Some research from the Meta Group suggests CRM can be a mixed blessing. “Business customers want to be identified for their appropriate requirements (e.g., resupply of goods and services that they already purchase), so that they can save time. Many consumers fall into a similar camp. But in exchange for being identified (e.g., providing information about themselves, or having it collected), customers/consumers expect to be treated as “special.” This means free products, better service, useful information, and so on. They also do not want to be bothered by endless phone calls or e-mails to sell them more ‘stuff.’” As customers surrender data about themselves to suppliers, they expect that information to be used wisely to communicate relevant and timely offers.
CRM can trash CX….
These comments from Meta imply that CX, following a CRM technology implementation, is not necessarily positive. Customers who are used to receiving face-to-face calls from sales reps might find they are expected to place orders and pay through a sales portal. Self-service through portals deliver a completely different customer experience. Resistance, resentment and churn may result. Weary workers arriving home after a hard day’s labour are confronted with cold-calls selling products that aren’t of the slightest interest. Customers of a multi-channel retailing firm find they receive conflicting or duplicated offers from different channels – a clear indication that customer data are held in silos. The avoidance of negative customer experience from ineptly implemented CRM is an important reason for ensuring the voice-of-the-customer is heard during CRM project planning and implementation. It also signals the importance of monitoring customer response after a CRM implementation.
….but it doesn’t have to
Despite these worries, CRM technology can fundamentally change CX for the better because it reinvents what happens at customer touch-points.
Imagine a sales rep who has always carried hard-copy brochures. He is sitting in front of a qualified prospect with a product-related query, and who is ready to buy. The rep goes to his briefcase. The brochure he needs is missing, and he cannot answer the query. “I’ll get back to you”, he says. But he doesn’t. He forgets and the opportunity is lost. Equipped with CRM, the interaction is very different. The rep carries a laptop with a current, searchable, product database, and the customer’s record. He answers the query successfully. The prospect asks for a firm quote. The rep activates the quotation engine. A quote is prepared and discussed. The rep requests the order. He wins the order. The rep converts the quote to an order by checking a box on a quotation engine screen. The rep shares the screen information with the customer. An electronic signature is obtained. Order confirmation is sent to the buyer’s email address immediately. That night the rep keys in his call report, synchronises his laptop with the company’s main computer, and the order fulfilment process begins.
Which scenario is better for the customer?