The integration, methodologies and procedures required to create a truly customer-centric eCRM solution are staggering. Such a solution usually requires integrating, testing and maintaining technologies from between seven and ten vendors, including:
- CTI middleware for resource tracking and integrating messaging between access channels (VRU, ACD, email etc.)
- Web interaction, personalization and self-help software for collection and synthesis of a customer's interests, preferences and patterns on your web channels
- An operational customer data repository to store customer-contact events, contact history, preferences, value and current situation across all channels, products and divisions. This provides a single operational view of the customer to direct interactions and allocate contacts based on a customer's preferences, value, situation and historical interaction activity.
- A soft data-based rules engine to route contacts across channels and prescribe actions to deploy. Actions might include: the script to play, web page to display, product to cross-sell or pricing plan to offer
- Data-mining tools to examine the customer-data repository for customer segments and trends in buying patterns, script response and behavior after offers, automated replies and direct interactions
- A data-based workflow/CRM package for process execution, case management, follow-up and fulfillment
- Reporting tools to provide feedback on the success of targeted campaigns, customer segments, and customized rules and interaction strategies
- Rules engines for targeted up-sell and cross-sell
- Communications services to databases, legacy systems and the channels themselves
- Channel infrastructure and enablers such as email, call center, web application servers and network, etc.
Once fully deployed, the business benefits of a complete, true eCRM solution are phenomenal. Product managers and marketers begin to experiment with new customer target segments, new scripts, offers, web pages and email responses. You can quickly change business actions and scripts to targeted customer segments - coupled with a short reporting cycle to create an unprecedented environment that truly responds to and interacts with customers. You can cross-sell based on a customer's needs - not on the product or script "du Jour." Complex contacts spanning web, email and call center channels will be tracked in context, eliminating the need for the customer to explain a problem time and again. And these are just a few examples.
Greg Stack is a senior vice president and co-founder of eLoyalty, formerly Technology Solutions Company's Enterprise Customer Management practice.