Affinityworks Marketing and Customer Management Services


What they said...

"Affinityworks carried out ... strategic review of 2 of our core brand websites... extremely useful... integrated into broader, off-line marketing activity."

Whyte and Mackay

+44 (0)1721 730 240


CRM: over-hyped and over here, or a force for income and efficiency?

We can probably all think of terms such as 121 marketing and customer-centric management. The labels are many and various but they tend to originate from 'Customer Relationship Management' or CRM. Despite the different titles, CRM has one clear objective: to build profitability through long-term customer loyalty.

Should we care about CRM? Yes - because it's a given that products and services are of the highest quality. Customers expect the best, and if one business doesn't meet those requirements, switching to another is just a click away. It's vital for companies to ensure that their clients feel they are valued, so the difference must be made by developing relationships with them.

Does CRM really make a difference? There are many stories about project failures, and a common theme is that technology has often run ahead of other components required to deliver telling customer management. Successful implementations exhibit four key areas:

The balance might differ between companies, but the best application occurs where each component has been thoroughly reviewed and integrated into the overall pattern.

Even if the mix is carefully constructed, a business must know that the overall approach is working. We emphasise 3 broad measures to check progress:

Income Sales revenue reporting - new business, cross-sell, up-sell
Efficiency Return on marketing and customer service spend
Goodwill Service standards, complaints, customer retention, advocacy

There are overlaps between the three measures, demonstrating the importance of monitoring each alongside the other in a CRM initiative.

So, what are the practical developments that lead to greater income and cost control? Here's a snapshot:

Customer strategy
High-level commitment
Communication and leadership
People organised around strategy, processes & technology, supported by training
Access to information at customer touch-points, supporting service commitments
Monitoring & managing all CRM processes
Collection & application of customer information (profile, transactions, contact)
Communicating offers to most receptive audience
Using most efficient communication channels
Accurate campaign & client coding
Relevant tracking of marketing results, service & customer feedback

Investment and support for:

  • Customer database requirements
  • Analysis
  • Communication
  • Service
  • Measurement

Where the balance is found, attention to the right customers with the right offers, at the right time, in the right place and with the right service will give them every reason to stay with your business, generating enhanced income and greater efficiency.

Simon Trevor, Ross Macleod

Simon Trevor and Ross Macleod are partners in Affinityworks, a consultancy specialising in strategic CRM development.