The critique committee has recommended that no action be taken at the current time in regards to integrating or re-fabricating our information system to incorporate a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy. Their reasoning was the following:
- Major organizational change will occur due to implementation of the new software
- Major cost for the company for implementation and training
- Current programs are underutilized and there is lack of training
As the board of directors we believe that the critique committee has overlooked the goal of Canyon Ranch and that the advising group has provided convincing evidence that implementing the POS system will provide significant long-term benefits. What sets Canyon Ranch’s apart from their competitors is there incomparable attention to their guests needs. After all Canyon Ranch is all about the Customers. It is not just a vacation but an “experience” to improve the customer’s quality of life.
In order to continue to grow the business and maintain their reputation as the “Gold Standard” of the spa industry, Canyon Ranch must continue to enhance their capabilities of providing the best in customer services and needs. By implementing an effective CRM strategy we will be capable of quickly and efficiently providing employees & more importantly the customers with an abundant amount of information to further enhance their “experience”. Canyon Ranch offers an abundance of services and activities under one roof and in a variety of different locations.
The ability to have an efficient CRM system solution that incorporates each customer’s data truly opens the doors for future opportunities to personalize the relationship with customers and enhance the experience. Although, not mentioned by the critique committee one fear throughout the industry is that too much technology would ruin the experience. The goal of the CRM strategy system is not to hound customers with technology but to act as a tool to enhance and customize their experience as well as a system that takes Canyon Ranch’s capabilities to the next level.
Program coordination will gain both immediate and long term benefits from a CRM system. Staffing this position has been an issue. It can be a stressful environment requiring the employee to juggle a large amount of information and make decisions quickly. Having a resource tool available with the amount of information readily available and the ability to obtain and navigate customer data and scheduling information makes this a much more efficient task for both the employee and customers.
The CRM system would also improve the ability of transitioning and training new employees for the coordinator position by maintaining all customer data in one program the coordinators will not simply be using memory alone as the familiarity with each customer’s preferences. The advising group has proposed a few possible solutions in regards to implementing the CRM system:
- Purchase new PMS/CRM/POS software already integrated.
- Purchase POS software, contract with GuestWare to integrate their system with CLS and the POS system.
- Purchase POS software, partner with CLS to develop customized CRM component and integrate POS system.
Purchasing new fully integrated software has a few key benefits. One major benefit is that it can be specifically designed to the needs of Canyon Ranch. In the short term purchasing a new system allows Canyon Ranch to maintain use of their current systems with the new software is created. This allows business to run as usual without any hiccups in the system due to experimentation with the integration process.
The new software would certainly have long term benefits as well. A more advanced updated solution would make future modifications and capabilities much more efficient as the system would be wrapped into one software package. We would not be limited by the capabilities of the existing systems which are somewhat outdated, dating back to 1986. Purchasing a new system also has a few downfalls. This would obviously be a costly system upfront and would require Canyon Ranch to scrap the existing software systems.
There would certainly be training required for employees and a learning curve of becoming proficient with the new system. Canyon Ranch’s other option would be to purchase a POS system and contract with either GuestWare or CLS to integrate the system. This integration would likely be more cost effective in the short run and would allow for the utilization of the existing software systems. However, the main question with the integration would be the long-term effects. Does integrating with the outdated existing systems hinder Canyon Ranch’s future capabilities?
IT is obviously a constantly innovating field and will most likely continue to provide opportunity for further future improvements and capabilities. If we decide to integrate software will we be forced to scrap the old software systems and upgrade to a new system within a few years anyway? Training will be required regardless of the integration as the system will be different than the current ones. As the Board of Directors it is crucial to explore what is best for the future of Canyon Ranch.
We believe that the CRM strategy opens doors for both maintaining the competitive advantage and offering the premier destination spa experience. As seen there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of implementing the CRM strategy system. The cost comparison plays a key role in determining the best outcome for Canyon Ranch. We agree that Ben Campsey and Mike Randle should perform an analysis into both the cost and long term capabilities of both solutions before the final recommendation can be made.