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The search for replicable, empirical and reliable customer relationship model (CRM) is a longstanding pursuit in marketing strategy scholarly. Of special importance is the role that customers play in the dispensation and how it impacts the overall focus of a business. This far, pedagogic perspective has mainly reflected on customer lifecycle and essentially characterized CRM into distinctive phases. The benefits of this approach to strategic pursuits are multifaceted mainly because it helps the marketing team to focus on value addition at each level of customer engagement.
The stages of the customer lifecycle as founded in CRM are mainly the acquisition, retention, reach, loyalty and conversion. For a company to succeed in its marketing adventures, and ensure growth in sales and value for stakeholders, it is very important that it consider how to add value at each of the levels in a way that outpaces competitors. Excellent organizations consider with great emphasis the implication of each of the phases and tend to win and retain more customers as a result.
While it is true that these organizations often integrate best practices in their customer-centric approach to the target market, there is also dire dearth in exemplary examples. CRM has come this far to integrate the use of technology, data collection, SEROQUEL surveys all with an aim of trying to capture the differences between performance and perception. Notably, however, a number of challenges and problem continues to seriously impair the ability of businesses to implement superior CRM strategies.
This essay examines how Tight Squeeze Juice, University bar business criteria, can implement and benefit from a CRM model that is based on value addition at each of the phases of the customer lifecycle. In addition, the paper examines and explores specific challenges that need to be surmounted in the dispensation. Before delving into the details, subsidiary issues pertaining to definition, evolution, and history of CRM and customer-centric approach to marketing shall also be explored.
Customer relationship management is defined as a customer-centric approach to strategic management which relies on data and need to realign business operations with those of consumers. It is also defined as a marketing approach which seeks to manage the business interaction and engagement with current and future customers (Nyadzayo & Khajehzadeh 2016). CRM helps businesses to learn more about their customers or target audiences which helps the sale and marketing team to expedite their energy to the right course of action. This consequently saves time and resources besides being effective. The ultimate goal of a CRM approach is to increase sales revenues from boosted customer loyalty and retention.
Since the whole process involves how to manage crucial phases of interaction, CRM has been demystified in late scholarly adventures to encompass various phases. Broadly, these phases are also known as the customer life cycle. It begins with formulating concerns about reaching the target audience and ends with how to ensure that customers are retained hence a competitive edge in the market place.
CRM as a form of marketing strategy dates back to antiquity. The main reason behind this is because traditionally business entity has realized that it is superior to focus on the customers’ needs since they represent the ultimate interests of any business (Soltani, & Navimipour 2016). Postmodern thoughts on CRM and the various life cycles have nevertheless shifted broadly from use of questionnaires and surveys at the front shop to the collection of crucial customer data through websites, product review sites and enterprise resource planning software (ERP). This saw the emergence of software-based intervention such as Oracle and Suite (Taylor et al 2015).
The university bar concept is the main business criteria that Tight Squeeze Juice is currently trying to improve on. The concept has strengths and weaknesses that need to be relooked into. It also has opportunities and threats such as the seasonal nature of their business concept and opportunities such as high sales during term seasons. The strategic question that lingers on in the management of Tight Squeeze Juice in its endeavor is how to overcome the hurdles of seasonality, boost sales during low season, and create brand loyalty that outpaces the lifetime of a student in the various university.
The business has challenges with seasonality because students do not attend school all year out as there are holidays. This leads to poor sales during those months which are a major financial threat to the business criteria. The sustainability of university bar concepts heavily relies on its ability to ensure a constant flow of revenues. This is because even when students are not on holiday, the business continues incurring costs related to human resource, premises, and probably interests in the facilities the business could have taken from creditors. A step by step analysis hence entails considering what tight Squeeze Juice ought to do at each level of analysis pertaining to the customer life cycle and the possible anticipated challenges.
The university juice concepts were readily apprehended by the target market. This stems from the fact that the revenues achieved from the endeavors in its first year are a living testament that the company business criteria was a success. Reaching to customers is however a continuous rather than a static process. This is due to the fact that customer attrition rates are at all the time very high in the company. Every year, the company losses a considerable number of the target market and hence would need to compensate for this through a careful management reach strategy.
Reach as an important foundation of customer life cycle entails coming up with strategies of reaching the target audience. Critical questions that organizations deal with at this phase are how to let the customer know the product exists and what to tell the consumers (Chowdhary et al 2019). It is characterized by defining the brand, the promotional concept as well as the delivery path. Since promotion and branding also entails a level of differentiation, in reach organizations must also ponder about quality and pricing of their products.
The American juice concepts provide a number of opportunities and strengths which the business can focus on. The product is already appreciated by the target market and the delivery or distribution aspects are already a success. However, to ensure the sustainability of the business concept, it is also very crucial that the organization consider diversifying its distribution channels. This would involve setting up delivery channels via the web. The strategy could be implemented right away from the university and because a number of students always live in the vicinity, it is also possible that they would continue with the trend when they are out of the university whether on holiday or after finishing their studies.
Tight Squeeze juice also needs to focus on better ways of bringing the reached customers into spheres of influence of the organizations. Customer acquisition simply deals with the way the customer intends to entice the reached customers to buy the merchandise. Tight Squeeze juice ought to convince the largest number of customers and persuade them to buy their products. In the process of diversified delivery, the organizations need to ensure that their product is also superior in the market place at the face of stringent competition from established juice dealers in the retail concept.
Excellent organizations acquire customers through building a lasting intimacy, speaking the customer’s language. The cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than that of retention because persuasion is a difficult and unpredictable process. Customer acquisition is vital to the success of Tight Squeeze Juice university concept.
To improve customer engagement, the business needs to consider engaging directly with its customers. The best acquisition strategy is social care through social media. The business should directly engage with its customers on social media platforms. This is because almost all university students today have a social media presence in an estimated social media audience of over four billion worldwide. Careful consideration of the kind of content that should be posted, and the form of care should first be considered to ensure that it does not disadvantage the business at the face of competitors.
Customer conversion is the tactical process of ensuring that the consumers who are reached and acquired by the business translate into a buy. The focus of conversion is simply to ensure that prospective customers take meaningful action to purchase the product. It is commonly measured in the form of conversion rates. Empirically, customer conversion can be calculated in a percentage form which in this case implies the number of customers who progresses to engage and purchase the product after social care.
The university juice bar concept in the acquisition stage need to be enhanced with social media presence. However, even with the best promotional and acquisition strategy in place, the conversion is not a clear-cut concept. There lacks a universal customer conversion strategy mainly because conversion is psychological as well. The way different customers are motivated to buy a specific product differs from one customer to the other and hence an organization cannot rely on a single approach to encourage conversion.
Nevertheless, by focusing on the brand, and in the case of the web-based platform as proposed, the web design and layout, the conversion is made more possible. One of the main reasons why these factors can influence conversion for the University bar juice concept is because of the boost convenience. In an increasingly busy society, more customers have been attracted by convenience and reliability because it saves on time. Customers would buy the product more because they do not have to physically access the bar to buy juice. With a click of the mouse or through their smartphones, they can easily place an order and trust enough that it shall be delivered quickly and in hence in time. The quality would also not be compromised in the process as well.
The business criteria are faced by threats that wholesomely increase the rates of attritions. Customer attritions or defection rates are very destructive and can lead to the failure of the business model. While the organization expends a lot of resources to acquire and convert customers, structural and functional aspects associated with the demographics factor of education lead to unprecedented attrition rates. In addition to this, there is also a likelihood that existing customers might be lost to established retail juice brands where the business does not enjoy a presence.
To harness customer conversion, excellent organizations rely on multifaceted strategies. The aim of customer retention strategies is mainly to ensure that the business retains the most possible number of customers which is a positive indicator of positive brand growth. This is one of the most effective ways of achieving a competitive advantage in the market place. Loss of customers may indicate that something is very wrong with the selected business model and perhaps the brand concept as well.
Brand perception is considered the main factor that influences customer retention. There is hence a considerable, positive and strong, correlation between brand perception and customer retention (Ciunova-Shuleska et al 2017). Studies on the influence of brand perception on customer growth also reveal that there is a significant statistical relationship between the two variables. From a qualitative sense, positive brand perception leads to brand growth which consequently is an indicator and determinant of customer retention.
Building a brand nevertheless is not easy because the concept cannot be put in its separate watertight compartment. There also lacks a universal definition of what a brand is. A brand, however, can be defined as a sum of constructs that entails the product name, taste, design, and logo. A brand is differentiated from the product, though it cannot exist outside the product. A brand is simply the idea that a product elicits on the mind of customers once they think about it. In this case study, the company can create lasting brand impressions of convenience, tasty and delicacy, health, and reliability. These impressions would then lead customers to come back and hence increased sales revenues during low season and high season.
The university juice bar concept needs to be sustainable if the business is to be guaranteed for growth. Sustainability, however, is not possible without customer loyalty. While customer loyalty and retention seem at most to be similar, both concepts are different in perspectives. Customer loyalty is the superior path which alters retained customers from not only becoming buyers but loyal partners who can also influence brand perception and growth (Nyadzayo & Khajehzadeh 2016). With customer loyalty, the business is not only assured of lasting legacy and purchases but also assured sales revenues. Customer loyalty is an almost utopian but achievable customer engagement aspect which drives business sales in the market place in a manner that cannot be replicated by consumers.
Winning customer loyalty is however not clear cut. It requires a great deal of resource investment and positive energy from the part of the business associates. The organization needs to manage its resources, external and internal attributes toward ensuring that customers are not only retained but also loyal. There lacks a universal model that defines the various aspects that influences customer loyalty. Customers are motivated differently and because loyalty is a high order variable in the hierarchy of need and motivation, as conceived in the Maslow theory, a number of superior engagement strategies are imperative.
Excellent organizations rely on strategies such as reward systems, discounts, and superior convenience and customer feedback systems (Ciunova-Shuleska et al 2017). Reward systems and discounts transform customer retentions into loyalty because it directly connects with the customers for a longer time. Reward systems may include the point system that is accrued on subsequent purchase on a customer card which can also be redeemed for purchases. With the right ERP systems in place, this is a recommended method of inducing and converting retained customers into long-lasting loyal consumers of the company’s product.
SWOT analysis of the CRM programs reveals there are a few weaknesses and threats that need to be surmounted. SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps a company map out how it fairs in its interaction with both external and internal attributes. It elaborates the opportunities and strengths a company faces at the face of its threats and weaknesses. Weaknesses are internal while threats are external. The business has very little influence over external threats but careful management of the attributes is what differentiates excellent organizations from unsustainable ones.
In implementing the CRM program, the business faces a myriad of weaknesses. First, there is an expected surge in the costs of management. CRM entails a great deal of training and investment in an effective and efficient team (Soltani, & Navimipour 2016). To create a superior customer experience, the company needs to balance between efficiency and effectiveness. To be effective, more employees are needed to attend to customers both in the delivery section and the floor of the university juice bars. However, this is a costly endeavor which would obviously require the business to expand more resources, hence not efficient. This dilemma can be resolved by taking advantage of automation. Currently, the business does not have an ERP system in place which can help in automating sales and hence balancing effectiveness and efficiency.
Nevertheless, automation exposes the company to a number of external threats. Cybercrime and Internet-based fraud is the fastest growing crime in the world today. The internet is increasingly becoming a risky place to visit unless concrete measures are taken through a systemic approach. By revolutionizing customer engagement through social media, the business faces risks related to social engineering attacks. The love bug incident that occurred less than two decades ago is a living example of the potential damage that social media interactions can have on businesses across the globe. Successful implementation of an ERP system would also require the business to invest in information governance. This would be costly as it would require the business functions to be also backed up in cloud computing systems. In addition, despite the efforts that the business makes, it is generally accepted that there are is no information system worldwide that is immune from cyber-attack especially with the increased monetization of cybercrime through blockchain technologies (Farringer 2016)
The myriad of challenges can, however, be mitigated through a number of strategies. Cybersecurity can be enhanced by the company protecting its database using the latest anti-malware software and implementing physical security architecture across its bars. Internal challenges such as the inability to track conversion rates can easily be resolved through data collected on the ERP systems. Overall, despite the challenges of automation, there is no doubt that it poses a myriad of advantages. It has become a mainstream view in strategic schools that organizations need not only view risks management as a way of eradicating losses but as a way of gaining a competitive advantage in the market place. This is because superior management of risks leads to positive brand perception and a boost in business continuity in case of unplanned incidents.
In summary, CRM is a marketing approach that focuses businesses attention toward the needs and language of its target customers. It utilizes customer data to help understand what the customer needs and what are their expectations and perceptions. CRM involves five stages of a customer life cycle. By focusing on the stages, businesses can distribute their resources and energy to the right course hence saving time and scarce resources. The five stages of a customer life cycle are reach, acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty. The relationship between these phases is both hierarchical and cyclical in that the end of the highest which is loyalty could be the beginning of the first. In implementing a CRM program for the university juice concept, Tight squeeze Juice should anticipate financial consequences related to the need to balance efficiency and effectiveness. More also, the alternative solution of automation introduces external risks related to cybercrime and fraud.
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