A Day in the Life of CRM

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W hat was your most important CRM--related task today? After spending the day (March 18, 2003) with nearly a dozen executives at companies in seven cities around the country, the CRM magazine team discovered, not surprisingly, that customer-focused activities were the priority. Whether it was meeting with clients, running contract-planning sessions, or updating customer files, CRM strategy was integral to how these folks spent their time. They may all have customer-centricity in common, but their jobs were as disparate as were their locations. We spent the day with people in sales (San Francisco), marketing (Philadelphia), customer service (Washington, D.C.), and IT (Rockford, IL). We also followed two analysts (Boston), two integrators (Austin, TX), and a vendor (New York). What we found may surprise you. Or you may discover that you have a lot in common with these CRM stalwarts. Either way, you will see the myriad benefits all these executives realize by making customers their priority (see "A Slice of the CRM Good Life," page 28). For me every day is a day in the life of CRM--both as a service provider and as a customer. Consequently, I am always examining the level of service I provide to my various customers and the types of service I receive as a customer. I was recently impressed by a local shop owner's big-picture thinking--in part because it's a great example of how a complete view of customers can show their true value, and in part because many businesses' policies are inflexible. I was shopping for a leotard for my daughter's upcoming gymnastics competition. The store has an exchange-only policy so I was hesitant to make a purchase. The owner, however, realized from my situation that my purchase could lead to sales for the whole team--or a more lucrative custom order--so he waived his policy and sold me a completely refundable leotard. The result? He got the order for the team for a more expensive, unitard-style item. This is also a great example of finding creative strategies to profit from putting customers' needs first. This month we have four terrific stories of companies that have done just that (see "Feel the Love," page 48). The strategies range from abolishing voicemail to guiding clients through a new way of doing business, but the results were the same: delighted customers. As you go through your own day in the life of CRM today, ask yourself what you did to satisfy your customers--and how you can do it again tomorrow. Ginger Conlon Editor gconlon@destinationCRM.com
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