Customer Relationship Management – A very essential ingredient

Do you remember those funny ads by Farhan Akhtar & Ranbir Kapoor – the brand ambassadors of Askme Bazaar? Those advertisements gained good traction on social media and the organization was convinced that they had delivered the right proposition to target audiences.

But why did Askme Bazaar fail? Was delivering a selling proposition through ads ineffective to transform into sales or was there something else?

Well, as you’ve already guessed it, we are going to analyse the intricacies of Ask Me’s failures: What was it doing & what it should’ve done right. 

Getit Info Services in the 1980s started with the yellow pages business directory which used to enlist local & small businesses for the reach of potential customers. Getit Info Services wanted to digitize this and planned for an online expansion by acquiring Ask Me which was a *Classified portal* under the company named Network 18 to enlist entire directories online. After acquiring Ask Me, it went into the online marketplace in 2014 & named it as Askme Bazaar. Abundant information of local vendors & businesses helped them to compete with other e-commerce platforms like Snapdeal & Flipkart. But soon after, the result was devastating & disheartening as it failed miserably. 

Can we say that Askme Bazaar would have been the Amazon of today’s time if they would have succeeded? 

Well, according to us they would have been a giant in India today, among the e-commerce companies because of the directory information which they already had & lesser competition at that point of time to get an early advantage in terms of resonating their business but they failed. Now the question arises why did they fail?

As per background research & analysis, there is no single reason which led to its failure. The analysis showed up that it lacked focus as they tried to put their hands in almost every online segment -e-commerce, grocery, furniture etc. In these segments, they were neither the leader nor the challenger. It was also said that they went in for needless acquisitions, had inconsistent strategies & dependence on a single investor were a huge setback for them. Another thing to ponder upon is when you are trying to move into different segments, each of them comes with its own set of customers. What about them?

But, one thing which we want to highlight through this article is that – a weak technology to maintain the database of the customers was a huge problem & mismanaging those led to the failure of this brand in the year 2016.

Only putting up of advertisements without working on your core areas will not help to resonate & stimulate your brand & sales respectively. In today’s world of personalized services, it is of extreme importance to know your customer in & out. Therefore CRM(Customer Relationship Management) which acts as the heart of any sales journey helps the company to understand a lot of attributes of the customer which was missing at Askme Bazaar. They used to maintain their databases on Excel which was not expected in this era. Resisting to invest in technology like CRM acted as the final nail in their coffin.

So, what is CRM & it’s features?

It is a technology for managing all your company relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. This system helps companies stay connected to your audience, streamline processes & improve profitability. That’s it. 

Features of Customer Relationship Management

  

The above picture tells us the range of features assembled in this technology which helps companies to analyze the real-time behaviour of the customers. CRM systems collect information of the customers through websites, telephone, emails, social media data & multiple sources & channels. It gives the complete information of the individual which will help companies to prepare campaigns & strategize resources for marketing in a better way. Lead management, email marketing, forecast, real-time dashboard-like features help companies to make effective decisions & reduces the churn rate

Coming to Askme Bazaar again. Askme had an undefined system for refunds & maintaining the orders. It is on record that the company lost its accountability & trust with their vendors because of delayed payments & undefined time span of refunds. CRM would have been the solution to their mismanagement with customers & vendors. Instead of maintaining their database in Excel, they could have invested in any CRM technology where updates of orders by customers, real-time refunds at the time of cancellations of orders & automated touchpoints like email marketing would have helped them to sustain in the market. 

But. Is this a necessity in today’s era?

It has now become a necessity for the companies moving to the digital world to integrate these technologies so that a single customer view & customer profiling can be done easily. My recent internship at Bisleri International was on e-commerce project where we needed to structure the entire customer journey with various touchpoints through marketing automation technology & CRM which acted as a core pillar of the platform. Understanding the customers and their buying behaviour to predict their lifetime value, sales, demand etc. using predictive analytics would be essential in these times of modern marketing.

This is all that we had here. Detailed attributes on how to create a single view of the customer will be shared in upcoming articles. Till then, happy learning!

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