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With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, The ‘C’ In CRM Stands For…. Cat Relationship Management??!!!

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Here’s a quick question about CRM software.  There’s a choice of answers to make it a bit easier.

Question:

If the letters ‘RM’ in ‘CRM’ stand for ‘Relationship Management’, what does the letter ‘C’ stand for?

Please choose your answer from the following:

a)    Cat relationship management

b)    Commuter relationship management

c)     Citizen relationship management

d)    Company relationship management

e)    Corporate Relationship Management

f)     Customer Relationship Management

g)    All of the above

 

And the answer is......

 

g) All of the above

I’m sure most people chose the answer f) Customer Relationship Management.   And that’s really the ‘correct’ answer.  Traditionally the ‘C’ in ‘CRM’ stands for Customer.  But CRM applications, and in particular Microsoft Dynamics CRM, have evolved into much more than applications that just manage customers.  So why is g) All of the above also correct?

First, there are different types of customers – clients, consumers, students, passengers, commuters, users, corporations – the list goes on.  But more importantly, there are also many different types of relationship management, not just customers.  There are suppliers, partners, prospects, members, associates, distributors, franchisees, retailers, volunteers, wholesalers, channel partners, cats (I’ll explain about the cats later…) and many more.

If you need an out-of-the box CRM solution, then Microsoft Dynamics CRM certainly provides one.  However, it is also a solid platform specifically designed so that it can be readily configured to different requirements.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be adapted to all these other relationships, and just about any other type of relationship you can name.  That’s why the term ‘xRM’ or ‘Anything Relationship Management’ is a better description of what Microsoft Dynamics CRM does.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is flexible.  In fact, when compared to many other CRM systems, that’s something of an understatement.  In the world of CRM software, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is extremely flexible.  That’s why when you hear the phrase ‘xRM’ it’s usually related to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

So just how far can the concept of ‘xRM’ go?  Here’s a practical example of ‘Commuter’ Relationship Management.  Concentrix recently completed a highly complex project using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to replace a bespoke Customer Services system for a large UK passenger train operating company. The project successfully delivered:

  • Advanced workflow and business process automation
  • Integration with trackside SAP systems
  • Complex passenger compensation calculation algorithms
  • Incorporation of legal and regulatory requirements from the UK  government Department of Transport
  • Email response and template document authoring
  • Integration with a scanning application
  • Integration with a large digital telephony system
  • Integration with the customer facing website

 

And that’s just the start.  The system streamlined the processes of the organisation's complex customer service requirements, significantly improving efficiency, speed of response, and accuracy.  The users love it, other train organisations are interested in it, and the company was nominated for top industry customer satisfaction awards.

Before starting the project, the train operator had looked at other ways of developing  the customer service system including using other software and CRM solutions. But unlike many other CRM systems which focus on the traditional customer and contact relationship management, the xRM capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM meant it could be adapted to their complex requirements faster.  It took less resources and didn’t need the large amounts of investments that would have been needed if they had built a system from scratch or tried to customise a CRM system that simply wasn’t flexible enough to cope with that amount of customization (not without a lot of time and effort anyway). 

So xRM is great for organisations with complex requirements.  But it also delivers benefits to smaller businesses as well.  Many small businesses start using Microsoft Dynamics CRM with only a handful of users and straightforward requirements.  They tend to choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM because they can be up and running with a ‘best in breed’ CRM solution quickly, cost-effectively, with minimal disruption to the day to day running of their business.  However, they also have the assurance that, as their organization grows and their business processes become more complex, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be able to grow and adapt with them.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and xRM is a platform of technology that, working with your Microsoft Business Partner, can be readily adapted to meet your business or organizational requirements.  It’s probably only a matter of time until the phrase ‘CRM’ fades and is replaced with xRM, or something similar.  Other vendors are following but Microsoft is really leading on the whole xRM concept.

And what about ‘cat relationship management’?  If you’re wondering who uses this, I have a real life example - my local vets.  Last time I took my two cats there I noticed they were using Microsoft Dynamics CRM (the vets, not the cats) to book appointments, send out reminders, look at treatment history – and I’m sure they do a lot more with it as well!

By Concentrix Ltd – UK CRM, Accounting and ERP Software Specialists

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