For businesses that have online presence, e-CRM systems provide the necessary relationship management with customers. This is a critical area because there is minimal human intervention from the company's employees when a customer logs on to the website. Hence, the impression and/ or the services that the customer gets exposed to from the website might be a decisive factor towards his/ her decision to continue business with that particular company. This paper presents an analysis of a business entity in form of an audit of its efforts to promote and use e-CRM systems. E-CRM theory is discussed and recommendations are provided to the business to improve the state of affairs.
The target company for this audit is HSBC Bank Australia Limited. HSBC is a commercial bank based in London but has a huge network of branches around the globe. It is listed on the London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Bermuda stock exchanges and operates in a truly global fashion (HSBC, 2007). In Australia, HSBC has 35 branches and offices and provides a wide range of personal and commercial financial services in addition to other services like trade finance, investment advisory, treasury and other traditional banking operations.
As a customer browsing a financial institution's websites, the ideal e-experience should not be distinguishable from the experience the user would have when he or she visits the bank physically. In a nut shell, this means that the contents of the web site should be such that no human intervention is required by the user to locate the desired information.
One of the biggest advantage and disadvantage of a business website is the quantity of information that is provided on it for users (Feinberg and Kadam, 2002, p.435). This is because of the fact that the customer may not be able to identify and access the required information from a big pool of data provided on the website. Though, every piece of information might be there, yet it may take hours to find the one that is required. Hence, the website must be divided into areas with relevant information being clubbed into each area for clarity and ease of use. In addition, it should have a search facility to locate the desired information without having to navigate through the entire website for it.
There are many ways that business may use to contact potential e-customers. In addition to the traditional telephone and cellular phone numbers, the business website should be able to store customers' email address, his or her website URL (if available) and other details. The electronic Customer Relationship Management e-CRM system must be equipped with appropriate records about users and customers and should use alternate channels to contact the customer. Similarly, alternate channels should be provided to the customers to contact the business. These might include email address, telephone, fax number, live chat and others. Ideally though, email addresses are easiest to use if there is no live chat feature available on the website.
In addition, ideally the business website should remember the customer. This can be done by saving cookies on customers' computers that can be used during customers' next visit to the website, to track the information that they viewed during their last visit.
The relationship with business