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At its core, CRM is a business concept aimed at good knowledge of the clients, establishing successful relationships with them, and improving the quality of customer service, ultimately leading to better competitive advantages for the company. CRM-system enables standardizing the work of employees with customers and makes it transparent to the head. It has been proven that customer service effectiveness becomes much higher if the company adopts the CRM concept (Linuma 5-6). Due to CRM, all processes and their optimization are built around the client. Using this concept, the company knows its target audience well and can clearly formulate the development strategy of the enterprise, as well as save the company from large unprofitable expenses for advertising and promotion.
Interestingly, within the MENA region, CRM software investments in some countries are growing at a more rapid clip than others (Agnihotri and Bhavani 425-434). Schaeffer claims that “the GCC maintains the highest IT spend in the Middle East. The collective spending between Dubai and Abu Dhabi may give the UAE the region’s highest growth” (Schaeffer). Such extensive development of CRM systems gives a broad range for choosing the best one based on the best practices.
One of the examples of successful introduction and maintenance of CRM in UAE companies is logistics company Aramex. The company’s management has long understood the importance and necessity of a single tool that would unite all remote offices and employees when working with clients, partners, and carriers in real-time and 24 hours a day. Already in 2001, the company acquired an eWare software solution with the aim to improve its CRM strategy.
A CRM solution was deployed to assist customer support teams in building stronger relationships with clients. The success of a modern logistics company today largely depends on the competent integration of the CRM system with other IT tools and solutions used in the company. Aramex managed to organize this integration very successfully, improving it in accordance with the new trends and challenges of corporate IT and deriving sustainable competitive advantages from it.
High customer value is evidenced by the fact that the percentage of customers who have been with Aramex for a minimum of 5 years constitutes 39%, which is a rather high index of loyalty (Aramex Annual Report 2017). Based on the analysis of customer experience through CRM, the company managed to ensure real customer service excellence.
Aramex supplied its customers with various touchpoints to contact the company. The Aramex CRM system helps quick and easy understanding of what actions and by what customers are currently expected from the company. “By being able to view all the links of the delivery process simultaneously, we can easily detect and correct any minor discrepancy in the system easily” – the company’s representative says (Aramex Annual Report 2017).
By combining all the tasks in one system, employees got the opportunity to work with them without being distracted by other tools and applications. Having a complete picture in one window made it possible to save on other tools and offer customers always competitive rates (“Logistics”). Knowing the individual characteristics of customers and their wishes, Aramex can make them personalized offers and suggest individual rates, thereby creating consumer value and building a loyal relationship. Thus, CRM combines new technologies with new market thinking, creating profitable long-term relationships with customers through the creation and maximization of customer value.
Today, the main difference is the exclusivity of the service provided on a solid and clear basis. Service requires the influx and involvement of customers, and, therefore, it is much more difficult than a product to imitate. Consequently, competitive advantage can be achieved by sharing knowledge of expectations, preferences, and customer behavior (Jha 33-53). This requires a continuous dialogue with customers and the use of information and ideas obtained at every point of contact with them. According to Aramex’s philosophy, each client is an investment with its own return on investment (ROI). This method is more complicated than the analysis of customer profitability, since it is necessary, as in the case of the investment portfolio, to consider the following:
- The cost of ‘acquiring’ various categories of customers;
- Forecasting future income (i.e., net profit) for each client (i.e., profit growth rate);
- The cost of capital (it involves the use of the discounted cash flow equation);
- Customer turnover analysis, i.e., consumers who began to use the services of competing companies or subsidiaries, or those who returned to the services of the company.
Today, Aramex’s CRM represents a constantly optimized logistics enterprise’s digital ecosystem. The market of CRM systems for transport logistics most often offers two groups of software products that differ in functionality and tasks and, accordingly, the result: CRM for the sales department and a program for automating daily tasks (for example, accounting for transportation, warehouse operations, workflow automation, etc.).
However, Aramex combined the characteristics of both groups. The functionality of its CRM is much wider, so its functions are used to automate the entire process at all stages of the transport and logistics service. At the same time, the system is characterized by flexible settings, ease of use, and access via the web interface.
The company actively uses web options to “build” customer satisfaction. In particular, it introduced an automatic outbound predictive dialing system in its contact center in the UAE, which has increased productivity by 50% and has drastically improved the contact centers’ efficiency by 200% (Aramex Annual Report 2017). Creating the proper balance between the value provided to customers and the value received in response, as well as understanding how to regulate this balance in working with various client segments, is an essential element of a company’s CRM.
The CRM system helps the company achieve business sustainability and increase its value by increasing goodwill. In 2017, goodwill has been increased by AED 55,059 thousand, and no other balances were affected (Aramex Annual Report 2017).
This is especially important in view of the fact that if earlier the client received an idea of the company on the basis of its product, now they are building their attitude towards the company as a whole. The task of CRM is to cover all channels and points of contact with customers and coordinate them so that there is a single methodology and communication technique. Each contact should work to attract the customer. The client wants to be served with stable quality regardless of the interaction channel, and get a quick professional response. Investments in technologies for working with existing customers directly affect their loyalty, and therefore, the effectiveness and sustainability of the business.
Thus, the feature of Aramex is in understanding the CRM strategy as a general approach and a high-level plan coordinating the development of all elements of the customer relationship management, aimed at increasing their value. At the same time, the CRM strategy is still not identified with the plan for the development of the company’s own competencies in the field of customer relationship management, the formation of which is also an important task, but going beyond the boundaries of developing a CRM strategy.
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Moreover, CRM is defined by the company as a concept of managing not only relationships with consumers in the face of intense competition, which is aimed at maximizing the satisfaction of their needs but also a focus on maximizing the potential of all other partners in the interests of the enterprise.
Agnihotri, Mahesh, and Ganga Bhavani. “Impact of the Customer Relationship Management Practices on the Profitability of UAE Banks. A Comparative Study.” Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research, vol. 4, no. 6, 2015, pp. 425-434.
Aramex Annual Report 2017. 2017. Web.
Jha, Lakhman. Customer Relationship Management: A Strategic Approach. Global India Publications Pvt Ltd., 2008.
Linuma, Brian. Customer Relationship Management Systems: How to Next-Level the Performance of Your Sales, Marketing and Customer Support. Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2019.
“Logistics.” Aramex, n.d. Web.
Schaeffer, Chuck. “Middle East CRM Software Business Partners and VARs Key to Continued Growth.” CRM Search, n.d. Web.