Critical to any customer relationship, are the employees who interact with the customer. If an employee is satisfied and has the ability to execute customer strategies, they can fulfill the brand promise. So when companies wish to enhance their customer relationships, they have to realize that the success of CRM initiatives relies heavily on the Human Resource strategies. The rationale is inescapable: if a person desires valued relationships with the customers, he or she needs valued relationships with the employees. (1) This approach is often referred to as Employee Resource Management (ERM).
Trained and motivated staff and a superior staff appraisal system is the key to customer contentment and hence, the foundation of CRM.
The contemporary market environment is characterized by general variability, difficult foresee ability of the competitive situation, surplus economy, and well informed, more experienced, more fastidious, exacting and more impatient consumers and users, who cease being loyal to traditional products and brands.(2) Therefore we have a dire need for effective tools for increasing customer value and CRM is the answer to that. Several vendors now offer HR consultancy tools to their CRM software. These ad-ons provide solutions for enhanced staff productivity, end-user self-service and improved reporting capabilities.
CRM STRATEGY FOR HR CONSULTANTS
When planning CRM strategies for Human Resources, a company needs to provide solution to some basic issues. Some of these issues are employee grievances, inter-group conflicts, lack of career paths for ambitious employees, dissatisfaction with salary and remuneration, unclear job roles, no visible performance measures, poor recruitment policies, no induction training for new employees, critical skill shortages and management ignorance towards any of these problems (3).
Today’s evolved consumer behavior demands a lot from companies. It is no longer a competition only among your own products. An organization is up against a multitude of astute competitors. That is why every company needs something to diversify itself from the contenders. Physical and timely accessibility of product/services is just as important as giving a customer valued service. In that scenario, the staff’s approach to managing the relation with customers is the key factor for the success of Customer Relationship Management (4).
The success of CRM will depend mainly on professional work approach of employees, on their motivation and skills and knowledge, and also on systematic and consistent measurement and appraisal of their achievement.
The basic workforce attributes in the context of CRM are an uncompromising concentration on customer’s needs, competitiveness and will-to-win recognition, decisiveness, skill to improvise, the ability of a team work and the ability to lead a team. The willingness and skill of continuous training and self-education are also crucial factors, and in doing so the requirements for training must primarily come from the skill recognition and staff appraisal (5).
STAFF APPRAISAL SYSTEM
A well managed staff appraisal system for HR consultants can be a very competitive advantage.
Also of value is the system by which to inform employees about the appraisal results and what conclusions to derive from the appraisals. It is possible to use a lot of appraisal criteria for this system. It is also possible to use many other criteria that refer to a worker personality; for example: skills, professional knowledge, self discipline, independence, reliability, loyalty and stress resistance.
The appraisal process proceeds in following three phases: preparation, practice and assessment. The preparation phase covers the activities starting with identification of the appraisal need, then the choice of the appraisal type and method after as much as fixing the criteria. The practice phase means obtaining the data for the appraisal. Registering of the obtained information is a very important activity within the framework of the practice phase of the appraisal. Most sensitive, but also the most interesting phase of staff appraisal process is the method of analysis of appraisal and telling the outcomes to appraised staff.
We are living in the Information Age where knowledge is the main competitive advantage. But the ability to use that knowledge for the company’s benefit is what separates a good employee from a bad one. A good manager needs not only information and feedback, but also training on how to use the assessed feedback/data to his advantage. Therefore education is no more left only to institutions – companies need to get into educating as well.
It is for the company’s own benefit that they use revised training methods for employers. They must give staff supplementary courses, retrain them and help them adapt to company policies, specialties and mechanisms.
The main goal of any CRM technique for human resource is to provide the company with loyal customers. Good HR strategies make sure that the company reaches this goal in the sphere of its performance improvement and growth. These goals can be reached only when the employees have the knowledge, training, skills and motivation necessary to do his work effectively.
AVAILABLE CRM SOFTWARE FOR HR
Some popular CRM softwares for HR consultants are designed to automate and centralize employee management and self-service. They provide enhanced employee productivity management, and reduced administrative overhead. All softwares have various functions like HR Policy tracking, paid-time-off vacation requests, employee expense tracking and commissions, compensation tracking, employee case management, call tracking and problem resolution.
All of these functionalities enable HR consultants to redirect their focus from administrative tasks to strategic business activities, improving staff efficiencies and job satisfaction. They also provide behind-the-scenes analytics work to guide against actions, enhance the value of employee interactions and help enforce the adoption of best practices.
Competitive advantage is more a matter of creativity and sustaining good relations with the customers, by providing excellent services and quality product. This is maintained by the employers who in turn need to have proper HR strategies working for their benefit.
HR consultants can benefit hugely from the softwares available to ensure employee satisfaction. The strategies of employee satisfaction hugely rely on a good appraisal system and employer training.
1. Cyber Marketing Services. (2007).”The Convergence of Human Resource Needs and Brand/Marketing Techniques.”
2. John Edwards (2007). “When HR Meets CRM”
3. CRM services, Asia/Pacific, (2006-2007), “Report highlight for market trends: 2006”. Gartner Group. 3Vl ek R. Customer value. 1. Ed. Prague: Management Press, 2002,
4. Lambert D. M., Stock J. R., Ellram L. M. (2000) Logistics. Computer Press.
5. Zemene P. Implementation Process of Differentiated Customer Relationship Management in Company of Plastics Industry; PhD Thesis, University of Pardubice, 2006.
5 Dohnal, J. (2002): Customer Relationship Management. Grada Publishing