Why would a boat builder invite its customers for three- to four-day getaways? Because boating is an industry where customer relationships are most difficult to maintain. Due to the expense and difficulty of boating, 70 percent of boaters sell their boats after three years.
The makers of Sea Ray boats have learned the importance of listening to customers. They engage customers in relationship-building rendezvous at marinas and planned activities such as golf outings, mansion tours, and boat hopping. They even have a personal concierge service tending to boat owners’ needs, checking in to see how they can help, even planning weekend jaunts. They know communication means a lot more than just talking to customers. That may be why Sea Ray’s customer retention rate is the highest in the industry, nearly twice that of its closest competitor.
Customers are tired of being talked to based on information from a company’s transaction database. Customers are now beginning to say, “Stop relying on information about me and start listening and paying attention to information from me.”
Lester Wunderman, chairman emeritus of Wunderman Worldwide, a member of Young & Rubicam Global Communications Network in New York, says, “CRM is a process that builds more information, understanding and dialog between sellers and buyers. CRM is not advertising. It’s not one-way anything. It implies dialog.”
 “Navigate the Maze,” Advertising Age, October 30, 2001, p. S1.