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Accommodate the Changing Customer, CRM Evolution Keynoter Advises
Technology, not philosophy, has changed consumers' expectations
Posted Aug 10, 2011
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NEW YORK (CRM Evolution 2011) — Remember when Amazon was just a bookseller? Brent Leary, partner at CRM Essentials, does. He opened his closing keynote Wednesday at CRM Evolution 2011 with that question, encouraging attendees to realize “a lot of things mean something different today than they did back five years ago.”

He explained, “The customer has changed in a lot of different ways. But philosophy hasn’t changed a bit. Customers have always wanted to be valued beyond transaction. They also want to be listened to, and they always wanted you to act upon what they told you.”

So what changed? Technology, social media, and mobile. “Customers really trust their technology,” Leary said. “It’s no real mystery that technology is something that we are rapidly adopting at high rates. It allows us to do stuff that we wanted to do all along, like talk and share information. There are just way too many tools that we can use today to collaborate, and we just eat it up because that’s the kind of stuff that we always wanted to do.”

As a result, the amount of information available at consumers’ fingertips is astounding. According to Leary, IDC estimated there was a zettabyte of information on the Internet as of last year. By comparison, five years ago, the Web contained just 5 terabytes of data, Google estimated. “All of these social tools and mobile technologies are leading us to really create an unbelievable amount of information,” Leary said. And the growth is exponential. Leary added that the IDC predicted that 35 trillion gigabytes will be available on the Internet by 2020.

With all of the information crowding in this packed space in this era of technology, Leary urged a direct approach to customers as essential. He cited an example of Hyundai’s marketing campaign for the Equus. When customers purchased an Equus, he explained, they would receive a free iPad. But the incentive did not end there. “What’s really interesting is not that they just had the iPad with the purchase, but they have several applications that really improve the experience,” he said. For example, Hyundai has a service schedule application for the customer’s iPad. The app gives the customer information about the closest service center for scheduling service, as well as arranging for a rental car to be brought to the customer’s house, while receiving updates about the car’s appointment.

“Everything is happening on customers’ mobile devices, so it is especially important to show up in the palms of their hands,” Leary said. “They could have just stopped at, ‘Hey we have an iPad for you,’ but what they did is they actually changed the process of servicing the customer utilizing the technology. That changes the whole customer experience because it goes from just cool to actually being helpful.”


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