• December 11, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Become a CRM Master and Commander

Accenture and Montgomery Research want you to become a master and CRM commander. That's why they released the fourth edition of their CRM best practices report earlier this week. The book, Defying the Limits, Volume 4, aims to show by example how to improve operating efficiencies and economic impact by mastering CRM competencies. The book contains a smattering of white papers, case studies, and customer profiles highlighting the input from academics, analysts, consultants, end users, and solution providers. Some of the topics covered are how to apply more scientific methods to marketing, how to make customer interactions more profitable through deep insight into customers' past behavior, and the "next wave of CRM," exploring innovations for gaining superior customer insight and enhancing customer relationships. Lack of employee buy-in and a firm managerial commitment to the CRM project often derails CRM projects, this year's report maintains. That's why there is more focus on the people involved with the implementation. "There's definitely an interest in the human element more than ever, and understanding how to get CRM to work. It's as much about people as it is about technology," Barry Jacobs, publisher of Defying the Limits, Volume 4
, told CRM magazine. The focus on the human element is not limited to the internal workings of a company, Jacobs says. Companies need to bring the human element back to customer relations he says. Further underscoring his point, Jacobs refers to a direct marketing example in the report in which the U.S. Postal Service explains that the Web and email are valuable, but companies still need to send customers hard copy. "There's a personal touch in doing things the old fashioned way. People often get their head all caught up in technology, and they need to realize there's a much bigger picture than that," Jacobs says. Another main takeaway in the report is the focus on "opportunity-to-cash," Jacobs says. "SAP's Chris Rooney nails it in our interview--no more front-office, back-office, midoffice, or satellite systems, but a fully integrated whole, focused on understanding, developing, selling, and ultimately keeping customers satisfied and loyal to the brand," Jacobs says in a prepared statement.
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