Electronic customer relationship management

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term electronic customer relationship management (English electronic customer relationship management ) means a customer relationship management , which undergoes a specialization in electronic components.

Classification and definition of terms

With the support of customer relationship management (CRM) through information technology (IT), the term electronic customer relationship management (E-CRM) was coined. Since this is much younger than that of CRM, there is little agreement even among experts on the importance of it. There are many and varied definitions and terminology in the literature. On the one hand, ECRM comprises the examination, planning and control of customer relationships with the help of electronic media with the aim of a comprehensive alignment of the company to selected customers.

ECRM systems are generally used for the integration, analysis and presentation of customer data from multiple customer contact groups and the use of such customer data for the purpose of creating customer loyalty measures via different communication channels. ECRM thus links CRM with e-commerce, e-business and internet technologies.

Conceptual basics

ECRM as a form of CRM

Customer relationship management based on the use of information technology also aims at individualized customer loyalty as a decisive success factor for companies in times of hyper-competition. The focus is on a continuation of segmentation approaches:

CRM in the business model
  • From target group to target person (one-to-one marketing)
  • Identification of long-term profitable business relationships (e.g. by determining the customer (lifetime) value)
  • Complete collection, maintenance and appropriate evaluation of customer-related data

Company success and customer satisfaction cannot be viewed separately from one another. The identification of long-term profitable business relationships (customer value) and the targeted collection and evaluation of customer-related data within the framework of database marketing are the goals of electronic customer relationship management.

If one classifies the maintenance of customer relationships in a business model, one recognizes the importance of such measures in addition to the already mentioned reference to marketing.


Today, ECRM is both an integrated instrument of modern B2C marketing and a corporate philosophy. For a long time now, marketing can no longer be understood simply as a company's sales policy that supports sales. The importance of customer relationship management for marketing in an increasingly market-oriented corporate management is becoming apparent. Markets themselves have become bottlenecks; today there is significantly more supply than demand; The demands of customers have risen, and their information options have suddenly improved thanks to new media. Globalization, deregulation and liberalization determine market entry and market behavior. The market transparency that the Internet offers potential customers alone enables a quick and uncomplicated change of provider with a click of the mouse. If one also visualizes the rapidly increasing numbers of Internet users worldwide, this also underlines the importance of managing customer relationships on the basis of information technology.

Advantages and disadvantages of online markets

The use of online markets offers the user numerous advantages:

  • Time saving
  • Simple comparison options (price and quality)
  • Convenience
  • open 24hrs"
  • no geographical link / distance
  • Ideal for digital products
  • Mostly cheaper
  • Mostly large assortment (product depth and width)

But there are also enough inhibitions of participants in online markets who want to be overcome:

  • The products are not perceptible
  • Contact person is missing
  • Uncertainty about risk (fraud)
  • Privacy concerns
  • Usability of the internet platform
  • general suitability of the product for online purchase
  • Exchange problem
  • Delivery costs

Phases of the ECRM

Four process stages of the ECRM determine the following sequence:

Customer data collection → customer data analysis → (e) CRM measures → performance controlling

Alternatively, the following three phases in customer loyalty can be shown:

  • Identification (recognize customers based on characteristics and preferences)
Customers can generally be identified online via server log files and cookies . However, these procedures are not consistent in their applicability and can be bypassed. And not every visitor to an online shop is one of its registered customers. ECRM has to take this problem into account; it distinguishes online activities from conventional market participation. After all, customers in this context can in principle be seen as a "black box", the inside of which is not clearly recognizable. However, various incentives and environmental influences can trigger specific reactions from customers. Recognizing such relationships and describing customers using socio-economic, demographic, behavioral and personal characteristics is also one of the tasks of ECRM and enables the creation of targeted offers, marketing campaigns and other measures.
  • Differentiation (customer rating based on analyzes)
Customers can be differentiated in a variety of ways. To this end, decision-makers use information systems that provide meaningful aggregated data in data warehouse systems and connect them to the relevant applications. In addition to calculating key figures such as the CLV , simple ABC analyzes can also be used for categorization. Data mining and online analytical processing (OLAP) are used for in-depth analysis and pattern recognition in databases.
Possible areas of application for the results of differentiation applications:
  • Targeted customer approach (→ preparation of offers)
  • Analysis and forecast of buying behavior (→ marketing campaigns)
  • Identification of customer groups (→ marketing campaigns)
  • Classification of individual customers in terms of a feature
  • Shopping basket analyzes (→ product placement, pricing)
  • Targeted creation of product packages (→ Cross Selling)
  • Assessment of loan applications (→ Credit Scoring)
  • Personalization (customer-specific measures)
Adapting and tailoring the findings from the previous phases into concrete measures is the task of personalization. Customer-specific company activities are used in the areas of marketing, sales and service.

Implementation of ECRM tools

ECRM receives its electronic support in a variety of ways. The meaningful evaluation of customer-related data in the context of customer data analysis or differentiation is always problematic. Various technologies and applications enable systematic management of the data diversity and complexity. Reporting , OLAP and data mining are based on already meaningfully aggregated databases. As the highest analysis discipline, data mining provides decision support methods and procedures for tracing patterns in databases. The aim is to be able to set up meaningful predictions for specific questions on the basis of characteristics and to recognize input-output relationships.

Basics of database systems and requirements from a business point of view characterize the realizations in practice. In the data warehouse, information from numerous amounts of data is sensibly summarized and aggregated. Data warehouse systems also provide tools for analyzing the data. They are information systems for managers, specialist departments and all other positions with decision-making authority. Complete ECRM solutions include corresponding implementations of the individual modules.

In addition to the technical implementation of ECRM, this can also be understood as a corporate philosophy.

Advantages over 'classic' CRM

Information technologies and the electronic media that are closely related to them are predestined to support customer relationship management because they implement many core aspects of CRM practically automatically.

These advantages are described individually below:

High availability
Compared to other communication channels (such as telephony) to the customer, electronic media have greater availability in terms of both time and space. They usually allow customers to interact with the company around the clock and are only limited in terms of space by technical requirements. At the same time, the high availability is an important prerequisite for keeping the information conveyed up to date. Both points create added value for the customer.
Broad integration
The ability of electronic media to integrate a wide variety of interactions and channels enables companies to appear to the customer with a uniform image (also referred to as one face to the customer ). For example, a website serves as an interface between customer and company. Within the company, however, processes are initiated that previously resulted in a media break in communication. It is also possible that the customer and the company work in the same system, which makes it easier, if not unnecessary, to compare the data. Customers can relieve the company of work by, for example, maintaining their address data themselves or tracking their consignments. In addition, the integration of the systems allows the data to be evaluated in real time, so that, for example, the success of a marketing campaign can be measured much faster.
Extensive automation
Many processes that were previously time-consuming manual can be automated with the support of information technology. For example, an offer that a customer requests via a configuration tool on the Internet can be automatically created, sent and marked for follow-up with an appointment for resubmission. In principle, all data in electronic media can be saved automatically (in compliance with legal regulations). When visiting a website, data about the behavior of the customer can be collected and used to build a customer profile. These are then also automatically synchronized with existing data.
Easy customization
The personalization of information and offers is made much easier by information technologies, because it only has to be designed and implemented once and can then be carried out without any major effort. The individualization can be implemented in such a way that its quality is automatically increased with every further customer contact (often referred to as a learning relationship ). The relationship with the company is getting closer and the customer loyalty is increased.
High level of user comfort
Classically complex processes can be implemented with a high level of user comfort using electronic media. A configurator for tailor-made customer solutions allows, for example, the comparison of different solutions that would otherwise have to be created by hand. With the simplification of these processes, on the one hand, added value can be created for the customer, on the other hand, tasks of the company can be shifted to the customer.
Associated cost savings
Most of the advantages mentioned lead not only to the creation of added value for the customer, but also to significant cost savings in the associated processes. Integration and automation in particular have great potential for this. In individual cases, savings of up to 80 percent of the process processing time can be achieved.


  1. See Eggert / Fassot (2001), p. 5.
  2. See Krause (2008), p. 22.
  3. See Fritz / von der Oelsnitz (2006), p. 128.
  4. See Gay / Charlesworth / Esen (2007), p. 239 f.
  5. See Maaß (2003), p. 32.
  6. See Eggert / Fassot (2001), p. 4.
  7. See Fritz / von der Oelsnitz (2004), p. 23 f.
  8. See Wisotzky (2001), p. 2.
  9. See Fritz (2004), p. 175.
  10. See Bromberger (2004), p. 123 f.
  11. See Pertersohn (2005), p. 1.
  12. See Bauer / Günzel (2004), p. 5.
  13. See Bauer / Günzel (2004), p. 526.
  14. See Eggert / Fassot (2001), p. 7.
  15. See Kaiser (2003)


  • A. Bauer, H. Günzel (Ed.): Data Warehouse Systems. Heidelberg 2004.
  • J. Bromberger: Internet-based customer relationship management. Wiesbaden 2004.
  • A. Eggert, G. Fassot (Ed.): Electronic Customer Relationship Management. Stuttgart 2001.
  • W. Fritz: Internet Marketing and Electronic Commerce. 3. Edition. Wiesbaden 2004.
  • W. Fritz, D. von der Oelsnitz: Marketing - elements of market-oriented company management. 4th edition. Wiesbaden 2006.
  • R. Gay, A. Charlesworth, R. Esen: Online Marketing - A customer-led approach. New York 2007.
  • Felix Kaiser: E-CRM for medium-sized companies. self-published diploma thesis. 2003.
  • R. Krause: Customer loyalty through personalization on the Internet. Hamburg 2008.
  • S. Lütje: Customer relationship skills. Wiesbaden 2009.
  • C. Maaß: E-Business Management. Stuttgart 2008.
  • H. Petersohn: Data Mining - Procedures, Processes, Application Architecture. Munich 2005.
  • P.-A. Wisotzky: Digital customer loyalty. Cologne 2001.