John Braithwaite hit the nail on the head when he said in the Marketing Week/Oracle customer relationship management (CRM) supplement, that the motivation for CRM has too often been mono-directional, that is talking at the customers and not giving them a chance to be heard.
CRM-driven loyalty schemes and top-down, campaign-driven direct marketing campaigns are at opposite ends of the sales spectrum. Yet many companies, while professing to be customer-centric, remain campaign-driven and communicate with customers only when it suits them.
Campaign-driven companies are unlikely to show a return on their CRM investment if they regard it as just another sales tool and ignore the customer’s agenda and timeframe.
CRM will start to show profits when companies stop using it to cut costs and avoid human contact and finding out what the customer wants and act on the response, in real time.
They will then be able to retain customers and cross-sell more effectively and thereby start to generate the additional profits to justify expenditures on the service improvements, which will further enhance loyalty.
CRM programmes can help companies to make money from serving their customers better (although profit projections must specify how improved service is to be used to deliver more profit) and using what they know about a customer to sell to him or her when she or he wants – not making him/her wait until you are ready to run the next campaign.
Companies must grasp the basic premise that process-driven selling and campaign-based selling make uneasy bedfellows.
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