Magazine Article | May 1, 2001

Analytical CRM Focuses On Individualized Customer Support

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Bertelsmann's book and music clubs developed systematic management of their customer relations with the help of Customer Interaction Center (CIC). All data on club members is now processed using SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW).

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, May 2001

Bertelsmann has 50 book and music clubs around the world with more than 25 million members, who generate 40,000 orders per hour. But while membership numbers are growing in Eastern and Western Europe and in Asia, they are stagnating in the U.S. market. Bertelsmann's U.S. goals include gaining new customers, keeping customers, and increasing sales per customer.

A New Dimension To Integration
Since product offerings and price didn't differentiate Bertelsmann from the competition, the company said group-specific products and customer service were a priority. The existing IT systems, many of which were developed in-house in the 1970s, couldn't help Bertelsmann achieve its goals. Bertelsmann needed a system that integrated the essential business processes in marketing, customer service, and the supply chain, as well as finance and accounting, in one consistent database. "We used SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) and the Customer Interaction Center (CIC) as tools to help us achieve that," says Thomas Greutmann, coordinator at Bertelsmann for the international IT project. Bertelsmann's clubs chose the SAP CRM component and data warehousing solution partly because both could integrate into the R/3 system - which was to be implemented at the same time. A further factor was the possibility of quicker implementation, particularly of SAP BW. Bertelsmann implemented the SAP data warehouse solution using the Administrator Workbench and the supply of business content (in which the entire data flow is already pre-configured). This eliminated the need for content provision. Included are reporting and analysis options for the user, as well as the definition of the data extraction, processing and provisioning procedures they are based on, and of the metadata and the information models. Bertelsmann chose the Guetersloh, Germany-based company syskoplan as its consulting and implementation partner, in cooperation with its in-house IT service provider, Bertelsmann mediaSystems. In the first stage, the CIC and SAP BW will be implemented in the five book and music clubs with the best sales figures, which make up around 70% of the business volume.

Focus On Individualized Customer Support
The aim of the CRM project at Bertelsmann clubs is to use available customer information to personalize marketing through the CIC and SAP BW. Business processes are examined in terms of particular target groups and mapped in the system. This covers the entire process chain, including marketing and customer acquisition, regular advertising of products by catalog, order booking using various communication channels, and delivery and service.

SAP BW provides the analysis tools, brings together data from different sources, and makes data available to the customer support staff in the CIC. The staff receives a customer overview covering all sales and communication channels. When customers call, for example, the customer support staff has comprehensive information about their interests and purchasing behavior and the marketing goals of the relevant book club. The information that is processed includes not only customer contact and transaction data but also information on the availability of particular products.

The CRM system also includes computer telephony integration (CTI) for call management. This interface (SAPphone) links system applications with CTI middleware products or telephony components. With the help of interactive scripting, the customer support staff can use conversation themes, for example, in order to promote additional products or gain new customers.

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