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CRM + Customer Service = Long-Term Results
Four steps for improving the front-line retail experience through back-end data.
Posted May 9, 2014
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The amount of consumer data companies have available to them today makes it possible to be more target-specific than ever, resulting in a diverse portfolio of CRM tactics. This has led to major changes for all industry sectors, including remarkable advances in areas such as marketing communications and loyalty reward/recognition programs. Working with a variety of retailers, Disney Institute has found that CRM data rarely makes its way to the front-line experience in a meaningful way.

For most people, visiting a retail location or shopping online is a conscious decision, involving time, logistics, product selection, and pricing, particularly when the customer has planned a trip to experience (touch, try, taste) a product, which most likely ties back to a CRM-driven marketing initiative. What if more CRM teams and front-line employees took the opportunity to collaborate on strategies to deliver more memorable and rewarding personalized experiences?

Disney Institute has observed across most industries—whether brick-and-mortar or online—a gradual decline in customer service over many years, creating a real opportunity for service-based differentiation through CRM insights.

How can we know what will make a difference for customers? Ask your customers and employees to describe what they perceive as the typical customer experience in your industry.

Describe the environment: What does it look, sound, smell, and feel like?

Describe the service providers: What are they saying, doing, or wearing?

Describe the customers: What are they saying and doing, and who are they with?

Based on this experience, what impressions might customers have of the employees, the organization, or the industry?

The answers to these questions likely represent the consumer stereotype of the industry. These answers usually present themselves fairly quickly and consistently, and they often reveal some level of frustration with the transactional nature of the experience. One common example: When calling for customer service and reaching a phone tree, you are prompted (sometimes multiple times) to enter personal information, only to be asked to provide the same information when connected to an actual human being.

Why does this matter? Because interactions create an emotional connection, and positive emotions lead to positive economic 

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