CRM First Principles

The original principles of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) have gotten blurry as new technologies, buzzwords/ acronyms, business models, etc. continually to pop-up and dazzle today, then disappear tomorrow.

Every once and a while, it helps to be reminded of the fundamentals.

At its core, CRM is about 4 simple things:

  1. “Do your customers smile when they hear your name?”
  2. Customer don’t care – “What’s in it for me? Just make my life easier!”
  3. Customer base their perception, expectations and demands on the sum of their experiences – not just with “your” company.
  4. Have customers = by definition you have a CRM strategy.

1) “Do customers smile when they hear your name?”

Companies will talk forever about how they strive for the loyalty of their customers, and their continual efforts to maintain that loyalty. How in turn, customers are rewarding those efforts by coming back time and again, and therefore must be loyal. Why else would you buy from a company more than once?

My question: Does coming back = loyalty? My conclusion: Not usually.

I think you can only be loyal to something you really care about – family, friends, country, a cause. Talk to anyone – when you mention the name of something or someone they really care about, they will smile. I can only think of a few companies or things that people will do that for – APPLE, favourite sports team, favourite singer, etc..

Who’s smiling when you mention their bank, cable company, cell carrier, retailer, airlines or any one of thousands of different companies that a person could deal with? Just doesn’t happen.

Unless your customers really care – they smile – their loyalty is as fragile as bandwagon fans who only care when “their” team is winning. Start losing and look at all of those empty seats masquerading as fans.

If your customers aren’t smiling, then they’re just on a layover connecting somewhere else – duration unknown – and you have two options:

  1. Get them smiling.
  2. Figure out how to extend the layover as long as you can.

 

If customers really don’t care about companies they buy from and therefore aren’t particularly loyal, what are they then? They’re thinking – “What’s in it for me? Just make my life easier!”

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