This chapter discusses the problem background, problem statement, the project objectives, scope of study, project approach, project report organization and a concluding observation. This chapter is aimed to give a general description to the whole of the project report.
The introduction begins with the organizational profile of case study Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS) Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).It includes the vision, missions and the challenges from which the background of the problem in this project is based.
Background of problem
University Teknologi Malaysia, the largest engineering-based university located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. It is renowned for being at the forefront of engineering and technological knowledge and expertise. UTM has also established a reputation for innovative education and leading-edge research, with a vision to educating technologists and professionals towards the development of creative human capital and advance technological innovations. UTM has 2 academic sections that are undergraduate and postgraduate. Undergraduate are related to degree students whereby postgraduate are master and PhD students. Postgraduate students will be handle by a department called Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah UTM. SPS will manage all matters regarding to their studies starting from choosing students, study offer until they finish their studies. In addition, SPS manages not only local students but foreign students as well. According to the interview and survey done, local students have less problems with SPS management compared to foreign students. The problems arise when they always need to keep in contact with SPS to solve their problems. Students contact SPS using various ways such as email, phone calls but they prefer to go to SPS because they claim that they are not satisfied with the answer given and they did not received the exact details. This means that the way of communication used did not help the students. Besides, the SPS university decided to improve their management by retrieving the feedback, comment and user's view from the students by providing the feedback system or other alternatives such as by telephone, SMS, email and fax. Because of that, there is a problem occurred whereby unsynchronized of feedback in management was found.
Various mode of technology in receiving of the feedback
SPS has various ways of communication that is easy for the students to keep in contact such as phone calls to ask questions, email to SPS via email@example.com or they can either go to SPS office. However, students are not satisfied by the way of communication as it has many weaknesses especially by the way the information is delivered. For instance, if a student makes a call, he or she may not get the exact answer or solution wanted as the person who is responsible to pick up the phone is not there or the call is answered by another person from another unit. Meanwhile if they use email, students' will not received any response in a short period.
An access channel strategy will consider the various channels (methods of communication) currently open to our customers, their use, ways of improving for the future and possibilities for opening up new channels. It is important to begin by understanding why customers want, need, and even demand access to companies with whom they do business. A customer's desire for contact, or access, with a company, can easily be summarized by the following four very basic information needs:
- The customer has a question and needs an answer in order to proceed, ``Where do I buy your product?'', "What is the price?''.
- The customer wants the company to do something, ``Change my address'', ``Send me a manual'' or ``Take my order for a new product''.
- The customer has a problem with the product and needs assistance and guidance in resolving the issue, technical support and help desk.
- The customer is emotionally upset with the product, and wants to know that the company will set the situation straight, i.e. complaint resolution and anger diffusion.
It will become evident that, whereas the number of different channels (also called customer ``touch points'') open to the customer to reach the company have exploded, the reasons for customers contacting companies are still the same basic four listed above. By the way, all four customer needs can be rolled up into one word and that is "accessibility''.
Unstructured and Scattered feedback of information
The information received by the each department will be organized separately whereby each department will respond and solved the feedback submitted to them. The feedbacks are submitted from the different source and technology. So, the feedbacks received are not centralized and unsorted in appropriate place. Furthermore, the information is not sorted by their categories and become scattered. This situation contributes to the difficulties of data searching and the information is not reusable.
Unavailability of one stop centre to receive and reply the feedback
Currently, SPS did not provide "one stop centre" to manage the feedbacks from user. This will cause all the information and complaints or any inquiry from user can not be well managed as well as the user did not get the required responds from the organization. Realizing the facts that the feedback from users is very important in an organization, this research is an opportunity in overcome the problem faced in feedback management. By realization one stop centre for the user feedback, it will enable the responds is faster.
In doing this study, there are important question which arise:
- What technology is usually using by the user in giving feedbacks and what is the most appropriate technology to use by an organization to achieve the level of user satisfaction?
- How the organization SPS UTM manage the received feedbacks from each department?
- How to develop a system which can improving the quality of service for an organization SPS UTM?
The objectives of this project are:
- To identify the effective technology in feedback management for the targeted community.
- To study how SPS manage their feedback and solve it to achieve level of satisfaction student to receive information.
- To identify how the feedback can give value to organization and suggest one system to manage various ways in receiving information.
Scope of the Project
In order to achieve the of the project, the scope of the study is limited to the following:
- This project will be operated in SPS in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
- This project involves the SPS UTM staff and the UTM students.
- The Public Relationship Officer in each department will organize the feedbacks from users.
Importance of The Project
The research project will significantly come up with:
- The key point of this project is to find out the most suitable technology which enables users to give feedbacks efficiently.
- Besides, this project is to identify the best administration method in managing the feedback received.
- To determine how the efficient feedbacks helps the organization in improving the quality of services.
As summary, this chapter provides an introduction and overview about the project as whole. The problem background for conducting this project has been discussed. Problem statement, objectives and scopes of the project have clearly been mentioned. The goal of this project is to develop one model that effective to manage the feedback from customer.
In this chapter the areas that are of interest to the study which will be covered are:
- The concept of CRM
- The concept of e-CRM
- Customer Satisfaction
- Feedback System Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Before we begin to examine the conceptual foundations of CRM, defining what is CRM is would be useful. The term Customer Relationship Management (CRM) gained widespread recognition in the late of 1990s. Both researchers and practitioners in academic area and the business field enthusiastically have shared their viewpoints and experiences in applying CRM (Anton, 1996). In less than a decade, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has escalated into a topic of major importance. Although the term only came into use of a significant extent in the later part of 1990s, the principles on which it has been based have existed for much longer. However, its origins which involve building relationship of mutual value between suppliers and customers have existed since the start of commerce (Gronroos, 1994 and Gronroos, 1996).
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is built especially on the principles of relationship marketing; the formal study of which goes back 20 years (Berry, 1983). This emphasis on relationship, as opposed to transaction, is redefining how companies are interacting with their customers (Gummesson, 1999). Customer relationships have received considerable attention from both academicians and practitioners. The increasing emphasis of relationship marketing is based on the assumptions that building committed customer relationships results in greater satisfaction, loyalty, positive word of mouth, business referrals, references, and publicity. Intense competition for market share in today's market requires managers to attend o customer retention and how's of whys of a patron returning and continuing to repurchase (Pritchard and Howard, 1997).
Customer relationship management (CRM) has attracted the expanded attention of practitioners and scholars. More and more companies are adopting customer-centric strategies, programs, tools, and technology for efficient and effective customer relationship management. They are realizing the need for in-depth and integrated customer knowledge in order to build close cooperative and partnering relationships with their customers (Parvatiyar and Sheth,2001).
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a broad term for managing business interactions with customers. Effective CRM is about acquiring, analyzing and sharing knowledge about and with your customers. (Dawn Julta, James Craig and Peter Bodorik,2001)
In the marketing literature the terms customer relationship management and relationship marketing are used interchangeably. As Nevin (1995) points out, these terms have been used to reflect a variety of themes and perspectives. Some of these themes offer a narrow functional marketing perspective while others offer a perspective that is broad and somewhat paradigmatic in approach and orientation. A narrow perspective of customer relationship management is database marketing emphasizing the promotional aspects of marketing linked to database efforts (Bickert, 1992).
Another narrow, yet relevant, viewpoint is to consider CRM only as seeking customer retention by using a variety of after marketing tactics that lead to customer bonding or staying in touch with the customer after a sale is made (Vavra, 1992).
Refer to Ja- Shen Chen the terms use in this concept on CRM is embodies the modern marketing paradigm of relationship management (RM) and leverange IT to acquire customers, understand and satisfy their needs and expectations and maintain their long-term relationships through retention programs, particularly those that build loyalty
Important ingredients in building long-term customer relationships are effective communication trust, commitment between the relationship participants. Every interaction and communication between the relationship participants leads to a trail of transaction and non-transaction data. The integration of this data is very vital for any business in reducing transaction costs and providing differentiated products and services at lower prices (Wells et al., 1999).
Defining of CRM
According to Donelaicio (2008) customer relationship management means "the start of a dialogue with a customer", which later on is converted into enterprise's profit and finally it means enterprise's survival in the competition. Thus CRM gets into the market as the system based on (implemented together with) information technologies frequently not evaluating advantages of direct communication of people.
Defining CRM could be connected to its technological perspectives as an IS approach that enhance the capability of an organization to deal more effectively with its customers. Chen and Chin (2004) defined CRM as a methodology that heavily employs certain information technology such as database and internet to leverage the effectiveness of relationship marketing process. Defining CRM as a business philosophy is another approach that has occurred in the literature of CRM. Swift (2001) described CRM as an: "enterprise approach to understanding and influencing customer behaviour through meaningful communications in order to improve customer acquisition, customer retention, customer loyalty, and customer profitability".
Component of CRM
As many researchers agree on the main components of CRM which are business processes, technology, and people (Ali and Alshawi, 2002), this paper will consider a definition for CRM that is built around these components. Thus, CRM can be defined as
"A customer relationship management (CRM) systems is a combination of people, processes, and technology that seeks to provide understanding of a company's customer and to support a business strategy to build long-term, profitable relationship with customers" (Shang and Feng Ko, 2006).
Although researchers have developed different detentions for CRM, these definitions are closely related. There is a general acceptance among researchers of the categorization of CRM components. CRM consists of three major components: Technology, people, business culture and relationship, and Process (Ali and Alshawi, 2002). The contribution to each component varies according to the level of CRM implementation.
Technology refers to computing capabilities that allow a company to collect, organise, save, and use data about its customer. Technology is the enabler for CRM systems to achieve their objectives of collecting, classifying, and saving valuable data on customers. Integration technology allows organizations to develop better relationship with customers by providing a wider view of the customer behavior (Thompson et al., 2006). Thus, organizations are required to integrate IT to improve the capabilities of understanding customer behavior, develop predictive models, build effective communications with customers and respond to those customers with real time and accurate information (Chen and Popovich, 2003). For an organization to integrate IT, concepts such as data warehouse, software customization, process automation, help desk and call centers, and internet influence should be addressed (Mendoza et al. 2007).
Employs and customers are a key factor for successful CRM projects. CRM is built around customers to manage beneficial relationships through acquiring information on different aspects of customers. The main objective of CRM is to translate the customer information into customized products and services that meet the changing needs of customers in order to gain their loyalty. Nevertheless, a full commitment of the organization's staff and management is essential for an effective CRM implementation to best serve customers and satisfy their needs.
CRM is a business strategy that has its philosophical basis in relationship marketing (Chen and Popovich, 2003). CRM success requires a change of business processes towards customer centric approach. As such, all business processes that involve both direct and indirect interaction with customers should be analyzed and assessed (Mendoza et al. 2007). Although CRM has an organization-wide impact, process that has direct interaction with customers should be dealt with as a priority when integrating and automating business processes. According to (Mendoza et al. 2007) the main business processes that should be addressed in CRM implementation are: marketing, sales, and services
Benefit of CRM
CRM tools when properly implemented can bring a lot of tangible benefits as discussed in the earlier sections of this chapter. The benefits can be summarized as below (Tourniaire, 2003):
Technology makes it easier to reach customers, to sell to them and to service them. CRM tools also produce cost savings by boosting employees'productivity.
Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
Good CRM tools make it easier for customers to do business with an organization through flexibility of self-service, ability to get what they need faster or receiving target information that is immediately useful. Highly satisfied customers tend to buy more, cost less to service, less price-sensitive and are happy to spread the word about the organization.
Profits are the ultimate test and a consequence of both the cost savings and the increased customer loyalty as described above. CRM drives profitability in three ways (Moulineux, 2003):
- Extracting more money from each customer
- Using knowledge gained from customers to deliver value to them more cost effectively
- Pleasing customers sufficiently that they refer other customers to the organization
Increased Internal Accountability
By assigning and tracking tasks, the CRM tools makes it possible for everyone in the organization to follow the flow of requests, to analyze adherence to SLAs (service-level agreements) and to note any delays or errors.
Good tools are essential to promote employees satisfaction. They tend to stay and reduce costly turnover and are likely to be more productive.
Better Business Intelligence
Better business intelligence means that an organization can get to know its customers better so that it can adapt the products, marketing strategies and support levels accordingly. CRM tools with better built-in analytics can really take advantage and exploit customers' data.
Defining of CRM in higher education
CRM is both business strategy and a set of discrete software tools and technologies, with the goal of reducing cost, increasing revenue, indentifying new opportunities and channels for expansion and improving customer value, satisfaction, profitability and retention. CRM focuses on automating and improving the institutional processes associated with managing customer relationships in the areas of recruitment, marketing, communication management, service and support (Grant and Anderson, 2002).
Beside that they also said from perspective of the customer, a CRM business strategy allows interaction with the college or university from single entity that has a complete understanding of their unique status and from perspective of the college or university, the CRM business strategy provides a clear and complete picture of each individual and all the activities pertaining to the individual.
Why Implement a Higher Education CRM Business Strategy
Nowadays, each university has divided its administration work into departments and units. "Faced with divisional boundaries, it is often very difficult for these different institutional functions to focus on their customers in a coordinated fashion " (Grant and Anderson,2002). By having a platform for customer communication, CRM is the right solution to eliminate the organizational "stovepipes" that prevent proactive customer interaction. Beside that CRM application also designed to improve staff to interact with customer in this case is student.
According to Grant and Anderson (2002) use of CRM applications can lead to improve customer responsiveness and a more comprehensive view of the entire "crandle- to -grave" customer life cycle.
In addition, the university could manage the interaction between institution and its customers by using web based application, whereby it could replace the interaction between staff and customer across multiple channels. This is based on the opinion given by Grant and Anderson (2002) that CRM application track and manages interaction and transactions with various customers across multiple channels, including the Web. For institutions with high degree of personal, such as admissions recruiters or development officers, CRM can extend these channels to the Web by providing a framework for managing the interactions and transactions.
Electronic Customer Relationships Management (e-CRM)
According to Julta, Craig and Bodorik (2001), Electronic CRM or e-CRM is the customer relationship care component of e- Business. Customer care linkages in the value chain for B2C and B2B electronic commerce are critical elements for the evaluation of existing products.
e- CRM extends to all of the stakeholders that create value for customer. Value for the customer may be lower prices, higher quality products and services, continuous stream of innovative new products and services, speedier responses, convenience and customization of products and services.
Defining of e-CRM
Refer thesis from Ihsan Jambak, consumers in every business sector are becoming increasingly intelligent about products and services, as well as prices. The Internet provides easy access to basic product information, price, product reviews, rating systems, and other data points that enable consumers to make more choices about products or services that informed. As a result, customers are more empowered than ever before.
He also said that with an increasingly sophisticated customer base, most companies are challenged with the demands of a higher-level service across multiple access channels. To meet with it, companies have to retain consistency across all interaction channels, such as the Internet, email, telephone, Web, fax, and across all areas of company customer interact with including sales, service, marketing, and other fields Pan and Lee (2003).
Components of e-CRM
According to Roxanne and Jerry .etc (2002), successful e-CRM requires adherence to a stable and consistent strategy that focuses on the goals of maintaining customer loyalty and of using complaint handling data to solve problems and address issues raised by customers.
The key e-CRM components to be discussed in this paper include:
- maximizing customer satisfaction/minimizing customer dissatisfaction
- increasing customer loyalty
- increasing product/service quality
- resolving customer complaints
Key Component of e-CRM
Maximizing/Minimizing Customer Satisfaction/ Dissatisfaction
Customer satisfaction has been identified as a key component of e-CRM, the question of how to minimize online customer dissatisfaction has not been received much attention. As with any transaction, online customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction is largely determined by how much the customer's expectations differ from the product's or service's actual performance - what traditional marketers refer to as the degree of disparity resulting from a customer's disconfirmation of expectations.
Online customer dissatisfaction results from unmet expectations about a product, technology issue and/or Web assessment factors, which include information content, customized product information, convenient after sales support, privacy issues, fast and accurate delivery.
Increasing Product/ Service quality
A firm's successful complaint management requires that a Quality Assurance (QA) department provides rapid feedback in order to improve a customer's overall perception of product and service quality. Beside that, how online product or service quality is used to evaluate online businesses. For example, customers can use online feedback systems to share their evaluations of product/service quality, including online transactions. In its most simple form, these systems result in increased sales when product or service quality is reported as satisfactory or better, and decreased sales when customer complaints persist.
Increasing Customer Loyalty
"E-loyalty" has been receiving more attention recently, the internet is a potentially powerful tool for strengthening relationships between firms and their customers. According to Gardial and Clemons. Etc (1994) stated that establishing effective relationships results in greater customer loyalty and improved data on customer usage. Encouraged the use of complaints to improve communication channels between buyers and sellers in general, and as a specific means of turning dissatisfied customers into loyal repeat customers, Roxanne and Jerry .etc (2002).
Resolving Customer Complaints
Based on paper Tax, Brown and Chandrashekaran (1998) they state complaint management refers to the strategies used to resolve disputes and to improve ineffective products or services in order to establish a firm's reliability in the eyes of customers. They also said that complaint data is a key component in the process of problem correction and increased performance.
Differention of CRM and e-CRM
The concept of electronic Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM) is implemented to overcome this challenge. Practicing this concept provides the ability to capture, integrates, and distributes data gained at the organizations Web site throughout the enterprise. The key to successfully managing customer relationships lies in the ability to integrate existing CRM processes with e-CRM applications.
Pan and Lee (2003) made a distinction between the terms CRM and e-CRM. CRM is an approach or business strategy providing seamless integration of every area of business that touches the customer—namely marketing, sales, sales, customer service and field support— through integration of people, process, and technology. While, e-CRM expands the traditional CRM techniques by integrating technologies of new electronic channels, such as Web, wireless, and voice technologies, and combines them with e-business applications into the overall enterprise CRM strategy. In other words, what the traditional CRM delivers can be considered only a fraction of an e-CRM solution.
Businesses monitor customer satisfaction in order to determine how to increase their customer base, customer loyalty, revenue, profits, market share and survival. Although greater profit is the primary driver, exemplary businesses focus on the customer and his/her experience with the organization. They work to make their customers happy and see customer satisfaction as the key to survival and profit. Customer satisfaction in turn hinges on the quality and effects of their experiences and the goods or services they receive.
Refer to Mac and Peter (1989) stated customer satisfaction can be experienced in a variety of situations and connected to both goods and services. It is a highly personal assessment that is greatly affected by customer expectations. Satisfaction also is based on the customer's experience of both contact with the organization (the "moment of truth" as it is called in business literature) and personal outcomes. Some researchers define a satisfied customer within the private sector as "one who receives significant added value" to his/her bottom line—a definition that may apply just as well to public services.
Customer satisfaction is a highly personal assessment that is greatly influenced by individual expectations. Some definitions are based on the observation that customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction results from either the confirmation or disconfirmation of individual expectations regarding a service or product.
The Customer Feedback/ Complaint System
Coping potential is the extent to which people anticipate the probable success of their coping effort, given option for coping (lazarus 1991). Companies can increase a consumer's coping potential by instituting coping mechanisms which minimize the expected costs of complaining from consumer's standpoint.
In terms of increasing the consumer's coping potential, online communication technology has done more than mercly adding a channel for complaint. Online communication technology has in fact altered the perceived balance of power between the individual consumer and the company.
Beside that terms of increasing the consumer's coping potential steams from the fact it is "lean" medium. Media differ in their ability to convey information (Bodensteiner ,1970). Refer Daft & Lengel (1986) stated that oral and synchronous media (face to face and the telephone) are believed to be richer in carrying information than written and asynchronous media (email). This is based on :
- The medium ability to give immediate feedback
- The variety of communication cues
- The personalization of the medium
- The attainable language variety
Based on criteria above, online communication as a written and asynchronous medium falls somewhere between the telephone and non-electronic written communications in terms richness.
Therefore, it can be concluded that feedback system online is the best way to do feedback or complaint. Other than the criteria mention above, the criteria based on Tom (1996) stated the Citizen's Charter Complaints Task Force has summarized these as follow:
Complaints system should :
- Be easily accessible and well-publicized
- Be simple to understand and use
- Allow speedy handling, with established time limits for action and keep people informed of progress
- Ensure a full and fair investigation
- Respect people's desire for confidentiality
- Address all the points issue and provide an effective response and appropriate redress
- Provide information to management so that services can be improved
Comparison of feedback system
The concept of service
Service industry is the one sector of industry involves the provision of services to other businesses as well as to final consumers. Activities are mainly concerned with providing services rather than tangible objects for the benefit of the end users and/or other industries. It includes insurance banking and finance, provision of gas and electricity and water, health care, transport, communications, entertainment, retailing and wholesaling, and central and local government. (London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 2005; the Geographical Association Fieldwork Code of Practice, 2006; WordNet).
The services sector is now of central importance to advanced economies and customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.
Framework Customer Service
Purpose of this Framework for Customer Service aimed at putting the customer at the heart of our services, understanding our customers and raising the levels of customer satisfaction across our service delivery areas and channels.
The aim of the Framework is to develop a joined-up, co-ordinate programme to
deliver the following core themes:
- Customer Focus; developing a knowledge hub about our customers in order to transform service delivery and improve the customer experience. Providing information to allow our services to be sensitive to the diverse needs of our customers and aim for continual improvement, which will be reflected by our satisfaction ratings.
- Consistent Customer Experience; to provide a consistently branded customer experience, utilising a centralised information hub, investing in staff skills and developing and sharing customer-driven objectives with our partners.
- Customer Convenience; to provide integrated services through a choice of access channels
Theme Objective to put in place
- use of knowledge and information management to ensure customer preferences and priorities are recorded.
- service assurance for our customers, i.e. getting it right first time by knowing and understanding customer requirements and trends.
- a full understanding of customer preferences, e.g. how they wish to contact us
- equality of access and opportunity
Consistent Customer Experience
- branded services as part of the delivery of a consistent customer experience
- an on-going framework of dialogue with stakeholders to learn and improve performance
- Core staff training and monitoring of competencies
- an agreed set of common values and principles across partners
- shared service objectives with partners.
- joined up services to meet complex customer needs
- maximum resolution at first point of contact across all channels
- easy access to information, advice and services regardless of access point.
- integrated telephone access to services via CHD
- a choice of access channels to suit our customer needs and preferences
- enabled self-service via the web
- new channels as appropriate and based on demand and cost-effectiveness e.g. text, more one-stop-shops etc.
- use of knowledge and information management to assist customer enquiries
"Customer feedback is data from customers about their perceptions and experiences as your customer. It is typically gathered either directly by companies or outsourced and gathered by market research firms. Feedback can take different forms and can cover a wide range of topics, but is often structured and gathered via surveys conducted by mail, phone, in person or over the web. It is typically focused on aspects of the customer experience believed to be most critical to customer satisfaction and loyalty "(Stewart Nash).
"Customer care has become one of the major issues for many businesses, prompting many organisations around the world to define it as being made up of Courtesy, Accessibility, Responsiveness and Effectiveness. Customer accessibility is defined as the condition, opportunity, rights and the means of a customer in approaching or entering a facility or electronic system" (Ahmad Zaki,2008).
"Customer accessibility is defined as the condition, opportunity, rights and the means of a customer in approaching or entering a facility or electronic system. Customer access to products, services and information can be both physical as well as virtual and there are many considerations for its implementation"(Ahmad Zaki,2008).
The level of customer accessibility depends on your company's technical infrastructure but, even more importantly, depends highly on the performance of your employees. These two factors both determine the level and degree of your customer contact and service, "fuelling" the engine of your customer accessibility (W.L.A Vos: WV consultancy).
Refer to Kevin Toller (2005) said that Audit Commission has set criteria on achieving excellence in customer access. These relate to ensuring that citizens have choice, convenience and control in accessing services from the Council. The Commission have identified the following context for customer access:
- Services should be easy to access
- Services should be supported by technology that is appropriate to meet customer needs
- Council should respond to customer feedback and complaints to improve service quality and access to services
- Council should use partnership working with neighbouring Councils, organizations and businesses to continually improve access to services
- Council services should focus on the whole community
- Council services must ensure equality of access and take proper account of equality and diversity of all service users.
In order to increase accessibility, organizations have spent considerable sums of money researching their customer's needs. Need to know about customer want in context customer access like customer want to contact when it is convenient to them, easy methods of contact that suit them, a quick and correct response and a result.
Besides that, organization also should know that what customer do not want in customer accessibility, example that customer do not want is to be kept waiting, to be passed from "piller to post" and to repeat what they have already told us.
Technology is an important tool that helps to support customer to access the information. Technology used to change from time to time and it depends on the customer's requirement to contact with organization.
Jon Anton said that "The customer service call center has been the primary focus in the last ten years, but with the new channels of customer contact evolving, the call center is transforming into the company's "access" center for all customer interactions." It shows technology that we use now for customer access is based on the experienced of applying the technology from the past, which it (the technology) is already change and been used by other people nowadays.
According to Jon Anton the past, managing customer contacts has evolved logically through the following phases of channel availability:
- face-to-face customer contacts
- correspondence delivered by the Post Office
- the telephone with toll calls
- the telephone with toll-free calls
- facsimile transmission of correspondence
- e-mail correspondence
- the Internet and corporate Web sites
The lessons that learn from the past, customers greatly value free and easy access to mission critical information. The addition of new channels does not replace existing channels of access to information. Customers prefer multiple touchpoints available at any time and for free.
Refer to Jon Anton, he said that "the focus is moving from mostly telephone calls to all forms of customer access including e-mail, fax-mail, kiosk, and the Internet". That means , in this globalization era, technology has advanced and more a step forward. E-mail, fax-mail, kiosk & the internet acts as a medium of customer access besides telephone calls. However, telephone calls still remain as a priority.
The demand for easy access to information is mushrooming and at the same time technology solutions are rising up everywhere to accompany center managers to enhance their ability to handle the new layers of demand by information.
For example the technologies for future is:
Voice of Internet protocol (VOIP)
"This futuristic call center will enjoy the luxury of correct information provided directly by the customer, reduced talk times, shorter average speed to answer, and superior customer service" by Jon Anton.
Further advantages of VOIP are:
- the agent can see where on the Web site the customer has already been
- the agent views the same screen that the customer has on their desktop
- the agent can move his/her cursor on the customer's screen for giving specific directions
- the agent can "push" additional pages of information directly to the customer's desktop for discussion, education and selling.
VOIP will drastically change the customer access center of the future.
IVR and voice recognition
According to Jon Anton, IVR is one technology "interactive recordings that allow the customer to make selections to route them to the specific customer service representative who will most likely be able to provide them with the special information that they seek. While there has been much controversy over the automation of customer service the benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks for both the customer and the provider."
Recently, IVR technology has moved from just being a fancy answering machine to a full fledged voice recognition system, where the computer provides a very realistic "conversation" with the caller.
"Their needs, requirements and expectations too have risen due to international exposure and availability of information through various channels. This has made the task of satisfying the customer a formidable task. As explained by McKenna (1999)" (Ahmad zaki,2008).
Customers can become fickle minded at one moment and then well informed conservative buyers at the next instance. They are now more sensitive to the changing world around them and their preferences and mood rapidly changes with time, events and market attraction. Their needs, requirements and expectations too have risen due to international exposure and availability of information through various channels. This has made the task of satisfying the customer a formidable task (Ahmad Zaki, 2008).
Customers around the world alike want convenient, efficient, multi-channel access to seamless services, integrated across programmers, departments and jurisdictions. At the same time, they want their service providers to be more transparent, accountable, courteous, and effective as well as able to respond immediately to whatever problems related to the service.
According to Kevin Toller (2005) brief that many surveys show customer generally preferred method of communication is by telephone, however that preferred communication will depend upon the individual and service requirement at the time. There are many channels that are available, including:
- SMS text messaging
- Automated kiosks
- Digital television
Multichannel Customer Contact Management
According Paul and David 2004 the contact center infrastructures use various communications and application technologies, including customer contact management (CCM) and customer relationship management(CRM) technologies.
In today multimedia world, customer contact can take place by phone, e-mail, fax, voicemail, text-chat and more. These various types of communication need a centralized component a contact manager to govern inbound and outbound contacts in the same way that call routers govern phone calls. The disparity of communications channels makes the CM task complex.
Several factors can increase the time and cost of servicing a contact such as misrouting and rerouting contacts, the number of endpoint resources used in succession or used simultaneously and any repeated questions or data entry resulting when a contact passes from end point to end point. Moreover, the customer experience (affected by performance, transaction work flow, transaction results and so on) can vary dramatically from one channel to another.
Contact Management (CM) a component or system of components in a contact center that manages the inbound and outbound contacts on all channels. A CM can provide consistent management, scalability and extensibility to a large contact center operation spanning geographic locations or servicing multiple channels.
Multichannel contact management without a contact manager (CM) it develops separate rules for each channel, involves complicated correlation of multiple logs, forces some customers to go through multiple contacts to accomplish a task, saturates some channels while others might be idle, relinquishes channel selection to the customer, might result in idle single channel CSR groups and locks contacts to a single channel. CSR is Customer service representative means a human who provides service to customers.
Multichannel contact management with a contact manager enables rule development once for all channels, accurately reports activity on all channels, gives expedited service to customers, facilitates equal load sharing across channels, proactively directs contacts to the best destinations, keeps the CSR workforce busy at nonpeak times and uses multiple channels as needed.
A CM leverages information sources, enables real-time visualization and provides end-to-end reporting. It can access information sources to learn about customers, business rules and the load on midpoint and endpoint resources. Examples of midpoint resources are e-mail servers, Web servers and ACDs. Endpoint resources include IVR, Web application servers and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) servers. With such information, the CM can optimally prioritize and route contacts (collectively, these functions are sometimes called intelligent routing), significantly reducing the overall service time and number of end points with which a customer communicates.
CM use information sources to enable real-time visualization of contact center activity, allowing customer service organizations to respond to spikes or system failures by adjusting business rules or resource configurations. CM enable end-to-end reporting of contact centers native business intelligence. Centrally tracking contacts creates an end-to-end picture of all customer activity regardless of channel, which is more accurate and efficient than the conventional approach of attempting to artificially correlate a telecommunications circuit report with multiple channel logs. It also overcomes the multiple logging that occurs when a contact navigates from end point to end point or when multiple channels are used simultaneously to satisfy a single contact.
This chapter illustrates the Research methodology followed in this research. As best practice methodology, models and techniques must be defines to fit the prototype that will be develop according to the result of the research. In this chapter the researcher will discuss data collection, project schedule and later on the requirements of hardware and software for the proposed prototype.
To make sure that all project activities are well-organized, project methodology is needed to guide these activities to the right direction. However to gather all the information relevant to the study, the researcher have to build a methodology framework or operational framework to make sure that all the tasks of the project have been done correctly.
In the data collection, the task for the researcher is to collect all relevant data about the research topic. The sources of data that need to be collected are from the following sources :
Online Research (Internet)
Online research been conducted through the internet to get relevant information to the research topic. The materials the researcher got from the internet are books, journals, web pages and official document reviews. Internet can provide various types of research papers, books, journals and conference papers.
When doing a research, it is important to find out books, journals and also thesis about the research topic from the library- Perpustakaan Sultanah Zanariah, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. These materials from the library would give additional information to understand deeply the topic.
To conduct data collection, the following data collection methods will be used :
Project schedule will list down the project schedule including the project start date and end date also the activities that will be done to do the research according to the objectives of the project. The details of the project schedule are shown in gantt chart appendices.
Hardware and Software requirement
he requirements of hardware are shown below:-
- Personal Computer
- Read Access Memory (RAM)
- Hard Disk
- Monitor Color
The requirements of software are shown below:-
- Microsoft Office - MS Word and MS Project
- Adobe Photoshop - for image editing purpose
- MatLab Software- for Statistics
This chapter talked about an overview of the project method. The researcher discussed in details the project operational framework which shows the overall project operation. The researcher also discussed the phases inside the operational framework and at the end of this chapter the hardware and software requirements were discussed.
This chapter will focus on about project analysis and design that include a survey, feedback system , data model and user requirement analysis. It is also cover feedback system process and data Model about this project.
Identify the current process SPS UTM and To Be process is important in developing this project. This chapter also identifiers the business objective, version and mission of Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS) Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
The points this chapter will discuss are:
- Organizational analysis
- Initial data collection- UTM feedback-current analysis, the outcome of the interview , Focus Group and Questionnaire.
- Data analysis-analysis with system already use
At the end of this chapter a comprehensive summary will be given.
Before proceeding with any analysis, it is very important for the researcher to understand SPS's vision, mission, main functions and organizational structure. The organizational analysis also presents details of SPS and its customers' expectations. The results are gathered from both the internal strategic interview and the customer survey in which they are summarized as below. As a result from the findings, a final assessment is presented to provide an overall picture of this section.
Introduction to SPS
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), the largest engineering-based university located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. It is renowned for being at the forefront of engineering and technological knowledge and expertise. UTM has also established a reputation for innovative education and leading-edge research, with a vision to educating technologists and professionals towards the development of creative human capital and advanced technological innovations.
This is in line with the aspirations of the country to be a fully-developed and knowledge-rich nation by the year 2020. UTM has more than 20 specialist institutes and research centers, in addition to academic faculties to service technological education and research needs of the university. There are more than 25,000 full-time undergraduate students at its main campus in Johor, more than 4,500 at its Kuala Lumpur campus, and more than 5,000 enrolled on distance learning programmers as part-time students. In addition, there are more than 3,000 postgraduate students in various fields of specialization.
Having produced more than 200,000 technical graduates and qualified professionals over the years, UTM has earned its place as Malaysia's premier university in Engineering and Technology which inspires creativity and innovation.
This project has chosen the administration in the School of Postgraduate Studies (SPS) department as the case study. SPS is one part of department in UTM. SPS promotes and advances outstanding achievement in graduate education at UTM. SPS also ensures quality and integrity of UTM graduate programmes. This entails that student are provide with academic training of the highest standard in research and other scholarly activities.
Mission and Vision
- SPS mission is to provide leadership I ensuring excellence in graduate education and support for student success.
The Role of SPS
- Support the mission of the university to became a world class centre of academic and technological excellence
- Formulate policies pertaining to the development of graduate studies
- Steer the postgraduate committee coordinate with academic faculties to develop and enhance the quality of graduate education.
- Maintain the integrity in graduate education practice across all departments and centre at UTM
- Cooperate with other departments of the university to ensure that facilities are available to meet both the academic and social needs of graduate students
- Facilitate staff and student training sessions on aspects of graduate education
- Innovate new initiatives in graduate education to face new challenges
Initial Data Collection
In this section, the researcher will talk about the how the data was collected according to the project operational framework. In the data collection stage, the researcher is going to use two methods which are interview and questionnaire. The researcher conducted interview on Center Teaching (CTL), UTM as a sample of the interview question is shown in appendix.
This phase, data analysis, the researcher is going to analyze the data collected during the interview, questionnaire, focus group and study the given data during the explanation in the interview session. From this, the researcher will develop a one system to manage feedback management as a one stop center.
An interview session had been done with Pn Nazlin whereby the researcher asked some relevant questions. The main objectives of the interview is to know the current medium used by the students in order to get feedback from SPS, students' common problem and how SPS manage the feedback and respond to students. On the other hand, the researcher also gathered the requirements needed in developing a new system.
Pn Nazlin is the person in charge for students intake. From the interview, the researcher had been informed that SPS does manage complaint and enquiries from students and the enquiries do not necessarily for utm students but also for the public that needed the information regarding UTM. Most of the enquiries were from foreigner students but it does not mean that local students do not have any problem. It was just because the local students have less problems than the foreigner students.
Pn Nazlin told that a student can make a feedback by using few mediums provided namely phone calls email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to SPS office and SPS will respond to them by email or phone calls.
As of today, SPS still do not have any feedback system that could receive all the comment, opinion, complaint or enquiry in one platform. Other than that, the feedback made also not being recorded. Students normally enquire about the offer letter produced by SPS. Lastly, Pn Nazlin gave a few suggestions in developing the system.
This research utilized quantitative research methodology. The method chosen for this project is questionnaire. The reason questionnaire will use to collect information in this project, questionnaire was distribute to all foreigner student because they always have with SPS. The analysis and discussion are based on the information in the questionnaire. A set of questionnaire containing questions which includes open-ended question and closed-ended question. Open-ended question except the respondents to give opinions, ideas, suggestions or comments, but for closed-ended question require the respondents to provide opinions, ideas or comments based on the options provided in the same questionnaires. For example; yes/no, scale, listing, ranking and category. To ensure that the data collected were suitable for the specific research questions in this project, a questionnaire will construct to collect the required data. The questionnaire measures the staff and student enthusiasm towards feedback management.
A set questionnaire has been distributed to 20 foreigner students from different faculties such as FKM, FKE and others. Analysis from the questionnaire, it shows that 78 percent said that the feedback that made are for enquiries, while 14 percent placed complaint and another 7 percent gave some opinion. The diagram is shown as follows:
Furthermore, the analysis shown that the best medium for student to communicate with the SPS is go to SPS Office which shows 29 percent, while medium to communicate by using phone and fax is 20 percent each. Other mediums which are web and email are getting the same percentage which is15 percents. The diagram shown as follows:
This chapter is explain about current process and proposed project. In the early stage, organization goal, mission and vision need to identify. Then, do a simple analysis about current process and identify the weakness. In this chapter, design system architecture of this project is including. Finally, a new process model that will be proposed that can overcame the identified weakness.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
In this chapter, the discussion and conclusion of the project will be discussed. The main purpose of this project is to analyze the technology issue that use to customer access the feedback management in UTM, and find out a solution for managing existing feedback from various channels in UTM. During this chapter, some main points will be discussed are :
- Constraints & Challenges
After collecting data from different sources, the concept of feedback management issue in organizations and technology that use has been identified. The list below will show main achievements of this project :
- Finding out the basic concept of technology. Feedback management issues in organizations specially Universities.
- Identifying the current status of feedback management and the system already use that manage feedback in CTL,UTM.
- The analysis of interview conducted at Center Teaching and Learning
- Finding out the system that use to manage feedback in UTM, especially in CTL,UTM
Constraints and Challenges
During the doing of the first part of the project, several obstacles and challenges faced by the author. Although these challenges directly affect the performance of the project progress but it did not affect the author enthusiasm to complete the project according to the time given.
The constraints and challenges that the author faced during the project are listed below :
- It took time to identify the problem and understanding the project.
- Insufficient time given to complete the report and prepare for the presentation as the author is committed to other prior commitment such as attending classes.
- There are a lot of literatures that focus on different aspect and issue that somehow confused the author on selecting the most relevant to the project.
- The other challenging thing is that choosing appropriate model for managing technology and feedback management.
Below are the author's hopes and expectations for this project:
- All the project objectives that have been highlighted in the introduction chapter will be successfully achieved.
- The proposed one model to manage various ways in receiving information.
- To find out the most suitable technology which enables users to give feedbacks efficiently especially to UTM
As conclusion, this chapter has presents the overall discussion of the research and all activities that should be completed in Project 2 have been discussed. It also have been discussed the achievements of initial findings, some of the constraints and challenges that were met during the implementation of the research. Finally, the expected achievements at the end of project II were discussed.