CRM: It’s a tool, it’s a method, it’s the Customer
A typical conversation around CRM with the many CxO’s that I encounter goes like this:
Me: Do you use CRM?
CxO: Yes, we do use CRM
Me: What does that mean?
Me: Are people using it?
CxO: Everyone in the sales team has been given an account
Clearly CRM means different things to different people. A large percentage of people feel that CRM is about the tool. If I purchase a tool, my customer management problems are solved. Right? Wrong.
A study conducted by the Gartner Group reports that of the CRM software licenses purchased in 2002, a whopping 42 percent is unused—at an estimated waste of $1 billion to $1.26 billion to companies that purchased the software.
A CRM tool is only a step, not even the first, in solving your customer management problem.
CRM is about managing your customer relationship
in a way that the customer perceives and
values it, which in turn benefits the business.
Much of it has to do with the DNA and the culture of the organization vis-a-vis its attitude towards its customers. If the organization feels that a customer exists only for signing the check, then any amount of technology will not solve your customer management problems.
CRM starts with the culture of the business. It starts with how the business values its customers. If this vital element is in place, then
defining the service levels for customer relationship management, the business objectives and the metric are the next step.
Sensitizing and educating the customer facing organizations – sales, marketing, support, the person at the front desk – in delivering the desired service levels is the next step. The tool or the technology comes only after this.
The tool is the enabler – it helps us address the customer management issue, but it is not the solution in itself.
So next time you hear someone talk about CRM, it is time to ask, “How does the customer benefit?“