Too often, some so-called "CRM guru" denounces hidebound, greedy, stupid corporate executives who refuse to realign their organizations' management reporting structures and business operations around customers. Look who's talking...
Editor's note: CRM Strategies subscribers and other readers of the column will notice that we have a new CRM writer on board. Arthur writes for sister site eCRMguide.com; his articles will be featured in ClickZ as well. Subscribers will continue to receive Blake Rohrbacher's articles, which will now be published under the Connecting With the Consumer column heading. As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback.
I always laugh when some so-called "CRM guru" denounces hidebound, greedy, stupid corporate executives who refuse to realign their organizations' management reporting structures and business operations around customers.
These customer relationship management (CRM) "experts" often criticize corporate types for seeing CRM exclusively as a way of making a fast buck by:
However stubborn and backward these executives are, it seems to me that we in the CRM industry are in no place to criticize them, or anybody else for that matter. In the ultimate irony of ironies, it may be that the CRM industry ranks as one of the greatest offenders of customer-friendly practices.
The CRM Industry's Record at CRM
Indeed, there's a great deal of evidence to support the proposition that the CRM industry itself carries out some of the most appallingly anticonsumer practices on its unsuspecting corporate clients. Consider these factors:
How bad is the CRM industry at CRM? Let's look at one the most promoted and popular concepts in CRM: one-to-one marketing.
Not too long ago, software and solution providers -- many of them with cool, hip names with ".com" after them -- were telling corporate prospects that one-to-one marketing could be achieved through the magic of personalization software.
In other words, buy a package of personalization software, plug it in, and away you go! Through these solutions, you could track every move your customer makes. All you needed to do was track this information, get to know your prospects and customers better, and then... instant customer intimacy. One-to-one marketing!
Of course, the corporate customers who bought this software discovered the following:
And although clickstream data analysis could give you a better sense of what site visitors looked at when they came to your site, where they came from, and what types of navigation paths and searches they performed, the information didn't exactly provide the sort of detailed knowledge you would need to develop "customer intimacy." Most of these nifty personalization technologies used simple pattern-matching technology to serve different content to different types of users -- which is really one-to-many, not one-to-one, communications.
And, to add insult to injury, many consumers didn't like the idea of being snooped on when they visited Web sites, raising invasion-of-privacy issues.
In light of these facts, it seems that all of us in the large CRM community should adhere to the following principles:
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Arthur O'Connor is a director and head of the CRM Integration Practice at Reuters Consulting, a unit of Reuters, PLC. As one of the nation's leading experts on CRM and business intelligence solutions, he frequently writes on business and technology trends. He's a frequent speaker at industry conferences. Last year, he served as chairperson of the Institute for International Research's CRM Project Management Conference.
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