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Customer Care versus CRM: Don’t Stay Stuck in the Past

The word “customer” in customer experience management reminds us that delivering great experience during the post-sales stage of the relationship is essential to creating loyalty and advocacy. But engaging customers (versus prospects) requires so much more than implementing a customer relationship management system for storing information, as my colleague DCG Principal Analyst Johan Jacobs points out in his latest report on omni-channel architectures for customer care.

At CRM Evolution 2015, Johan and Butch Sterns, COO at The Pulse Network, discussed the current state of CRM and how it relates to customer-facing business processes. View the video to hear them touch on these key points:

  1. Today’s CRM systems are largely about record keeping.  Because we have spent years grooming and updating customer data, CRM systems provide excellent sources of customer information and record keeping.  But when you have questions about the actual customer—what makes her tick and so forth—the overwhelming number of today’s CRM systems can’t provide customer insights.  Instead, their focus is strictly transactional, which is insufficient in today’s customer driven world.
  2. For CRM data to be relevant, it needs to be personalized. Organizations implementing CRM solutions need to ask themselves: “How do I attract and hold the attention of customers?” Part of the answer is that organizations must support mobile apps, process requests very quickly, and have something relevant that holds their customers’ attention.
  3. Customers don’t care if CRM is a platform or silo—it makes no difference to them. For years IT and the business have been locked in discussions about the merits of platforms versus siloes. But customers truly don’t care how the systems are organized internally. Customers just want a single right answer and they want it quickly. It doesn’t matter to them how the system is configured.
  4.  CRM practitioners must put themselves in the customers’ shoes. Organizations rarely do that, and they miss out on so many insights by their failure to take the customer’s point of view.
  5. Companies need a single environment run by a Chief Customer Officer. Enough said.
  6.  Real time CRM is not negotiable.  Real time CRM is a must-have—it’s not just a nice-to-have. But organizations don’t have to push the entire portfolio through every channel.  Instead, it’s important to marry the appropriate channel with the right service
  7.  The next wave is Customer Care.  Customer care—as opposed to customer service—is a mindset requiring customer empathy.  This the next big wave in CRM, and riding it will separate the winners from the also-rans.

If you’re involved in customer service, customer relationship management, or customer-facing business processes, the video and the report are worth a watch and a read.  You can also hear Johan address a big pain point in delivering customer service—the lack and consistency of knowledge among agents and on self-service websites—in an upcoming webinar.


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