Over the last week several people have asked my thoughts on how CRM propositions need to reflect the changing times. A couple of threads have been running around in my head, so let's see if I can bring them together.
Firstly - I attended a Gartner CRM Summit in the UK last week. The message from speakers & attendees was loud & clear. In the current environment, with customers concerned about redundancy & saving money, a business' proposition needs to be effective in meeting those concerns through a sharpened & relevant offer. In tough times, customers are looking to get the best value from suppliers. Yet business have similar challenges - they are looking to get better value from their own activities, reducing costs where possible & seeking new efficiencies.
So, what's the solution ? A business needs to improve operational effectiveness & bring customer centricity to the forefront. They can be achieved through Customer Experience Management (CEM) programmes. With CEOs and finance staff watching every element of spending, any CRM/proposition needs to focus on short programmes of work that are cost effective & nimble - ideally, delivering ROI within 1 quarter.
Secondly - a couple of articles on psychology crossed my path this week, both reflecting on the human tendencies to "move position" based on the most subtle of influences. Steve Martin, co-author of "Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion" suggests that moving a person from saying "yes" to following through on their committments can be tough. However, people can be persuaded to move in a new direction simply by asking them to imagine & describe the future assuming they had moved. Try that approach when building a case for the importance of a CRM / CEM programme in a company - what does their future look like ?
Along a similar line, Richard Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, authors of the book "Nudge", advocate the concept of gentle suggestions - "nudges" - to help people make better choices, perhaps without even realising they have been influenced. It's all about gettng a picture painted in people's minds. In our case, it's all "Talking About Customers" and the experience you want them to have.