Is It Time We Stopped Talking About CRM?

Is It Time We Stopped Talking About CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)resonated for almost two decades, however, it is time to move ahead

Today, marketers are striving to give customers a superlative ‘experience’ and not just manage the ‘relationship’. Enter CXM Exit CRM.

Marketing can no longer operate in silos. CX-driven marketing requires behavioural data (social, web, media), CRM, After-sales, Financing, and so on.

I have been convinced for a long time that a great customer experience or even a moment of it is much better than 100 bonus points. Just look around at all the point-based programs, and you will realise that very few have been successful, mostly those in the retail space. Outside of that, the Jet Privileges program stands out because of the entire ecosystem and partnerships that were built outside of the flying experience.

MarTech players have been the first to pick up this trend, becoming the flagbearers of CXM. But MarTech tools can only enable great customer experience, the ‘thinking’ still needs to be done by marketers. What exactly is the customer experience? Why is it important? When should it be delivered? What is the ROI? These are fundamental questions any marketer should ask. These are not uni-dimensional questions and need to be addressed from a different lens.

Also Read: The Value Dilemma: Choosing the Right MarTech Stack

Marketers need to take charge of the customer experience. Today the premise seems to be that technology is the differentiator between a good and bad customer experience. It is just a facilitator. With AI, ML, RPA, AR, VR, IoT, and others make us feel confident that we will be able to deliver a superlative customer experience and its only about investing in tools. That’s the cliche  marketers must avoid marketing must be people-centric.,

Providing a great customer experience is all about orchestrating and personalising the entire journey.  managing convenience, micro-moments, and providing contextual communication at a touch point of the customer’s choice when he is receptive. To enable it, the entire customer experience management framework will have to be designed. This requires a mindset change. Because this framework cannot be designed in isolation. The organisation, as well as the partner ecosystem, needs to be involved. Most organisations are not prepared for this transformation. There are multiple reasons for this-

  1. It takes effort, application and intelligence to create a unified digital experience strategy. Many people can do it theoretically but don’t know how it will unfold when put to practice. This is where it usually becomes a case of – enter some marketing automation tool, exit strategy.
  2. The problem with tools is that plug-and-play never works unless the strategy is thought through seamlessly with well-defined and measurable KPIs.
  3. Most organisations operate in silos – CMO, CXO, CDO, CTO, CIO, CFO, Sales, and After Sales. All islands of excellence and talented teams restless to make an impact, each is chasing a different rainbow, leading to a riot of colours and a messed-up painting instead of a customer experience masterpiece.
  4. To design a great CX framework, organisations, need to have –
    1. A single end-to-end customer view
    2. The capability, intelligence and the right tools to deliver insights from the vast swathe of data that exists in different siloes in different formats.
    3. The ability to act real-time upon the insights and intelligence generated
    4. Ability to integrate all of the above with their existing investments in people, technology and processes. (Thank you but no thank you lift and shift, rip, and replace)

Also Read: How to Put the Experience Back Into B2B Customer Experience

With so much complexity and technological ambiguities, marketers have their task cut out. They need to STEP up to the new world of customer experience, where STEP stands for

  • Strategy – Includes defining organisational goals and KPIs, specific for the kind of customer experience to be delivered, and why it is relevant.
  • Technology – Design the solution architecture, keeping in mind the unique customer journey in the context of your brand/organisation and customers.
  • Empowering people – Get different silos to collaborate and empower them to make decisions. Customers don’t differentiate between marketing, sales and after sales.
  • Processes – Need to be robust. Governance mechanisms to review and reboot as and when required must be put in place. Measure everything but action data points that will have the most significant impact and make a telling difference to customer experience.

I am a recent convert to Spotify, a subscription-based service. Initially enrolled for it with great trepidation. However, the experience is beyond anything that I have experienced as an audiophile — their acquisition of Tunigo has led them to allow users to manage playlists every moment; Echo Nest and its ML-based tech provide recommendations and predictions give an unmatched listening experience. This is pure play-leveraging technology to enhance customer experience, drive stickiness and keep the cash counters ringing month after month.

Also Read: Influencer Marketing for Better Content and Higher Search Rankings

Globally, brands like Kohls, Best Buy, Equinox, Air Canada, Sun Trust Bank, Mastercard and Toyota have taken big strides in customer experience management. Toyota, for example, has a unified view across silos like sales, after sales, financial services, arms and across brands/organisations including Lexus. It was an enormous task to integrate across the Americas but after accomplishing it, they have a very good idea of who their customer is. Having layered this with an identity management program and intelligence to pick up the ‘intent’ of the customer they are well poised to deliver a superlative customer experience.

Organisations and brands in the region will have to reach that point. However, the success lies in top management’s commitment, collaboration, and deploying the right people for the task. This is indeed the change that will re-define marketing.

Continue Reading..