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March 03, 2011

Two Questions to Judge Your Customer Dialogue Efficiency in Your CRM Solution

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A recent white paper from Infor with the promising title “Continuous Customer Dialogues: Strategies for growth and loyalty in multi-channel customer-oriented organizations” deals with just that -- “the challenges of implementing a customer-centric strategy.”

As the paper’s authors ask, “Do you have the right insight into the customer ,and do you have the ability to respond to the needs and interests of the customer based on that insight?” Only the unusually blithe would simply say “Yes yes, we have that all under control, no problems” and skip along. For most, it’s certainly worth looking at.

Infor breaks it down into two categories:

Customer-specific offers. Rather than pushing products, does your organization have enough insight about the customer to create offers based on the individual needs of those specific customers at the moment of interaction?

And if you said yes to that one, how about the consistency of your customer experience? Does your company provide a consistent experience for each customer-initiated contact across multi-channel touchpoints, defined as the web, call center, kiosk, or retail outlet? As the Infor paper puts it, “Does your company take advantage of this opportunity to understand the geographic, demographic, and psychographic characteristics of customers and build trust and strengthen their emotional ties to the company?”

In the paper Infor explains how the continuous customer dialogue vision “brings together strategic issues such as customer profiling, Customer Data Integration (CDI), and multi-channel, closed-loop, and real-time marketing into a single comprehensive framework.”

A brief outline of how organizations can implement this vision and deliver measurable business results:

Create a single view of the customer. Companies across the globe have commented that this is the most challenging data aspect of their IT initiatives due to disparate, legacy, external, and non-integrated systems.

Gaining customer insight requires analytical capabilities as a first step for developing predictable customer behavior based on a set of criteria. Depending on the volume and complexity of customers, products, and services, organizations may deploy various data mining, data analysis, or optimization technologies.

Make every customer interaction count. Each customer-initiated contact -- whether it is through the web, call center, kiosk, or retail outlet—is more than an opportunity to address a specific transactional need. It is an opportunity to strengthen the overall emotional ties with the customer.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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