Computerized methods necessary to improve customer service [Archives:2006/1011/Business & Economy]

December 28 2006

By: Iskander Saeed
Although customer service is a well-established concept in business, little is implemented in that regards in the Yemeni business environment. Customers are always complaining that businesses do not keep up their promises once the sale is through in terms of warranty, after sale service, and availability of spare parts. This issue matters the most when customers purchase durable goods for which these expectations are far higher.

Several brands and retailers have terrible customer service to the extent that they have risked their reputation and created bad publicity. It is true that Yemen is an underdeveloped market and with mostly immature business practices. However, proper customer service can be an opportunity for growth and excellence in business, adding a competitive advantage and increasing customer loyalty among other benefits.

Good customer service can be one of the hardest business skills to master. Therefore, technological solutions have been developed in order to ease this process and enhance its efficiency. On top of those solutions stands CRM software packages.

An acronym for Customer Relationship Management, CRM is an industry term for software solutions that help enterprise businesses manage customer relationships in an organized way. An example of a CRM would be a database containing detailed customer information that management and salespeople can reference in order to match customer needs with products, inform customers of service requirements, and so on. This will help maximize customer retention and churn reduction.

But the business should define the business's needs carefully to get a positive impact of CRM on your business. So, to get the full benefit of CRM, the company should develop data warehousing and business intelligence tools to support CRM and retention strategies.

CRM applications often track customer interests and requirements, as well as their buying habits. This information can be used to target customers selectively. Furthermore, the products a customer has purchased can be tracked throughout the product's life cycle, providing enterprises with information on alternative products for the customers once a product begins to be phased out.

Many enterprises outside Yemen, especially the private ones in the region, have made progress as result of applying CRM because they determined what they needed to achieve, which comes from a deeper understanding of customers and their individual needs. CRM is an alternative to the “one size fits all” approach. In industrial markets, the technology can be used to coordinate the conflicting and changing purchase criteria of the sector.

Benefits of CRM:

CRM saves time, effort and money. CRM is a computerized system with the objective of producing valuable information as inputs for business decisions, such as changing the product line or introducing net products, holding promotions, boosting sales, and monitoring trends of sales as well as the repeat purchase of customers.

The business applications of CRM are numerous, ranging from risk reduction and taking calculated risks to integrating sales and marketing strategies as well as identifying potential problems before they occur. For example if a defected product was found, then the company can call back all such products for repairs without allowing customers to discover the deficiency and then file a complaint. In summary, CRM benefits can be measured and quantified if we are using CRM applications to increase the revenue by reducing operation costs, increasing profitability as a result of enhanced marketing intelligence, attracting new customers, closing sales faster and quicker, and responses to customer leads and customer information more efficiently.

Mr. Iskander Saeed Qaid is a Billing & Streamserv Expert administering Information Technology at Sabafon Telecommunications. He can be reached at:

[email protected].