Software Supplement Part 4: Mobile is no longer just about advertising

16th Jun 2009

The mobile channel has traditionally been used by firms as an advertising tool but as customers have bigger expectations about they way they interact with companies, it could increasingly become an important customer retention tool as well. 

Got an iPhone? Got a BlackBerry? How many of your customers do? And how many of them want to do business with and engage with your organisation via such mobile devices? Mobile broadband and phone services are not only a vehicle for advertising, they also provide a way for businesses to have a close relationship with their clients.

"The focus has been upon mobile as being a channel all about advertising and promotion rather than understanding its role in terms of customer retention. Instant customer feedback and those kinds of things may play an essential part in working with and satisfying the needs of customers in the future," says Paul Berney, managing director for Europe at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). "We, as consumers, are having our expectations of our ability to interact with organisations and brands ratcheted up continually. All those little interactions, as well as the fact that as a society we are 'on-demand' and speeding up - those things all point to using mobile as a device for CRM."

For their part, CRM vendors have been working to get versions of their products up and running on the most popular mobile devices. SAP AG and Research In Motion have delivered the BlackBerry Sales Client for SAP CRM, which is aimed at giving sales reps access to customer information in SAP CRM. The product can also deliver (or 'push') customer data updates in the SAP CRM system to the user, as well as pushing sales leads to the sales representative’s BlackBerry smartphone inbox with one-click access.
Meanwhile, has rolled out Mobile Lite, a free offering that gives its customers access to the Salesforce CRM on their iPhone, BlackBerry or Microsoft Windows Mobile-equipped handsets. It also plans to have a native application for the Palm Pre by the end of this year. 
Bill McDermott, president and CEO of SAP Americas, notes: “Until now, CRM has failed many salespeople because of the inherent mobility of their jobs. They don’t want to be chained to a desktop or tethered to the wall; they want to be out on the street selling something to somebody who needs a solution.”

Also in this CRM software supplement:

Overview: CRM software boosts the last competitive weapon in the arsenal
Social CRM: When it's not so sweet to tweet
Software as a Service: CRM software gets SaaSy
Open source CRM: Open source CRM still facing security concerns

Market leaders:
Anthony Lye, Oracle:
CRM learns its lessons from Web 2.0


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