Customer Relationship Management – Case – Implementing a CRM Solution at Ritu Kumar Background

SECTION: 1  Solve any two case studies

CASE – 1   Implementing a CRM Solution at Ritu Kumar Background

Ritukumar is one of India’s leading designers which retails ladies luxury wear through, 15 boutiques across all major cities. These boutiques showcase the very best of Indian design, with specially produced range of high fashion garments and accessories using silk, leather and cotton. Its range of western and Indian apparel strongly reflects traditions and individual talent. The company has been growing steadily at an average rate of 8 – 10 per cent in the last five years to achieve a turnover of Rs 270 million in 2002 – 2003.

The CRM Initiative

The CRM initiative started in April 2002. A study of the marketplace helped them identify the opportunities to become a leading player in the emerging fashion retail industry. Amrish Kumar, Director explained,

            Due to the nature of the market and the position of the company within it, we realised that we were in an ideal scenario for implementing a CRM solution. Customer focus was the primary driver behind our CRM initiative. Our small volumes enable us to provide individual customer service across the board. Also the nature of our luxury brand makes a strong case for pampering customers and providing them with a little extra.

Individual service was not a new concept to the organisation. The sales staff maintained close ties with customers and their requirements in an informal manner. Customers, in turn, have rewarded the company with their loyalty. Referrals from satisfied customers has always been a source of new customers and growth. Now there was a need to formalize and centralise this process across the outlets in various cities to manage future growth.

Amrish elaborated,

            ‘I had a couple of consultants to look at our business and we found that by using technology we could become pioneers in an area that is very niche. For a business that has limited but high-value transactions, effective CRM is critical. The motivation of staying ahead and gaining added competitive advantages made us embark on the CRM initiative. Our business is a low traffic business compared to the mass retailers like Shoppers Stop. And every person who walks in does not necessarily buy our products. And there was no way for us to know why they were not buying. Therefore we decided to profile store walk-ins and link up the stores with the marketing, merchandising and customer support teams. The automated point of sales (POS) system needed to be leverage to give us an integrated view of our customers. All these efforts should improve customer handling at the stores and enhance coordination across functions.’

The twin objectives of the CRM implementation were:

  • Improve customer service through a better understanding of customer needs.
  • Improve business intelligence – The business intelligence aspect was critical as the prevalent practice was to rely on perceptions and informal data. The CRM tool was identified as crucial to help categorise and segment the intelligence requirements more accurately.

CRM was expected to have a direct impact on the business performance through an increase in profitability, revenues and the returns on investment. Increased customer loyalty, better product development and positioning, and improvements in the productivity of marketing efforts and operational efficiency would drive the performance improvement.

            The Selection Process – The top management initiated the exercise by identifying various solution providers. A list was drawn up to shortlist the product vendors. Some of the key criteria included:

  1. Ease of use – This was very important as the interface should be simple enough for the frontline sales employees in each outlet.
  2. Level of customization – This was necessary to capture the customer details as well as integration with the existing point of sale (POS) solution.
  3. Comfort levels with individuals from the solution provider. It was crucial to find a service provider who would most easily fit in with their objectives.
  4. Affordability
  5. Scalability, specially in future when they may enter into more mass market retailing options for select products.

After selecting the SalesLogix, the project was initiated by identifying the needs of key stakeholders including marketing, sales, service, IT and merchandising. Amrish described the process thus,

The customisation has been a collaborative process with the Merchandising, Service and Marketing departments. They have all been involved at all stages of project and therefore they do not need training with the software and beyond their own personal application. We have integrated the CRM system with our own point of sales (POS) package.

Training for the sales staff across outlets has been conducted in stages over a period of time. One of the reasons for the staggered approach has been the continual upgrades and tweaking that has been acquired. The programme was developed in a dynamic manner so as to find the best fit by learning as we went along. We continuously enhanced our own understanding of requirements and limitation.

They wanted the interface screens to be simple and descriptive so that the frontline sales personnel could use them easily. The customisation involved mapping of the existing process on the product.

Thomas Abraham, Director, India, Interact Commerce described the project as a creative experience.

‘We started by developing a solution architecture (Exhibit A) and then developed the screens. The screens are integrated with the exiting POS. If a person walks in but does not purchase anything, she gets captured on the CRM system after the interactions with the sales girls. Some basic information like name, size, colour, style preference, etc., are entered into the system. Customer name is the primary key and this does not lead to problems of duplication as the traffic is low in these premium stores. Later when the same person comes in, say 6 months later and buys some products, the POS links to the CRM system through a smart search capability.

The screen captures the following information –

  • Name, purchase value, colour, nationality, age group (current anecdotal perception is that slightly older age group prefers Ritu Kumar. Several marketing initiatives are being taken to cater to a younger profile. Hence this information is critical).
  • Size and alteration (Paper-based graphics were used by the sales personnel to take in the details. The same graphics have been transposed to the system).
  • Purchase history.
  • Places where they usually shop (this information will be useful for retail location decision when they get into the prêt line, i.e. label).
  • Comments and complaints which are consolidated at the store level and shared with marketing, sales, merchandise, customer service and design merchandise at the corporate office on a daily basis. They were working with registers at each store which had issues like consolidation and delays in redressal. Customer comments of colour and design preferences are passed from all the outlets to the design and merchandising group at the corporate office for action on a daily basis.
  • Some customer seek products which are not currently available at the store. The system captures this information and passes it on to the corporate office where they identify trends and also request the factory to develop the products sought by customers. Then the customers are informed by the stores when the supplies reach the store.

Due to the involvement of cross-functional teams at every stage, the store personnel find the ‘user interface’ simple and easy to use. Some of the features include customer profiling, calendar and activity scheduling, customer interaction history, customer segmentation, mass mailing and reports. The marketing reports include footfall conversion ratio, direct mail campaign analysis and campaign ROI. Other reports include summary data on alternations sought, product returns and complaints.

As part of organisational restructuring, merchandising and customer service structures were amalgamated at the top. The role of customer service cell was enhanced by giving additional responsibility for maintenance of shop requirements. Accordingly staff re-shuffling and re-alignment of responsibility was done to accommodate these changes.

The next challenge is to leverage the customer information to enter into emerging business opportunities like more mass retailing.

Exhibit A

Case 1 Questions:

  1. Why did the management decide to implement CRM solution in the organization?
  1. Suggest some of the best CRM solutions in the current scenario for Ritu Kumar?

CASE – 2  The Titan CRM Initiative

The Indian watch industry was in for a revolution in 1985-86. At that time, the Indian consumer had virtually no choice and had to purchase the simple, plain and utilitarian mechanical watches sold out by the major watch manufacturer HMT or buy the few available foreign watches at a very high price. With its entry into the watch market in 1985-86, Titan created a paradigm shift from mechanical to quartz watches. They offered quartz watches of international quality and styling and converted the humble watch from a mere time keeping device to an ‘object d’art’ and a fashion accessory. With more than 1,000 models to choose from the Indian consumer had the choice of aesthetically designed watches. They bridged the gap that existed in the product and retailing standards in the Indian watch industry, pioneering by setting up a chain of high profile outlets called ‘The World of Titan’ that promised and delivered world-class experience along with world-class products. Titan soon introduced clocks and timepieces and ‘Tanishq’ range of watch jewellery. It came as no surprise that Titan was able to capture 40 per cent of the Indian watch market and became an undisputed leader in the quartz segment.

The success of Titan was not a ‘flash in the pan’, but a result of concentrated and continuous effort on the part of the management to satisfy and delight the Indian customer by offering world class watches with a choice of international and ethnic designs supported by excellent after sales service and support.

The top management envisaged the mission of Titan as:

  • To provide superior values to the customer on a sustained basis.
  • Cement a relationship
  • Increase trust
  • Build an enduring brand value.

To this end, the first step was to provide the customers with a very good product that is not only endearing to the customer, but offers reliability, quality and choice through a wide variety of designs and is also affordable. Titan realised that the relationship of the company with its customers just starts with the customer buying its product. There are further opportunities to cement the relationship by offering after sales support and service.

Titan set up more than 53 after sales service and support centres throughout the country that they called ‘Watch Care Centres’. The watch care centres were created on the lines of the showrooms and featured decent seating, air conditioning, clean drinking water, magazines to browse through during waiting time, pleasing music, education posters and see through repair shop to let the customer actually see what is taking place to boost confidence. They took pains to recruit the right staff and train them (FPIP – Front line Performance Improvement Programme) to ensure high quality customer interaction. The training was followed by effectiveness measurement at individual sites to ensure continuity and actual performance. A separate process filled up any gap in the performance. The customer interaction process involved attention to such details as greeting the customer, problem understanding, resolving doubts and queries, value addition by offering stand by watches in case of long repair times and home delivery. Customers were encouraged to look at accessories and the feedback on their experience was solicited. The company even trained their personnel to undertake follow-up enquiries to check the performance of their products.

Service centres were manned by fully trained and experienced factory engineers to ensure quality repair. Every service engineer went through a training programme at the service headquarters that indicated in them technical skills, product knowledge and customer complaint-handling techniques. An important aspect of Titan’s initiative was measurement of the results and benchmarking it with the best of the care centres. Operational parameters related to repairs and deliveries such as speed of repair, repeat returns, etc., were captured and monitored on a continuous basis. Second, the feedback from the customers was monitored and the company took actions on their feedback. Based on feedback, the service period was increased by two hours from the existing 9 am to 5 pm to 9 am to 7 pm with no break in between.

Titan realised that in order to provide service to all its customers, it needed to expand its service network. This led to the process of service network expansion by identifying the Titan watch customer population locations and setting up service facilities there. Currently the Titan service network comprises of about 512 service outlets providing total service access to 85 per cent of the watch population. They identified dealers who could provide such service and ensured that:

  • Dealers were trained.
  • Dealers received spare parts at their doorsteps.
  • High quality tools and equipment was supplied to sustain repair quality.
  • Updates on technical information were provided.
  • The quality of service was maintained by monitoring and measuring their performance.
  • Titan also implemented dealer programmes for rewarding them on performance (consumer durables and foreign trips) that ensured that they stayed highly motivated to provide the excellent service for which Titan became was renowned for.

Customer satisfaction was measured through a feedback questionnaire at service centres. Customer evaluated the service on 10 parameters and gave their feedback on a 10-point scale. The feedback was reviewed and appropriate corrective actions were taken. Suggestions were welcomed and the best suggestions from the customers were rewarded. Some of the improvements included enhancing the service working hours, correcting the service charges, providing questionnaire in local languages, enhancing the speed of repair and implementing service standards to meet the customer expectations. Currently more than 1.6 million customers use the Titan service be it a simple battery or strap replacement or any other service. The ultimate aim is to keep on improving the service delivery mechanism.

The Signet Programme

Titan realised that customer satisfaction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for market leadership. It is more important to transform the satisfied customer to a loyal customer. Loyal customers are advocates of the brand and they spread a positive image of the brand/organisation. This is more convincing for the potential customer because it is based on the first hand information. To build customer loyalty, Titan launched ‘The Titan Signet’ CRM initiative in May 1995 at the exclusive World of Titan stores. Its mission was to create a sense of belonging in the minds of the customer for the store and vice-versa by:

  • Building a special relationship with high lifetime value Titan customers.
  • Recognising and rewarding the loyalty of customers to Titan.
  • Providing a platform for direct feedback from the valued customers to the company.

The Titan Signet programme was initially started in 6 showrooms in Bangalore. Today the Titan Signet has been extended to 102 World of Titan showrooms across 59 cities all over India.

First and foremost Titan firmly believed that building customer loyalty and building a customer information base was a key component of its marketing strategy. The strategy required the company to forge strong customer bonds called ‘The Three D’s – Database, Dialogue, and Direct Media’ – are the heart and soul of deep and lasting customer bonds. To create a relationship means one has to:

  • know the customer likes and dislikes – his psyche which is possible only if one maintains a database of customers.
  • keep up a continuous learning process about the customer by dialogue and feedback with the customers.
  • have some way of communicating directly with them through direct media.

The first step is to know your customers. Membership to the Titan Signet club is through value-based enrolment, which also captures and stores the profile of the member through a data management system. The information includes information such as customer name and address, relevant information about that individual such as age and income level, family status and buying intention (this is dynamic and subject to change) and finally data captured whenever the customer makes a transaction.

The second step is to retain loyal customers and reward them for their loyalty.

The Titan Signet differentiates its customers. Loyal customers, with the potential to return time and again are infinitely more valuable. Frequent purchase is encouraged through the ‘Reward programme’. Points are awarded for every purchase made. The Titan Signet encourages customers to not only enroll but also return to purchase more and more often. The customer may benefit through recognition and rewards. However, the company is a bigger beneficiary as it can use every interaction with the customer to guide future marketing choices.

The final step is to maximize the relationship with the customer and turn it into a long-term relationship. Personal relationships are built by using dialogue as the process of interacting directly with prospects and customers. As part of The Titan Signet programme, the members are kept informed on various new products being offered by Titan. Contests, offers and promotions from brands are constant through the membership period ensuring that Titan is always in the subconscious of our valued customers. Offers from other lifestyle brands also keep the customers’ interest alive.

Titan has reaped rich benefits from the Signet programme. Success of any customer relationship programme depends on the support of a database, use of direct media, such as customised direct mail, newsletters, monthly statements, and a solid reward system that builds continuously. Increase the value offered to the customer for each purchase that the customer makes so that they not only return again and again but also act as brand ambassadors. It has seen that 30 per cent of the membership base returned to buy form the World of Titan Showrooms alone. This itself apart from valuable feedback from the customers qualified the programme as a success.

Titan has implemented an appropriate CRM strategy taken an appropriate to increase its loyal customer base through the Signet programme. Direct mail was initially used as the channel for communication. Now it wants to leverage the power of Internet to further its relationships. But competition has increased with the entry of major foreign brands into the Indian Watch market.

Case 2 Questions:

  1. Explain in detail about 3 D’s (Database, Dialogue & Direct Media) that are required for the company to forge strong customer bonds?
  2. Mention all the CRM initiatives that are explained in this case?

CASE – 3  QVC Provides Superb CRM

QVC ( is known for its TV shopping channels, and it is selling on the Web, too. It is a very competitive business, since retail selling is done in several marketing channels. In 2000, QVC served more than 6 million customers, answered 125 million phone calls, shipped about 80 million packages, and handled more than a billion page views on its Web site. In February 2006, QVC topped the $800 million online domestic sales mark. QVC’s business strategy is to provide top-notch customer service in order to keep its customers loyal. QVC also appointed a senior vice president for customer service. The problem was how to provide top-notch customer care and do it economically.

To manage its huge business (about $5 billion a year), QVC must use the latest IT support. For example, QVC operates four state-of-the-art call centers, one of these for overseas operations. However, before using technology to boost loyalty and sales, QVC had to develop a strategy to put its customers at the core of corporate decision making. “Exceedingly the expectations of every customer” is a sign you can see all over QVC’s premises. As a matter of fact, the acronym QVC stands for Quality, Value, and Convenience—all from the customers’ perspective.

In pursuit of this goal, QVC created a truly excellent service organization. Among other things, QVC provides educational (demonstrating product features and functions), entertainment, and companionship. Viewers build a social relationship with show hosts, upon which the commercial relationship is built. Now QVC is also attempting to build a social relationship with its customers on the Web site (see

QVC knows that building trust on the TV screen is necessary, but not sufficient to draw customers. So everyone in the company contributes to the customer service goals. QVC’s president randomly checks customers’ letters, including e-mail. All problems are fixed quickly. Everything is geared toward the long run. In addition, to make CRM work, QVC aligns senior executives, IT executives, and functional managers so that they work toward the same goals, collaborate, have plans that do not interfere with others’ plans, and so forth. Also, the company adopts the latest IT applications and continuously offers training to its customer service reps in the new CRM applications.

QVC is using metrics to measure customer service. These include: friendliness of the call center reps; how knowledgeable the reps are about the products; clarity of the instructions about how to order and how to use the products purchased; the number of people a customer has to speak with to get a satisfactory answer; and how often a customer has to call a second time to get a problem resolved.

Data on customer service are collected in several ways, including tracking of telephone calls and Web site movements. Cross-functional teams staff the call centers, so complete knowledge is available in one place. Corrective actions are taken quickly, to prevent repeat problems in the future.

To get the most out of the call center’s employees, QVC strives to keep them very satisfied. They must enjoy the work in order to provide excellent customer service. The employees are called “customer advocates,” and they are handsomely rewarded for innovative ideas.

In addition to call centers, QVC uses computer-telephony integration technology (CTI), which identifies the caller’s phone number and matches it to customer information in the database. This information pops up on the reps’s screen when a customer calls. The rep can greet the customer by saying, “Nice to have you at QVC again, David, I see that you have been with us twice this year, and we want you to know that you are important to us. Have you enjoyed the jacket you purchased last June?”

To know all about the customer history, QVC maintains a large data warehouse. Customers’ buying history is correlated by Zip code with psychodemographic data from Experian (, a company that analyzes consumer information. This way, QVC can know instantly, for example, whether a new product is a hit with wealthy retirees or with young adults. The information is used for e-procurement, advertising strategy, and more. QVC also uses viral marketing (word-of-mouth of its loyal customers). In order not to bother its customers, QVC does not send any mail advertisements.


  1. Enter and identify actions that the company takes to increase trust in its e-business. Also, look at all customer-service activities. List as many as you can find.
  2. List the advantages of buying online versus buying over the phone after watching QVC. What are the disadvantages? Is this a CRM service?
  3. Enter the chat room of and the bulletin board. What is the general mood of the participants? Are they happy with QVC? Why or why not? What is the advantage of having customers chat live online?

SECTION 2: Solve any 3 Questions

  1. What are the seven tips for highly effective CRM? Explain in brief?
  1. What is the total cost of the ownership? What are its element?
  1. Explain in detail about the features that make salesnet a standout for the working sales guy
  1. What are analytic? Explain the types of analytics?
  1. Explain service oriented architecture in detail?