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CRM is dead… long live CCS : Customer Collaboration Service

écrit par René Lefebure

4 oct

The deployment of CRM projects was focused on the concentration of information at the heart of a company.

It consisted primarily in ensuring the seizing of information :

  • to better analyze it (management reports, data warehouse, data mining),
  • to better share it among the sales channels and after sales services,
  • to better optimize the back office and front office process as a function of client value.

For some companies, the long haul has begun and they are running into the hurdles of quality data and sharing of data.

For those with a greater experience in CRM, the difficulty consists in ensuring the coordination between channels.

The questions which are “floating” on the Web in the area of CRM, express nonetheless a state of end of cycle ?

It seems necessary to better define what CRM 2.0 will be, to give “second life” to client service (and/or integrators and editors).  One can remain dubious when faced with the attempts of some to destroy the former CRM and to push companies toward expensive and risky migrations sometimes with weak added value (in cash).  But is it not healthy to ask the question of the continued existence of the current CRM model so as to decode the signs of its impending death?

CRM 1.0 centralizes, questions, and dominates the client.

This CRM is anti-democratic in that it gives complete control and power to some.  For over a century, we have observed the crumbling of these types of practices :  why, then should CRM 1.0 not be subjected to this “democratic” wave?

CRM 1.0 (which exists) is fundamentally inspired by Taylorism in its model of information control and distribution in the workplace :

  • the sales staff collects it,
  • the IT staff  stocks it,
  • the accountants control it,
  • the statisticians score it,
  • the marketing staff animates it,
  • the client support staff takes the calls.

The players of this « chain » try to optimize the cost/volume ratio in order to do more with the same resources … or they learn to reduce the resources via an optimization of the process.

To cite my old economic history books…  we re-discover Mr. Taylor’s objectives !.

The limits of this model were reached in the 60’s and 70’s.  I believe I personally supported the “Taylorism” arguments by often saying that CRM was a means of making the process (that of client service) which was very artisanal, more industrial.

But were all these efforts made for the benefit of clients?  When I look at my daily complaints, at my inbox or my welcome in stores… I doubt it.  As a client, I am not satisfied.  To illustrate the point, during a recent lunch with my friend Dara, he announced a troubling statistic :

  • 80 % of the employees of a company believe they take « good care of clients »
  • yet only 8 % of these same clients consider they are « treated well »!

Quite a large quantitative discrepancy between « perception » and « reality ».

Faced with this non-satisfaction as a client, what do we observe?  It was enough for me to observe my friend Anne Marie in the organization of her travels (and to read several articles besides) to understand the limits of CRM 1.0 in the decision process.

Anne Marie susbcribes to newsletters, she is sollicited by mailings, she reads trekking magazines with relish, she takes apart her Lonely Planet, she belatedly consults the information on the “major sites” to get an idea of circuits, costs.  But when she must make a decision (to take out her credit card… or mine!), more and more often, she consults forums and blogs to enter into contact with other clients. She receives emails with hotel descriptions, promotional offers from tourism services, but she then asks her community to validate her choices.  Finally, it was the choice of the community decided the selection of our first nights in Madagascar… not the sites (that made us inspired us.)  This purchasing behavior which relies on a community escapes from CRM 1.0 which is based on information on visits, on responses, on purchases, etc., to build segmentations and scores to put in place follow-up channels.  But what is most important are the interactions my friend put in place to “validate” information.  The hotel which could have won her vote would have been the one to put her in direct contact with community sites and customer opinions.  The real CRM would have been to put in place a collaboration between clients, a Customer Collaborative Service.

It seems to me more and more likely that the integration of « client collaboration spaces » in the sales process, certainly by means of service archictectures (SOA) or a package on demand (SaaS) represent the challenge for tomorrow at both the information as the functional levels.  This is a true challenge as, to the best of my knowledge, there are :

  • few studies on the impact of communities in the purchasing process, and ethnological contributions such as those of my friend John Krehbiel of Soft Computing are rare in the world of marketing,
  • few analyses on the introduction of communities in the purchase “journey” and the lightning bolts of the technological genius of a Thomas Tonder in the development of a Customer Experience are rare,
  • few in-depth analyses or works on the subject… at the top of the list of a search sequence on the hypothesis of community in Google, one gets the following message : “Unfortunately, the number of results is insufficient for statistical analysis”

Finally, is it “transverse” to wish to understand, to interpret, and to interact a community (the work of a John or a Thomas)?  The behavior of a community is very different depending on the context.  It is obvious that the collected testimonies of clients on the Diet Avenue site will contribute to the credibility and the efforts of clients (strong impact on personal willpower) but what about the same testimonies in the preparation of my birthday cake?

A community is free and open, it cannot be ordered.  It will thus be necessary to re-learn how to live with a client whose behavior we cannot anticipate…  whew!   imagination is not dead yet.

Thanks to the Web for having a created new room for client freedom.

To unwind and appreciate a moment of freedom, a good example found by my ingenious Thomas

2 Réponses pour “CRM is dead… long live CCS : Customer Collaboration Service”

  1. Yellow Pages CT 14. nov, 2011 à 21:59 #

    Hello I am a journalist and discovered your post during some studies. I might use it as a source in a upcoming article. I write on which is new connecticut newspaper/business review site. If I do cite your website as a source I will contact you and give you a link back. I will be back. : )

  2. Mohammad Vidmar 24. août, 2012 à 17:46 #

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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