new as well as old peers and colleagues.

Tailored Advice Just for You – The Summit comprises around ten focused streams, multiple small group discussions, one-to-one sessions as well as new consultation zones. Therefore, you can get professional advice and expert opinions on the exact problems you face as part of your conference package.

Celebrate Success – The 2016 CEM Summit Excellence Awards gives you the opportunity to celebrate your individual and team’s accomplishments that resulted in benefits across the business and through to customers.

Make your Business Grow – The Summit will showcase some of the most advanced technology and service providers in the CX community. Attending the live demos and interactive exhibitions will help you to see, experience and select potential tech investments.

Benchmark Success – The summit will feature live polling, online benchmarking sessions, interactive discussion groups, crowd-sourced Q&A sessions, QR Code facilitated networking, which will all be focused on providing the customer with a voice at the event. Engage, interact, share and empower yourself at this event.

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25/07/2016
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How CRMA Asia Helps Businesses Grow?

customer-relationship-management

Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia (CRMAA) is the home for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience (CX) professionals. It aims to advance the profession and provides programs, resources, and tools that are required. CRMAA changes CRM and CX insights into reality by providing brands and businesses with tools, training and thought the leadership that is needed by them to become entirely customer-centric.

Some of the leading organizations depend on CRMAA for customer-sustenance, growth and performance improvement of their workforce in order to develop a culture of delivering high-quality customer service and client relationships. CRMAA provides its customers with custom-made CRM and CX solutions that are suitable to their needs as well as adhere to the standard best practices of the industry. They bring about quick changes by prioritizing investments, redesigning customer journeys and implementing joint customer relationship and experience strategies.

CRMA Membership

CRM allows all of its business leaders to join Customer Relationship Management Academy of Asia (CRMAA) as a positive contributor and help to catalyze the Asia Inc. through their innovation and excellence. CRMA heartily welcomes passionate people who strive to synergize the new dimensions of CRM and at the same time desire to gain the efficiencies via shareable peer knowledge.

To this effect, CRMAA offers a real-time and dynamic knowledge sharing platform, which is their significant hallmark in the niche, yet important, the segment of ‘Customer Relationship Management’. CRM offers the ‘Membership Concept’ to engage with the best minds, businesses, and brands in order to evolve a comprehensive national and global CRM policy. Any individual who wants to become a smart Customer Relationship Manager is welcome to enter CRMAA.

Certified CRMA Professionals

CRMAA’s basic objective is facilitating clients and members through an advanced level of business consultations, seminars, workshops and specially designed training programs for CRM executives. CRM nurtures an ever-expanding pool of young, experienced and skilled professionals from reputed Asian industries. The pool comprises CRM professionals from units, businesses, companies, vendors and even shareholders from different industries. CRMAA knowledge pool assists the professional development of stakeholders like members and provides support by developing the standards by ongoing evaluations and skill-building.

CRMA provides strategic guidance and advice that are suited for Business Process Management. It also helps members to design and implement tailor-made CRM modules, which are specially customized for their specific needs and which adhere to the standard best practices of the industry. In India, CRMAA isn’t among the numerous academic campuses but they comprise communities of eminent and emergent professionals that have experience, thoughts, and vision to offer.

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16/07/2016

Customer-Centric Cultures Don’t Just Happen

customer-centric-culture-in-5-steps-body-of-work

Inspiration cannot be rushed as a true romantic artist would tell you. It comes as a flash and the artist then brings it to life. In a more realistic work environment, however, one needs to work to be productive. Creating a body of work cannot depend upon a flash of inspiration. It is about discipline, hard work and problem solving. If one sits and waits for the perfect idea, it may be extremely difficult to create anything. However, constantly working and improving can result in an  impressive body of work some day.  This same theory is applicable to customer centricity as well. Customer centricity is something that never happens overnight. It needs continuous effort, work and dedication.

SEEKING RESULT: MUST LOVE PROCESS

To build a customer-centric culture at a company, one needs to have the ability to live with process and incremental improvement. Each body of work, each problem, every strategy gets you closer to he goal as well as  uncovers new projects and actions and challenges. Customer-centricity essentially requires 5 steps, which are given as follows:

1. Commit to Change
Customer-centric culture requires commitment at all levels of any business, which essentially means that every department of the business has to be prepared, and empowered, to make changes in order to enhance the customer experience. Buy-in from leadership is the crucial here. Your leadership approaches towards reviewing metrics, taking action, and supporting employees are of great significance and have the power to make or break the entire effort. In your efforts to  become more customer-centric, you might come across various ugly issues and may have to face a few harsh business realities. The right commitment and attitude towards these challenges can turn them into either dead-ends or opportunities for improvement.

2. Decide on Your Ideal Customer
Your business cannot be viewed equally to everyone. Instead of focusing on every type of customer, it makes more sense to focus on those who who consider your ideal customers. This step is important and should not be skipped on your journey to customer-centricity. To put it simply, you need to know who your best and most loyal customers are, what issues they face and how you can ensure a smoother experience for them.

3. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Gathering customer feedback through surveys, interviews, or focus groups can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. One must collect customer feedback and suggestions in various circumstances, including after key transactions at events, or when customers unsubscribe from your email list. The feedback assists you to discover the small issues as well as the more complex ones  and address them immediately.

4. Taking Action
Once you have identified the pain points in your business, the next step is to address them effectively. Issues that need immediate attention should be dealt with first. Issues that are more complex and diverse should be taken on in stages, in accordance with the flexibility of the business.

5. Smile and Repeat
To relate it to creativity, each action is a new project or a new body of work. At the start of the journey, it is easy to take actions and note the progress. But as you move ahead, the impact caused by each action may differ.

This is where Step 1 (Committing to Change) comes back into play. Customer-centric cultures are not built overnight. They require continuous time, work, and discipline.

This is not meant as a discouragement but rather as an opportunity to acknowledge your small victories, and the employees who achieved them. Because of the collective nature of culture, every accolade, every great story, and every lesson learned can be fuel to get you closer to customer centricity. And at the end of a road of focused action, one day, you may just look back and realize that you’re where you had wanted to go.

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21/07/2016

The Most Valuable Customer Experience Blogs to Read in 2016

most-valuable-customer

2016 is coming to an end and it was indeed a year where customer-centricity and customer management took the centre stage in most businesses. Many blogs and informative articles have been written on this subject. The list of  the most prolific blogs and authors that have been both useful and inspiring to readers are given as follows:

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is considered the most popular expert in customer service and experience. He is the author of the bestseller The Amazement Revolution as well as a professional speaker. He is also the founder of  The Customer Focus program. His blog, which has proved beneficial to comprehending the customer and  bettering customer services, provides readers with some personal customer relationship stories.

Win the Customer

Win the Customer is a blog written by Flavio Martins, who is the author of Win the Customer: 70 Simple Rules for Sensational Service. He is also one of Huffington Post’s Top 100 Customer Experience Leaders. He has been working in customer services for 15 years and his experience provides readers with amazing insights of the industry.

Jackie Huba

Jackie Huba has written 3 books on customer loyalty including Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics. Jackie is also a keynote speaker and a contributor to Forbes.com. Her blog mainly speaks about customer loyalty and word of mouth marketing.

Mike Wittenstein

Mike Wittenstein is a pioneer of customer experience along with several different start-ups and consulting practices under his belt. He has helped big brands like McDonald’s and Best Buy in improving their customer service. Mike’s blog is very informative and insightful, and coupled with his sharp sense of humor, it makes for an engrossing read.

Customer Bliss

Jeanne Bliss is the author of 3 books, including Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine. She is also the co-founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association. Her blog provides practical instructions and advice on how to enhance customer satisfaction.

Adrian Swinscoe

Adrian Swinscoe has been known to describe himself as a “lover of simplicity and advocate of the human touch with a bit of really useful technology thrown in.” A former economist and consultant to major corporate institutions, Adrian’s blog talks about his knowledge and ideas on customer engagement and experience.

Beyond Philosophy

Beyond Philosophy was founded by Colin Shaw. It is an informative and thought-provoking blog. Colin is a leading customer experience consultant, speaker, author and one of LinkedIn’s top 150 business influencers.

Kerry Bodine

Kerry Bodine has written Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Busines. She is also an independent customer experience consultant who is passionate about helping businesses become more customer-centric and her intense enthusiasm is visible in her interesting way of writing.

9inch Marketing

Stan Phelps created 9inch Marketing. Stan is an “experience architect” and author of the Amazon Best-SellerWhat’s Your Purple Goldfish – 12 Ways to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth. His one-of-a-kind approach to customer experience is comes through in his informative blog.

CX Journey

The author of CX Journey, Annette Franz (Gleneicki), has an impressive list of credentials to her name. She is the recipient of CXPA CX Impact Award, Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), and active member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). Annette’s expertise lies in understanding the customers’ minds and process, and her passion to deliver an unparalleled customer experience is quite evident her writing.

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01/06/2016

Customer Experience Strategies in India can no Longer be Taken Lightly

chalta-hai

We are living in times where the phrase ‘sab chalta hai’ meaning ‘anything goes’ is no longer applicable to Indian consumers as they have become smarter with more power to publicly report businesses that do not provide the requisite services or customer experience as promised. The awareness among the general public has increased manifold thanks to social media. Moreover, global brands have entered the markets and raised the standard of services, which people have now come to expect of every national brand too. The rising digital tide has engulfed the Indian customers and led them to ask for more bang for the buck, expecting superior quality service and prompt handling of any discrepancies.

customer-experience-strategy

This phenomenon was extensively studied by Forrester Research. They used their Customer Experience (CX) Index to benchmark the interactions of consumers with brands all over the country. We all know that businesses have to keep their customers happy for growth and loyalty but Forrester found that most Indian companies were struggling to deliver even average CX. This certainly has serious implication on bottom lines. Oracle found in its research that brands recognize the significant financial impact of poor customer experiences but still struggle to develop and implement successful strategies. Oracle’s research revealed that businesses often lose about 20% of revenue due to poor CX execution. The research also revealed that executives cite reasons like limitations from rigid technology, siloed organizations and systems and insufficient investment as the biggest barriers to delivering the best possible CX, which is, to be honest, just putting the blame on the tech guys.

Coming back to Forrester’s research about how CX in India is below the mark, the experiences of 17,497 metro Indian online adults showed that out of 102 brands surveyed, only 9% qualified as ‘good’, 28% received poor scores and 60% of them were classified as just ‘OKAY’. Splitting the brands vertically, credit card providers seemed to lead the way, followed by banking and insurance which showed mediocre scores. Mobile device and PC manufacturers, however, showed signs of hope and were ranked second and fourth respectively. Telecom providers definitely need to put in more effort with respect to meeting customer expectations. The three big sectors namely TV, wireless and Internet brands in all three categories struggled to deliver successful and positive experiences.

Forrester did a deeper study into how the successful brands implemented different strategies when it comes to CX. They listed out some key points for success in India which are summarized below:

Retail banks must provide faster responses to digital disruption: While acquiring customers is a priority for Indian banks, going the extra mile to provide a superior CX does not appear to be that high up on their priority list. Forrester says that banks like HDFC that are embracing the mobile mind-shift by making cross-channel value propositions which are easier to navigate and access and which take into account more sophisticated digital users will benefit from the support of increasingly savvy customers.

Traditional and digital-only retailers must reduce, simplify and control their offerings: Several brands in Forrester’s survey stood out in the CX Index because of the ease with which customers derive value from them. “The webs of intermediaries and distributors in the industry negatively affect the CX scores of firms, rendering them unable to control the experience throughout the customer life cycle. The degradation of CX quality between manufacturer and third-party or small retailer is more pronounced in India, where varying standards of quality muddy the supply chain,” finds Forrester.

In India, it is a good idea to target emotion: With respect to CX, effectiveness and ease are both essential but not enough to emerge as winners. Forrester reveals that the emotions that an experience elicits significantly influences loyalty. In its survey Forrester saw that huge revenue, customer acquisition, and customer retention opportunities await Indian companies that not only get the basic things right but can also comprehend and respond to the emotional side of their customers.

There’s a big room for improvement for brands that are leaders in CX leaders as well. Brands must first meet the basic needs of customers before moving on to loyalty programs. Forrester advises companies to map their customer journey in order to understand where the clash occurs before moving on to creating loyalty programs. Forrester also advises searching across industries for CX improvement inspiration. Taking note of experiences outside the current industry, for example, banking taking pointers from hospitality or insurance taking notes from the aviation industry can go a long way in making a company stand out from its industry peers.

All these factors coupled with an emotional strategy is sure to create the way to successful CX strategies.

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Innovating Customer Experience through Sensory Engagement

sense

Customer experience has nowadays become the chief differentiator among competing businesses. Many companies have therefore started to adopt design principles that engage all the five senses of the customer, thus delivering a ‘gestalt’ experience. The significant part played by the human senses in influencing customer experience was determined in a research conducted recently. This particular area of research is also known as the study of ‘embodies cognitions’ or marketing based on senses. This kind of study-based marketing is becoming more popular as it influences how businesses go about understanding their customers at an intimate level that not only helps drive business but also results in acquisition and retention of customers. Moreover, it creates a sense of loyalty among customers that has long-term benefits on revenue and profitability. To put it simply, what this means is that as businesses develop their customer journey strategies in the digital environment, key ‘sensory’ design principles should be made an integral part of the blue print.

Every point of contact with the brand presents businesses with opportunities to influence the behavior of customers. The contact can be on a website, in a store, during a telephone conversation in a call center, or even while using a product of the brand. This approach allows the communication to be taken to a whole new level where it appeals to the deep subconscious elements of human minds. Most importantly, it offers amazing opportunities to impact the way customers think, feel and act at the point of experience. These sensory engagements must be carried out as a part of ‘after purchase engagement’ too. To create better perceptions of products and services, marketers have been experimenting by appealing to the five human senses in creative, interesting and surprising ways.

Chuck Jones1, Chief Design and R&D officer at Rubbermaid, says that they pay close to the ‘hand’ or ‘feel’ of packaging material for their pens, the sounds of the paper unfolding, and the way the package opens as an unveiling (and extremely pleasant) mystery. Even a potato chip has the properties of sound (crunching), taste, smell, sight (packaging) and touch (Krishna2). Creating an ambiance of sensory engagement is crucial for staging positive experiences. Even in a digital web journey, a sense of ‘taste’ can be developed by using the right language and visuals. As an example, let us consider the florists who do their business online. They can create emotionally powerful connections with their users by marketing their products with words like ‘vibrant colours’, ‘delightful fragrances’ instead of cliches like ‘beautiful flowers.’ Even supermarkets nowadays have introduced smell in their stores to drive more sales, for example, the scent in Nike stores has increased the propensity to spend. The colour theme, space configurations and furniture decor in the Cleveland Metropolitan Library has created more visitors and readers. Williams and Ackerman3 gives us strong evidence of the value of this sensory strategy. Bed Bath & Beyond too designs customers’ journeys to experience their way through curtains, linens, and other home furnishings, thereby creating a homely atmosphere of familiarity. Whole Foods is another company that is highlighting organic feel by offering taste stations all over their outlets. Touching and tasting food products builds a sense of trust in customers.

The evidence is quite compelling and indicates that creating or developing a memorable experience through engagement of the senses is an innovative strategy, which professionals should adopt to enhance customer experience. Pirch is an example of a company that has taken the purchase of kitchen and bath products to an entirely different sensory level, which appeals to all the sensory touch points. These examples all highlight the importance of design thinking. Kolko4 states that applying these principles that embody the maximum number of senses would lead to a responsive and flexible customer-centric organization culture. Creating a customer-centric culture is the top most priority for an engaged organization.

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Things to Learn from Uber’s Superior Customer Experience

uber

In a very short time, Uber has become a household name. The American ride-hailing app was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009. It is currently available in more than 60 countries and 350 cities globally and is valued at a whopping $62.5 billion, which surpasses other giants like GM and Ford. This rapid ascent of Uber can be attributed to the company’s focus on customer experience. Although the technology used by Uber is superior and excellent, its their customer-centric approach that has made it so popular. Uber continuously enhances its customer experience thereby fostering loyalty and satisfaction among its users. A few things Uber has done right to achieve this are summarized as follows:

Acting on Customer Need

Most of us have faced distressing situations when we had to rush somewhere and there were no cabs to be found. On many occasions cab drivers refuse to take passengers. Sometimes the cab rides turn out to be painfully unsatisfactory with rude drivers and badly maintained, dirty cabs. Some dishonest cabbies would often take longer routes and also create problems about tendering exact change. Uber took into account all these customer grievances and created a product that effectively resolved all these issues.

Maximizing Technology

Anyone who has seen the Uber app knows that it’s different and better than others. Its superior technology makes it very convenient for customers to book cabs and set their pick-up locations. The app also tracks the arrival of the cab in terms of distance and time. The details of the drivers are also provided including their image. Further it allows the driver and passenger to communicate via a secure network, keeping their contact details confidential. Passengers can also inform their friends and family about their location and their route through the app.

Empowering Employees

Uber has a great feature of taking a two-way feedback. Not only are customers asked to rate the drivers, the drivers are also asked to rate their customers. For an unruly customer, a low rating may be provided by the driver, which could result in the customer not getting a ride in the future. This ensures that customers understand the impact of their behaviour and allows Uber to work with only the best customers. This feature makes the Uber partners feel valued and empowered and ensures that both have a first-class riding experience. Uber also allows its drivers-partners to be flexible with their hours thus enabling a great work-life balance.

Giving Importance to Feedback

Not only does Uber take a two-way feedback, it also acts on it appropriately. A driver with a rating less than 4.6 can face grave consequences like losing his account. Uber itself suggests ways to partners to get higher ratings by doing various things like keeping the cab clean, being properly dressed, offering to carry bags etc.

Innovating Continuously

Uber constantly keeps innovating and adding new, better features to its app. It provides users with different riding options like Uber Economy, Uber Business and Uber Carpool that cater to different customers. For example, UberEVENTS allows event organizers and party planners to purchase guest passes for their event attendees.

Giving Importance to Little Things

Uber stands out in taking care of trivial things that further enhance a customer’s experience. From pickup to drop off, every Uber trip is insured. It protects riders, drivers, and even people on the road. Further, any call made to the driver for getting information about location or route is never charged.

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2016: Customer Experience at its Peak

customer-experience

In our current digital age, as we experience the rapid evolution of technological advancements, we are compelled to bring in innovations more frequently than ever before.

Our focus should not only be on providing the best customer experience but also on improving our services and products to make the lives of our customer better. The best way to achieve this is to see, listen and think like a customer does.

Although customer focus is of utmost priority, the real game-changer in the coming year would be the convergence of data, marketing, service, technology, and experience.

It must be kept in mind, however, that no customer interaction, whether marketing or otherwise, should be carried out as an isolated system because every aspect of customer experience is interconnected. The aim should be to think and operate like customers would do. Marketing strategies that embrace this philosophy are bound to succeed today and even in the future.

The industry is transforming at a great speed. A few things to keep in mind that will allow one to adapt accordingly to Katy Keim guest post: The Customer Experience of 2016 Year

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