Don't Get Comfortable

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Your company is focused on customers, and you're seeing revenue growth as a result. That's great, but is it enough? If you become complacent with your success, you could miss signals from customers that their needs are changing, or overlook new strategies your competitors are using to grow market share at your expense. This has happened to many companies that got too comfortable with their own success: IBM, Levi Strauss, and Dow Corning, to name a few. These companies and others like them had to reinvent themselves to reconnect with their customers, or risk losing their market leadership. The circumstances that spurred these firms to change may have been dire, but in the end reinvention is good for any company--the catch is that the remake needs to be ongoing. Organizations should always be looking for ways to improve their business processes and strategies, especially those that involve better serving their customers. This month we examine how Dow Corning overhauled its sales process to focus on meeting customer needs ("Dow Corning's Extreme Makeover," page 26). By improving its communication with customers, the company was able to not only close deals it would not otherwise have known about, but also to create the types of partnerships with its customers that lock out the competition. To help you find ways to refresh your CRM initiatives, we reveal 15 strategies used successfully by organizations to improve their relationships and results. In "5 Ways to Get More From Your CRM Investment" (page 32) we explain how companies like Brother International and Fireman's Fund Insurance were able to get more value from their CRM investments by using such approaches as improving their users' experience and identifying additional goals. And in "10 Strategies for Customer Service Success" (page 38) we discuss how some companies, including Starwood, Kodak, and Arctic Cat, improved their service offerings at every customer touch point, and saw both satisfaction and revenue grow as a result. CRM magazine itself is in the process of reinvention. Over the next few months you'll see new columns, new designs, and enhanced editorial coverage--both in the magazine and on destinationCRM.com. This month we've introduced a new look to our table of contents and customer service pages to make it easier for readers to find the information they need. Next month we'll introduce a new column, "Diary of a CRM Initiative," which will track the progression of Churchill Downs' first-of-its-kind CRM initiative. Beginning in August we'll enliven the online columns Viewpoints and Experts on Call to include more hard-hitting opinion pieces, forward-thinking trend articles, and in-depth how-to articles. This month I'm also pleased to announce the addition of two stellar journalists to our staff. Senior Editor Jason Compton has been covering the industry for CRM magazine and several technology publications for five years and has been a featured speaker at DCI's CRM conferences. Articles Editor Joshua Weinberger comes to CRM from Baseline, where he spent much of his time interviewing the CIOs of Fortune 500 companies. As many of those executives have learned, you can't just listen to customers--you have to engage them in an ongoing conversation. In the words of Dow Corning's Marie Eckstein: "We have to be aggressive about changing. The status quo is our enemy." Ginger Conlon Editor-in-Chief gconlon@destinationCRM.com
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