Customer Relationship Management of Walgreens -
January 20th, 2011
Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG), d/b/a Walgreens (without an apostrophe), is the largest drugstore chain in the United States. The company operates 7,563 drugstores across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Walgreens provides access to consumer goods and services and pharmacy, health and wellness services in America through its retail drugstores, Walgreens Health Services division and Walgreens Health and Wellness division. Walgreens Health Services offers pharmacy patients and prescription drug and medical plans through Walgreens Health Initiatives Inc. (a pharmacy benefit manager), Walgreens Mail Service Inc., Walgreens Home Care Inc., Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy LLC and SeniorMed LLC (a pharmacy provider to long-term care facilities). Walgreens Health and Wellness division includes Take Care Health Systems. Walgreens has 7,563 drugstores as of September 30, 2010. Walgreens was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1901, and has since expanded throughout the United States. Its headquarters is located in the nearby suburb of Deerfield, Illinois
For many businesses customer relationship management (CRM) can be a large investment. Therefore it is vital to choose your supplier carefully. Making the wrong choice could be expensive and even jeopardise your business. Before implementing a solution based on CRM technology, you might want to ask any potential suppliers the following questions:
How long has the supplier been established?
What are the specific costs associated with the product, ie a one-off purchase price, an annual renewable license, a charge per user etc?
Does the supplier offer any form of evaluation software so that you can try before you buy?
How much is charged for technical support?
Does the supplier provide consultancy and, if so, at what rates?
Is the system scalable? If your customer base grows will the system expand to cope?
Can the supplier recommend any third-party developers that make use of their core CRM products?
Is there an active independent user group where experience and ideas can be freely exchanged?
Can the supplier provide references for businesses in your industry sector that use their software?
Does it offer training in the CRM solution and, if so, at what typical cost?
To put things in perspective, what is meant by collaboration? Collaboration is people working together in teams contributing to tasks to achieve a desired outcome. Hence from the enterprise parlance, in a stricter sense, it has to deal with only internal collaboration. Assuming the term enterprise can be expanded to all stakeholders like Partners and customers, and then collaboration with them will become part of it. At ground level the CRM deals with Marketing, Sales and Service functions of the enterprise. To say that internal collaboration within these functions supports CRM in a direct way is justifiable. This collaboration is vital to let teams within these functions provide a better experience to the customers. But, does an enterprise deals with only these functions? Not really, as there are Operations, HR, Finance, Strategy and IT Functions to name a few. Interestingly since these too have teams working to make functions more efficient and productive, social media collaborative tools are applicable here too.
If that is the case how does the enterprise collaboration fit in as a part of Social CRM only? Considering its scope, it definitely has a much wider reach.
So what are the reasons for Social CRM and Enterprise Collaboration being considered synonymous?
a. Offerings in the market: Many players in the market claim to provide community platforms and also either integrations with different CRM systems or standalone dashboards.
b. Collaboration is Social: In literal terms, collaboration is one aspect of Social behavior of people.
c. Customer-centric organizations - providing community platforms for customer-customer, customer-employee interactions is one of the key implementations that organizations are going for to being perceived as customer-centric.
Still, are both really interchangeable? Enterprise collaboration talks about a well defined strategy of enterprises to use collaboration at work front. The objectives could be related to improvement in project management, inter-department collaboration or employee engagement. Though, if an organization identifies the need of collaboration on customer-facing channels of Marketing, Sales & Service, this is where it shares a common ground with Social CRM and hence an intersection. Social CRM uses collaboration to fulfill different set of objectives like product co-creation, knowledge management and community support.
Hence, an organization needs to have a well laid out plan for both enterprise collaboration and Social CRM. These are not layers so thinking that incorporating Social CRM will also fulfill enterprise collaboration or vice versa should be avoided.