Tearing Down the CRM Barriers
OK, let’s get started. To begin, I have a few questions for you:
- Is a “registered user” a better indicator of interest in your company than someone who chooses to “follow” you on Twitter?
- Is a customer who forwards your email to a friend any more valuable than someone who celebrates your product(s) by creating and posting a video to YouTube for everyone to see?
- Is a call-center inquiry any more personal than a conversation that takes place between you and a consumer on your Facebook wall?
My guess is that the customer who’s choosing to follow you, retweet you, fan you, check into your place of business or respond to your Facebook wall post is more committed, more influential and more valuable to you than the average “member” in your database. Why? These actions are implicit personal endorsements of your brand broadcast to a network of hundreds of friends and followers.
Yet, despite all the different ways consumers are engaging retailers today, CRM still remains an entirely linear process for most companies.
- Step 1: Drive to website/store/call center;
- Step 2: Acquire contact information;
- Step 3: Send email and/or direct mail piece;
- Step 4: Repeat step 3 until they shop; and
- Step 5: Win them back.
This process exists for a reason — it works. When applied skillfully, this system allows retailers to target communications, measure important things like return on investment and lifetime value, and ultimately market more effectively and efficiently.
So, what’s the catch?
The shortcoming of this process is that retailers are undervaluing and underserving those who have chosen to interact with them outside the gated community of their traditional CRM program. In working with clients, I've consistently found a large percentage of consumers who follow or fan brands in the social media realm are nowhere to be found in their databases. At a minimum, this is in the thousands for most brands and maybe even the millions if you’ve been working your social media mojo.
Related story: Social CRM Starts With Best Customers