Practical CRM (1,656 words)
Customer value should be the focus of your analyses.
The hubbub surrounding "amazing" customer relationship management (CRM) applications has finally died down and given way to more reasonable approaches.
Now, a more practical question is being asked: "Who are my customers and what do they look like?" This has a measurable characteristic in comparison to the once-fashionable "faster to market" and "total customer satisfaction" models that were impossible to gauge.
Today, the focus must be on customer-centricity. The approach must come from an understanding of who are the best customers in your database, what behaviors they exhibit that make them the best customers, and what behaviors the worst customers exhibit. Once you know this, you can plan a strategy for getting more best customers and avoiding the worst.
Customers have become more sophisticated in their decision-making processes. They demand more information and the ability to evaluate alternatives. They can find information at the stroke of a key, and in seconds your competitors' information can be displayed before their eager eyes.
Companies looking for the competitive edge need to focus their organizational and technological infrastructure, business process and external presence in a customer-centric way.
A study by the Gartner Group shows consumers expect delivery of real-time dynamic content and relevant e-mail. This type of practice relies on the applications' ability to access customer value and interests.
The success of a relationship between a business and a customer is determined by the quality of their interactions. It's during these interactions that a customer takes measure of the business and determines the type of relationship he will have with the company. Whether the interaction occurs via telephone, direct mail or Web site, the customer's experience, good or bad, sits squarely on the company's shoulders.
Metrics to Measure
According to an international study conducted this year by the London School of Business, a majority of businesses say they already regularly report most of the following metrics to their boards of directors: