Category: Case Studies

CRMIT wins a new customer for implementing the Web Service Survey Tool!

We are quite delighted to share the good news that CRMIT has won a prestigious project for implementing a new web service survey tool for a leading educational institution in the US. This is the second straight win for CRMIT after it has successfully implemented a project for one of the leading management institutions of the world, having its presence in several countries across the globe.

The client is a leading educational institution in the US that boasts of an excellent faculty and student fraternity. As part of assessing the students’ performance, the institution had designed a survey comprising of a questionnaire with multiple choice of questions. Students participating in the survey had to fill in the questionnaire and the university on its part would generate the results of the survey. However, the major pain area for the client is, lack of generating the consolidated results of the survey in the form of a PDF file from their current version of Oracle CRM On Demand system for a quick review and assessment.

CRMIT took up this challenge and after understanding the nuances of the project requirements, came out with a feasible solution that involves integrating the Survey Tool with the current version of the Oracle CRM On Demand system used by the client.

The project is in the advanced stage of implementation and we have already received accolades from the client for quick resolution of the problem as well as smooth implementation, adding value to the client.

5 CRM Case Studies From CRMIT

Five Case Studies from many of CRMIT ‘s successful CRM Implementation, in a delightful Infographic Format:

1. Manufacturing : http://www.flickr.com/photos/crmit/8073501134/in/photostream

2. Engineering : http://www.flickr.com/photos/crmit/8073501366/in/photostream/

3. Insurance : http://www.flickr.com/photos/crmit/8073501528/in/photostream/

4. Banking : http://www.flickr.com/photos/crmit/8073509363/in/photostream/

5. Healthcare : http://www.flickr.com/photos/crmit/8073502158/in/photostream/

Guest Post : Managing Product Defects, via Exceptional Support

My sister wanted to buy a new refrigerator. I accompanied her to a local store as she wanted to get the feel for the design and physical dimensions before searching for the cheaper prices online. We approached a salesman in the store and detailed our requirements, he has started showing latest models and explained the cool new features of them. My sister wanted to show her patriotism by buying an Indian brand, she turned down the salesman whenever he tried to hard sell the south korean brands. She liked a fridge made by Godrej, which had a big flower on it’s door. I checked it’s power consumption and it had a label with 5 star rating from Bureau of Energy Efficiency, so our search ended there.

Before buying it, I took out my smart phone and checked it’s prices online. Surprisingly, this store was offering better prices than online shops. We bought it. The salesperson told me that they can deliver it in 3 hours and he will send a serviceman tomorrow to install it. I was bit surprised, what is there in a fridge to install? Aren’t the fridges plug&play devices (even before computers had USBs)? I have politely asked him to just deliver it and convinced him that I can do the installation all by myself.

Fridge got delivered, we have unpacked it. For such a huge size it wasn’t that heavy. Plugged it to the power supply and it has started making that noise every fridge makes while powered on. My sister started loading it with everything she could possibly put into it and still found some space left inside. I was too lazy to go through the manual for recommended settings for right temperature, just wanted to turn the knob to the middle of it’s range. As I tried, I could not turn the knob. It was stuck, by seeing me trying my sister begged me not to break it. Decided to get some professional help after slamming Godrej for this poor quality finish. I didn’t want to call the store as I declined to accept their installation (well, I’m an egoist), I called Godrej’s toll-free service number which I found in their manual. I have explained the problem to a friendly lady on telephone and she promised to send a serviceperson as soon as possible. After the call, all those bad experiences, from the past, with calling the customer support and the service request getting last in nirvana flashed in mind. I’ve started to become anxious.

But, Godrej sent an SMS within minutes after my call with customer care. The SMS had a service person’s name, phone number and a 4 digit code to be given to the serviceperson after he does his job to my satisfaction. This one SMS gave me a lot of assurance that my service request is not lost. Now, I have a hold of a service person with that 4 digit code and real phone number (without extensions). The bad experiences of the past have just lacked this sense of assurance the SMS has provided. My anxiety has been wiped out.

Little later, the serviceperson called and offered to come by next morning. Next morning, the service person came and replaced the knob in minutes and I have given him the code, he left happily. All went well. This has been such a good experience, we have forgotten that Godrej delivered a brand new fridge with broken knob in first place. Big kudos to that person who has really thought through this process to delight his customer.

Yeasix

For the people who haven’t met me, I prefer to go with the name yeasix (supposed to mean ASICs) as my twitter handle. I’m an Electrical Engineer who loves to force the semiconductor elements to get the job done, a.k.a ASIC/chip design. Freshly backed Returned-Indian after spending 12 years in Germany for studies and work. New to Bangalore and it didn’t fail to amaze me

CRM : Look beyond numbers

Few days back, I got a marketing call from my mobile service provider, they suggested a new bill plan for me. It was very attractive, lot of benefits when compared to my current plan, and the price was also reasonable (Rs 1000).

So, I decided to shift to this new plan and gave them my decision. I got an SMS immediately, everything went smooth. I started enjoying all the new plan benefits, and felt happy about the right decision.

One month later, yesterday I got the bill and it was a shocker, because, it had Rs 2000 as the plan cost, instead of Rs 1000.

I am sure all of us would have faced this kind of a problem before, we would dial the call center, shout at some helpless lady there that the company has cheated us, threaten them that you will go to court and finally, (if lucky) get the refund back. This post is NOT one such story, believe me

My intention is not to share my frustrations with you or throw dirt at the mobile company (That’s why I am not even mentioning their name here). Instead, I fully understand that such service issues can happen at any company, and want to think aloud on what is the best way to handle them.

Coming back to my story, I immediately contacted their call center, informed them that they have charged me Rs 2000 instead of Rs 1000 and asked for a refund (and reason). The gentleman on the other side of the phone was very kind, apologized for the error, took just few seconds to understand the real issue, and gave me a solution almost immediately. (May be many people are facing the same problem!)

Actually, the plan to which I subscribed to, is called “Package 2000″ (or something similar), which means, the fixed rent on this plan is Rs 2000 per month, and then, they enable something called a “50% discount package” on top of it. As a result, you will get Rs 1000 discount on your bill every month, bringing the effective rent to Rs 1000 only.

In my case, they never told me about this complexity, and simply sold it as a “1000 Rupees package”. Technically, it is not cheating, but they should have mentioned it clearly during the “Marketing” phase.

OKay, Marketing is done, I am ready to buy the package, at least now, someone should have told me that the plan is actually called “Package 2000″ and I would have asked “Why 2000?”. They missed this step too.

Biggest mistake, they forgot to enable the “50% discount package” for me. As a result, I got a bill for Rs 2000 now, instead of Rs 1000.

The call center person could revert it back to Rs 1000 very easily, and enable my “50% discount package”. I am happy, I even gave that person a “5/5″ rating as the feedback. But, the bitterness is there with me, that they didn’t handle this right.

What they could have done differently?

  1. They could have created a simple “Package 1000″, instead of a complex combination “2000 Package” + “50% discount” (Owner : Product Management / Marketing)
  2. Even otherwise, They could have told me clearly about the package, instead of selling it to me as a “Package 1000″ (Means, you are hiding facts about your products to your customer, just to make a sale) (Owner : Marketing / Sales)
  3. They could have put a process in place, to ensure that “2000 Package” always goes with “50% discount” package, just to make sure no customer gets a surprise after their first bill (Owner : Delivery / Deployment / Billing)

These are the “Expected” reactions, if they want to go one level up, they can “surprise” or “delight” the customer by taking few more initiatives, but that would be too much to expect at this stage 🙂

Now, let us analyze this entire story from a Customer Relationship Management standpoint, these are the transactions, and the result:

  1. Marketing call to customer : Success
  2. Sales to customer : Success
  3. Delivery of the product (package) : Success
  4. Customer raised a complaint about Billing
  5. Customer complaint resolved in 2 minutes : Success
  6. Customer gave a “5/5″ rating : Super Success

Do you see the problem? My mobile service provider will NEVER know that things went wrong in my relationship with them, they will never know that there are number of improvement suggestions they need to work on, if they just look at the statistics above. Unless and until I write a long Email detailing all these to their senior management, they will be under the impression that everything went smooth. Even after I write one such mail, there is no assurance that action will be taken against it.

This proves beyond doubt, that CRM is not just transactions, it is the overall relationship that matters. If you just look at the customer records / activities / feedback numbers, you may be missing the real picture altogether.

There is a very famous quote about statistics, let me borrow it and modify it slightly : “CRM systems and reports are just like mini-skirts, they give you good inputs, but hide the most important things!”

Naga Chokkanathan

Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published in http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/crm-look-beyond-numbers/

Is The Customer Always Right?

Couple of days back, I was in a restaurant having my breakfast, a divine combination of Idly and Sambar, Bangalore’s most popular morning meal.

While I was about to finish eating, I heard some loud noises. They were coming from the table behind me. I turned back and saw an angry customer shouting at his waiter. ‘You are insulting me, call your manager!’

‘Sir, what did I do wrong?’

‘I won’t talk to you, Where is your manager?’

After few seconds, the restaurant manager came running, and he politely asked the customer, ‘Sir, can I help you?’

‘This fellow is serving me food in left hand, don’t you guys have any manners?’

It may sound funny to you, but in India this is a perfectly logical argument. Because, majority of Indians believe that using right hand is THE natural thing, and hence, doing anything in left hand is considered a bad manners, even an insult.

As a result of this, parents get very nervous if their child starts eating, or writing in left hand. They try all possible tricks to convert him or her to a right hander, many times with disastrous results.

So, I was not surprised at this customer getting angry about a guy serving food in Left hand. In fact, I was surprised how this waiter escaped from such an issue all these days.

Of course, I knew very well that scientifically / medically there is nothing wrong in a person using left hand for doing daily chores. The restaurant manager also tried to explain this to the angry customer.

But this customer was not in a mood to listen to that, he was furious and kept repeating that the waiter insulted him by serving food using a ‘wrong’ hand.

In this situation, who is right?

The waiter is a natural left hander, hence he served food with his ‘usual’ hand. After all, food is just food, irrespective of the way it is served
The customer has a sentiment that food should always be served with the ‘right’ hand, He doesn’t care about the science and all, According to him, anything served in left hand is an insult
Technically speaking, there is nothing wrong with the waiter. It is the customer who is not understanding the facts and making a scene. In a perfect world, he will be thrown out of the restaurant, he can go to court, but can’t win. (In fact, the waiter may sue him for ill treating him!)

But then, he is a ‘customer’, who is always right. Manager has a commitment to keep him happy, even if he is thinking illogically.

Hence, the manager apologized to the customer for the ‘insult’, and asked someone else to serve him. Problem solved.

Now, this is not the end of the story. Tomorrow some other customer may raise the same issue when this left handed waiter serves food to him / her. So, a permanent solution would be moving this person to a different role (Like order taking, bill preparation etc.,) which doesn’t involve serving food to customers.

Of course, the ideal solution would be to educate all customers that ‘left is also right’, but that will take few hundred years at least!

Naga Chokkanathan,

Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published in : http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/why-not-is-the-customer-always-right/

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?

Gokul

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.

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 : http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/market-segmentation-mass-emailing/