Industry Research : South African Businesses Lack Holistic View of Customers
Most organisations in SA do not have a holistic view of their customers. Companies are very silo-driven, which in turn makes cross-sell, up-sell and down-sell not difficult, but almost impossible.
So says Wynand Roos, solution manager: customer relationship management (CRM) at SAP, who notes that most local organisations spend millions of rands on advertising and business development managers to attract new prospects and customers.
However, he says: "Their contact centres, self-service capabilities and service staff are locked in the dungeons being forced to use old, outdated technology."
He also notes that most local organisations have not yet adopted customer data as a business asset, and they are not mining the existing customers for new opportunities or putting customer service top of their corporate cultures.
In order to gain more insight on the use of CRM solutions within organisations, ITWeb, in partnership with SAP, today opened the CRM Survey, set to run for two weeks.
"As SAP, we would like to ascertain if organisations leverage a holistic CRM approach, including multi-channel management and social media, or if organisations are more oriented towards 'piecemeal' solutions to address business objectives," Roos notes.
According to Roos, CRM is the latest buzzword in the industry, as businesses aim to serve customers through the channel of their choice – Web, mobile, contact centre, face-to-face, social media, etc – while maintaining profitability and growth.
He adds that it has become important for organisations to extend their reach in the global marketplace by leveraging e-commerce platforms and retaining customers through the use of real-time decision-making technology.
"With the focus on a positive future economic climate, it is essential for organisations to utilise the current timeframe to address operational inefficiencies and enhance processes focused on customer service," Roos says.
Describing the benefits of an effective CRM solution, Roos points to an increase in profitability and the ability to retain and over-service existing customers, as well as effectively attaining new customers.
He also stresses that there are many CRM solutions offering similar functionality, but the real value lies in a solution that integrates directly into an organisation's existing enterprise resource planning system.
"This provides the organisation with a genuine 360-degree view of the customer, including not only sales, service and marketing activities, but also order or delivery history and status, stock availability, credit checks, and account balances. Imagine that kind of information available instantly to your customer-facing employees and provided to customers during an interaction?"
Roos also believes that mobile and social media should not be seen as "new, unknown territories", but merely an extension of organisations' existing interaction channels, like contact centres or face-to-face sales staff.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, August 13, 2012