Final Project (35% of final grade)
This project is assigned in lieu of a final exam. It is an authentic assessment of your ability to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate, with clarity and exactness, what you have learned during this course, and to demonstrate this ability through effective written communications.
Authentic assessment is a form of assessment in which you are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. Your performance on a task is typically scored on a rubric to determine how successfully you have met specific standards.
You will select an existing business on which to base your project. Your instructor will approve your selection at the beginning of the assignment.
You will choose a business that does not have a program for managing customer relationships as part of its overall customer service efforts. Your job will be to incorporate customer relationship management in the business's overall strategy and operations.
Selecting a Business for Your Project
The company that you choose does not have to be a large, well-known corporation, but it can be. You might choose the local car maintenance shop you have been doing business with for years. You might choose a new dry cleaning establishment in your neighborhood. These businesses are often flattered to have been chosen and glad to have some marketing ideas.
You might be surprised to learn that the company goal of the car maintenance shop is to generate enough profit to allow the husband and wife who own it to retire to Florida on a nest egg of $2M. Their marketing strategy might be to "get everyone who comes in here to do all of their car maintenance with us for the next 20 years and for each of them to bring in a friend who does the same." This is a marketing strategy, even though the owner does not state it in the marketing terms you have learned.
The owner of the dry cleaning establishment, on the other hand, might aspire, as a business goal, to own a chain of four dry cleaning establishments in the county within the next 10 years. The marketing strategy might be to differentiate the business from competitors by offering free delivery.
Some students enjoy doing projects where they work. If the business is large, you might scale it down to one department or one function of the business. Just be sure that your work takes into account the business as a whole. Company goals and marketing strategies are sometimes published to employees and found in frames on the walls. If not, ask. You might be surprised what you learn.
If you have done business with a company and noticed that it does not seem to have a strategy for managing customer relationships, you might target that business. You will need to do a little research to determine whether this company is a good candidate. You should be able to find what you need on the Internet. You will not learn secret strategies. However, you will learn enough to formulate your opinion as to company goals and marketing strategies. This will be sufficient for the purposes of this project.
The company/business/firm selection is an important first task. You might reject more than a few choices before you settle on the one you want to use. Your colleagues and your instructor can help you during this process.
You will be provided with directions, but not leading questions. This means you will need to employ high-level cognitive skills in order to complete this project successfully. This assignment serves seven important learning objectives, and assesses your ability to:
1. incorporate the role of managing customer relationships within the company's overall business goals and marketing strategy;
2. apply metrics to measure the success of customer relationship management efforts;
3. differentiate customers by loyalty segments;
4. evaluate technology-related tools (CRM) that will support various customer relationship management programs and goals;
5. design customer loyalty strategies and programs;
6. design customer service policies and strategies; and
7. demonstrate critical thinking and written communications.
1. Current Situation
A. Identify your company and provide the company's stated overall goals and marketing strategy. If the company does not have a published statement of goals and strategies, state what you believe them to be based on what you have learned and observed about the company.
B. Provide a thorough description of the company's current customer service. Use the IDIC model for managing customer relationships as your framework. Include the organizations and processes that are in place to accomplish the IDIC (Identify, Differentiate, Interact, and Customize) tasks. Comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the current processes. Include your assessment of the impact on the company's goals and marketing strategies of the way the company serves its customers. For example, if the goal is to increase customer share, does the customer service process include a way to collect information about the customer's potential need for additional services?
Do not provide a comprehensive description of the company. Only include the information required to satisfy the task at hand.
2. Redesign the Customer Service Policies and Strategies
Provide a newly designed customer service program based on the principles of the IDIC model. Your design decisions should correspond to the assessment that you performed in step 1 above. You can recommend small or sweeping changes. Sometimes one small, very insightful change can make a dramatic difference in the service a company provides. The changes could be in organization, process, training, or another category. It should support the company's goals and marketing strategy. You should explain what principles of IDIC you are satisfying with your recommendations. For example, if you decide the sales force should have access to customer complaint information, you are basing your decision on the Interact building block and the principle of integrating across touch points.
3. Design Customer Loyalty Strategies and Programs
Propose a customer loyalty strategy and create a customer loyalty program or programs. Incorporate the strategy and program(s) in the company's overall goals and marketing strategy. Those requirements and how they are to be met should be stated. Be very detailed in your descriptions. The program does not need to be extensive or complex, but it should meet the requirements of effective loyalty programs. If you have chosen a small, simply organized business, for example, you should be able to recommend at least three loyalty programs. Your recommendation would lack academic rigor if your only suggestion is that the business provide the customer with a card to be punched each time a purchase is made and the 10th purchase would be free. If, however, your recommendation involves creating a database generating real-time customer analytics used by multiple channels, one loyalty program, well worth the expense, would suffice.
4. Include Differentiation of Customers by Loyalty Segments in Your Customer Service and Loyalty Program Designs
As part of your customer service policies and strategies design (step 2 above) and your customer loyalty strategies and programs design (step 3 above), classify your company's customers according to customer loyalty differentiation categories. Include those classifications in your designs.
5. Evaluate Technology-Related Tools (CRM) That Could Support Your Customer Service and Loyalty Programs
Very clearly state the tasks you want the technology to perform for you. Identify the criteria against which you will appraise the technology (benefits, costs, features). Identify at least three CRM systems as potential candidates. Describe the purpose of each of the software and analytical tools. Decide which would best support your programs. Early on in the appraisal process, it may be clear that one or two of the three systems is not a match for the needs of your business. In this case, your comparison can stop at the point where you have eliminated the system(s) that do not meet your requirements. Complete the evaluation by showing how the remaining system meets all of your stated requirements.
6. Apply Metrics That Will Measure the Success of Your Customer Service and Loyalty Programs
Exhibit the metrics commonly used to show the value of customer service and loyalty programs. Illustrate how they would be used to measure the success of your particular programs. For example, if you recommend implementing a customer service training program, the goal of which is to prevent customers from leaving and taking their business elsewhere, show how many customers you predict you will save and what the saved revenue impact is for your program. Show the cost of the program. Determine the break-even point. Select at least three sets of metrics to apply to demonstrate the value of your recommendations.
This is a formal, academic written assignment. As such, it should comply with MLA, APA, or another style guide. MLA is the style most frequently used in business, and APA is the style most frequently used in graduate programs. You can decide which style you prefer to use, but you must consistently apply one style throughout your paper.
There is no minimum or maximum length requirement. However, a good goal should be 10 pages of text, excluding the title page, table of contents, bibliography, and any exhibits you wish to include. If you are adequately analyzing the case and designing the improvements, reaching 10 pages should be relatively easy to accomplish. If you are having trouble reaching 10 pages, it might be an indication that you do not have sufficient depth to your analysis or specifics in your design. If your analysis greatly exceeds 10 pages, be sure to edit carefully. One way to reduce length and, perhaps, make your paper more readable is to include exhibits. For example, you can perform your CRM tools evaluation and include it as an exhibit. You can reference the exhibit in your paper and state which one is most appropriate, and why. Or you could create a flowchart to depict the details of your processes and discuss them at a higher level in the body of your paper. The same would be true for your SWOT analysis of current customer service practices.
Word Processing Requirements
Please prepare your paper using any word processing software. Save it in a DOC, DOCX, or RTF format for submission. Double-space the main text. Use your discretion for your exhibits. Use a 12-point font and margins of one inch on all sides of the paper. Double-space throughout the paper. Follow style guidelines for setting long quotations, etc.
Submit for Grading
Upload your case study into your assignment folder by 11:59 p.m. on the due date listed in the course schedule. Inasmuch as this case study simulates a real work experience with real deadlines, late submissions will be subject to significant late penalties.
Your course project will be graded using the attached rubric. There are two grading sheets that parallel the rubric. You will receive a student self-assessment sheet to submit with your paper. This will provide you with the opportunity to apply the grading rubrics you deem appropriate. You will also receive a grading sheet from your instructor to help you identify how your grade was determined.
Project Requirements, Grading Criteria, and Points Grading Rubric
The following rubric will be used to assess your performance on this authentic assessment. Please refer to it frequently to be sure you are on track.
Current situation: company goals and marketing strategy
Current situation: current customer service
Redesign customer service policies and strategies
Design customer loyalty strategies and programs
Differentiation of customers by loyalty segments
Evaluate technology-related tools
Apply the metrics that will measure success
Adhere to readability, style, and mechanics requirements
1. Current situation (1A & 1B): 15 points
A. Company's overall goals and marketing strategy
0-1 Does not identify the company's stated overall goals and marketing strategy; does not properly hypothesize the company's overall goals and marketing strategy.
2-3 Improperly identifies the company's overall goals and marketing strategy; or, provides a hypothesis of the company's overall goals and marketing strategy based on minimal evidence.
4-5 Identifies the company's stated overall goals and marketing strategy; or, provides a hypothesis of the company's overall goals and marketing strategy based on comprehensive evidence.
B. Current customer service
0-3 Does not provide a description of current customer service; does not use the IDIC model, or does not properly apply it; does not comment on the strengths and weaknesses, or the comments are inappropriate; does not assess the impact on the company goals and marketing strategies; includes irrelevant information about the company.
4-7 Does not provide a thorough description; minimally uses the IDIC model; minimally comments on strengths and weaknesses; assessments on impact do not reflect critical thinking.
8-10 Provides a thorough description, based on the principles of IDIC; evaluates and judges strengths and weaknesses; provides a college-level assessment of the impact on company goals.
2. Redesign customer service: 15 points
0-5 New design is not based on the IDIC model; design does not correspond to the assessment in step 1; design does not support company goals and marketing strategy.
6-10 New design is based on the IDIC model and corresponds to the assessment in step 1; new design is not clearly linked to company goals and marketing strategy or the principles of IDIC
11-15 Creates new customer service policies and strategies, and incorporates them in the company's overall goals and strategies; designs are based on, and linked to, the principles in the IDIC model; design can include one small change that yields dramatic results or a comprehensive overhaul of the company's system, but it is a meaningful change.
3. Design customer loyalty strategies and programs: 15 points
0-5 Does not propose a strategy for the program or programs; does not incorporate company goals and marketing strategy; requirements and processes are not clearly stated; does not meet the requirements of effective loyalty programs.
6-10 Proposes a strategy and incorporates the strategy, program, or programs within company goals and marketing strategy; requirements and processes are stated; most of the requirements of effective loyalty programs are met.
11-15 Proposes a strategy and incorporates the strategy, program, or programs within company goals and marketing strategy; requirements and processes are clearly stated; meets the requirements of effective loyalty programs; recommendation includes a database generating real-time customer analytics used by multiple channels.
4. Differentiation of customers by loyalty segments: 15 points
0-5 Customer service redesign (step 2 above) and loyalty program design (step 3 above) do not include classification of customers by loyalty categories, or the differentiations are poorly executed or poorly explained.
6-10 Customer service redesign and loyalty program design include classification of customers by loyalty categories; categories are correct, but there is not a clear analysis as to how the customers are differentiated and assigned to the categories.
11-15 Customer service redesign and loyalty program design include loyalty differentiation categories; appropriate categories are included in the design; clear analysis presented that interprets customer data; customers are compared, contrasted, distinguished, and classified; differentiation is applied to the design of the new processes.
5. Evaluate technology-related tools: 15 points
0-5 Tasks and criteria are not clearly stated; fewer than three systems are identified; purpose is not described or is poorly described; systems are not evaluated, or the evaluation is poorly executed; conclusion is unclear; no demonstration of how the selected system meets the stated requirements.
6-10 Tasks and criteria are stated; three systems are identified; purpose is described; systems are evaluated, but evaluation lacks depth or scope; there is a selection; it is unclear as to how the selected system meets all of the requirements.
11-15 Tasks and criteria are very clearly stated; three CRM systems are chosen as possible candidates, and the description of each of the tools' purposes is clearly described; an in-depth evaluation is performed to assess each system's ability to meet each of the requirements; evaluation concludes with a determination that one of the systems is the best match and a demonstration of how the system meets the stated requirements.
6. Apply the metrics that will measure success: 15 points
0-5 Metrics commonly used to show the value of customer service and loyalty programs are not included, or are not properly exhibited.
6-10 Metrics that are commonly used are included and properly exhibited; they illustrate how they would be used to measure success; costs are shown; fewer than three sets of metrics are demonstrated.
11-15 Three sets of metrics commonly used to show the value of customer service and loyalty programs are exhibited; there is an illustration of how each would be used to measure success; costs and break-even points are included for each.
7. Adhere to readability, style, and mechanics requirements: 10 points
0-3 There are several problems with the paper, which may include:
Tone and/or style are not appropriate for the audience.
Proofreading and/or grammatical errors detract from readability.
There are major problems in sentence structure.
An academic writing style guide is not used or consistently applied.
Submission requirements have not been met.
4-7 For the most part, tone and style are appropriate for the audience, with some weaknesses noted, such as the following:
There are noticeable proofreading and/or grammatical errors that somewhat detract from the readability of the paper.
Sentence structure may be rigid and unvarying.
Appropriate writing style guide use.
8-10 The tone and style are appropriate for the audience.
There are no noticeable proofreading or grammatical errors.
Sentence structure and diction are effective and diverse.
Submission requirements are fully met.
An appropriate writing style guide has been used and consistently applied.
10 pages paper EXCLUDING COVER PAGES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
References and quotes
Due Wednesday 18th of December by 1pm
TOTAL PAGES FOR THE WHOLE TWO PROJECT IS 18 PAGES EXCLUDING COVER PAGES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY .
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