Month: May 2012

Guest Post : AmEXperience

There are three organizations I can happily write books on: American Express, Nordstrom and Apple. Amex first.

I started using American Express (Amex) credit card in 2002 and since then, their services have always made my experience better. But there are few instances that are worth sharing.

Episode 1: I purchased an Apple mouse with Amex for $69. The mouse had a warranty period of 1 year and it worked absolutely fine for an year-and-a-half, but after some time, it stopped working. So, I decided that I will pick up a new one. While billing, the person on the counter asked me whether I had already purchased an Apple mouse with Amex. As, I told him that I purchased my first Apple mouse around one and a half year back using American Express card, the person asked me to call Amex’s customer service.

I was confused thinking that how would Amex help me with this, but still went ahead and called them. To my surprise, Amex heard that my mouse died within an year after the manufacturer’s warranty died. Amex said “Sorry for the trouble” (huh?) and paid $69 for my new Apple mouse. Why did Amex pay? Amex adds to the manufacturer’s warranty period by 1 year and that actually enhanced my experience with them. This encouraged me to start using American Express for every single purchase.

Episode 2: Circa 2008, I went on a trip to the United States and purchased a computer for $1200.00. On the total price, there was 1% cash back, which I was supposed to receive, but by that time I had returned back to India. Amex found out my address inIndia and mailed me a $12.00 cheque, which I still have. Momento, I think.

Episode 3: Of all, this is what I savor. I wanted to purchase a motoscooter from a dealer in India; I was told that there would be a 2% transaction fee on MRP (Maximum Retail Price), which seemed dissatisfactory to me. So, I called Amex. A couple of weeks later, I received a phone call from the same dealer. At the top of his voice, he called names at me for complaining about his business practice to Amex. Apparently, it ain’t exactly legal to charge x% on MRP and Amex is stringent; it had initiated action against the dealer. (x% on negotiated price is common, but that couldn’t be charged on MRP.)

Though I had to weigh if the called ‘names’ were appropriate, Amex springing in on my behalf gives me immense pleasure. Isn’t that what every customer is looking for, with the organization that provides him service?


A commoner. ‘A fool’, my parents say; ‘a simpleton’, my wife says. Proud father of two wonderful kids, humble husband of one super woman. I tell stories for a living at Effect Works, while my extended family thinks that am on twitter 24×7. Write to me on twitter (@rgokul), easy to catch me there.

Client Feedback On CRMIT’s CRM++ Quote Management Solution & Implementation Services

Great news! We are very happy to share the client Feedback from one of our recent Oracle CRM On Demand #CRMOD implementations, where we deployed our CRM++ Quote Management Solution. This client is a famous producer of diagnostic and life supporting devices, with operations all over the globe.

CRMIT team did a very good job and exceeded our expectations on several parameters. Overall we found them very skilled and responsive, which makes it a pleasure to work with CRMIT.

Some people are sceptic when it comes to oursourcing to Asia, but we would certainly choose CRMIT again for this kind of job.

We look forward to working with CRMIT on projects like these again and would at any time recommend CRMIT to other companies.

Excellent Job, Team CRMIT. Keep going!

CRMIT implements Oracle Fusion CRM

CRMIT, one of the largest Saas CRM implementation specialists has chosen Oracle Fusion CRM for its global sales operations.

Fusion CRM is Oracle’s newest customer relationship management solution, with an industry standard, futuristic architecture, a master tool that will facilitate in effectively managing the lifecycle of opportunities end-to-end.

CRMIT’s sales team will be using Oracle Fusion CRM from multiple channels such as PC, mobile devices etc., and will also draw on its social CRM integration to collaborate better with internal and external audience. This will be deployed on highly secure public cloud provided by Oracle.

We spoke to some of CRMIT’s senior team members to understand their viewpoints on this implementation. Here are some snippets from these interviews:

Why Oracle Fusion CRM, when there are many competitors promising similar solutions?

Oracle Fusion CRM’s important differentiators are, its industry standards based extensibility capabilities, deployment options (On Cloud + On Premise) and User Experience. Moreover, CRMIT wanted to automate its entire customer experience management life cycle using industry standard cloud based platform. Fusion CRM has become our first choice because of the

  1. Complete CRM functionality and its roadmap towards Customer Experience solutions
  2. Built in Business Intelligence and Industry standard extensibility capabilities

– Vinod Reddy, Managing Director, CRMIT

How Fusion CRM can benefit CRMIT’s Sales Organization?

“CRMIT’s sales organization is focusing on generating high quality leads that can convert into sales revenue for us. Our goal is also to increase the team’s productivity and also provide effective view of critical sales data for better decision making. We also need to address our positioning and positioning from the Relationship dimension.  Alongside this, we also have specific requirements in relates to Territory Management and Incentive Compensation. Fusion CRM we believe is the roadmap ahead to address these essentials for our team”

– Rakesh Naidu, Sales Director, CRMIT

What are the Top 3 Reasons for Choosing Fusion CRM?

There are many reasons, let me address the most important three:

1. Oracle Fusion CRM is the most futuristic architecture I have ever seen!

2. All Fusion apps are built keeping CEM (Customer Experience Management) in mind, which means they are easy to use, effective and efficient in terms of functionality

3. This new technology is built using standards, Means, it remains flexible, and can be extended to suit any of our current and future requirements. This is going to be a lot easier than proprietary technologies

– Naga Chokkanathan, Senior Director, CRMIT

Market Segmentation & Mass Emailing

In the last few months, I observe that Email Newsletters from Indian Brands are improving a lot, in terms of design / look and feel / quality of content etc.,

However, these mails are not targeted right / smart. Most of them (even the biggest brands) still treat this as a pure, high power Mass Emailing system, with zero brains. They want to mail couple of million people, and hope that even a slim hit rate will give them huge business returns.

This may be true, but the fact is, they don’t seem to understand / appreciate what they are missing. Mass Emailing is much more powerful when combined with smart market segmentation.

For example, let us say I need a rare book on history, which is out of print. The only way I can read it is, by borrowing it from a library or an individual.

Approach 1:

I have 250 people in my Personal EMail Contacts List, one of them may have this book, Why not send a mail to all those and ask? It doesn’t hurt, and doesn’t cost a dime.

Approach 2:

Out of these 250 people, only 20 people are interested in reading history books. Let me send a mail to only those 20 people

As far as I am concerned, Approach 2 is much harder than Approach 1, because I need to manually hand pick those who are history buffs. But when I do that, I am writing only 20 mails instead of 250, and, my chances of success are much higher.

But does it really matter? Emails cost $0. Why invest that extra time in hand picking 20 people out of 250? Just blast a mail to everyone and see if someone responds.

This is exactly what many brands are doing, even today. Let me illustrate a good example from my own personal experience.

Recently, my bank started sending “Net Banking Basics” kind of educational newsletters. They have wonderful graphics and text to each ABCs of Net banking to customers. Nice initiative.

But guess what, they send this newsletter to all their customers. Including those (like me) who are using Net banking for the last 10+ years.

For me, these mails are frustrating / silly. Why waste my time with “How to login to your net banking” kind of Emails, when I am doing it almost everyday? Worst part, My bank knows I am a regular Net Banking user and still sends me these mails as if they are issuing bit notices on the street, Carelessness? No Value for your customer’s time? Big mistakes!

This is the problem with wrong targeting (or “No Targeting” in this case). Unlike my personal “Rare Book Search”, this “Net Banking Basics” mails should only be going to New Customers, or those who rarely / never use Net Banking. For all others, they are a waste of time.

Not only that, most of the Mass Emailing solutions charge you money, based on the number of Emails you send. From that perspective, Every single mail that my bank sends to me on “Net Banking Basics” is a waste of time, resources AND money.

Instead, what should they be doing? My suggestion is this:

  • Design 2 newsletters : “ABCs of Net Banking” and “How to do more from your Net Banking?”
  • Create 2 Segments of your customers : Newbies to Net Banking, Advanced Users of Net Banking (How? You have the net banking login particulars, USE IT!)
  • Target Newsletter #1 to Segment 1 and Newsletter #2 to Segment 2

Sounds too simple? Even Silly? Believe me, many brands are not doing even this simple segmentation and are happily sending Mass Emails, which bring a negative customer experience.

Zero Segmentation / Brainless Mass Emailing is not only a bad strategy, it can even create bigger problems. Here is another example, again from my Bank’s Newsletters.

One of their recent Newsletters had this Subject line “Use Net Banking and Get a Travel Bag Free”.

Wow, Free gift, I opened the EMail immediately and learnt that all I need to do is Login to my Net Banking account, Request for a statement and that’s it, I get a Travel Bag.

But wait, there is a fine print, This is only applicable for first time users of Net Banking.

Oops, Tough luck. Bye Bye Travel Bag.

Now, what goes through my mind?

  • Why send me an offer for which I don’t qualify (Bad Or Zero Segmentation, We already discussed it)
  • You are giving a free travel bag to a newbie logging in to Net Banking for the first time, But no gift to me, who is a regular user of Net Banking, Unfair!

Of course, I understand the motivation behind my bank giving away this gift to attract more and more Net Banking customers, but the point is, they shouldn’t have told this to Regular Net Banking users, which leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

Again, the culprit is Zero Segmentation. If only the bank sent that “Free Travel Bag” offer mail to only those customers who never used Net Banking, I will never know about that offer / feel bad about missing a freebie.

OKay, we covered Bad Segmentation / Zero Segmentation, there is a third category, its called “Unfit Segmentation”.

Few days back, I got a newsletter from a super market. It was in Kannada, a regional language spoken in the state where I live (Karnataka, India).

I really liked the idea of sending marketing newsletters in regional languages, I don’t remember any other brand doing it.

But, the problem is, My super market never asked me whether I could read Kannada. Thousands of people living in Karnataka, can’t read the local language. All those will get zero value from this newsletter.

So, What went wrong? My guess is this:

  • The store has decided to segment customers based on the state they live
  • They designed a newsletter in each state’s regional language and sent it across
  • For example, if you live in Karnataka, you get a Kannada newsletter, If you live  in Tamilnadu, you get a Tamil newsletter and so on (Nice!)

When compared to my Bank, this is Smart Segmentation. They haven’t mass mailed something to everyone, proper segmentation is done and each segment got relevant content.

But the problem is, they totally missed the fact that I may be a Tamilian who is living in Karnataka. In that case, this rule will send me a Kannada Newsletter, which I can’t read / use / buy.

So, the segmentation strategy adopted by this supermarket is Good, But unfit for their requirement (Newsletters in more than one language). They should have gone for something like this:

  • When people register in your super market, ask them “Preferred language of communication”
  • Create your segments based on this information and send newsletter accordingly
  • Means, irrespective of where I live, if I prefer “Tamil” as my language of communication, I will get the newsletter in Tamil

To summarize:

  • Zero Segmentation is bad, and creates a negative customer experience
  • Depending on your marketing requirements, choose your “customer information” on which segments will be based on. Wrong Segment / Unfit Segment is as bad as Zero Segmentation

Naga Chokkanathan,

Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published In :

Customer Journey

For some, customer experience may be just an interaction between an organization and a customer, but in point of fact, it is much more than just a rational experience. How you interact with your customer, what are your delivery time scales, how quickly you answer your customer calls and there are so many other things. According to a survey, 50% of the customer experience depends on how the customer journey was and how (s)he feels after each interaction. Let’s take an example of a pharmacy shop.

When you go to a pharmacy shop, what is the first thing that catches your attention? Of course, The shop’s board!

For instance, there is an ice-cream parlor in a commercial street where a huge ice-cream cone is displayed outside the shop. People heading towards the street can easily make out an ice-cream parlor from 100 – 200 meters, but as you go closer, you will find that the cone displayed outside the shop is very dirty. This may leave you with an impression of an unhygienic ambience inside. So, the first step of the customer journey being the shop’s board plays an important role.

Next on the list, is the shop’s door. A door may be clean, dirty, transparent or may have an advertisement on it. But the kind of advertisement you have, may either exert a pull on customer or drive him back. For example, a pharmacy shop may have advertisements with happy faces / family pictures which creates a good impression on the customers. So, it is equally important for you to have an entrance that catches the attention of your customers and encourages them to shop from your medical store.

Third thing that contributes to customer experience and customer journey is the shop’s interior, amenities and all services that are available. Next is the counter. A counter can be a wooden platform or may be glass, but the most important is how you keep it. It should be clean, welcoming and may be large enough to accommodate different stuff.

Then comes the most important part, how people behind the counter handle the customers? Are they attending customers properly? Are they making customers wait for too long? Is their response fast enough to make customer’s experience pleasant?

For many stores, here ends the journey of a customer, but in reality, there are so many other things that contribute to the overall customer experience. Small things like accepting payments, packing and after sales also matter a lot.

For instance, let us say a diabetic patient visits your pharmacy regularly, you may remind him after a certain interval about restocking his medicines or may be his diabetes vaccinations.

Please note that the journey described here is just a sample, it may look too simple / uncomplicated for a pharmacy shop, But for your business, there might be multiple steps involved which may need very complex processing / systems / software / manpower etc., Those tools are secondary, the important part is that customer journey and customer experience should always be the top priorities for any business.

Charu Mehta

Guest Post : Story of a Wrong Swipe

Ever since we have got an iPhone at home, My son Akhil has been very comfortable with it. He uses it with such commendable ease, and seems to know how to get things done with that phone, though he does not exactly know what he is doing.

According to Akhil, it is not a “Smart Phone”, but a “Smart Playing Device”, He knows how to access App Store, and has loaded tons of games in our (his?) iPhone. Games of all sorts: Throwing paper into the dustbin (which he never does in real life), cutting fruits criss cross, running up, down and under, fighting, mimicking, cards etc.,

Last week, My husband Venkat was doing some work, when Akhil popped up asking him to enter the iTunes password. Venkat not bothering to check what was happening, just entered the password and continued with his work.

Little later, I got a SMS from my credit card company, that I have spent $64 with transaction detail as iTunes.

I have never spent this much for an App purchase, it must be something that Akhil downloaded. What happens now? I have to pay $64 for something I will never use? That’s not fair.

Next morning, I decided to do some research on this, hoping that there is a way to get that money back, it was after all a mistaken purchase.

After some googling, I found the way to report the purchase as a problem, and that page gave me a comment box to tell them why.

OK, a chance to exhibit that I can write well and convince people. I tell them how I have ended up in having a kid who is 5 years old (give or take 2 years), not comfortable with english but so addictive to iPhone and simply thinks Steve Jobs is a genius (Flattery works, I hope!) and that he has made a wrong purchase and I would like to revert it.

Wow, the mail seems to have done the magic because the very next day, I got the full $64 as refund, and a beautiful Email from Apple Support, which is one of the best support mails I have ever received:


Thanks for contacting iTunes Store support to let me know you need some help. I understand that your son has made some purchases that he should not have. I can imagine you must be concerned, but there’s no need to worry. My name is Mark and I would be happy to assist you today.

After reviewing the circumstances of your case, we determined that issuing you a refund for your unintentional purchase is an appropriate exception to the iTunes store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final. In five to seven business days, a credit of $64.97 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

Additionally, you can make modifications on certain devices that will prevent them from making purchases,

Thank you for being an important part of the Apple family. Please let me know how everything works out. I’ll be more than happy to have this looked into further for you.

Senior Advisor
iTunes Store Support

There it is, a very personal mail, understanding my problem, stating that they are treating this as an exception, returning my full money without any fees / fine, and finally, giving me suggestions on how to avoid this in future.

Most important, It has a one-to-one tone, asks me not to worry, says that the money would be refunded in 7 days (But it was refunded even before the mail was sent, I assume) and ends with a note for further help.

Thanks Apple, not only for my $64, but for this wonderful support experience.


Jayamalini is a UX Professional at Zoho Corp. Given two minutes of free time she would grab a book and start reading it from cover to cover. Writing is her next favorite pastime and she blogs her parenting experiences at (mostly in Tamil). At twitter she is @jayamalini

Ready for Fusion Wave!

With our experience and unmatched expertise in the domain of SaaS CRM Deployments, CRMIT has built a dedicatedCenterofExcellencefor Fusion CRM deployments, with consultants certified by Oracle, on various domains of Fusion CRM Applications.

Being one of the early adopters of Fusion CRM, we have built a detailed approach and process for our client deployments of Fusion CRM. This framework supports Fusion CRM Sales / Marketing as of now, and will extend to support the Services Channel as and when it is introduced by Oracle.

With our team of dedicated consultants and developers working on various new technologies in Fusion CRM / Oracle Cloud umbrella, we are fully geared for the Fusion wave!

CEM : Customer Experience Management

Yesterday I had a casual lunch conversation with one of my colleagues and the topic of “Online Purchases” came up. He quoted a particular website and said “Their website is good, but the way they run their buses, it is horrible to say the least!”

I was surprised, because to my knowledge that website doesn’t run any buses. They just allow you to book tickets from various bus service providers and that’s it.

Personally, I have used this website many times, I know they don’t run any buses and hence I only book tickets from bus services which are highly rated by fellow users. As a result, I never had a bad experience. I would gladly recommend their website to anyone.

But my colleague, had a totally different view on this. He said he will never book tickets from them anymore.

So, I decided to probe further and asked him about the ‘bad experience’ he had with this website. His response was ‘Their buses start late, arrive late, they are dirty, Air conditioning is poor…’

‘But wait, these are the problems of Bus Service Provider, The website where you booked the ticket can’t be held responsible for these operational issues. They just act as agents and allow you to book a ticket at the comfort of your home, that’s it.’

‘I don’t care. For me they sold the ticket, and they are responsible for my travel experience. Isn’t it?’

Now, you can’t argue with this logic!

Few days back, I had a similar experience when we tried to buy a washing machine for home. We went to a super market, looked at various models, and were debating on which one is best for our needs. My wife had some additional questions about few of those models, and asked the sales person.

Unfortunately, that person was not able to answer any question my wife asked. It was clear that he didn’t understand anything about washing, forget machines. He is simply paid to stand there and tell people what models are available and how much they cost.

My wife got really upset about this. ‘Let us go to some other store’, she decided abruptly.

‘But why?’

‘These guys don’t know anything about the products they sell!’

I tried to explain her how retail industry works. ‘This super market deals with hundreds of brands, thousands of products, it is practically impossible for them to know technicalities of all those goods they sell.’

Her response was almost same as my colleague’s, ‘I don’t care. I buy from this shop, and they should give convincing answers to all my questions, Else, I am not buying from them!’

So, Consumers are not ready (or don’t want) to understand the gap between Sales and Delivery / Usage Experience. It is for companies to manage. They don’t care if you sell somebody Else’s product, they want the entire process to be smooth and you are responsible for it, end to end!

When you look at the way most companies are organized, there is a Research division which looks at various customer needs and imagines products. Then we have a production division which makes these products, we have Sales / Marketing divisions which take care of the selling process and Support division to take care of customer issues. Each one of these divisions have their own problems / solutions and boundaries.

Not anymore. A sales guy can’t say “My CRM ends when an opportunity is converted to an order”, a Service guy can’t say “No Purchase, No Support”, Whether we like it or not, we need to do everything possible to make sure that EVERY touch point a customer has with us, are giving them the best possible experience.

For example, someone coming to your website, visiting your twitter page / facebook wall, buying your product in a small store, calling the telesupport number to report an issue, talking to their friends about how your product functions … all these touch points (and more) are important, and as a company you need to make sure all these experiences are great. This is not optional anymore, one bad experience in any of these touch points can drive tons of business away from you.

Customer Experience Management, that’s where the future lies. CRM is not enough, it’s going to be CEM Era now!

Naga Chokkanathan,

Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published In :

Oracle Fusion CRM : Features & Benefits

Oracle Fusion CRM, a component of Oracle Fusion Applications suite, is a comprehensive sales and marketing solution that not only drives smarter selling, but is also a flexible and extensible approach for rapid adoption. CRMIT being the most trusted Oracle cloud CRM partner helps implement this one–stop solution, so that its highly intuitive user experience can endow sales managers, executives and representatives with information whenever they need it.

Oracle Fusion CRM has set a new standard for CRM in sales performance management and enterprise integration. While it is an extensible, modular and absolutely flexible approach for rapid adoption, its 100% standard based infrastructure facilitates in reducing the cost of implementation, staffing and maintenance.

How Can You Benefit From Oracle Fusion CRM?

Whether you want to target, nurture and validate leads, need to enrich your knowledge about a prospect, resolve duplicity or route the quality leads to the sales team, Oracle Fusion CRM knows it better, has an ‘easy to use’ tool for it and always helps you to sell smarter. This modular solution can be setup such that it qualifies the leads and assigns them to sale representatives according to sales territories and also equips all the reps with personalized, sales initiated campaigns that can be used to expand the pipeline, besides a whole lot of other capabilities on sales & marketing fronts.

With its predictive analytics, it identifies exploitable white spaces and makes it easy to decide which products to sell to whom & which leads deserve your energy focus. Oracle Fusion CRM not only analyzes the traditional buying patterns, but it also identifies similar products and prospects. Territories can be modeled right in the system as per any combination of criteria and while making use of powerful analytics for distinguishing gaps and overlaps. Additionally, Oracle Fusion CRM keeps your high quality forecasts accurate with real time analytics and helps achieve / exceed the agreed numbers.

Oracle Fusion CRM cloud application allows enterprises to:

  • Have consolidated companies, accounts and contact information for complete 360˚ view of customer data.
  • Combine customer information and product master data with other CRM processes including partner management, incentive compensation etc.
  • Assimilate quota management with sales territory management
  • Assist enterprises in optimizing resource allocation.
  • Improves lead generation process and facilitates the sales force to focus more on solutions