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Communication within organizations is vital for full attainment of goals and objectives to enhance customer satisfaction in terms of service experience. Company interactions with customers involve applying different methods that ensure that customers’ pieces of information reach the sales department.
Since this communication process involves many people, it requires appropriate management to guarantee best customer service to the present and future customers. Currently, organizations are adopting the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to improve quality of their service provisions to their clients.
The software helps in organizing and tracking contacts of both the present and future customers. Just as other online applications, the software minimizes logistical requirements and time wastage since all employees in every department can view a customer’s information and respond appropriately (Murray 2013). At the same time, a customer will obtain timely response from the necessary departments hence saving productive time.
The Database Management System that Swansea Metropolitan University and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint Davids included in their system will ease the logistics required in communicating to and managing their students. The report expounds on the benefits that will accrue to the two institutions after adopting CRM, especially in decision-making processes.
In addition, it will discuss the principles of Big Data and metrics and examines the gains that the University of Wales is likely to realise in adopting CRM. Finally, the treatise will expound on the ethical and legal implications that may face the institution for storing students’ data for future marketing purposes.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Organisations interact with customers in three main ways: back office operations, front office contacts, and business contacts. In marketing, business contacts is where a company’s workforce intermingles with suppliers and customers through trade associations and various industry activities (Malhotra & Birks 2007).
Front office contacts entail straight connections that company workers have with dealers and consumers through mails and phone messaging. On the other hand, back office operations are sequences that aid phone call and e-mailing services such as marketing, promotion, and investment relations.
The use of CRM pays more focus to customers thereby enabling organizations to attract and retain customers through better service provisions, understand their customers, cut cost of managing customers and increase profit maximization. For successful service provision, CRM has different components such as campaign management, sales force automation, and customer service.
Further, the process allows firms to communicate to their customers on marketing activities, sell goods and services to customers, and handle after-sales service necessities for customers. Markedly, the Customer Relationship Management software stores all communications with clients as they transpire so that any company worker can retrieve it in future in case need arises.
Sales force automation component eliminates instances of effort duplication hence increasing efficiency. Moreover, it expands sales opportunities for current and new customers and even makes it possible for employees not in the sales department to access customers’ recent data easily. In essence, the element improves customer services, as all employees are aware of consumers’ current contact information.
When sales representatives get prospective clients, they often use a given set of decisive factors that centre at a drive of attracting new businesses. In the campaign process, the targeted customers receive inducements inform of special sales terms and marketing resources (Murray 2013).
This Customer Relationship Management element takes into account all promotion trends, customers’ feedbacks and ultimate scrutiny from the initiative.
Elements and Benefits of CRM
CRM software has enhanced levels of business-customer engagement in its ability to manage contract wins, business contacts, and client’s information (Malhotra & Birks 2007). Customer Relationship Management provides organisations with customers’ business information, which enables them supply products and services that meets customers’ needs.
For that reason, CRM solutions enhance customer satisfaction. Additionally, the system allows effective cross-sell, up-sell, and provision of better customer services. Notably, organisations that understand the behaviours of their clients are highly likely to attract and retain current customers in the process.
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Advancements in technology has presented numerous challenges to companies in identifying the tastes and preferences of a target market and completely altered consumers buying behaviours thus forcing them to use new ways of reaching their present and prospective customers. An effective CRM solution helps business leaders in making prudent and insightful decisions.
At the University of Wales: Trinity St Davids, the management will be able to understand the nature and dynamics of their students.
For instance, the management will be able to save data of students applying for first year courses thus offering effective platforms for the academics department to identify the students’ potentials and levels of interest in allocating the courses. Further, since the software allows for real time access of data in the dashboard, the university will be at an advantaged position to make right decisions at the right time.
A marketing decision-maker having customers’ data at real time is able to monitor expected performances versus the actual results thus driving the marketing return on investments (Galligan 2012). The University will be able to process students’ requests and complaints in real time through the CRM dashboard.
Evidently, the software reduces the costs of addressing students’ concern, as the administration will easily identify better processes at the contact centres. It makes student management easy since the administration can solve students’ issues on their first call given more in-depth data on the dashboard.
Students’ service provision within the university will be quick and timely given that the administration will have students’ data in real time and even mitigate potential threats to students’ satisfaction.
The CRM system will also improve the rate at which the university will carry out course-selection for the new students, which will enable it gain competitive advantage over other institutions in Wales and England. When the university departments are able to work together, they will not only have great insights into the objectives of the institution but also develop effective marketing strategies (Wilson 2006).
Principles of Big Data and metrics
Businesses that can handle Big Data are more likely to be competitive than their competitors who cannot (Hayes 2012). This concept involves bringing together vast quantities of data, analyzing and processing them to extract valuable information.
When Swansea Metropolitan University and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David merged, it is evident that there are abundant data that need re-organization and analysis for the benefit of the institutions. Since the two institutions have different management systems, data integration into a single system will be a challenging task, but through data federation and information integration, it will be possible.
Here, data reside where they have been, instead of moving them to other applications. Big data involves fast analysis of varied and massive data that reflect on reality to gain the trust of other users. One has to understand first the reasons for acquiring Big Data. In other words, one has to know its importance and substantiate how he/she intends to extract valuable information from Big Data.
This process will enable one to make substantial decisions regarding the functions of a business. For effective communication, a well-engineered and harmonised reporting system that removes information overload that can cause confusion for users is necessary.
Data minimization is also a key principle of Big Data. This principle ensures that everybody get full data that they need for their work and not in excess of that (Hayes 2013). Data protection prevents exploitation and accessibility by unauthorised parties. Data in the university’s database are extremely sensitive and requires maximum protection for use in a specified purpose.
In addition, a functional reporting system where the validity of information is not in doubt and set operational goals maximise customer satisfaction. For better services, organisations need to train their employees so that they can answer customers’ questions successfully.
The process of data integration should be customer-centred to enable organisations create impact on their customers. In higher education, Big Data can focus on areas of student progress, institutional finance and budgeting, and resource optimisation.
Benefits of Big Data to the University
The University of Wales: Trinity St Davids stands to benefit immensely from developing Big Data Networks. For instance, the collected data will assist in addressing strategic issues, such as institutional finance management and budgeting.
When the university hosts data at one point all employees can access it thus enhancing accountability and transparency in areas where funds are used. As a result, the university’s overall management will have clean sheets on financial management hence making it register positive image to current and prospective students.
Other areas that the institution will preserve its data include enrolment management, progress of strategic plan, student learning, library, research advancement, procurement and faculty teaching and research performance. The University of Wales: Trinity St Davids will also be able to understand the demographics and behaviours of its students, as all students will be in the Database.
Notably, the entire university department will have full access of students’ details, such as characters, ages, religious affiliations, and nationalities. Essentially, the development will assist the institution in monitoring its students with ease. Additionally, Database Management System will benefit the university by optimising use of resources.
This is possible since all departments will be monitoring and evaluating the expected results from all resources within the institution. Scrutiny of resources across all university departments will improve the usability and productivity of resources (Javalgi, Martin & Young 2006).
The initiative will also enable the university to recruit many students at ago, as the process will not only automate all courses but also improve the relationship between new students and the university administration. In sum, the system will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the university services.
Ethical and Legal Issues
In attempting to use customers’ data in marketing, the University of Wales: Trinity St Davids will be contravening the policy of individual privacy (Chisnall 1997). Since the institution may apply business-to-consumer marketing as a way of enticing other students to join its courses, the privacy concern is less clear on the context of internet development.
Personal data like address, social security numbers, age, likes and dislikes are key concerns to customers. In the UK, the revised 1998 Data Protection Act helps in protecting personal data and marketers ought to be consistent with privacy law whenever they are marketing their products and services via the internet (Ethical Constraints n.d.).
In addition, the University of Wales: Trinity St Davids will not be able to control those who will access the data, as it will be difficult to identify end-users. However, the institution can plant cookies in on the end-users computers to enable websites identify them. The university should also get the consent of the students to transfer data ownership to third parties.
On the legal front, citizens expect their personal data and resources to keep them safe and secure. The Data Protection Act (DPA) assists in giving evidence in a legal proceeding involving unlawful sharing of personal data.
The university will have to document the need for sharing data with other prospective consumers, information to share and the means of sharing it to avert situations of privacy violations (Ethical Constraints n.d.). Since the Welsh Government encouraged the need for higher institutions to adopt CRM, this does not guarantee the university to share customers’ information under a public sector as per the provisions of section 22 of the DPA.
The university’s option of adopting the use of CRM in its services presents numerous benefits its ways of handling students’ services and in its overall management. For long-term benefits, the institution should use widely packaged customer database management software applications since they are flexible and indispensable in meeting current marketing needs (Myers 2013).
Moreover, rapid and flexible software will increase the security of customers’ data thus enhancing clients’ loyalty to the institution. On marketing, the university should comprehend the provisions of the DPA to help it in differentiating between readily available data and others that are under copyright protection.
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