Relationship marketing is based on the tenets of customer experience management (CEM), which focuses on improving customer interactions to foster better brand loyalty. First let’s discuss the needs of relationship marketing, followed by its success factors and then the types of relationship marketing.
The idea of relationship marketing is that it helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behavior of customers and the value of those customers. With an effective relationship marketing strategy, a business can increase revenues by:
- Providing products and services that are exactly what your customers want
- Offering better customer service
- Cross selling products more effectively
- Helping sales staff close deals faster
- Retaining existing customers and discovering new ones
- Make call centers more efficient
- Simplify marketing and sales processes
For small businesses, Relationship marketing includes:
- Relationship marketing processes that help identify and target their best customers, generate quality sales leads, and plan and implement marketing campaigns with clear goals and objectives.
- Relationship marketing processes that help form individualized relationships with customers (to improve customer satisfaction) and provide the highest level of customer service to the most profitable customers.
- Relationship marketing processes that provide employees with the information they need to know their customers’ wants and needs, and build relationships between the company and its customers.
Keys of relationship marketing
Relationship marketing can be broken down into a number of different components which many software vendors have developed packages for. For the most part, there are three areas which are core to successful customer relationship marketing:
- Customer Service
- Sales Force Automation
- Campaign marketing.
Customer Service – The customer service function in company represents the front office functions that interact with the customers. These are the business processes that allow your company to sell products and services to customers, communicate with customers with regards to marketing and dealing with the after sales service requirements of customers. Each interaction with the customer is recorded and stored within the RM software where it can be retrieved by other employees if needed.
Sales Force Automation – Company’s sales department is constantly looking for sales opportunities with existing and new customers. The sales force automation functionality of the RM software allows the sales teams to record each contact with customers, the details of the contact and follow up if required. This can provide a sales force with greater efficiency as there is little chance for duplication of effort. The ability for employees outside of the sales team to have access to this data ensures that they have the most recent contact information with customers. This is important when customers contact employees outside of the sales team so that customers are given the best level of customer service.
Campaign Management – The sales team approach prospective customers in the hope of winning new business. The approach taken by the sales team is often focused in a campaign, where a group of specific customers are targeted based on a set of criteria. These customers will receive targeted marketing materials and often special pricing or terms are offered as an inducement. RM software is used to record the campaign details, customer responses and analysis performed as part of the campaign.
Types of RM
- Operational RM
- Analytical RM
- Collaborative RM
It is a subset of RM focusing on the direct interactions of the customer with the company, with a view to keeping the customer satisfied and happy, thus helping the companies grow. The main importance of a RM system lies on how the selling, marketing and service oriented processes are automated. There are two main methods by which a customer can have direct interactions with the company:
- Face-to-face personal interactions
- Interactions with any websites or call centers (or other means of communication between the customer and the company)
The role of analytical RM systems is to analyze customer data collected through multiple sources, and present it so that business managers can make more informed decisions. Analytical RM systems use techniques such as data mining, correlation, and pattern recognition to analyze the customer data. These analytics help improve customer service by finding small problems which can be solved, perhaps, by marketing to different parts of a consumer audience differently. For example, through the analysis of a customer base’s buying behavior, a company might see that this customer base has not been buying a lot of products recently. After scanning through this data, the company might think to market to this subset of consumers differently, in order to best communicate how this company’s products might benefit this group specifically.
Features of analytical RM:
- Seizing all the relevant and essential information of customers from various channels and sources and collaboratively integrating and inheriting all this data into a central repository knowledge base with a overall organization view.
- Determining, developing and analyzing inclusive set of rules and analytical methods to scale and optimize relationship with customers by analyzing and resolving all the questions which are suitable for business.
- Implementing or deploying the results to enhance the efficiency of RM system and processes, improve relationship and interaction with customers and the actual business planning with customers.
- Combine and integrate the values of customers with strategic business management of organization and value of stakeholders.
The third primary aim of RM systems is to incorporate external stakeholders such as suppliers, vendors, and distributors, and share customer information across organizations. For example, feedback can be collected from technical support call, which could help provide direction for marketing products and services to that particular customer in the future.
COLLABORATIVE RM IDENTIFIED BY TWO ASPECTS:
- Interaction Management– This management process deals with designing the communication or interaction channel process within an organization which is specific to customer interaction and finally enhancing the extent of communication between both the parties.
- Channel Management– After analyzing and implementing the interaction medium it’s important to enhance the power of channels through which the customers are interacted. By using latest technological aspects for improving channel interaction could help to contact customers in an efficient way and gather information from them to help organization to understand the customers.
ADVANTAGES OF COLLABORATIVE RM:
- Enables valued customer interaction across the channels.
- Entangles web or online collaboration to cut down service cost of customers.
- Integrates customer interaction with call centers to enable multi-channel interaction with customers and helps them make understand the overall process vales.