Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On solving the customer service puzzle (or CRM is a business strategy, NOT software!)

Or atleast, one view on how the pieces of the puzzle can be made to fit. Drew stevens recently wrote an article on the customer service puzzle, which was brought to my attention
by Jim Berkowitz . The focal points of Drew's article are ensuring the whole company focusses on providing an excellent service or product to your customer and ensuring you regularly interact with your customers. Something we can all agree with.

Drew also outlines one point I disagree with: 'refrain from CRM'. Like many others Drew mistakenly views CRM as 'software systems'. CRM is not a piece of software or a system, but a business strategy. The business strategy that should force companies to focus on providing added value to customers. In other words, CRM is the 'focus on the customer throughout the whole company' that Drew is referring to. Paul Greenberg's definition of CRM systems says it best:

"CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a system and a
technology, designed to improve human interactions in a business environment".

CRM systems, like Oracle's Siebel CRM, SAP CRM and salesforce.com are valuable enablers to help companies achieve their customer focussed business goals, if implemented in the right manner. CRM and CRM software implementation should be about your business goals,
and not because some IT guy wants to try out a new piece of fancy software. So Drew, I agree with your points, but I think that implementing a CRM application with your other points in mind will only help a company to solve the customer service puzzle.