Putting the 'R' Back in CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM), especially the relationship piece, is in a serious state of flux. Marketers can no longer do the same old thing because new technologies are throwing up roadblocks to the relationship. Daily-deal sites like Groupon offer consumers shortcuts and pricing advantages that bypass marketers completely. Consumers make purchases on auction sites based on product reviews, keeping shoppers away from your website and eroding the relationship even further.
Retailers must begin to put the "R" back in CRM. One way to accomplish this is to directly compete with these relationship-busters by improving your customers’ shopping experience. It's one of the best ways to re-establish a relationship and increase customer loyalty.
It starts with tracking your customers’ behaviors and using that information to drive convenience. Let's go back to an early example of tracking customer behavior: supermarket cards. We all wanted one because they promised better prices, access to coupons, specials and so on.
I remember the first time I was offered a special coupon on an item I bought with regularity. At the time the coupon still came in the mail. I clipped it, brought it in to the store and saved a whole bunch of money. And it wasn't just about the money I was saving. The coupons were a helpful reminder to place the item in question on my shopping list, to remember to buy it, etc.
Putting the "R" back in CRM is all about a very focused mission: to bring the kind of convenience described above to the online shopping experience. Having a marketer provide you with suggestions and great promotional offers on products and services you need, or are thinking about buying, is a tremendous time and energy saver. It builds a relationship between the marketer and customer. It fulfills the customer's needs and desires and it enables the marketer to sell his or her product or service.