One of the problems with CRM solutions is the time and money they take to set up. By now, you
should realize that it isn't the easiest thing in the world to implement a real CRM solution. It
takes real work and real effort, with project leaders and teams, with someone high in your
organization leading the charge to CRM.
Is there an easier way?
Is there a way that the CRM solution could be implemented as a service to your company, so that you turn it on and it starts to work?
Well, yes, and it's an option that you might want to investigate if you have specific needs in the CRM field, and want to get a solution up and running now, not a year from now.
Using an Application Service Provider (ASP) model, companies can launch an intuitive, Web-interfaced CRM solution to address targeted audiences (shareholders, employees, media contacts, business partners), short-term demands (product recalls, mergers/acquisitions, special offers, employee benefit changes), and other needs that often fall outside the scope of an enterprise CRM solution--in a matter of 48 hours.
ASPs can provide quality customer experiences for a fraction of in-house CRM costs, now ranging upward from $10 per touch, according to Brian Hoover, President and founder of TouchScape (www.touchscape.com), a Web-hosted CRM service. And his company provides a "hands-off" experience for your company. "When customers, investors, or employees
TouchScape captures and stores customer data for use in profiling, targeting, and segmenting customers directly or through resellers. And you pay only for what you use: $1.00 per interaction.
"In contrast to traditional customer service models that treat customer contacts as a business cost to be eliminated or reduced, a Web-based CRM model is so cost-effective that companies can encourage customer contact to build relationships and ultimately customer value," Hoover said.
Only you can determine if an ASP is a possible part of your CRM program. For some companies, it is the solution of choice.
Linda Christie is a contributing editor based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This was first published in September 2000