You have made the case for CMR. You’ve gotten budget approvals and senior management sign-offs. You have the right software in place to manage your customer knowledge, and you have integrated your customer data from all of your multichannel customer interactions. Now you’re in the hot seat to deliver results. Where do you start?
Some companies will come into the CMR initiative from a solid base of a good CRM program with some personalization tools and activities already in place. Others will be making the broader leap from basic database marketing. It would appear that the former would provide the easier step and that the original CRM initiative would have brought everyone on board for an easy acceptance of CMR. If that were true, we would not be seeing so many CRM failures.
Most companies’ CRM programs were designed to make business better for the company. It’s a big jump from an inward focus on benefits to the concept of trying to make business better for the customer. It may be easier to move people within the company from the simple tracking of customer transactions in database marketing to the development of a program based on understanding customers’ unique needs. In either case, there are two basic rules to consider at the start of shifting to CMR:
Rule 1: Don’t underestimate the skills, tools, time, budgets, and process changes that will be required to begin to allow the customer to benefit from having a strong voice in the management of the relationship.
Rule 2: Think big but start small. Plan for incremental learning as you go.
Skill sets will involve some training and lots of internal communication to assure an enterprise-wide understanding of the new objective. All customer-facing personnel will have to learn new customer communication skills.