Technology advances, especially the internet, have not only brought an evolution in the way customer relationship management (CRM) is conducted, but it has also heightened the need for CRM. Through the internet, companies are able to customize their customer’s shopping experience, predict their buying behaviours, attract customers and build lasting relationships (Chen & Popovich, 2003). With the internet, organizations are able to obtain accurate and faster information and respond to customers, hence responding to customers appropriately. It also enables ‘sense and respond’ communications using web-based messages or personalized emails by determining customer preferences from data collected and customer profiles.
Electronic CRM is seen as the proverbial double edged sword (Kennedy, 2006). It has given companies the options of using the digital platform to manage customer relations. This also involved use of mobile channels like SMS where automated and customized messages are sent to customers directly. Additionally Kennedy (2006) argues that use of other web-based applications to engage with customers and serve their needs on a continual basis. E-CRM also involves customer advocacy using techniques like Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Social CRM has taken over CRM. Companies are integrating microsites and links to social sites in company’s websites. Social marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter are used to keep conversations going, answering customers’ questions, gather information and create online communities (Malthouse et al, 2013). Companies have to keep customers talking, engaged and interacting with each other. Customer communities on the internet have created more benefits to CRM since they share brand experiences and influence each other towards customer loyalty.
Chen, IJ & Popovich, K 2003, ‘Understanding customer relationship management (CRM): people process and technology’, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 9, No. 5. Pp. 672-688.
Kennedy, A 2006, ‘Electronic customer relationship management (eCRM): opportunities and challenges in the digital world’, Irish Marketing Review, Vol. 18, No. 1&2, pp. 58-68
Malthouse, EC, Haenlein, M, Skiera, B, Wege, E & Zhang, M 2013, ‘Managing customer relationships in the social media era: introducing the social CRM house’ Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 27, pp. 270-280.