CRM What Does It Mean?
Customer Relationship Marketing? Customer Relationship Management? How About: Customers Rarely Matter?
By Lois K. Geller
I am a shopper. And I buy from many companies in their stores, on their Web sites, through direct mail and from catalogs. I buy cosmetics online from Sephora.com, airline tickets from Expedia.com, books and music from Amazon.com, and clothes from Lord and Taylor and Loehmann's.
But honestly, other than Amazon and Loehmann's, few companies do anything but take my money and deliver the goods. They almost never make the extra effort to develop a relationship with me—or as Ford Motor Co. puts it, "surprise and delight" me in any way.
You may ask: "Why would they want to build a relationship with me?" For starters, it'll help them keep me as a customer, and if they keep customers, they won't have to spend as much money acquiring new ones. When you think about the lifetime value (LTV) of a single customer, it's a wonder more companies don't bend over backwards to keep customers happy.
I buy airline tickets through Expedia.com, because every few weeks I visit my mother in Florida. And yet Expedia has never e-mailed me an offer for Florida. It sends me e-mails offering 15-percent off Quantas to Australia, but no great offers to Florida.
When I talk to potential clients about retention CRM, the objection I usually get is: "Why should we spend money on current customers? They're already buying from us." Here's why: If you don't offer your customers something special—something that's of real value, that's relevant—when another company does make that offer, they'll leave you.
One company makes a serious effort to build a relationship with me: Franklin Covey. I once took a course on organizing my life with the Franklin Covey method. Not only did I get my schedule and life on track, but I also got a chance to see Covey's CRM operation in action. After I took the course, it gave me a gift certificate to go to its Rockefeller Center store to pick any size planner that fit my needs. That definitely got the relationship off to a good start! I was so interested in its approach that I called Eric Bright, Covey's director of catalog marketing. Following are some of the things he told me about how Covey gets up close and cozy with its customers and builds loyalty: