Chapter 6 : Conclusions and recommendations
The researcher, in this chapter intends to provide his own view regarding the research area, to answer the research questions, and evaluate the research objectives which were highlighted in earlier Chapter One.
6.2 Research Questions Review
The series of three questions presented in Chapter One were structured so that it may reflect the scope and the statement of the project title.
In other words, these three questions help the author to verify how well customers segments are understood and individually serviced, the relevant CRM as a tool to play towards value delivery which creates customer loyalty and satisfaction in Cameroon microfinance industry.
Finally, the author needs to verify the ability of having a feasible and implementable CRM tool in that financial sector in Cameroon.
6.2.1 How well are the Customers Segments understood and individually serviced?
The customers’ expectations awareness is the main step towards managing the customer value in any company.
In other words, if the customers’ needs are misunderstood, then the company will lose their loyalty; this situation might be taken over by its competitors that can rightly meet their expectation at that very moment.
By so doing, Wilson (2008) highlighted various levels of possible customer expectations as ideal expectations or desires such as, Normative “should” expectations, Experience-based Norms, Acceptable expectations, and Minimum tolerable expectations.
Beyond customers’ expectations, Marwan (2008) defined segmentation as a division of the customer base, or potential consumer base into classifications where the characteristics are similar.
But, to make it successful, the company should/must be equipped with an infrastructure that can help the management to obtain customer information and analysis.
6.2.2 What relevant tool will be offered by the Management towards the value delivery that can create loyalty and satisfaction?
The above question intends to determine a qualitative value delivery that can be provided by microfinance institutions in Cameroon for their customers in such a way that it can facilitate their loyalty and satisfaction.
In fact, in application of Pareto 80-20 rule, the Management should urgently ensure the value delivery in perspective to create satisfaction and loyalty, after having identified these 20 percent.
To put it bluntly, Formell and Marzanchery (2004) pointed out the performance metrics linked to CRM success towards satisfaction; which may have a positive impact on retention, and shareholder value.
In the other hand, IDM (2002) employed a “Ten Steps Strategy Framework” to show the rightly driven CRM strategy in order to ensure customer loyalty and satisfaction.
These steps that are stated in earlier Chapter Two are as follows:
- Investment: invest according to customer value
- Relationship: optimize the whole customer relationship
- Reputation: be trustworthy in ethics and brand values
- Relevance: service each customer community appropriately
- Value: create enduring value first, tactical worth secondly
- Touch-points: manage the relationship at all appropriate touch-points
- Imagination: bring imagination to the customer experience
- Learning: measure and learn
- Technology: use technology smartly and skilfully
- Stakeholders: make it for everyone.
In nutshell, from the result in Chapter Four, the author thinks that CRM tool will help the microfinance institutions managers to gain stronger and better information about their clients in providing a personalized service, lowering the cost and difficulties of handling customer enquiry and depending on underlying strategy at corporate decision level.
6.2.3 Can CRM be implementable in Cameroon MFIs in order to produce appropriate results?
The artefact produced in figure 5.1 showed a theoretical CRM framework which was designed to fit to Cameroon microfinance industry.
From that, the author identified three main components that can make CRM work in Cameroon, especially in that financial sector, such as; Government (Initiator), private investor (Facilitator), and the Performance Evaluation Metrics (Moderator).
But it is the responsibility of the Government to set a proper business environment in a bid to attract private investor that can ensure the customer satisfaction.
In response, CRM will be implementable in Cameroon microfinance industry if only these above components meet their respective roles:
- The Government should provide social infrastructure, set business regulations, financial policy, ensure IT security, set monetary, human and political aspects. The Government therefore should create a conductive business environment in which there is a disciplines process on ground to monitor the implementation of policies and programs.
- The private investor should develop a customer satisfaction culture for the customers in a company are taken as the “mammal” that “feeds” the company. By so doing the investor should meet the 5 requirements stated in Chapter Five. So the private investor should set CRM strategy/objective, make employees involved by the implementation of a CRM program, use a suitable multichannel (E-commerce), and make Information Technology set-up and Customer Information and Intelligence warehouse.
- The performance evaluation metrics should moderate the activities from the first both components through a scorecard that can evaluate the objective laid by each of them.
6.3 Recommendations and Suggestions
The present research work was focused on the use of CRM in Cameroon microfinance industry in order to help the microfinance companies to gain customer loyalty and yield them a higher profit.
A framework was developed in collecting data, analyzing, and interpretation towards the answers to the research questions.
From the all above, the researcher will strongly recommend that microfinance companies’ operators in Cameroon should set a strategy, simplify customer segmentation, use technology to support the business objective, define the processes and milestones, and involve all the employees in order to achieve successfully a CRM program in their respective company.
In plus, the three important components should be parts of the CRM use:
- The Government should provide social infrastructure, set business regulations, financial policy, ensure IT security, set monetary, human and political aspects.
The Government therefore should create a conductive business environment in which there is a disciplines process on ground to monitor the implementation of policies and programs.
- The private investor should develop a customer satisfaction culture for the customers in a company are taken as the “mammal” that “feeds” the company. By so doing the facilitator should meet the 5 requirements stated in Chapter Five.
So the private investor should set CRM strategy/objective, make employees involved by the implementation of a CRM program, use a suitable multichannel (E-commerce), and make Information Technology set-up and Customer Information and Intelligence warehouse.
- The performance evaluation metrics should moderate the activities from the first both components through a scorecard that can evaluate the objective laid by each of them.
The author faced many problems during the undertaking of this research work.
Despite these blockages, the author successfully completed the project without compromising the validity and the originality of the final outcome of the project.
The limitations were:
- Time constrain: time frame to complete this work was short, in such a way that only necessary areas were focused on.
- Reluctance of some respondents to divulge internal information and data related to the research due to the fear of losing their job and the competition awareness despite the ethical consideration guarantee provided.
- Insufficiency of resources and publications documented on Microfinance and CRM on Cameroon.
As characterized by most student research, there is an idea/problem upon which the researcher would want to work on, but the processes and a holistic view of the exercise might not be so clear to the researcher at that early stage.
After series of literature reviews and consultations with authorities in the subject area, a sense of direction towards understanding more on what is expected of him/her in terms of deliverables, achievement at each stage (milestone), and a little bit of some adjustments could be done from the suggestion of the authorities/ lecturers or even fellow colleague who has a broader knowledge in the area.
Before the commencement of this project, and having working experience in a microfinance company in Cameroon, the author noticed a lack of customer satisfaction and management in terms of relationship.
After pointing out a research design resulting in some information from literatures and journals and consulting some CRM specialists (lecturers), the author came up the present project title: Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in Cameroon Microfinance Industry for a Competitive Advantage.
Personally, the benefit of this project is that the author has developed more interest-based projects and this can actuate into making him consider a Doctorate degree (PhD) once having completed the Master Program.
In nutshell, the successfulness within this project was based on:
- The identification of gap within the environment which calls for urgent attention and would be of value to the academic world.
- Self determination and passion for the research area and the belief of doing it.
- Quest for knowledge from various reliable sources (Library, Internet, industry-employees, and senior lecturers in APIIT/UCTI).
- Time management to complete JUST IN TIME the project, as project management.
6.6 Further Research
Further research might focus on e-CRM (Electronic CRM) or m-CRM (Mobile CRM).
However, m-CRM would better focused on due to rapid change, the fierce competition from the commercial banks in Cameroon, and the large number of mobile users in Cameroon.
Mobile phone operators (MTN, ORANGE, CAMTEL) nowadays have advantages in the creation of a mobile payment service.
The business case for such service includes reducing customer churn, increasing revenue per customer, and avoiding the expense of distributing prepaid cards.
A microfinance institution in Cameroon would have to reach beyond established customers segments to offer mobile banking transactions.
According to World Development Indicator Database (WDID) there were 2,259, 000 mobiles lines in Cameroon.
Thus, the increasing number of mobile users of mobile and fixed phones in Cameroon can create a better and easier opportunity for microfinance companies to interact with their clients.
Enthusiasm about the power of microfinance to alleviate poverty has coloured most accounts of the microfinance story.
However, the author in this project got away from the rhetoric around microfinance by focusing on the business choices of commercially successful microfinance institutions in Cameroon in stressing particularly on the enhancement of customer loyalty by Customer relationship Management (CRM).
In an effort to illustrate to Cameroon’s microfinance industry how to gain and enhance customer loyalty through CRM, the author focussed his argument on the theories used along the write up as models.
The competitive advantage of microfinance industry in Cameroon could be achieved in developing the vision within the MFIs employees, using relevant IT tools, and involving components such as Government, private investor and performance metrics.
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