The aim of this dissertation was to examine the importance of CRM for HDFC Bank. To achieve this aim, following objectives were set: To analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of CRM services provided by the HDFC Bank, to examine the effects of CRM on business performance and operational effectiveness and to evaluate the improvements in customer service due to it, to assess the awareness of the bank employees to the concept of CRM and its benefits for the organization, to determine the extent of customer satisfaction level by conducting interviews, distributing questionnaire and carrying out a survey in HDFC Bank, to gather relevant data and critically analyzing it using a vast variety of sources and research tools. The chapter encompass the analysis and evaluation of the data collected via different research methods and includes both quantitative and qualitative measures taken into account and discussed upon. The researcher presented much of the quantitative data into graphs so that it could easily be understood. As discussed in the last chapter, interviews were conducted from branch manager and two of the middle line managers. Survey was conducted from randomly selected 80 (+3 later) customers to gain their views; along with it, short questionnaires were also distributed to randomly chosen 30 bank employees to take into account their perspectives about the adaption and use of CRM in the bank. Interviews were purposely kept informal and qualitative data was collected about the bank’s strategy, plan, objectives and actions taken regarding the adaption and use of CRM system and applications. In the interviews, the researcher inquired about many other things which are discussed in the qualitative analysis below. The survey from employees was mainly concerning the effects of CRM on their performance and how it affected their day to day bank functions and operations. Questionnaires from customers included their perceptions about the bank services and whether those improved. The data gathered by interviews provided helpful information about the bank strategic plans and policies and gave insight into the banking operations. It also provided information on customer relation management systems, infrastructure of information and technology, and its effects on the employee performance, customer satisfaction, increased sales targeting, and over all culture of the organization, etc. The objective of the interviews was to have the complete picture of what the aims of the management were and to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the CRM systems. The researcher analysed the current situation of the CRM and how effective it was and in line with the IT services and if it supported the business strategy keeping in view the future developments and enhancements in IT.
The rate of response from employees and customers was 100% though some customers and employees left very few questions unanswered. The researcher realized the weakness of research validity because it was hard to grasp real feeling of respondents in terms of such contrasts as satisfied/dissatisfied, agree/disagree, etc. Nonetheless, an effort was made to ensure the questions appear to be measuring all important aspects of the construct and results of questionnaires are consistent with results of established measures. In order to gather more reliable and valid data, the researcher also conducted short interviews from some of the employees and customers. These were not pre-planned but helped a lot in explaining the answers in details. The researcher also ensured that interviews and questionnaires follow a specific pattern.
The findings are reported below and separate analysis is provided for managers’ interviews, employees’ questionnaire and customers’ questionnaire. Appendix is provided on a separate sheet which contains copies of employees’ questionnaire, customers’ questionnaire, and the copy of questions that were asked during the interviews with the manager.
It is very important to mention here that the researcher undertook pilot study before the actual commencement of the research. It was a feasibly a very small experiment to test logistics and collect data prior to the greater research in order to improve the quality and efficiency of the questions asked in the interviews and questionnaires. It was important to test the questions designed in the questionnaires before they are actually used in the research in order to determine whether they are conducive towards the research and would pose no problems for the respondent and experts should be consulted to comment on the suitability of the questions and this is regarded as pilot study. The branch manager was approached and informal meeting was held. The researcher asked few short questions (similar to the questions asked in later study but in details). The manager also helped me ask few simple questions from 5 of the employees to test my questionnaire and reveal any deficiency in the design of the proposed experiment. Although it provided limited information but it proved vital for the severity of the proposed procedures. All the information gathered in addition to review of bank’s own research questions were incorporated into the main study design. However pilot study did not lead to modification of any pre-planned research process. The differences of results from main research were discussed in summary in following sections.
4.2. Qualitative Research Discussion
The researcher conducted one pilot interview with branch manager first. After finalising the questions, another formal interview was taken. There were almost same responses in both occasions. Two of the middle line managers were asked for their time for interviews and luckily single interview was taken from both managers. Interview 1 is from branch manager and interview 2 is from line/operational managers. Senior manager was asked questions about overall bank performance and importance of CRM while managers at mid-level were enquired on matters regarding operational functions. Questions asked from senior managers include: How does CRM impact company’s performance both directly and indirectly? What is the evidence that CRM improves customer services? What type of CRM software and applications does the bank use? Do you have any CRM implementation policy? How important is CRM requirement in strategic planning? What is your opinion about the use of CRM in the bank? What role does management and employees play in successful implementation of CRM? Please discuss on future CRM plans? Questions put forward to operational managers include: What are the factors influencing and encouraging the use of CRM? What are the benefits and limitations of CRM for the company? What are the problems encountered by the company in adapting and implementing CRM systems? How do employees respond to CRM? How do customers respond to CRM? What are the operational planning activities CRM provide the bank? How do CRM systems add value on financial packages and services? How CRM does contribute to customer satisfaction and retention? Is CRM proven way of managing customer information? Does CRM assure customer responses? In what ways do CRM contribute to customers’ loyalty? Does the implementation of CRM affect the company-customer relationship? What are the most important factors influencing CRM in company? Are you satisfied with the adaption and use of CRM?
The bank manager in his interview explained that the changing banking environment has affected the way Indian banks used to operate and function. Intense competition, environmental factors such as legal and social, and the ever updating norms of the financial institutions has and impact on the banks to adapt and adjust accordingly and to amend their policies and procedures. He believes that marketing and technology play crucial role for banks as they are the institutions that provide direct services to its clients, therefore HDFC Bank recognises this as stated by branch’s manager’s own words, â€œThe Bank understands the significance of the role of technology and marketing for improving customer relations and services especially in the intensely competitive and changing Indian banking sectorâ€?. When enquired about the need for CRM, the manager responded that â€œThe bank needs to maintain data and information about its clients, and must have a system that could help the bank improve its customer services; therefore it must have basic CRM technology to track and serve the customersâ€?. This led to adaption of latest CRM technologies and processes. Bank manager, in the interview explained that â€œThe bank needed to adapt CRM in order to increase profitability by reducing operational costs in serving the customersâ€?. According to his belief, â€œHDFC Bank had been facing traditional problems of lack of modern delivery and marketing techniques in current fast emerging digital economyâ€?. The Bank constantly searched for means to improve their service and to increase customer base. CRM provided the opportunity for the bank as it brought together relationship of IT and marketing strategies to create profitable and long term relationships with clients. When further questioned about why the bank adapted the CRM policy and procedures, the managers replied, â€œSatisfying our clients’ needs was our major focus and was an important factor in implementing our CRM initiative. Some customers demanded the improvement in our approach to managing customer relationships which assisted us deciding to adopt and implement CRM programs capabilitiesâ€?. To meet the needs of the customers, HDFC Bank timely started to focus on developing a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Realizing the significance of customer information availability, the project was undertaken by the bank with the spirit that has characterized the whole CRM development. The project has promoted a massive involvement of suggestions from clients, employees and other stakeholders. Strategic plan was developed and targets were set. The management developed the CRM infrastructure and adapted latest CRM procedures. When asked if the bank has any CRM implementation policy, the management answered that â€œHDFC Bank has a central policy of using CRM within all its branches which controls all the CRM procedures. The Bank has incorporated the CRM policies into its strategic vision and mission statementsâ€?. Although the manager didn’t give exact figures on how the bank specifically the main branch has spent on CRM implementation and introduction of new systems but they agree that the bank devote considerable amount of resources to manage CRM. The bank realizes that it is vital that its CRM applications and systems are supported and controlled by qualified and experienced managers. For this reason, all the managers are trained and experienced to bring together professional staff, encouraging communication and coordination among them, promoting team work and instructing ways in quality service and ensure that CRM systems work efficiently. When enquired whether the bank has any evaluation and appraisal in place, the manager responded that â€œThe bank has developed a mechanism to check whether CRM is effectively in good useâ€?. The managers ensure that regular feedback system to consider perspective of the management, employee participation perspective and customer experience perspective. According to the branch manager, â€œThe bank generated better than expected outcomes. CRM has positively influenced every banking function and operationâ€?. The manager believes that the bank now provides better and improved banking services. Its operating efficiently and management and employees work more effectively. The speed of the work has improved due to CRM adaption. CRM has helped the bank to target the strategies for better customer services. It has also assisted in facilitating customer service which resulted in satisfied customers and profitable business. The adaption and implementation of CRM by the bank has resulted in improved performance and profitability.
Both the middle line managers were questioned about the operational activities of the bank and how the adaption of CRM technology and implementation of CRM processes and procedures has influenced the banking activities. The managers were in charge of the implementation after the senior manager set the strategic plan. They were very much aware of the involvement of bank staff if the CRM adaption was to be successful. One of the managers during the interview discussed that â€œThe major decision they tool to successfully adapt the CRM within the bank environment was to empower its employees in decision makingâ€?. The management realized that CRM adaption requires the well trained, educated and experienced staff to work on it. They are theoretically and practically trained on how to utilize latest CRM system and applications. The managers explained that â€œThe Employees are given access to customer database so that they can make on the spot and efficient decisions. They are also empowered to resolve small customer issues themselves, though major complaints are still dealt centrally by the senior management. Employees are also involved in searching, adapting and evaluating CRM needs for the bank. The management emphasises greatly on availability of latest and advanced information and communication technology to its staff and takes extra measures to ensure this happensâ€? The managers were also responsible for planning, sorting, reviewing and monitoring work of the employees. The managers believe that the bank now provides better and improved banking services. According to their belief, employees work more enthusiastically, are well motivated and are satisfied with their roles and responsibilities. The managers think that bank processes such as sales and marketing works more efficiently. Due to CRM, the bank can access a wide variety of sources for required information, ideas and experiences. Employees work more effectively by reducing repetitive tasks, decreasing costs, and minimizing risks. They can deal with customer enquiries without any difficulty and resolve many issues on the spot. Another benefit that the bank has received is increase in speed and reliability of banking functions/transactions. CRM has helped the bank to target the strategies for better customer services. It has also assisted in facilitating customer service which resulted in satisfied customers and profitable business. The adaption and implementation of CRM by the bank has resulted in improved performance and profitability. The managers also stated that operational inefficiencies have reduced and few resources are being wasted. CRM also helped developed new incentives for clients by searching their data and records which are collected by latest systems and applications. The most important impact of CRM on bank as felt by managers is the creation of climate of trust that helped in customer loyalty and retention.
The management is completely satisfied with the results of CRM use in the bank. Their future plan is simple and that is continuing with the current policy. They understand that CRM technologies rapidly change. It is hard to forecast where CRM technology will be in the next few years. According to the words of the Branch manager, â€œWe are often one of the first in our industry to detect technological developments that may potentially affect our business. We generally respond very quickly to technological changes in our environmentâ€?. The management ensure that staff maintains close relations with bank clients. The managers recognise the basic value of the bank and that includes learning as a key to improvement. They believe that they have common language to deal with CRM issues and have a clear division of roles and responsibilities to implement or update CRM. They also think that they have necessary skills and technical competence to absorb the new CRM systems processes, tools and applications. The management agrees unanimously that bank uses CRM to drives profitability, cut costs, reduces risks and improves customer service. The management finds it challenging to ensure clients prefer their services over that of others. The managers believe that the key to develop a close customer relationship and nurture it is to appreciate the needs and cater the requirements of the customers. The bank uses CRM technology to analyze the customer needs and to ensure customer satisfaction. The use of CRM in the bank has become crucial with aggressive strategies employed to gain and retain customers, which has resulted in the adoption of various CRM initiatives to enable the bank to achieve its objectives. The management realized to build a close relationship between IT and marketing aspects of CRM to develop lasting client retention. In summary by introducing and adapting the latest CRM methods, techniques, applications and systems, banks can provide better customer service, increase customer revenues, discover new customers, sell products more effectively, help sales staff close deals faster, make call centres more efficient, simplify marketing and sales processes.
4.3.1. Quantitative Findings (Employees)
What is your opinion about the use of CRM in the bank?
Enables cost reduction
Better customer relationship
Enables market research
Provides customer information
A huge majority (89%) agree that by using CRM, employees can have access to customer information. Majority of the employees (71%) believe that CRM system and applications help in carrying out market research easily. Almost all (96%) of employees agree that CRM help in improving and maintaining better customer relationship management. 81% of them agree that communication among employees and with customers improve due to use of CRM. 86% agree to the notion that it reduces the work to be repeated and minimizes mistakes. Half of the employees (51%) said that CRM improves bank efficiency and only 38% answered positively that it enables in cost reduction. Half of the employees stayed neutral to this question.
Please comment on the importance of CRM for employees?
64% of the employees strongly believe that adaption and use of CRM for bank is very important. Other 27% also agree and consider it important while only 9% consider its importance average. None responded negatively.
Are you satisfied with the use of CRM in the bank?
60% of the respondents stated that they are satisfied with the use of CRM in their bank, 21% are on the view that they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied while 19% showed their dissatisfaction.
Please express your views on the reliability of CRM software and applications?
Only 41% of the employees consider the CRM system and applications used in the bank as reliable. 50% are neutral and remaining 9% consider CRM unreliable.
4.3.2. Quantitative Findings (Customers)
Please tell if you are you satisfied with the service quality?
87% of the customers are satisfied with the bank services and approved the quality of services provided by the bank. Only a small minority of 3% noted their dissatisfaction.
Do you agree that there is sufficient staff-customer communication?
36% of customers believe that there is sufficient communication between employees and customers, 46% are neutral and remaining 18% hinted their disagreement.
How do you find the communication between bank staff and customers?
3/4th of the customers asked find the communication good and better and only 12% think that it still can be improved. The other 12% stated the poor communication between bank and them.
How do you find friendliness and helpfulness of the staff service?
Majority (79%) of the customers consider the staff friendliness and helpfulness as good and excellent. 10% rated it as average and 11% rated it as poor.
Please rate your satisfaction level in regards to steps taken by the bank in delivering the services?
Third fourth (76%) of the surveyed customers responded positively to this question and agree that bank has improved its services very well.
On a scale of 1 (dissatisfied) to 5 (satisfied), how would you rate your level of satisfaction in regards to service value?
Only 14% of the customers are placed in the dissatisfaction zone 2/3rd are satisfied with the value of the bank service they receive.
Are you satisfied with the bank’s response to your queries?
1/3rd of the customers pointed out their dissatisfaction with the bank response to their issues and 60% answered their satisfaction to this matter.
How do you view timeliness and quality of response?
71% of the customers positively view the timeliness and quality of steps taken by bank to resolve their queries. 1/4th consider it as lacking in quality.
Do you agree that customer service has improved?
How would you rate the overall quality of your relationship with bank, considering all of your experiences with them?
76% responses are positive and only 6% answers are negative on rating the overall quality of their relationship with the bank.
4.4.1. Employees’ Questionnaire Discussion
Adaption and use of CRM by HDFC could have been effective only with the support and cooperation of bank staff. Management recognised this and took the appropriate steps as explained in the interview analysis. Even the bank employees realized that their support was crucial if the new system and application had to work because they are the persons that interact with customers directly and this interaction greatly influences the relationship of the bank with customers. Successful adaption was only possible in HDFC Bank if employees were motivated and enthusiastic to cooperate with the CRM processes. The employees were properly trained to use the system and CRM tools to improve the bank services.
It was very important for the researcher to take employees’ views in this dissertation, because their perceptions, perspectives morale, skills, experience and satisfaction all influence the work performance and consequently bank performance. These factors are affected by sudden change in the organization specifically if it is technology related. In the survey results, bank employees in general showed satisfaction towards the CRM use within the bank environment. Majority of them agree that new ICT tools for CRM system and applications have helped improve their communication within the bank with colleagues and managers, and externally with customers. When asked by the researcher about the problem of repeating tasks, they collectively replied that this issue has been reduced to minimum due to CRM in bank. Employees can access the database where all the information of specific client is provided, just enter the reference or other details, and the information comes in front of them. This has helped a lot in risk reduction, quality work in less time and effective performance. Employees believe that customers feel satisfied with the service they provide. Two third of the surveyed employees believe that CRM utilities are very important for their performance and they are completely satisfied with the use of CRM technology and procedures. However many employees have concerns for its reliability and they feel that they have to constantly update their knowledge of its use as the technology changes rapidly. Overall the employees’ responses were positive as they expect more benefits with little or no limitations in the use of CRM to improve bank performance and services. They have used the new technology, process, procedures, tools and systems related to CRM and they believe that CRM is essential for Bank for current and future use as it directly and/or indirectly affects their performance that in turn improves bank performance as employees provide quality services.
4.4.2. Customers’ Questionnaire Discussion
Banks understand that customer satisfaction is an important variable in order to retain the existing clients or gain the new ones. Poor customer satisfaction leads to a decline in customer loyalty, and given the extended offerings from the competitors, customers easily switch banks. HDFC understands the importance of customer satisfaction and value the customer relationships. CRM was introduced to improve customer services and relationships with customers. The information gathered by the bank management reveals that customers are generally satisfied with the services provided by the bank. The following analysis is the assessment and measurement by the researcher. This research is directed to find the perceptions of the customers towards services provided by HDFC bank and whether these are improved. The researcher tried to describe the research motives behind the findings through this questionnaire. The main aim was to gain the customers impression and assess the efficiency of the CRM system, technology, processes and applications applied by the bank. The researcher attempted to gauge how well CRM influenced the services. Vast majority of the customers disclosed their satisfaction on the bank services. Although the figure remained the same if compared with the survey conducted by the bank few months ago but almost all the customers agreed that the bank service has improved ever since. When asked about the communication process between them and the bank, the reply was not encouraging as many customers feel that this area still needs to be improved. Most customers want face to face interaction and require the bank to provide services for longer hours. If compared with the previous data collected, this survey suggests that communication has improved mainly due to telephone service for minor complaints and information. Although it is good but cannot be considered sufficient. When enquired about the friendliness and helpfulness of the bank staff, many customers responded that employees provide good service with better attitude than before. They tend to their issues with sympathy and try to resolve the queries professionally and effectively. They admire that the bank is working hard to train its employees in skills for improved customer service. They also appreciate the introduction of CRM processes that led to improvement in all areas.
4.5. Importance of CRM for Bank in Summary
The results generated from the interviews and surveys conclude that CRM has had a very positive effect on the bank performance. It not only helped employees learn and improve but also influenced their morale and motivation. This has an indirect effect on the way bank serve its customers. By adapting CRM processes, the bank has provided its customers with satisfactory services which increased customer loyalty and helped build better relations. CRM has an impact on every bank operation and function. CRM has guided bank to induct latest technological system and application to collect, analyse and use customer information effectively and efficiently run the day to day operations of the bank. CRM has provided a means to better communication and coordination of employees with customers. Other benefits that have been gained include reduction in cost, speedy transactions, reliable flow of information. The bank has achieved the overall objectives of using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes with the implementation of CRM and has been successful in finding, attracting, and wining new clients, and reducing the costs of marketing and client service. The bank realizes the importance of CRM today’s competitive environment that it considers it as an integral part of its strategic business plan. CRM integrated approach makes all the difference to satisfying customers, retaining their loyalty, providing added value and generating growth. In fact, CRM might be the difference between the bank to flourish and failure to survive.
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Chapter 5: Conclusion & Recommendations
5.1. Research Summary
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an organizational strategy that can assist a bank to build lasting relationship with its clients and improve its performance by increasing revenue and productivity. CRM in the banking industry is of great importance. Today, banking is more customer-centric, unlike the yester when it was transaction-centric. CRM is essential and vital function of customer oriented marketing. However there is more to CRM than just client management. CRM is a broad approach to create, maintain, and expand relationship with customers. It is a strategic plan that aims in understanding, anticipating, managing and personalizing the organizational needs of current as well as potential customers. The idea behind this is that it would help the bank to effectively utilize technology and other resources to gain insight into the clients’ behaviour and customers’ values. If adapted and implemented successfully, CRM can help banks provide better customer service, make banking operations more efficient and simplify selling and marketing processes. CRM is a comprehensive approach to cater, maintain and expand customer relationships. It is important for banks to use CRM strategy that aims to understand, anticipate, manage and personalize the needs of banks’ current and potential customers. CRM applications deliver many benefits across organizational processes and functions. It reshapes the workplace environment and influences the ways business being carried. Successful integration or adaption of CRM system in the banks may not be as easy as it looks. Every concept has limitations such as limitation of finance, resistance to change, government regulations, etc.; so does the CRM in banks.
Banks can overcome many of the limitations by efficiency managing CRM and adapting some comprehensive CRM model along with effective CRM software. Managers play an important role to minimize risks. CRM manager is a key factor who can effectively manage the issues related to CRM. It is vital for banks that their CRM applications and systems are supported and controlled by qualified and experienced manager. Bringing together trained and professional staff, encouraging communication and coordination among them, promoting team working and instructing ways in quality service, are some of the duties managers have to perform in order for CRM to work efficiently and harvest benefits.
The banks need CRM to survive as it is impossible nowadays not to focus upon the customer expectations. CRM is needed because of ever changing technology and highly competitive banking sector in India. The importance of CRM can be assessed by evaluating CRM that provides enhanced opportunities to use data and information to both understand customers and create value. The ultimate purpose of the CRM is to improve performance and to assess how well the bank needs are met by CRM adaption and implementation.
The aim of this dissertation was to examine the importance of CRM for HDFC Bank. To achieve this aim, following objectives were set: To analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of CRM services provided by the HDFC Bank, to examine the effects of CRM on business performance and operational effectiveness and to evaluate the improvements in customer service due to