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Dick Wooden

Customer Care

Create the Vision of a Performance-Driven CRM

Eight questions to consider when building a foundation for success

Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - 09:47

There are various phases to consider when focusing on a business strategy for customer relationship management (CRM). An initial phase is creating a vision of a better future with a customer-centric strategy fully implemented and supported by CRM technology.

This phase establishes a shared vision of the future of performance-driven CRM in the organization among the organization’s senior stakeholders and starts the process of communicating that vision to those who will be affected by the change. 

This CRM vision should help organizations understand the following:

Which customers should we target?
• All customers do not have the same current and potential value.
• Not all customers value a complex relationship.
• What characteristics will help us segment our prospects and customer accounts for more effective metrics?

How should we deal with increasing channel fragmentation and media complexity to communicate with our customers?
Rapid changes in delivery channels and new social media are dramatically increasing the challenges facing both our businesses and customers.

How should we balance quality of experience, the cost to serve, and profitability of the customer?          
• Maintaining highly personalized relationships with all customers is expensive, and the 80–20 rule (i.e., 80% of profits are derived from 20% of customers) applies. 
• Profitability depends on achieving a level of personalization that is both efficient and cost effective.

What is the appropriate level of CRM integration for our business?
• It will vary with the transactions and types of relationships that we will have with our clients.
• Integration across channels, media, front and back office systems, functions, or business units is expensive.
• Justifiable integration should be the goal.

What is customer “insight,” and how can our organization use it? 
What information do we need, and where do we get it to continuously update the segments, perceptions, needs, and delivery and access channels desired by our customers and our company?

What should we do with unprofitable customers?
• Who are they?
• How should they be dealt with?
• Should we deal with them at all?

How will we retain loyal profitable customers?   
• How do they like to be contacted?
• What most interests them?
• Why do they buy?
• Who in our business has a good relationship with our customers’ contacts?

The CRM vision should contain a specific time horizon and an articulation of the following questions:
• Why do we need to change (i.e., what is the strategic and market justification for the vision)?
• Who will our customers be?
• How will we serve them?
• What will be the benefit for us and them?
• What will the future customer experience look and feel like from their perspective?

A CRM system focuses on three pillars that become the foundation for continued business success, year after year. The three pillars are:
1. Get customers. Without people who want what you’re selling, you’re done. How do you attract people who need your product or service? How are you differentiating your products and services to educate and beat the “no decision’ competition?  Without differentiated value for attracting new customers, your business is subject to commodity pricing.
2. Grow customers. Nurture them. Become an expert at their care and feeding. The more you know about them, the more you can expand your relationship with them. Look for ways you can add to their success. This will develop yours.
3. Keep customers. The cost to gain a new customer is something like five times as much as to retain an existing one. When you invest in making your customers happy, their value to you grows. You’ll earn their loyalty, and that’s priceless. Loyal customers buy again and again. They buy additional products or services. They refer people in their network to you.

First published on the Success with CRM blog.

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About The Author

Dick Wooden’s picture

Dick Wooden

Dick Wooden, founder of Success with CRM Consulting Inc., is a consultant and an entrepreneur business coach who implements tailor-made customer relationship management (CRM) systems for more productive business development in small to medium-sized businesses. Wooden has more than 35 years experience working with entrepreneurs, business management, sales, marketing, and customer service professionals.