SERVICE EXCELLENCE & CRMLords of the Rings – Putting the customer first

Customer relationship management (CRM) has two key benefits. While it clearly improves, strengthens and streamlines internal processes and relationships within business, it also personalises and structures business or customer organisation’s external relationships. The end result is an organisation that is better attuned to customers’ needs and with clear understanding of the people it is designed to serve. At very basic level, CRM reduces staff downtime in the handling of straightforward queries and frees up resources for team-based approach to the big strategic picture. And it has obvious flow-on effects into productivity and more collegial working environment where people aren’t constantly drowning in mass of minutiae.
So who is implementing CRM systems and how are they benefiting?

A sporting chance
Jade Stadium has national reputation as the cauldron for some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking sporting performances. What may not be as well known is the corresponding and incremental lift in performance going on quietly behind the scenes within the offices of the stadium’s operating company, Jade Stadium Limited.
Under the supervision of financial controller Michael Stirling and in partnership with GlobalTech Solutions, the implementation of CRM has been occurring to reduce the amount of time staff spend on simple enquiries. The end goal is to free them up to plan and execute marketing strategies.
Attention to individual customer relationships won’t be sacrificed in the quest for looking at the big picture. Stirling knows that more professional and responsive staff will save time and make customers feel better about their experience.
That can only make the process of refining the company’s marketing approach more seamless.
Jade has been introducing centralised database to replace the 20 Excel spreadsheets and ACCESS databases previously used to manage director, media and member lists.
Staff will have single point of data entry, which means they spend less time wading through and updating various spreadsheets. The information in the centralised database will be much more accurate and have much greater integrity than before.
Stirling says the company has only limited information now about its current clients and prospects. With corporate hospitality key revenue earner and strong growth in demand, that has to change.
He anticipates that under CRM, Jade’s marketing campaigns will be more timely, more targeted and more successful. Marketing correspondence can be recorded in the system and reviewed regularly.
Individual staff now have no excuse for not following lead, opportunity or campaign – all difficult to manage before because of the limited functionality of Jade Stadium’s spreadsheets and legacy databases.
A staff member’s contacts with particular client can be recorded against that client’s name, staff are more aware of their responsibilities as far as leads, opportunities and campaigns are concerned, and nothing gets lost. All moves will leave centralised audit trail in their wake. Jade Stadium has been hamstrung by an inability to provide timely and meaningful reports, but under CRM, up-to-date insights on every aspect of the business will be available.

A council’s counsel
Local government is prime candidate for customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Councils often struggle to overcome widespread public perception of them as top-heavy, unresponsive and impersonal. Manukau City Council is determined to smash that perception by its ratepayers, residents, and the wider community.
As rapidly growing suburban city in greater Auckland, Manukau City is bolstered every year by up to 6000 new inhabitants and an extra 2500 houses to accommodate them.
Its citizens are ethnically diverse and span the socioeconomic spectrum from the very wealthy to the very poor. They depend on the council for everything from utilities to libraries.
Manukau City Council’s mandate to deliver on its CRM vision is the driving force behind its choice of PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM, says portfolio manager – citizen and customer services, Glenn Teal. Teal says the CRM program is part of larger implementation that includes PeopleSoft Enterprise human capital and financial management.
Before it introduced CRM, the council lacked an integrated platform for managing relationships with its citizens. It couldn’t track Joe Bloggs’ contact with the council at any given time. It wouldn’t know that the Joe Bloggs who wrote letter to an elected council member one day about roading was the same Joe Bloggs who had rung up the week before about rating dispute, or who had resource consent application in the system to subdivide his property.
A 360-degree view of the individual citizen, or customer, was impossible across departments, channels, properties, relationships and contact history.
As it progressively implements CRM across its whole business, the council is moving from handling thousands of unrelated transactions with citizens, customers and community groups, to developing and maintaining relationships with each of them. It has dubbed this citizen, customer and community relationship management “C3RM”.
The programme has allowed the council to move to citizen or customer-centric view of its people, rather than one that is based on subject or service department.
Teal says the private sector or sales and revenue-generating organisations use CRM to segment markets, cross-sell, and upsell, ditch their worst customers and add value from their high-value customers.
“None of that applies in the public sector.”
That said, Teal argues that some of the functionality built into CRM products is useful to the council in achieving its customer strategies.
Whereas the council knew great deal about pieces of land within its boundaries courtesy of property-land register, it knew almost nothing about the owners.
The creation of centralised name and address register has done away with 35 disparate registers which spanned the council’s operation and which had neither the left hand nor the right hand knowing what the other was doing.
The single managed name and address system contains more than 500,000 names. Thousands of duplicate and inaccurate entries have been deleted.
The 360-degree view common to CRM applications now allows the council to have an up-to-date record of Joe Bloggs’ contact history with the council across all its operations and whether that contact has been through letter, phone or face-to-face.

Lifted spirits
Global wine and spirits company Maxxium Worldwide has taken an equally global approach to its application of CRM. The joint-venture company is responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of many of the world’s leading wine and spirit brands, including Absolut Vodka, The Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky, Jim Beam Bourbon and Rémy Martin Cognac.
Maxxium has four equal shareholders – the Edrington Group, Jim Beam Brands, Rémy Cointreau and the V&S Group.
Formed in 1999 and operating in 35 countries, the company decided two and-a-half years ago to implement CRM in partnership globally with SAP.
All the companies in Maxxium have the same systems, the same processes, the same screens.
Maxxium’s New Zealand manager, Etienne de Salins, was involved in an 18-month review of the company’s global business approach, which culminated in the development of template now in place in more than 70 percent of the group’s territories.
So how can those benefits trickle down to New Zealand? De Salins: “A big advantage of CRM is that we are able to share best practice on worldwide basis.”
Because Maxxium shares the same system worldwide, de Salins says individual country operations within it need to be pragmatic, because of the innate complexity of CRM.
“That is one of the key successes we’ve had within our company. We walk before we run.”
Maxxium’s priority when it introduced CRM was to unlock the potential of its targeted customers better and faste

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