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Customer Relationship Management In Asia

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process or methodology that gives businesses valuable insight into customer needs and behaviors. Based on this, businesses can design solutions for the development of stronger, long lasting relationships with customers.

CRM encompasses various technological components and can be thought of as a process that combines all details regarding customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends. CRM helps businesses leverage technology and human resources to gain knowledge about customers and also weigh the value of these customers.

Providers of CRM solutions promise their clients ways to define problems, identify solutions, harmonize the business process and implement it using proper delivery methods. Most CRM companies manage CRM projects starting from the defining of the problem to end-user training. It is up to the client to select the correct application based on parameters such as total cost of ownership, functionality, vendor comparisons and technology comparisons.

CRM and its Uses

CRM software helps in sales force automation by contact management and lead management. Contact management software stores, tracks and manages contacts and leads of any business. Lead management software helps businesses manage, track and forecast sales leads.

eCRM or Web-based CRM is a form of self-service software that enables Webbased customer interaction, automation of e-mail, call logs, campaign management and Website analytics.

On-demand CRM solutions help businesses strengthen their sales, service and marketing personnel to efficiently serve customers, to close a deal fast and to ensure their loyalty. Such solutions are easily deployable and are available as a Web-based subscription service. The CRM solution enables an organization to improve sales effectiveness, target the right customer with the right message and enhance the quality of customer service.

Sales representatives can look into sales order history and customer-specific pricing, which allows them to make accurate quotes, make predictable delivery commitments and gain orders quickly, thus reducing time between order and payment.

Using CRM implementations sales personnel can keep track of and manage all sales activities, generate accurate quotes and also leverage the analytics dashboard to track sales performance. The tools offered by the CRM solutions are knowledge-based management and rule-based distribution of service.

CRM Scene in Asia

Springboard Research studies reveal that the Software-as-a-Service or SaaS CRM market in Asia is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 61 percent from 2006 to 2010. The SaaS CRM market is expected to reach $460 million by 2010 from just $69 million in 2006.

This growth in CRM adoption is due to the acceptance of CRM solutions by large enterprises, although it has been in use by smaller businesses for some time. CRM providers are offering proprietary SaaS CRM applications, which have attracted large enterprises who have been implementing them for some years now.

The report also said that Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, India and China are major SaaS CRM markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Following the collaboration of ERP , human resource applications and others, the expenditure on SaaS CRM solutions occupies a large part of application expenditure in most enterprises in Asia.

Recently ID C released the results of a study titled “China CRM (exCC) Market 2009-2013 Forecast and Analysis: Developing Status and Road Map.” The study shows that the CRM applications market has great potential in the country in spite of the economic crisis facing the world.

According to Emily Brian, senior software analyst at ID C China, this emerging economy is set to experience four major developing stages in the near future: information collection, process management, refined sales, and strategy decision support.

Brian told the press that most CRM (exCC) system users are at stages 1 and 2 in the Chinese market. Some of the pioneer enterprises do attempt to deepen the application of their CRM (exCC) system to achieve refined sales. ID C said that China still needs some time to achieve the CRM (exCC) application at stage 4 considering the overall IT establishment level of the Chinese market.

Asian CRM Market and Challenges

Although Asia holds a good growth opportunity for CRM vendors, the results will be slower in the coming months. Research firm Datamonitor predicts that CRM vendors from Europe and America will face stiff competition from Indian and Chinese local CRM providers. Also, in this market, pricing and local business knowledge are more important requisites than functionality in almost all cases except maybe in outsourcing.

The Asia-Pacific market is characterized by its high fragmentation. Asia can be viewed as a set of separate national markets that are in varying states of development and are displaying different political, cultural and economic environments.

CRM providers who are desirous of doing business in Asia should research how their products will cater to the needs of the country’s market where they plan to do business. Also, the method of sales is important and the vendor has to examine if selling directly is possible in that particular country.

There is no one strategy to follow in Asia as each country exhibits different risk factors and it is imperative to study the market to succeed in business. Malaysia, China and India show great promise and more growth potential compared to other Asian countries. India’s CRM market is characterized by call center technologies. Malaysia offers a small but stable CRM market while China offers a large and active market to CRM vendors.

Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand are small markets, but are growing to be viable markets for CRM implementations.

CRM Consultants in Asia and its alliance partner Zoho offer CRM solutions, CRM training and Web-based business solutions for various business sectors in Thailand.

Zoho’s Web-based survey solutions are tailored for small and medium businesses owing to the on-demand nature and pricing. Ringzero CRM Solutions of Thailand offers businesses all details regarding its customers in an easy-to-use format, which can be leveraged to improve relationships with customers.

CRM solution vendors have to develop varying strategies according to individual Asian countries. Opportunities available in each country have to be assessed along with localization costs and sales investments required. Based on the market requirements, the CRM solution has to be determined so as to get an idea about where to employ resources.

Sage Software India offers CRM solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. Similarly, many CRM providers design solutions according to the size and needs of the company. These solutions have to fit the business requirements of such clients.

The Institute for Customer Relationship Management Malaysia (iCRM Malaysia) acts as the coordinating office for all Southeast Asian operations. iCRM Malaysia provides KPO /BPO , research, marketing & CRM consulting services to national and multinational companies in the region like Panasonic and Telekom Malaysia.

Nester Consulting Asia’s Rapid CRM Product Suite helps businesses handle sales enquiries and customer complaints, supports tracking and incident management as they require an effective system to manage, archive and organize. The product suite is available as an on-site application, SaaS edition and includes three main modules in the CRM product suite for sales, marketing and customer service.

Headquartered in Malaysia, Nester serves Singapore also and has offices in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and in Vietnam. Soon the consulting firm will open office in Hong Kong, showing the increasing popularity of CRM solutions in this part of the world.

Utility Metering and CRM

The utility metering market is entering into a fast growing phase in Asia and has been predicted to grow steadily for the next five years in line with economic growth, rising energy demand and increased consumption despite the energy reforms being implemented. This market is worth billions of dollars and offers opportunities to meter suppliers and CRM solution providers who are rapidly developing suitable solutions.

Metering, Billing/CRM Asia 2009 was an event held in Thailand in May 2009, which saw the attendance of 267 metering industry professionals from 32 countries. Next year, the participants will include senior level executives from among the utilities and regulators of Asia. The event, which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is expected to throw light on issues like metering, billing and the CRM industry.

The issues that will be discussed include the future of metering, billing, CRM in Asia, smart metering, smart grids, energy efficiency, energy management, emerging technologies, billing systems, roll-out of prepayment meters and strategies to reduce technical and nontechnical losses.

The Asian utility sector will be able to optimize secure, cost-efficient and customer-friendly delivery of energy and is expected to pave the way for next generation electricity distribution utilities in Asia. Similarly, several other applications using CRM solutions will soon be implemented.

CRM solution providers are striving to deliver solutions according to the needs of clients. Such solutions will help organizations manage their business systems and build long term relationships with customers. The CRM provider and client work together as partners and aim to achieve the set business goal. An efficient solution will help make business challenges into competitive advantages. CRM consultants generally offer solutions that will revolutionize the internet businesses of clients and take them towards accelerated growth and profitability.

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