How to gain business insight with CRM (Customer Relation Management) Analytics

Which are the customers most likely to do repeat purchases?

Which are the customers least likely to do repeat purchases?

Which customers lead to the most profits over a given period?

How likely is a customer or customer segment to buy a product similar to one already purchased?

“Customer is king”, is a well known mantra that has defined the trajectory of a business. Understanding customers and relationship building has become core to any business operation today, for basic survival. Enter the concept of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that concentrates on the customer as the core of business operations. However, as businesses grow, the value derived from CRM is often diluted within the scalability and usability of business operations. The trend today is instant or speedy access to customer insights, to interpret and act upon.

In a cut-throat retail environment, where every tool is tapped to gain more customers, maintain customer loyalty, increase profits and expand operations, analytics is leveraged to mine and process customer information for decisive action. Where retailing is not just about a competitive edge, but also survival – as economic instability, increased competition and hard-to-please customers, applying the right analytics tool is also critical to decision-making.

So how do you define CRM analytics?

“Customer relationship management (CRM) analytics collect, organize and synthesize consumer data captured across the organization to help healthcare payers solve customer-facing business problems through reporting tools, dashboards, portals and other methods. It encompasses three critical business processes — marketing, sales and customer service — and pulls data from many sources to make it available to multiple users across a payer organization.”  –  From Gartner.

Webopedia describes CRM analytics as an automated processing (like OLAP) of customer data in order to make better business decisions. This includes exploiting behavioral data to identify customer segments and markets (for  direct marketing), predicate analysis, or to steer future product and services offered.

“Customer analytics is considered to be a type of OLAP (Online Analytical Processing), a category of software tools that provides analysis of data stored in a database. It is also an important element of a CRM system.”

Benefits of applying CRM analytics

  • Customer segmentation
  • Evaluation f customer behaviour or patterns
  • Profitable customer identification
  • Supports direct marketing programmes
  • Leverages historical data for future decisions
  • Leads to improved and productive customer relations
  • Enables improved sales and services
  • Facilitates course corrections;  pricing, inventorying and marketing plans
  • Predictive Modeling supports better forecast of customer response
  • Improved supply chain management
  • Analyse market trends

 

How the analytics professional can help the retailer apply CRM analytics?

Development of a CRM strategy best suited to the needs and problems of the retailer is critical to every retail business. Here the role of an analytics professional is that of helping the retailer devise an optimal CRM strategy with a built-in analytics platform.

So he needs to look at the following:

  1. implement CRM analytics tool  in basic software or as a dedicated software installation as per the retailer’s requirements.
  2. determine metrics  to be used  – customer retention time, loyalty cycle, cost incurred/customer, track customer value
  3. synergise the unstructured data with structured data within an automated process
  4. conduct CRM benchmarking to determine level of performance with respect to other similar sized retail operations in the industry
  5. explore possibilities of new channels as in SMAC  and Cloud BI (Salesforce)
  6. enable a view of the bigger picture and potential ROI for directing investments in CRM analytics

India case study:

Tata Motors uses an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—Dealer Management System (DMS) from Oracle, that covers 1400 locations in India and abroad. The integrated on-line CRM-DMS initiative supports over 20,000 users, both within the company and among its channel partners / dealers  to get closer to customers. This allows access of up-to-date customer and vehicle information, and enables to improve response time and customer service.

At the end, a retail business needs to optimise its CRM software investment to first, survive competition, then move on to the next levels of increased profits and expansions, using greater efficiencies, productive marketing campaigns and increased sales revenue.

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