Developing customer relationship is an important element for a firm in attaining competitive advantage (Arezu & Alizera, 2006, p. 8). This is due to the fact that it results into development of customer loyalty. Windex Supermarket can develop a higher customer loyalty by incorporating the concept of customer relationship management (CRM). This is due to the fact that customer loyalty results from a good relationship with the firm. The management of the firm can improve on the CRM strategy by incorporating information technology. Information technology will enable the management of Windex Supermarket to automate its customer relationship management processes. This can be achieved by integrating the CRM software in the organisation’s intranet system. The effect is that the CRM strategy will effectively incorporate both the internal and external business environment. Through this the firm will be able to develop a higher competitive edge in the market.
Vision for the change initiative
The management of Windex Supermarket intends to optimise on its level of profits and improve its access to its customers. This is by incorporating the concept of customer centric in all its operations. Therefore, the entire operation of the firm will be focused at satisfying the customers.
Through the CRM strategy, the management of the firm intends to continuously improve and develop a long term customer relationship as a going concern entity. The management also expects that the CRM strategy will enable it to understand, manage, predict and develop a personalised experience for the current and prospective customers.
Strategies for the development of CRM
Implementing the customer relationship management concept in the operation of Windex Supermarket will be a key undertaking by the management. For the CRM to be effectively implemented there are key strategies that are paramount for the management to consider. These include the following.
Ensure business focus in implementing the CRM
In incorporating the CRM strategy, the management of the firm should ensure that there is a clear understanding of the contribution of the CRM to the attainment of its goals. One of the ways in which the management of the firm can attain this is by determining the return on investment (ROI) of the CRM. This is due to the fact that the implementing CRM will cost the firm a considerable amount in implementing the necessary technology. By determining the ROI, the management of the firm will be able to determine the benefits and costs associated with the strategy (Russ, 2007, 2).
Rolling out the strategy in phases
In addition, the management of the firm should ensure that the implementation of the CRM in the organisation is rolled-out in phases. This will enable the employees to effectively adopt the change while their productivity is not affected. For instance, the organisations sales force is continuously involved in sales activities. If the management requires the sales force to implement the strategy in their operation in a short duration of time, the tendency will be to resist the change. To effectively ensure that the employees integrate the change, the management should feed the employees with manageable bits of information (Russ, 2007, 3).
The initial phase of the implementing the CRM within the organisation is ensuring that the employees understand the core functionality of CRM such as scheduling and contact management. The second phase that the management of the firm should consider is in implementing the strategy is the concept of forecasting and opportunity management. After the employees have effectively understood these concepts, the management should consider reporting strategies such as use of emails and custom letters. The probability of the strategy succeeding in its implementation by integrating this strategy is high compared to if the management decides to roll it out at once.
Training the employees
For CRM to result to the desired results, the management of Windex Supermarket should ensure that it includes formal training for the employees. The training should be aimed at equipping the employees with the relevant knowledge on the CRM technology. The management should conduct the training in a formal way. Formal training is necessary since the employees will not be overloaded by their regular activities and the need to acquire the CRM knowledge. For instance, the training can be devised in form of internal seminars. Upon acquiring the knowledge, a certain amount of time is necessary to ensure that they can become used to the new CRM system. The effect is that they will be able to understand the CRM concepts effectively since they will have a sufficient ramp up time. This will ensure that they are efficient in utilising the CRM system.
Importance of the guiding coalition
In implementing change in an organisation, the management of the firm should develop a guiding coalition. The firm’s guiding coalition is composed of a team of employees from the marketing and information technology department. The effective operation of the CRM system is based on market variables. By incorporating team members from the marketing department, the management of the firm will be able to effectively implement the CRM system. This is due to the fact that these individuals will be able to identify critical market valuables that are necessary for the operation of the CRM system. It is necessary for the management to continuously consider members from the marketing department in its guiding coalition. This is due to the fact that they will be able to effectively interpret the impact of the changes in consumers’ tastes and preferences and other market dynamics on the firm’s profitability. The effect is that the management of the firm will be able to attain its vision for implementing the CRM.
Individuals from the information technology department will ensure that the software is effectively implemented both in the internet and the organisations intranet. This is due to the fact that the CRM software is technical and vast software knowledge is required. In addition, these team members will enable the firm to effectively incorporate the technological changes that occurs in relation to CRM. This will enable the firm to maintain its competitiveness (Kimberly, 2008, Para. 11).
Implementing change through customer relationship management strategy is an efficient way in which Windex Supermarket can develop competitive advantage. It is necessary for the management of the firm to integrate the CRM strategy with information technology. This can be achieved by incorporating the CRM software. Various strategies are necessary for the CRM to be effective. The management has to ensure that the CRM strategy has a business focus. This can be achieved by determining the projects ROI. Implementing the change should be in phases. This will enable the employees to be positive with the change. Training is necessary in ensuring that the employees know how to use the CRM software. The management should continuously consider employees from the marketing department and information technology in its guiding coalition. These individuals will enable the change to be effectively implemented.
Arezu,G.& Alizera, O.(2006). The impact of CRM on customer retention. Lulea, Sweden: Lulea University of Technology. Web.
Kimberly, C. (2008).CRM is back with a vengeance: is your organisation ready for the next generation of CRM? Gartner. Web.
Russ, L. (2003). Implementing a CRM strategy. Web.