Customer relationship management (CRM) is a topic that our clients continue to raise. Everyone continues to complain about having imperfect information about their customers, silo’d customer experiences, and a lack of ability to make relevant offers to the right people at the right time. CRM continues to be a holy grail. Most organizations mount a new campaign to attain the holy grail of achieving a perfect “360-degree view of our customers” about once every five or six years.
Recently, one of our clients—who has done a great job in improving customer experience for customer-critical processes—was “rewarded” for his accomplishments by being handed a new challenge this Fall. He has been asked to head up his firm’s CRM strategy initiative.
My reaction was, “Oh no! Do you really want to do that? That’s a thankless task. It’s highly political. It’s fraught with technology and organizational challenges. Most companies go about it in the wrong way and waste millions of dollars and lots of effort.” He replied, “I know. We’ve already tried this four times in the 20 years that I’ve been with this company. But I’m probably the only person who could pull it off. I’m coming at it from the customers’ point of view.” That attitude encouraged me and I promised to help him on his quest.
So I looked through the papers that we had written about CRM in the past, and decided that it was time to refresh one of my earlier reports on this topic. Much of my thinking remains the same: the best way to approach the challenge of CRM is to think about it as a strategy that will enable your customers to manage their relationships with you, and as a supporting infrastructure that lets you manage and continuously improve the experiences that customers have with your brand.
Rethinking CRM: Provide Customers the Information They Care about in a Seamless Fashion
Customers Don’t Want to Be Managed; They Do Want Good Experiences and Outcomes