Why have a customer portal that is integrated with my CRM application??

As discussed in previous articles,

CRM is about acquiring and retaining customers, improving customer  loyalty, gaining customer insight, and implementing customer-focused strategies. A true customer-centric enterprise helps your company drive new growth, maintain competitive agility, and attain operational excellence. “SAP

Before engaging with the customers, we should have some basic and general behaviours of our customers. I.e their age group, what generation category they fall into. Knowing some of this basic information like something along demographics….

  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?
  • Where do they live?,

By understanding the demographics, the nature and buying behavior of the generation of buyers who will be our customers, the business will realize the increasing importance to use more technological savvy modes of marketing and communication.

The customers will be increasingly from the current Generation Y group. A brief explanation of the 3 major Generations will be discussed shortly.

born between 1946 – 1965 – The baby Boomers

born between 1966 – 1982 –  Generation X

born between 1983 – date – Generation Y

Baby Boom Generation is a term that portrays the people born during the middle part of the 20th century. The birth years of the Baby Boom Generation are the subject of controversy. Historically, everyone born during the post–World War II demographic boom in births was called part of the Baby Boom Generation.[1][2]

One of the features of Boomers is that they tend to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In fact, the Baby Boom Generation is often tagged “The Me Generation”. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[5] This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations.

Generation X was coined by the Magnum photographer Robert Capa in the early 1950s. He would use it later as a title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately after the Second World War. The project first appeared in “Picture Post” (UK) and “Holiday” (USA) in 1953. Describing his intention, Capa said ‘We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realised that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with’.[7] Author John Ulrich explains that, “Since then, “Generation X” has always signified a group of young people, seemingly without identity, who face an uncertain, ill-defined (and perhaps hostile) future. Subsequent appearances of the term in the mid-1960s and mid-1970s narrowed the referent for “Generation X” from Capa’s global generation to specific sets of primarily white, male, working class British youth sub-cultures, from the spiffy mods and their rivals the rockers, to the more overtly negationist punk subculture.” [6]

The term was used in a 1964 study of British youth by Jane Deverson. Deverson was asked by Woman’s Own magazine to interview teenagers of the time. The study revealed a generation of teenagers who “sleep together before they are married, were not taught to believe in God as ‘much’, dislike the Queen, and don’t respect parents.” Because of these controversial findings, the piece was deemed unsuitable for the magazine. Deverson, in an attempt to save her research, worked with Hollywood correspondent Charles Hamblett to create a book about the study. Hamblett decided to name it Generation X.[8]

The term was popularized by Canadian author Douglas Coupland‘s 1991 novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, concerning young adults during the late 1980s and their lifestyles. While Coupland’s book helped to popularize the phrase “Generation X,” in a 1989 magazine article[9] he erroneously attributed the term to English musician Billy Idol. In fact, Idol had been a member of the punk band Generation X from 1976–1981, which was named after Deverson and Hamblett’s 1965 sociology book—a copy of which was owned by Idol’s mother.[10]

In the U.S. Generation X was originally referred to as the “baby bust” generation because of the drop in the birth rate following the baby boom.[11]

Often defined as those born from 1982-2000, Generation Y’ers are growing up, and therefore becoming increasingly important in world affairs.

Gen Y is growing up. The oldest of the generation are now 26. They’re beginning to take to the workplace. As a result, a plethora of articles has turned up in business magazines worldwide, suggesting creative ways for employers to deal with this new, seemingly odd, generation. This article looks at who they are and why they matter.

This young generation is the first native online population. This alone has set the tone for how they act, react, and see the world. They are vastly different from their parent’s generation.

Ninety percent of Gen Y’ers in the US own a PC, while 82 percent own a mobile. And, perhaps not surprisingly, they spend more time online than they do watching TV.

Characteristics of Generation Y

They have grown up engaging with the Internet. This had led to their expectation of being able to obtain information at exceedingly rapid speeds.

Gen Y is also known for caring about the world and its problems, forming a large part of the worldwide Green movement.

Generation Y numbers is smaller than Generation X, or those born between 1961 to 1981. There are 78 million Gen Yers in the world. They make up about 25 percent of the US population. In some countries (ex. Iran), this percentage is much higher.

Understanding that our customers are more tech savvy, and internet depended, it is only logical to find ways and means to engage your customers through the internet, by implementing a customer portal that is integrated to your CRM application.

With a customer portal, your customers can get service on their own, 24 hours a day. They’ll get case updates and search the knowledge base, all without picking up the phone. Your customers and agents can even interact in ideas and answers communities. You’ll see loyalty go up while your service costs go down.

With a customer portal, your customers can log cases and get updates 24×7. All via an easy, user-friendly GUI and applications that can be run on mobile phones; all the methods which the current Generation is familiar and comfortable with.  The result: higher customer satisfaction at a lower cost.

Your business can grow by Connecting with Customers and Vendors through a Customer Portal.

A customer portal is a private, secure Website that enables businesses to share documents, calendars, and project information with customers. Commonly known as a customer extranet, a customer portal enhances customer relationships by providing complete 24×7 access to collaborative tools with just an Internet connection. It makes excellent business sense to use the customer portal as a means of getting and dissemination information to the customers, especially now that we have a better understanding of our customers.

Through a portal that is integrated to the CRM, a customer can raise tickets, view the solutions, check the products and services provided by the business, look up the FAQ to get their information, even chat online with the CSR. The customer can also update their personal information online, so its all done at their own pace and own time, you reduce the time and cost incurred to hiring people to telemarket and call customers, lets face many people, you and I included hate getting calls from telemarketers, this is a perfect solution for this.

This current generation of customers expect access to the most reliable, accurate, and up-to-date information. A customer portal provides a cost-effective solution without the anxieties and costs inherent with supporting complex virtual private networks (VPN). Provide each customer with access to an online portal to share important project documents, schedules, billing notices, and much more.