Feedback: July 2009

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For the rest of the July 2009 issue of CRM magazine, please click here.

Pre: Assessing Smartphones in CRM
I recently read Assistant Editor Lauren McKay’s article on Apple’s iPhone and its possible use in the CRM field (“CRM and the iPhone,” March 2009, http://sn.im/0309mckay). I like the fact that you mentioned the BlackBerry Storm in a sidebar, but you failed to make any mention of the new Palm Pre. I think the iPhone’s two largest competitors in the mobile smartphone market are BlackBerry and Palm. I know a lot of individuals who have devices from these manufacturers; a large market already exists for these phones and most carriers offer some type of Palm or BlackBerry device. The Storm has more features than any of the current BlackBerry phones but its interface is still a little “kludgy.”

The Palm Treo—Palm’s previous product line—has many features similar to those of the iPhone but does lack a few important things. The new Palm Pre, on the other hand, will revolutionize the mobile-smartphone market. This new device surpasses the iPhone—for one thing, you can multitask (that is, have multiple applications running).
Thanks for your time—and I hope you check out the Palm Pre.

E.Z. Reiter

Assistant Editor Lauren McKay responds: Thanks for your feedback, Ed. Although we didn’t give the Palm Pre as much coverage in that March article as we did the Storm, we did include the device in the industry timeline that accompanied the feature. Unfortunately, at the time I was writing that article there wasn’t as much information available about the Pre as there is now, especially leading up to and after its official launch on June 6, 2009. We did recognize the level of excitement building ahead of the Pre’s release, though, and hope to write a follow-up as soon as its existence begins to be felt in the CRM marketplace.

As an aside, another reason I paid more tribute to the Storm than to the no-longer-new Treo was due to BlackBerry’s marketing of the Storm as the “iPhone Killer”—a phrase that, in support of your contention, was trotted out again recently in reference to the Pre.


A Series of Pints of View
I just read your May issue and had to write a note about Marshall Lager’s Pint of View (“Your Savings Are My Services,” http://sn.im/0509pov). I frequent the same gym chain up here in Boston and have also experienced a downward spiral: hours down, fewer classes because the club’s membership is down (I wonder why), and absolutely no sense of customer service anymore.

Last weekend I was the crazy lady in the lobby lecturing the front-desk kid—and I do mean “kid”—about customer service and that we all make mistakes but it’s how one recovers from a mistake that separates the winners and losers. My Facebook status was even “I think my gym has a picture of me behind the desk for dart practice.”

My branch of the gym chain isn’t selling snake oil yet, but I suspect that will work its way up to Boston pretty soon. I have choices in terms of other gyms but this one’s at a prime location and is frequented by my friends, so I too will ride the downward wave.

Perrin McCormick

After reading One of Marshall Lager’s recent Pint of View columns (“Holiday Revisits,” January 2009, http://sn.im/0109pov), I have resolved to remove the word “solution” from my news releases. (It’s an uphill battle—people love that word around here.) In fact, I just tossed out three “solutions” in my most recent release. I did have to leave one in at the bottom—it’s my company’s boilerplate, but nobody ever reads that stuff anyway.

Name withheld
Corporate Communications
Company name withheld

I really enjoyed Pint of View in the April issue of the magazine (“We Reserve the Right to Screw Up Your Service,” http://sn.im/0409pov). I searched for the Murky Coffee incident you mentioned and laughed out loud when I read what unfolded. [Editors’ Note: The blogpost can be seen here: http://sn.im/murky071308.] Some business policies, it seems—whatever good reason someone had for them—are, as you said, the equivalent of someone sawing off the wrong end of the tree branch.

Casey Barto
Public Relations, Knotice

Senior Editor Marshall Lager responds: I know, right? When I found that story, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a joke news item, or if some coffee-pusher had an extremely warped sense of perspective. I’m the sort of person who’s always happier when it’s the latter.

Thanks for the kind note; glad to know somebody’s still getting to the back page.


Twitter on CRM
Your recent roundup of vendors’ activities on Twitter (“Twitter on CRM,” May 2009, http://sn.im/0509i2) is a great resource. It will be interesting to see how quickly this changes over time, and how companies begin or continue to leverage Twitter and other social media tools to engage with their customers. Everyone is in agreement that social media is here to stay. As with any technology, the measurement and assessment of its effectiveness is how the real value will ultimately be measured. Thanks for sharing. I'll certainly share with my readers.

Brian Vellmure
Free CRM Strategies


Following the Leads
I just wanted to thank you for resurrecting focus on an old problem in the “Looking to Score” feature in the March 2009 issue (http://sn.im/0309lager). This topic—lead scoring—was last thoroughly treated in Sales & Marketing Management magazine over 15 years ago.

Alan D. Vera
President & CEO, Quest Business Agency


Reviewing Online Reviews
Thanks for the recent online news story “Online Reviews Continue to Drive Consumption” (June 1, 2009, http://sn.im/dcrm090601a). Dell’s IdeaStorm is a great example of the trend: Dell is not only engaging customers, but the company is also listening to them and improving its products as a result. This approach encourages reviews/online dialogue that are constructive—even when critical.

Kristen Sullivan

Great article. Retailers should also be thinking about how to merge the real-time product data that they’re getting online with their offline channel. Wireless allows savvy users to bridge that gap but enabling store staff and other servicepeople is key. Question-and-answer systems are another community engagement method that was not listed in this article. Trust and transparency are also worth noting—but represent a topic too big to leave in a comment section.

Joshua Greenough

Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

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