When 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling'

As the Righteous Brothers sang in their iconic hit, “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips … and there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips,” what do you do when that loving feeling about CRM is gone … gone, gone? (Whoa … o-o-o-o)

As many articles that are out there about “what” CRM actually is, I am aware there are very few that talk about when your best CRM efforts fail both you and the customer. When the love is over and the customer has finally shut the door for the last time, who do you blame?

Your efforts?

Your customer?

Your CRM solution?

CRM that combines the five or six core elements (web, email, database, display, mobile and social) for optimal customer outreach and connection is considered best practice. However, there comes a point in time where even best efforts fail to move the customer to a long-lasting commitment. Spread that effort to a wider customer base where real attrition begins to show up in your numbers, and you realize something is malfunctioning.

Cynics say that all relationships are meant to end at some point, but for all of your effort and “management” of that customer, the union is irretrievably broken. Have you done any post mortem? Have you asked for one last chance? If you have, it may be time to go back and reexamine the tools that got you to this point.

Efforts that fail can usually point back to a missed opportunity to really understand your customer. Maybe they moved and their old address was never scrubbed out, or customer service logs indicate the last transaction was a poor one and as a company you never bothered to “miss and recover.” If you are not a retailer, then perhaps you sent an ill-timed direct mail piece to the home of a patient without bothering to update records only to realize that the patient actually died two years ago. (That happened to me recently.)

Your methods to “manage” that customer seem to be a well-conducted orchestra. However, you likely overlooked key evidence of disconnect that was in front of you all along.

(“We had a love … a love … a love you don’t find everyday …”)

Like any tool used to woo, you have to hone your effort to evolve and reach your intended target on a more 1:1, individualized basis. While lofty in its aim, the 1:1 relationship is why you have CRM in the first place, right?

If the answer is no, then perhaps you need a shot of tequila and a dose of reality to know some CRM sales guy likely laughed all the way to the bank for hoodwinking you into a “Customer Relations Mess,” which now sits on your back end virtually useless in its mission.

Or, if you agree that 1:1 is the goal of your CRM efforts, you need to detail a very granular “blueprint” of the customer path from lead generation to purchase or opt-in through display and email all the way to social. Map all touch-points, pace of encounters, engagement and timing. Follow that path with a careful, critical eye. If you are missing key interludes and opportunities to “know” that customer, then you need to halt the process and dig deeper.

CRM is truly like a gym membership; you are going to get out of it what you put into it and just “showing up” isn’t going to work.

A simple data entry error can make or break your relationship, with or without tequila.

Work hard; bring back that loving feeling …

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