e-CRM: Putting the customer first
Aim of report
The aim of this EPS Briefing Report is to provide an overview of Electronic Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM), by:
- highlighting its functionalities and benefits;
- identifying types of e-CRM player;
- explaining current market trends;
- discussing the issues relevant to content owners.
A July 2001 survey of 52 UK publishers by technology consultancy HarperKay showed that CRM emerged as the business application which most interested publishers.
Along with content management and digital rights management, CRM is emerging as an important technology for many media companies as a way to maximise existing business models, create new revenue streams and achieve new growth in existing markets. An e-CRM strategy working in tandem with DRM and content management systems can be used to fully exploit existing content assets and ensure the smooth flow of information across all business lines within an enterprise.
For the purposes of this report, Electronic Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM) can be defined as the element of CRM that focuses on new digital channels of communication (web and wireless), and uses the web to create a ?holistic? approach to internal and external communication.
?The standard definition of e-CRM is that it is about the three ?e?s of customer relationship management: electronic, enterprise and extended. The real scope of e-CRM however, is really much bigger: it is about how it can interact with every part of your business supply chain and how it integrates with internal business processes, as well as customers and outside partners?
Robert Brown, Senior Business Development Director, Oracle
E-CRM is forecast to become of increasing importance as companies move to deliver their services, information and transactional facilities via online and wireless platforms, in addition to traditional telephone, face-to-face and print channels. The focus on maximising content assets and customer relationships is driving many content companies to implement content management and digital rights systems. A CRM environment is a natural extension of this strategy.
The roots of e-CRM
In order to fully appreciate the role of e-CRM, it is necessary to understand CRM, a term used to describe a group of technologies which were first developed in the mid-1990s. CRM evolved from computer telephony integration (CTI), a technology that links an incoming customer call with personal information about that individual on a PC.
With the advent of the internet, businesses are increasingly using web and wireless communication channels to sell products and keep in touch with their customers. This creates a need to manage and integrate customer relationship handling across all platforms. E-CRM systems use the internet as the connecting element, enabling the smooth and efficient internal transfer of data and information.
E-CRM differs from CRM in three important ways:
- It includes e-mail, web and wireless channels;
- It is enterprise-ready rather than focused on departments or ?silos? like call centres;
- It extends to cover partner channels (such as extranets).
There are two distinct characteristics of e-CRM channels:
- They are the most economic customer interaction channels, as the human element germane to face-to-face, telephone and even faxed communications is minimal;
- While the cost implications are lessened, there is no step-down in interactivity: customers have the opportunity to respond to e-mails, they can participate in web chat, or fill out a web form to invoke a phone call. With the mobile phone, customers can respond to SMS messages or use WAP services to place orders, and this is also the case with digital interactive television?
Vladimir Dimitroff, Senior Consultant, Peppers and Rogers Group, Europe<