CRM + Customer Service = Long-Term Results

outcomes. One of the most important touch points in a CRM campaign actually takes place on the front line, between customers and employees.

How can retailers move from anonymous transactions to personalized interactions using enhanced collaboration between the CRM team and front-line employees to obtain better, sustained business results? Here are four crucial steps any organization can easily incorporate to improve outcomes:

1.  Schedule monthly share-out sessions between teams. Establish a consistent two-way dialogue between CRM and front-line teams to ensure both groups have a voice and are learning from each other.

2.  Empower the front line. Give front-line employees the ability—both technological and behavioral—to capture data that can supplement CRM data, creating a better-rounded, human understanding of the customer.

3. Unleash the creativity of the team. With the right people on site and trained, empower the front-line team to enhance episodic customer interactions. Returning to our retail example, imagine a returning customer experience that includes:

  • celebrations of special occasions;
  • providing a personal shopping assistant while in the store (which can be tied to reward/recognition programs or special occasions); and
  • a personalized version of a product or a complementary accessory.

4.  Recognize employees for doing the right things. Celebrating exceptional service creates a culture of exceptional service. You must find as many ways as possible for leaders and peers to recognize customer-centric behaviors, such as:

  • actively listening to understand what the customer wants;
  • going the extra mile because they want to, not because they have to; and
  • proactively reaching out with information or new products or services that will meet the customer’s unique needs.

When it comes to attention to detail at the customer-facing level, Disney Institute emphasizes being intentional where others are unintentional. We call this “overmanaging.” This is not to be confused with “micromanaging,” but rather is a way for leaders to drive consistent business results stemming from the alignment of an organization’s values and mission. By overmanaging your CRM efforts as a holistic strategy—with your customer at the center, rather than keeping back end and front line separate—you will be better positioned to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Is all this worth the effort? Segmentation, customer reward/recognition programs, and robust metrics are all useful when communicating the effectiveness of a CRM campaign, but let’s not forget that the customer should be at the center of the decision circle. It is important to collaborate with your front line to maximize the potential of every employee customer engagement. This is especially true in today’s socially engaged climate, where photos and comments are shared immediately, and then reshared over and over. Keep in mind that segments don’t experience your brand, individuals do—and individuals remember positive interactions far more than they do transactions.

Jeff James is vice president and general manager of Disney Institute. He is responsible for bringing custom business solutions  to Fortune 500 companies and small businesses worldwide. Robert Montaudo is the director of CRM for growth and emerging businesses for Disney Parks and Resorts. He leads  the direct marketing CRM initiatives for Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club,  and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa.


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