• January 1, 2006
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Promising That This Year Won't Be Like Last Year

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I hope your hangovers have all cleared up, because if you are reading this it's 2006. That's quite a concept to digest, since 2005 was such an eventful year--I started writing for CRM magazine, which is a pretty monumental occurrence in itself, considering the potential repercussions extending nigh unto the seventh generation and all that rot. One fine tradition that has been passed down to us is the New Year's resolution (being nearly perfect, let me say that I rarely have to make resolutions). Folks get all contemplative when forced to turn that final calendar page--but you already know this, because you read my cover story last month--and make promises that they'll do a less thorough job of screwing up their lives this year than last. Another ancient tradition is, any such promise is typically voided by lunchtime, January 1. This Manichean duality (I've been waiting to use that phrase since college) is so firmly a part of our nature that we often make resolutions specifically so we can break them. Here, we present some resolutions that we expect any company will be able to keep--even if it shouldn't.
  • "We promise to design our IVR menu so that even Magellan couldn't navigate it."
  • "I will encourage our contact agents to work smarter, not harder. Then I will increase their call quotas and penalize them for spending more than three minutes on the phone."
  • "We promise to collect every scrap of data we can on our customers and the things they've bought from us to help us understand them better. We also promise to pretend not to have this information if they ever contact us."
  • "Marketing is directed to put out 'customer win' press releases every time somebody looks at our box in the store."
  • "The sales team resolves to have an answer for every customer--the most expensive answer."
  • "Our company will never sell or lease customer information. We will, instead, trade it like baseball cards with other businesses worldwide."
  • "I resolve to publish crucial CRM market analysis along with my contact info, and then go on vacation that very day."
  • "Henceforth, we no longer have products or services. We have solutions. This does not mean that we solve anything for our customers, it just means that we have dissolved our products into our services, so we are correct in a chemical sense."
  • "Getting information from our customers is good, so getting it from them over and over again is even better."
  • "We promise to put each customer's first name at the top of our email campaigns and call it our one-to-one marketing strategy."
  • "This year we'll start a company blog that provides the same exact information as our press releases."
  • "The call center outsourcing project worked so well, this year we're outsourcing our field service agents to Sweatybellypor, too. Hey, it might take them longer to answer a service call, but it will save a fortune in labor costs."
  • "I promise to spend top dollar on the best analytics and BI tools money can buy. Then, I'll pump all our old, filthy data into them and write our business plan based on the results." Finally, I hope that some smart cookie will realize that there's a better way. Failing that, which seems likely, let's ring in the new year with a rousing chorus of this just-uncovered, long-lost stanza of "Auld Lang Syne": Should auld biz process be forgot And buzzwords spat like phlegm, We'll read another Pint of View In the back of CRM. Thanks to Senior Editor Alexandra DeFelice for contributing ideas to Pint of View this month. Contact Senior Writer Marshall Lager at mlager@destinationCRM.com
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