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Functional requirements of eCRM solutions for the South African SME sector

M.Phil. / The issue of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) within organisations has gained importance over the last five years, and the trend is set to continue with new CRM software vendors entering the market regularly. For a business, it is cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, therefore increased customer loyalty and interaction is important. The value that electronic CRM (eCRM) allows is that it increases customer interaction, by eliminating physical intervention and subsequent errors. The Internet has allowed this interaction to become more sophisticated, with service information instantly available to both the customer and the business. The number of channels for interaction has also increased. Specifically, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need low cost eCRM solutions that adapt to their business models and IT structures. The South African SME is limited by certain budgeting, resource and time constraints, and the owner of the SME cannot always devote time in search of a suitable eCRM solution for his business. The multitudes of vendors, offering various levels of functionality with increased focus on the SME sector, allow the SME many choices. However, companies selecting eCRM software vendors often lack an objective basis due to a lack of alternative information sources. Vendors making unsubstantiated and incorrect claims about the functionality of their software, further complicate the problem. From an SME point of view, the functionality and cost criteria of the eCRM solution is the most important. However, the minimum functionality criteria that vendors’ software packages must adhere to, in order to be considered an eCRM suite are: Customer Analysis; Marketing Automation; Sales Automation; Customer Service and Support; and Web-centricity. The research problem lies therein that South African SME owners or managers are unsure which functionalities are available, and which to deem important when considering eCRM solutions for their businesses. The objective of this study is to formulate a matrix of functionality that eCRM solutions must adhere to in order to be successfully implemented by the SME. This matrix is not prescriptive, but will guide SME management by identifying criteria and functionality that the solution needs to contain. The aim is to help SMEs select the right software, not to select the software for them.
Date15 January 2009
CreatorsZaayman, Philip
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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