article on how Apple’s iPad was changing the way we build business relationships and have conversations.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another article talking about the iPad …there have been a few of those already and I already own that T-shirt.
I was intrigued by the logical progression in which it was said that this new piece of technology could open up the conversation with customers. It flowed something like this (with my own little tweaks)
New Technology = Superior user experience
Superior user experience = Easier consumption
Easier consumption = more consumption
More consumption = more chances to connect
More chances to connect = and do what?
Now there’s the $million question – we often forget that ultimately it’s not about the technology but about the customer, and what we do with that connection when we have it.
Even wikipedia’s definition for CRM now includes the phrase ‘Once simply a label for a category of software tools, today, it generally denotes a company-wide business strategy embracing all client-facing departments and even beyond’
Technology allows us to do many things bigger and faster but not always better – the better only comes together when we put the customer at the heart of what we do. What we do might include email marketing, it might be social, it might be old fashioned in-store activity but whatever we do, we have to ask ourselves ‘‘what’s in it for the customer?’’
I recently sat with a client where we reviewed the ‘point’ of one of their communications. The round table brought forward 5 different USPs that were related to business needs – not one of them put the customer’s needs at the forefront.
At this point I’m going to borrow from Joseph Jaffe’s book, ‘Flip the Funnel’ where he describes ways to turn technology to your advantage. I’ll borrow just 5:
1. Technology should bring out the humanity in your company, not mask it – don’t pretend you’re something that you’re not. Ryanair are a no frills airline – the way they use their website and email programme reflect that.
2. Adopt a multi channel approach to building relationships. The easier you make it for customers, the more they will engage – using email as a case in point, don’t let it work in isolation of all the other channels you use but rather use it to support or initiate those conversations you are having.
3. Consider tiered systems for different segments – don’t talk to all your customers in the same way: is it really a surprise when your engagement levels drop because your newsletter is a ‘one for all’?. Segmentation doesn’t have to clever, in fact it’s often how unclever you are that really counts
4. Automation is not always the answer. In email marketing the more you can automate towards ‘lights out marketing’ then the more efficient you can become. But your CRM strategy needs to have that human touch sometimes
And last but not least….
5. Personalisation is the gift of technology, intimacy is the gift of humanity. Email is great..but don’t forget the bunch of flowers.
So whatever we do to instigate, facilitate or react to conversations (the whole point of technology) let’s not forget that the ‘C’ in CRM is for ‘Customer’…and not for ‘Computer’.
(This post first appeared on the eCircle Blog, Inside the Box )