Tag Archives: CRM

How can business and technical people work with sales and marketing on customer experience initiatives?

A misconception about customer experience makes many people think that it’s exclusively the responsibility of the sales and marketing departments. But people who actually deliver products and services and customer care teams are the ones that can have the most important impact on the experience of the customer.

Both categories of employees are usually either very specialized (which makes them very useful in some areas of the business but not others) or not specialized enough to perform anything but basic tasks (e.g.: customer care performing basis tasks in IT)

Among the specialized people, those with expertise in business will rarely know tech very well and vice versa. Since customer facing people (e.g.: sales, marketing, customer care) usually aren’t experts in either, they usually need to rely on experts for questions they cannot answer or problems they cannot solve. This can bring the challenge of resource allocation and collaboration and one solution would be to have a “connector” between the two categories of employees which will help them work better together.

Such a person would be responsible for the following:

–          Translate customer needs into business and tech needs and make sure that everyone is on the same page. In software, a project manager may be assigned to this during the implementation, but this usually stops after the go live when customer care is the main responsible for the interaction with the customer

–          Determine which issues are important and work with both business and technical people to solve the problems by escalating to the appropriate person and following up on the actions required

–          With sales and marketing, gather feedback from customers and communicate with them to explain company strategy, future development plans, etc.

–          With product development to increase transparency, thus trust (see this post)

–          Get involved in user communities (formal or not), participate in analyzing social media interactions which can be used for product development, to proactively solve problems, and contribute building a brand that people have reasons to trust

Such a person is hard to find because (s)he will have to be good at business, technology, and communicating with people, even though not an expert in either field. Most professionals will specialize in only one, maximum two of these fields, but never all three. The good news is that extended expertise in all three fields isn’t actually required because this person needs to work closely related to marketing and communications, business operations, and IT.

What do you think? How important is such a person in a company? Are the various departments of a company too specialized and disconnected from each other and from the outside world?

Disconnected - geograph.org.uk - 1516053

Does the BCG-matrix apply to CRM?

The BCG matrix or the growth-share matrix was created in the seventies to analyse the correlation between the use of cash and the cash generation by the products of a company. Boston Consulting Group concluded that there are four types of products, depending on the level of investment that they require and the amount of cash they generate.

The matrix also summarizes the lifecycle of most products, which starts with problem children or question marks (products which require high investment and generate low cash flow), which become stars when they are successfully or dogs/pets when they’re not. Stars can only become cash cows (whey they are less successful but still generate a lot of cash) or dogs/pets (when they stop being successful).

BCG matrix

Image of the growth-share matrix from a BCG Perspective. Author or copyright owner: The Boston Consulting Group, Source: http://on.bcg.com/12PLAlh

Without even knowing it, you may be applying the same logic when you decide how you treat your customers. As you know, in order to get cash from your customers, you need to invest in your relationship with them. All new customers are questions marks, which become stars in the best case scenario. The loyal ones will eventually become cash cows. Most of your customers are probably pets and you may not be sure what to do with them because they don’t buy a lot from you but they don’t cost you much either.

You may think that the customer experience revolution that everyone is talking about will make this logic obsolete, but can you realistically provide a great customer experience without investing in people, tools, training, maybe new facilities, marketing and PR, etc.?