Keeping the “R” in “CRM”

CRM has been hot for a few years.  But, IT wizardry and the push to cut costs by un-humanizing the service experience has too often removed the “relationship” from “customer relationship management.”    The by-product was aptly characterized by a friend of ours describing her bank.

“They installed this new customer relationship management system so all my correspondence from them is now tailored––they even knew my son was heading off to college this year.  Now, when I call and give them my account number, they comment on the fact that I have a new Buick, financed by their loan department.  But all that is just mechanized.  When I walk in any branch no one acts like they know me or even wants to get to know me!  Give me back old fashioned personal service, not this customer-ized baloney.  It’s no more genuine than the ATM.” 

Attitude is the fuel of imaginative service and  an attitude that clearly shows the spirit of greatness can provide the energy as well as the magnetism needed to deliver an imaginative service experience. It is a contagious attitude!  Customers love to be served by people whose spirit to serve is unmistakable in its strength and commitment.  And, it is the consistency and sincerity of attitude that causes customers to tell friends about their imaginative service experiences.

Most of us like tailor-made service.  We enjoy a service provider that knows our preferences and caters to our unique needs and expectations.  But, we still want the service provider to treat us like an important and valued person.  We want to know that inside customer service is a human, not a program.

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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