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Customer relationship management is the tool that helps organization in managing relations with existing and potential customers. It is a new approach and includes the elements of relationship marketing and focuses on retention of current customers as well as acquisition of new customers (Reinartz, 2012). The following report aims to understand the application of relationship marketing to effective business management. It also explains how company can make successful and long lasting relationship with both internal and external stakeholders. Various factors that influence the operations of customer relationship management have also been assessed. CRM strategies of Marriot international have been explained in the study. The impact of CRM strategies on customers and other stakeholders of Marriot Hotel have been analysed. Finally recommendations and suggestions to improve these strategies have been made in context of Marriott.
Marriot International is one of the largest hotel chains based in the US and has number of hotels and resorts around the world. It has more than 3500 lodging properties which are located in 70 countries. The corporation has done all the things to take care of its customers and retain them with the brand. The vision of company is to become the premium provider of hospitality sector by means of facilitating leisure and vocational experiences to customers all over the world. Therefore it is focusing on enhancing the lives of customers and provides better services than other hospitality companies. It is truly said that technological initiatives taken by the hotel chain helps in increasing group bookings and streamlining the operations. The hotel aims to achieve customer loyalty and make good relationship with customer (Sheth, 2005). This customer relationship management helps the business in increasing customer’s satisfaction. It also supports Marriott in increasing efficiency in service operations. The business can reduce its marketing cost as the customer will themselves come to enjoy the hotel services. Now a day’s customers have involved in social networking sites, So Marriott has to conduct CRM practices on social networking sites. By including social media as a CRM strategy, firm can identify the best consumers and their relevant needs. Corporate entity has a strong organizational culture in which it is committed to taking care for its associate partners and consumers. It has introduced various loyalty programs but still needs a strong tool to make better relations with service users.
Social media strategy in CRM provides variety of ways to communicate with existing and potential consumers. It is more than just a loyalty program and this tactic includes direct mail, email, connecting via social networking sites as well as company’s website. This CRM strategy is suitable for the hotel as it supports in feed a strong customer policy. With the help of this tactic, Marriott is able to extend relations with customer at the time when they advocate their products and services (Wilde, 2011). By using this strategy, the information of customer such as their address, contact number, mail Ids etc. can be stored directly on the company database system. This helps significantly in increasing business awareness in respect of company’s market customers. Market segmentation of Hospitality industry is unique and includes all ranges of products and their users; this is the foremost reason for choosing this CRM strategy for Marriott International. This will help in increasing market performance of the company and business can easily get the information that which customer can yield the maximum profit. Buying behaviours of patrons can also be assessed with the help of customer relationship management using social media tools. It also enables business to analyze the booking patterns and will benefit company to plan special offers for attracting more numbers of buyers. The customers also help in product/service development for the company by giving their views on upcoming product or services (Acosta, 2012).
An effective CRM strategy comprises various components which are crucial for its success. In order to attain fruitful results and to achieve customer loyally, business need to introduce more than one component. The elements of CRM strategy of Marriott using social media tools are explained below:
People management: People management is an essential component of CRM as it enables effective use of workforce. In the way to provide better services to customer and make good relations with them it is important to employ the right people at right place. In case of Marriot, right place is online market on the other hand the right people includes all the management employees who are responsible of making strategies with respect to improving customer relationship. Development of people is required for the effective implementation of CRM practices (Greenberg, 2004).
Lead management: Tracking and distribution of sales leads are involved in lead management. This component of CRM helps in managing market campaign of the hotel. Business can also manage the customized forms and mailing list of the customer. It ensures that, the information is properly communicated to the market consumer. Having proper lead management, business can capture as many leads which will provide sales benefit. In this way customer loyalty as well as profitability of business will increase. Nevertheless, study of consumer purchase patterns and the identification of potential sales leads are to be done in proper manner (Gordon, 2013).
Sales force Automations: Sales force automation is one of the first and essential components of customer relationship management. This component includes a software solution which is used for forecasting, tracking potential customers and processing of sales. The use of social media marketing enables Marriott to obtain all the information directly from the customers. Feedback of customers regarding hotel’s services can be gathered easily and with the help of this information product and services can be designed in accordance of customer’s needs and wants.
Customer services: Customer service is essential for customer relationship management. The major aim of CRM through social media is to collect information about the needs and desires of market patrons. In addition to that, it focuses on collection of customer data such as their purchase pattern. This information is provided to every department that requires it. In this way all the departments of Marriot international stand to gain knowledge so that customers will be satisfied with better services. This enables the organization to offer solutions of guests’ problem so that they can have satisfaction with the services. This component supports the firm to enhance customer retention and loyalty (Reinartz, 2012).
Marketing: Marketing component of customer relationship management involves all the promotional activities for services and products of the company. These activities are designed for the specific group or for general public. Marketing is different from selling and advertising. To make good relations with customers, Marriott offers them good services by way by providing them correct information about hotel services and keeping its policies transparent. By using social media tools, business can promote its services in a better way and can make good contacts with existing and potential customers. The components of customer relationship management facilitate marketing functions by way of collecting market data which is important to provide better services. Marketing tools are used by Marriot International to study the behaviour of targeted potential customers (Jackson, 2011).
Workflow Automation: Workflow Automation is related to cutting cost of providing service to the customer. In the competitive business scenarios, marketer focuses on two major things which are customer satisfaction and profitability. Higher profits can be made through reducing the cost of business. By relieving work force off unnecessary tasks Marriott can enjoy cost efficiency. Using marketing tools for gaining customer loyalty is a helpful means to reduce the cost for creating marketing research. On various social sites, customers put their views and expectations in respect of the services they want. By using this information Marriot can offer good services at low cost and in this way it will get customer loyalty as well and competitive advantage (Gordon, 2013).
Business Reporting: Business reporting refers to identifying the exact position of firm in the market. The current position of organization can be assessed with the help of its Customer relationship management initiatives. For a particular time period operation and financial position of business can be reported that will help in improving loopholes. The information gained through online source and stored in the database management system will help in forecasting the demand and sales for Hotel services (Reinartz, 2012).
It has been seen that is very essential to make good relations with stakeholders of business as they are the parties that can influence the strategies of organization. The various stakeholders of Marriot international are customers, employees, shareholders and government. The hotel has taken a big initiative towards technology for boosting the sales and to run operations more efficiently while making good relations with customers. It introduced Siebel Systems Inc.'s customer-relationship-management package that has helped it in making cross sales of Marriott products/services. In addition to that it has offered many customer loyalty programs to make good relations with stakeholders. However, it is true that the expectation of people can be met at the places where they regularly visit and social networking sites are the best place to interact with them. Following points explain the impacts of using social media tools for customer relationship management strategy on various stakeholders of the hotel (Imparato, 2014).
Customers: Customers are the most important stakeholders of business. The use of social media in making customer relations impacts the customer in positive ways. By using such tools the needs and wants of market customer can be collected that further helps in providing satisfactory services to them. The information about service of Marriott hotel is generally provided on websites and various social networking platforms, from where market customer can avail it easily. It provides convenience to consumers and they will use the services again. In this way long term customer relations can be made by gaining customer loyalty. On the other hand customers are benefited in way of receiving competitive and improved servicers (Toor, 2009).
Employees: People of the organization are referred as employees and these are the persons who reflect the organizational culture. With the use of social media as customer relationship marketing tool, employees can have the information related to target consumer. This enables them offering better service to the customer.
Board of Directors: Top officials are the persons who are involved in the strategic planning process. The strategy suggested in the above task can be useful for them in making better plans for improving image of company. The information generated in CRM system will enable them in developing business strategies for company. Mostly, the information will assist in making promotional and sales strategies. These strategies can be helpful in making better relation with customers (Wong, 2003).
Applying CRM strategies is very difficult for Marriott but more difficult than this id maintaining it and regularly improving it so that company can get best of it. As the Company has decided to use the social media strategy so that they can attract more customers and can provide the services according to their need so then need lots of improvements. Some of the ways by which company can do that are-
Figuring out the Niche- It is a truth that all the social media platforms will not work for Marriott International so while reviewing the strategy it is very important for them to understand what community they want to handle by the use of that particular medium. They should also figure out what platform will enhance their social CRM strategy for the particular community. After recognizing this company can easily plan out and customize their CRM strategy for that particular segment (Keary, 2007).
Social Planning- It is very important for Marriott to understand the social media as a valid source for the data of customers. Building social media into customer database consumes lots of time, technological assistance and strategies. Social CRM can easily help the company to derive customer support, sales, market research, engagement and many more but each of this will require different strategies and different execution.
No end to end technology- There are different vendors who boast about their social CRM capabilities but Marriott should understand that today’s CRM is something that they cannot buy from one single supplier. To feed the social media into customer database, there is a need of greater cooperation and integration from the CRM systems. Company should have proper connection between the databases and the marketing suites like customer support dashboards, etc. (Winer, 2001).
Involve customers in company’s decisions- It is very effective method of CRM that Marriott can use in its current CRM strategy. They can easily use Twitter and Facebook to inform their customers that where they can find their particular hotels and they can even provide them some discounts when they use some code phrases. One of the best ways to ensure the loyalty of the customers is by involving them in the product development decisions. So when Marriott will be working on some new strategies and products to launch they can incorporate the opinions of their Facebook and Twitter followers and when they launch those new products or services, recognition could be provided to the customers (Parvatiyar, 2002).
Choose Monitoring Software- Once the strategy of the company is implemented through the social media, it is very important for Marriott to monitor it so that they can know the effect of this new strategy. There are different types of software available in the market which can be used by the hotel like the ZenDesk or Desk.com. ZenDesk has very clean and user friendly interface that can easily manage and track the backlog data of the company. Desk.com has the ability to compile all the data of the customer service conversations so that the support service of the hotel can prioritize and manage the requests of their customers (Kamakura, 2005).
Coherence through Cross-Platform Strategies- It is very important for Marriott to be coherent with whatever they are saying on the social media platforms. It projects an image that the company is transparent and open to public. It will help them to portray to their public that they are serious about their CRM efforts as well. They can integrate their entire social media platform so that when they put anything on one social media platform it would automatically show on other platforms. This cross platform approach will help Marriott in showing their content on social platforms in all the social pages (Chen, 2003).
Customer relationship management is an effective tool to make good relations with target customers. Marriot international is the largest organization in hospitality industry which is suggested to have social media strategies to improve customer relationship management. Various factors that influence the operations of customer relationship management have also been assessed. The above report explains the role of CRM in Marriott International and the impact on relationship marketing. The components of CRM have also been explained in context with social networking sites. It can be concluded that the strategies will help in increasing customer loyalty.
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