Through analyst fieldwork with their clients, research and consulting firm Gartner, Inc. saw that successful enterprises have become more aware of focusing on customer satisfaction rather than technological applications. Gartner identified eight distinct layers or building blocks used by the world’s leading businesses to reach excellence in CRM.
Vision: leadership, market position, value proposition
Strategy: objectives, segments, effective interaction
Valued experience for the customer
Processes: customer life cycle, knowledge management
Information: data, analysis, one view across channels
Technology: applications, architecture, infrastructure
Metrics: retention, satisfaction, loyalty, cost to serve
Note that they ranked CRM technology next to last. They also conclude that too many CRM initiatives suffer from an inward focus on the enterprise, whereas the point of CRM is to achieve a balance between value to shareholders or stakeholders and value to customers for a mutually beneficial relationship. Their long-range prediction reinforces the argument for getting the strategy right before searching for the technology: “Through 2005, enterprises that use a strategic CRM framework to estimate, plan and promote their CRM initiatives while building up their capabilities in small piloted steps are twice as likely to achieve planned business benefits as enterprises that pursue projects without a framework.”
Others agree the question of technology comes at the end. Professor Adrian Payne of the Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom puts questions about the CRM process in this order:
Process 1: strategic development process. Where are we and what do we want to achieve? Who are the customers that we want, and how should we segment them?
Process 2: value creation process. How should we deliver value to our customers? How should we maximize the lifetime value of the customers we want?
Process 3: the multichannel integration process. What are the best ways for us to get to customers and for customers to get to us? What does the outstanding customer experience, deliverable at an affordable cost, look like?
Process 4: information management process. How should we organize information on customers? How can we ‘replicate’ the mind of the customer?
Process 5: performance assessment process. How can we create increased profits and shareholder value? How should we measure our results, set standards, and improve our performance?
Again, the technology issue is addressed near the end, right before final performance assessment. All of what David Scholes called the “good common marketing sense” comes first.
John Radcliff, “Eight Building Blocks of CRM: A Framework for Success,” Gartner, Inc., December 13, 2001, p. 2.
Ibid., p. 1.
Adrian Payne, “Building a Strategic CRM Programme,” CREDO, Paris, March 15, 2001.