Our Thinking

A Customer Relationship Management Gut Check: Have Your CRM Tools Replaced Meaningful Interaction?

By Ed Higdon. Posted in Uncategorized

January 14, 2015

Business leaders need to rethink “Customer Relationship Management”. Today, CRM is synonymous with transactional and operational technology and gathering customer information. This is a far cry from what CRM used to encompass: building relationships with clients. Business leaders need to change their mindset about CRM, or risk losing or alienating their clientele.

CRM Is A Verb

CRM technology is one of the most important pieces of the relationship-building process. Retailers and brands need to collect and analyze data in order to learn their customers’ preferences, needs, and desires. Without data, retailers cannot truly know their customers. Without the human touch, however, that data is meaningless. After all, data cannot:

  • Shake a customer’s hand.
  • Look a customer in the eye.
  • Say, “Thank you,” or show appreciation for a customer’s patronage.
  • Ask about a customer’s family, business, hobbies, or daily life.
  • Leverage the local market.
  • Resolve customer issues.

Information stored in a CRM database has little value until it is acted upon. CRM tools are only aids that provide key information. Customer Relationship Management, however, is a verb; an ongoing process by which brands establish meaningful connections with their customers.

Nurturing Relationships Through Automated Communication

Before the days of Big Data, relationships were built on trial-and-error, segmented targeting and guesswork, with marketers making assumptions about their customer with little concrete data to act upon. Today, marketers have the opposite problem: information overload. As they gather more information about customers, it can be challenging to process everything and use it to create an effective personalized approach to relationship building. In a world driven by technology with fewer face-to-face interactions, the retailers who will come out on top are those who can disseminate meaningful communications to their customers.

When CRM tools become synonyms for Customer Relationship Management, organizations set themselves up for failure. Technology can enhance relationship-building techniques by accessing the critical information that has been collected about customers and using it to create effective personalized communications that directly targets each customer. By leveraging the data that has been collected, the information that is sent out to each customer will be more relevant, creating a customized experience.

The marketplace is crowded. In order to find new ways to make customers happy, businesses need to reinsert meaningful communication and interaction into their Customer Relationship Management; this means effective and meaningful communication.