Customer Relationship Management: A Vision for Higher Education Gary B. Grant and Greg Anderson
Web Portals and Higher Education
Technologies to Make IT Personal
Richard N. Katz and Associates
A Publication of EDUCAUSE and NACUBO
Copyright 2002 Jossey-Bass Inc. Published by Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. For personal use only. Not for distribution.
Customer Relationship Management
A Vision for Higher Education
Gary B. Grant and Greg Anderson
ducational institutions worldwide are undergoing fundamental shifts in how they operate and interact with their “customers”: students, alumni, donors, faculty members, and staff members. Kotler and Fox (1995) state that “the best organization in the world will be ineffective if the focus on ‘customers’ is lost. First and foremost is the treatment of individual students, alumni, parents, friends, and each other (internal customers). Every contact counts!” During the mid-1980s and the late 1990s, many colleges and universities began restructuring and reengineering their operating processes to cut costs and become more efﬁcient while responding to increased competition. Yet these organizations also realized that building the in-house technology necessary to achieve these goals was expensive, difﬁcult, and time-consuming. As a result, many turned to enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. These applications helped them automate and optimize their internal business processes—in areas such as ﬁnance, grants management, student information, enrollment, inventory management, and human resources—and freed them from some of the minutia found in dayto-day operations. The focus is currently shifting from improving internal operations to concentrating more on customers. Higher education customers are demanding more attention and immediate service—that is, “Internet time.” Proactive institutions are now adjusting their 23
WEB PORTALS AND HIGHER EDUCATION
practices by refocusing their efforts externally. Because of the need to concentrate more on customers, many institutions are once again turning to technology—this time to customer relationship management (CRM) software. Similar to ERP, CRM solutions focus on automating and improving processes, although the focus is on front ofﬁce areas, such as recruiting, marketing, customer service, and support. CRM goes several steps further than ERP by helping institutions maximize their customer-centric resources.
What Is CRM?
CRM is both a business strategy and a set of discrete software tools and technologies, with the goal of reducing costs, increasing revenue, identifying new opportunities and channels for expansion, and improving customer value, satisfaction, proﬁtability, and retention. CRM software applications embody best practices and employ advanced technologies to help organizations achieve these goals. CRM focuses on automating and improving the institutional processes associated with managing customer relationships in the areas of recruitment, marketing, communication management, service, and support. CRM takes a very customer-centric view of the entire customer life cycle, which means that a CRM business strategy places the customer at the center of the organization’s universe. From the perspective of the customer, a CRM business strategy allows interaction with the college or university from a single entity that has a complete understanding of their unique status. In the case of a student, this might be seen through the interaction with and between the admissions, registration, ﬁnancial aid, student accounts, and housing ofﬁces. For a faculty or staff member, a CRM business strategy would optimize interaction with departments administering beneﬁts, payroll, staff training, information technology (IT), or facilities. From the perspective of the college or university, the CRM business strategy provides a clear and complete picture of...
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