photo © 2006 B K | more info (via: Wylio)
What is a customer relationship management (CRM)? Wikipedia calls it a “widely implemented strategy to, by means of technology, organize, automate, and synchronize business processes to find, attract, and win new clients as well as to nurture and retain those the company already has.”
How do I come across CRM since it is not really within the scope of the Reguligence Weblog? Well, the last couple of weeks I have read a lot and, when I write “a lot” I mean a lot about the troubles that the customers (subscribers and prepaid users) of the largest Bulgarian mobile network M-Tel have been experiencing since September 2010.
Unfortunately and unlike my usual way of blogging, I can provide the audience with just very few other than Bulgarian-written evidences. I was somewhat upset when I examined the Bulgarian news portals issuing news in English and had to realise that, for whatever reason, they had omitted to cover this story.
Reportedly, the troubles have commenced with M-Tel’s deployment of a new CRM solution provided by Amdocs and resulted, inter alia, in inflated bills and customers’ inability to control their credit balances.
That all happens, one could assert. This is true and, as part of their risk management strategies, operators should have crisis management plans in order to control such events. In this connection customer relationship management in the sense of customer satisfaction is just vital. One could not stress that often again.
Obviously, this is the field where M-Tel just fizzled out. That not enough, they demonstrate an absolute unpreparedness to in general terms maintain CRM towards their customers. For instance, customers unhappy about M-Tel’s failure to provide certain services cannot just terminate their contracts asserting material breach. Instead, customers must go through a real cascade of sections contained in both, M-Tels general terms and conditions (GTC) and customers’ individual contracts. By means of an example, section 52 of M-Tel’s GTC provides for customers’ right to terminate upon 7 days written notice. However, that warranty is always prejudiced by conditions stated in individual contracts. Unfortunately, such contracts are not retrievable on the Internet. Why, one might ask? M-Tel claims confidentiality and the Bulgarian competition protection authority acknowledges it. But maybe the real reasoning lies in that those individual contracts provide for an automatic renewal upon their expiry, unless customers terminate with 30 days written notice before said expiry. Such notice, if submitted earlier or later than 30 days in advance, would not match the requirement and the contract would renew for an additional year.
The only downer on the horizon is the fact that upon numerous complaints and, as late as today, the Bulgarian consumer protection authority started formal proceedings against M-Tel’s business practices. I hope that the authority in question, although equipped with just an edgeless sword by the Bulgarian legislator, thumbs down M-Tels performance and obtains an improvement for their plagued customers.
Otherwise M-Tels CRM will be referred to as “Customer Repulsion Management”.
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