One of the best examples of a company moving successfully to CMR comes from a Seklemian/Newell retail client. The company has a long and profitable history of efficient database marketing that produced sales, but those activities have not moved customers up the loyalty ladder and have not resulted in increased customer retention. When the firm made the decision to develop a CMR initiative, they did not start by looking for a simple technology solution; they began by taking a careful look at the current business environment and making a business case for CMR.
The company established goals and objectives at the start based on the company’s vision, a definition of the customers the company wanted, the current experience these customers were having with the company, and the customer experience the company hoped to deliver to the specified group. A study of current business requirements, work flow, operational processes, and their interdependencies helped to create a road map. From here they could see the factors critical for success, establish the strategic imperatives, and identify the management change that would be required.
Only after the new business plan, strategy, and deliverables were confirmed did the company start to identify gaps in the functionality of its existing technology. It was a full year of such planning before the company was ready to take their CMR initiatives to customers, and another six months of small pilot tests to prove their capabilities before any enterprisewide activities were considered.
As this is written, the company is about to roll the program out on a broader scale. They are confident that these preliminary steps—the rigorous analysis of goals and objectives and understanding of the management and process change required—will assure success of their CMR initiative.
Successful CMR initiatives must start with such a thorough analysis and a clear definition of business objectives to make a strong business case for the project. This must be followed by a study of the organizational and operational changes that will be required to enable your company to empower customers. Only after this strategic CMR framework is in place is it time to look for the final technology solution.