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  • Wednesday, August 2, 2000 12:40PM IST (7:10AM GMT)
Funds chair, offers expertise in Customer Relations Management (CRM)
New Delhi, Delhi, India: Escotel, one of the fastest growing cellular operators in the country with services in Kerala, Haryana and UP (West), has joined hands with the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIML) to further the discipline of Customer Relations Management (CRM) in the country. With Indian companies fast entering the international arena of competition, it has become increasingly important to address the growing requirement for training and expertise in the area of CRM. Having identified the need gap, IIM Lucknow and Escotel have decided to focus on the dissemination and sharing of knowledge and experience in the realm of CRM. This has led to the creation of a Centre for Excellence in CRM at the IIM, Lucknow campus. As a part of the agreement, Escotel will also fund a ‘Customer Relationship Management Chair' at IIML and will provide the faculty and students with access to Escotel's training, research and ongoing commercial projects. The creation of this chair also entails an exchange of knowledge between Escotel and IIML in the form of ready access to Escotel offices and customer databases for conducting research on CRM related areas by IIML faculty and research students. Among other initiatives planned are research on the various dimensions of CRM in different industry segments and networking with universities around the world to develop a knowledge base on CRM. Mr Manoj Kohli, CEO Escotel Mobile Communications Limited, said, "We look forward to this association, as it will help in the creation and development of a knowledge and skills base in an area that is relatively unexplored in our country. This is of particular importance and relevance to service based corporations. Escotel has always been at the forefront of the CRM movement, always striving to provide the best service to its customers. For us, it will mean integrating scientific management learning with our in-house processes for heightened customer satisfaction.'' Escotel also proposes to annually award an Escotel employee with the "Best Customer Relationship Practitioner" trophy on the basis of studies conducted by IIML at each Escotel Circle. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Pritam Singh, Director, IIML said, "In modern marketing warfare CRM has emerged as an important tool for customer retention and market share expansion. It is therefore essential for organisations to explore and utilise optimally the vast and rapidly expanding new universe of customer focused business strategies for maximum advantage." The first encumbent of the CRM Chair at IIML will be Prof PC Purwar, Ph.D., who is also the Area Chair Person of the marketing management group at IIML. CRM is a singular idea to comprehensively develop and manage individual customer relationships recognizing the special needs of each customer. It is a one to one service and relationship oriented, technology driven movement that is now influencing, in one way or the other, virtually every business and every industry around the world. As per this relatively new approach, each individual is regarded as a uniquely different customer with a different set of needs. Savvy marketing organisations are beginning to recognise this facet and are coming round to the view that a warm and meaningful relationship is essential for the success of any successful business venture. Amongst the market leaders in the mobile phone services, Escotel Mobile Communications Ltd. is a joint venture of Escorts Limited, one of the leading industrial houses in India, and First Pacific Company Limited of Hong Kong. Escorts Limited holds 51 per cent stake in Escotel, while First Pacific holds the balance 49 per cent. Escotel is operating cellular phone services in Uttar Pradesh (West), Haryana and Kerala circles. Today, Escotel provides services in 93 cities, 2000 villages and 61 highway towns, supported by six (6) MSCs / RSM's making it one of the largest cellular operator in terms of sheer geographical spread. Escotel has got the most extensive roaming tie-ups in the country and provides service in over 400 cities and major highways with Automatic Roaming. Escotel has also invested in building up an 1800 km long independent Microwave backbone to ensure reliability of its service and is one of the few operators in the country to do so. Escotel has 1,90,000 customers in its three circles and is the market leader in its circles of UP (West), Haryana and Kerala.

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