branded. Wander the halls of any large company’s sales
or marketing organization and you’ll hear “customer
experience management” (CEM) or “voice of the customer” mentioned long before hearing the CRM acronym.
2. Remember your business model. CRM at a telephone
company that wants to understand the calling behaviors
within micro-segments to bundle products and services
will look very different from CRM at a health care provider that wants to migrate to an end-consumer model,
which will look different again from CRM at a retailer
with a loyalty card. Understand the boundaries of CRM
for both your company and your industry. When in doubt,
map out desired outcomes.
3. Keep social media in perspective. Many customer-man-agement experts are betting on so-called “social CRM” to
resuscitate moribund CRM efforts. But where the customer experience is concerned, your company’s Facebook
fan page and Twitter account are merely two additional
communications channels. Your brand and your dialog
with customers transcend social media.
Recently, a manager at a bank confided, “We’re putting all
this effort into social media to get closer to our customers.
But we still can’t see the total set of products and services
a customer has on a single screen, never mind whether [he
or she is] profitable or not.” Social media goals should be
a part of a rich set of customer-focused capabilities.
4. Consider the cloud. That “customer’s next likely purchase” pop-up doesn’t just magically appear on the call-center rep’s screen. It’s the product of some rigorous
integration and heavy-duty back-office analysis.
When it comes to CRM functionality, even small and
medium-size companies often have sophisticated processing and storage needs. Don’t let your existing technology infrastructure—or lack thereof—be an excuse not
to launch new CRM efforts. There are plenty of CRM
solutions in the cloud that support pay-as-you-go models,
while forgoing significant infrastructure and setup costs.
5. Don’t forget about the data. That “single version of
the truth” promised by so many CRM vendors has ceded
to the reality that many of yesterday’s CRM tools have
become today’s legacy systems. New customer-focused
strategies mandate that the huge volumes of data being
generated are accurate, meaningful and reconciled across
disparate silos. Indeed, a single version of truth about a
customer is as much a product of formal data governance
processes as it is about a centralized technology platform.
beyond knowing a customer’s purchase history and offering a
product based on next-sequential purchase analysis. Engaging
a customer in a relevant dialog at the right time means
optimizing the mix of business processes, operational functionality, and information access to give traction to the brand
and encourage customers to re-engage with you.
The litmus test is the answer to this question: What’s
your system of record for customer data? If the answer is,
“We have more than one system of record for customer data,”
then there is actually no system of record for customer data.
There’s a good chance that data quality is being compromised
and that there are, in fact, multiple versions of the truth.
As our knowledge of how to deploy CRM the right way
has evolved, so has the sophistication level of customers, who
are demanding increasing control of their relationships and
have higher expectations. To opt in to receive marketing campaigns means a clear quid pro quo from company to consumer.
Businesses need to expand their customer conversations
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW
Is your company reviving its CRM program? Or have you
been given responsibility for a highly visible “know thy customer” effort? Either way, there are key steps you should consider to launch your customer initiative the right way.
First, whenever possible, align your CRM effort to corporate strategy. Most enterprise CRM efforts will ultimately
transcend individual lines of business and drive additional
competitive advantage and efficiencies. By linking a new
CRM program to a key strategy that’s acknowledged by
upper management, you will cement top-level support.
Few executives will scorn a customer-focused project
that’s been strategically aligned. And engaging executives is
a surefire way to secure adequate funding for your effort.
Know your road map. Is your company entrenched in TV
and outdoor advertising at the expense of targeted online
conversations with customers and prospects? Should you start
CRM with your business customers—the 20 percent who
produce 80 percent of your revenues—and forego consumers
for a year or two? Where you begin will determine where
you end up. The key is to do so in circumscribed increments.
Be willing to change measurements. Compensate your
employees for adopting fresh, customer-centric behaviors. The
most reliable way to ensure everyone is on board is to change
measurements and accompanying compensation structures.
My firm helped an automobile company build a CRM
strategy in its call center. For its standard brand, the automaker
compensated call-center reps based on the number of calls
they could take per hour and per day. But for its luxury brand,
the automaker paid reps based on the results of post facto customer satisfaction surveys. All customers received good service, but the most profitable customer tier got the best service,
and those serving them had an incentive to optimize it.
Lastly, don’t forget to manage expectations. The hardest
part for Grange was defining the road map, Buzek confirms.
“We invested in a clear and incremental delivery plan that is
focused on continuous improvement, and then we socialized
the plan with stakeholders,” he recalls.
“That way, everyone understands the value of improving
the customer experience. Our CEM program will help us
realize the incremental impact of a superior insurance experience so we can continue to deliver those “wow” moments.
That’s good for us, our agents and our policyholders.” 3
Jill Dyché, partner and co-founder of Baseline Consulting, performs
advisory services in customer and data strategy delivery. She has
written The CRM Handbook: A Business Guide to CRM and
two other books on the business value of information.
Please send your questions and comments on
this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BASELINE JULY/AUGUST 2010