The emerge of ECRM
Although there is the conceptualization of CRM as a discipline for both academic and practitioners, nevertheless, CRM remain only as a business strategy (Peelen, 2005) no more than the methodology (Roberts-Phelps, 2001) for the business environment. Despite the foreseeable tools or techniques, and also, business activities (Lee-Kelley et al, 2003) for the practitioners to implement as their core competency in strategy, CRM would only remain as a theory in this domain for the real world of business environment. This is where the system of electronic customer relationship management (ECRM) comes into play as part of a comprehensive CRM strategy and implementation (Sophonthummapharn, 2009). Lee-Kelley et al (2003) propose that ECRM is to be the marketing activities, tools, and techniques, which main intention is to be delivered over the internet using numerous technologies such as web application, e-mail, data-capturing, data warehouse, and data mining with the specific aim to locate, build, and improve the long term individual potential enhancements in the relationship with the customer. On the other hand, if we look it from a marketing perspective, Sophonthummapharn (2009) help explain that ECRM could be seen as a marketing tool that come in the form of a computer software application and is used for managing customer relationships over multidimensional communication system. The business could utilise ECRM software application as a strategy to gain more knowledge about customers. ECRM has been the product of traditional CRM methodologies, techniques, and tools into a software application that could be used for gathering data via electronic verbal form of the transactions as an opposed to traditional communication channel of distribution with the ability to analyse and response to situation of customer’s need and demand in real-time.
Despite the ability to track customer with the assist of electronic transaction has begun in the age of information technology advancements. A variety of means has been used to capture transactional data up until the middle of the last century; most transactions and records are limited to paper base form. During the midst 70s, public administration have moved to computer-base system (Clarke, 2001). This was an economic incentive to directly achieve transactions in electronic form, and considerably prove the way to real-time data access and analytical of the general consumer. The fundamental components for the emerging of relationship marketing discipline to evolve from concept and practical technique to develop into a responsive application that can contribute to the business competitive advantage (Tzokas & Saren, 2004).
Future vision of ECRM
Imagine that your customer is coming out of their office on Oxford Street at 5 in the evening after work and it started to rain. What would this individual need, an umbrella right? Yes, how if you who about this individual person preference, for instance he/she like the colour red and a specific design type of an umbrella. These predetermine the factor if you are able to inherit the knowledge beforehand, what are the odds of a successful business transaction with this individual in purchasing your umbrella with a premium price tag. Technology today has enabled us to track customer location using numerous methods; a great example is the use of mobile phone tracking system. In the early 2004 London Ambulance Service has been using access to such data on the caller to their UK’s 999 emergency number in order assist them on the location near to the operator cell site (Mathieson, 2005). Company such as Verilocation is offering this type service to business that would enable them to track the calling customer location to provide help assistant, like for a fast food restaurant. When a customer call their national number, the system would route them to the nearest local restaurant that could be able to deliver the food with the most quickest of speed. These services are not limited to landline like once we have traditionally accepted as a norm, mobile phone are now also can be track using the same technology that was previous mention as mean to assist the customer with most rapid response imaginable possible (IJPPM, 2004).
When our technological advancement have improved into a significant level that enable communication device to connect to each other with the ability to distinguish itself from other with the mean to identify an individual whom is carrying the device. This would provide an opportunity cap for business to specifically deliver the product and/or service to the right person in the right time, and in the right place, whilst there are in need of it. Although the public sector could also use such mean to better serve their citizen, this is where the whole foundation of technology originated from (Borins, 2001) with the idea of looking citizen as a customer (Buurma, 2001).
Modern technology has advance into numerous combination; tracking system: Cellular node id (George et al, 2009), radio frequency identification or RFID (Mehrjerdi, 2008), global positioning system or GPS (Clarke, 2001) that entitle us to track individual wherever there are, combining with communication medium such Bluetooth (Diegel et al, 2004), Wireless LAN IEEE802.11/a/b/g/n (Piggin & Brandt, 2006), 3G/GSM (Casal et al, 2004), and 4G/WiMax (Forge, 2004) to deliver the information content to individual. This is how it could be done, you as a prospect would exceedingly have a mobile phone that is unique to you with your caller id, and this is locked in with International Mobile Equipment Identity or IMEI (Brookson, 1996). When IMEI and RFID combine as linkage identification magnesium, you could be tracked when entered the front door of your local supermarket. The RFID would alert the hologram attendant (Chiang, 2009) to greet you by name. Combine that have made a shopping list digitally on your computer task list in Microsoft Outlook back at home, hologram attendant could assist you where the item(s) are located and direct you to the directions, with the help of RFID if you made a wrong turn, you could be notified. Then when you get to the product(s) that you required, you could simply walk out the checkout line and the payment will be deducted from your credit card balance which is link with your mobile phone (Amin, 2007).
As you walked down the street, advertisements could be directly channel to your specific interest, considerably showing promotional campaign with a limited time to react. This got your attention, you simply text the product code to the retailer operating number and confirming the transaction with them. When you arrived home the product would be ready for you in your mailbox. The transaction fee would be deducted from your bank account or phone bill automatically.
The author has used modern technologies in explaining that this vision is neither futuristic nor impossible, but has the reality aspect in the implication and implementation. Concern may of risk when speak upon the term of personal privacy (IJPPM, 2004; Mathieson, 2005; Clarke, 2001). This where legistration would come into play and acheive its rule for balancing between over regulated and citizen simplicity. Also this is where business need to define their own balance between usability and what would cause resistance to the company in managing their customer relationship (Romano & Fjermestad, 2003).