It’s a long long road for CRM

The idea that “technological fixes will not do the job” for customer relationship management (CRM) may seem clear, and was comprehensively argued in the recent article on the subject (MW May 17), but the predominance of system suppliers at CRM 2001 suggests otherwise. Take it from me, the tech-fix is still the preferred route for most.

This is hardly surprising, since people want answers and they want action. Full CRM systems cost lot of money, but they announce to the world (and especially the City) that you are “doing something” to manage customer relationships better.

Of course customer management does not improve just because you surround your people and your processes with extra technology. If they weren’t working well before, why should they now? John Ozimek is right when he says that “People count more than anything else”.

People and culture create the vision, strategy and daily experience that really make a difference to customers. Technology alone should not determine where you are going or how to get there.

That CRM needs a commitment to a strategy and a plan is not very exciting. That it involves the whole company, including management, looks dangerously time-consuming. That it will involve graft and time is hardly sexy. Technology on its own offers companies a tangible if incomplete response to CRM’s challenge. But to paraphrase the Cheshire Cat, “Any road will get there, when you don’t know where you’re going.”

Caroline Barcock

Senior consultant


London W1