The essay sets a scenario involving a manufacturing firm, which we shall call Company A, whose interaction with customers can stand improvement. With this in mind, one of the company executives presented a blueprint for a CRM program for the consideration of top management. Management was duly impressed and appointed the executive as a consultant to study and handle the program’s implementation. Two weeks after the consultant’s appointment, the Managing Director calls his attention to complaints about the way company operations and employees’ behavior fail to promote good customer relations. In effect, the problem is laid at the door of the Operations Manager, who has direct responsibility for company processes and people that affect its dealings with customers. Thus, operations become the main target of the consultant’s study to determine how the company can adapt and benefit from CRM. This paper assumes the role of the consultant as it evaluates the problem and proposes a specific CRM plan based on a study of how the company’s people, processes and operations can be realigned and managed for them to interact better with customers.
CRM is all about systematic gathering and retrieval of customer-related data and is thus associated with the Internet and computers, which skill is not among the criteria used in hiring managers, especially operations managers. Operations managers are usually hired more for their decision-making and people handling abilities than for their computer skills, such that insufficient knowledge of information management restricts their control of overall operations (Boughman, 2003). They may be knowledgeable about the company’s processes and people but this does not make for good customer relations if the operations manager has no access to the wealth of information about customers offered by a CRM system.