July 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 2
CRM, BPO & Teleservices
51 Reasons Why CRM Is Like Sex
By David Sims
1. It's great when you get it right.
2. Sometimes the benefits, or other consequences, don't show up for months.
3. You'd be amazed how many times somebody's image and reputation exceed their actual capability and performance.
4. You can have the I.Q. of a fence post and still do it well, because it's more about how you make someone feel.
5. The government's still working on finding a way to tax it.
6. The whole point is to get repeat business from the customers you want, and to gently encourage the others to pursue more appropriate relationships.
7. There has to be a return on your investment, whether that is $20 on drinks or $20,000 on Salesforce.com.
8. If the ROI isn't there, maybe you need to redefine your goals.
9. Technology isn't really the point.
10. Getting it on demand is one option these days, but many still prefer on-site.
11. If you're having trouble with it there are any number of magazine articles to help you. Just take this ten-question quiz.
12. Long-term relationships are much more satisfying and profitable than one-off interactions.
13. Consultants can only take you so far.
14. Those who sell it generally don't have your long-term interests in mind.
15. You can spend a lot of money on it and still not be satisfied.
16. The basic principles really aren't that hard to grasp, the whole trick's in the art of the execution.
17. The best kind is the kind you don't spend money on.
18. It has to be good for both parties involved.
19. If you do it right it can really boost your reputation, and maybe get yourself some additional business.
20. It's more important to small, independent operators than to big corporations.
21. Sometimes telephone assistance just doesn't cut it.
22. Reading books about it is great, yeah, and they can be helpful, but you really need to get out and see how the theory works in action — some of what you read in books or hear from others may not work for you and your particular customers.
23. The French really aren't as good as they would like you to think they are.
24. There'll always be new theories and new fads, but the basic principles change relatively little year to year.
25. The right music helps.
26. Pretty much anyone's capable of improving at it.
27. Some really don't see the benefits of spending a lot of time and money and effort to improve how they do it. But people notice, though, and you'd be amazed how much that factors into their decision-making.
28. Everybody brags about how well they do it.
29. You can sure spend a lot of money on the extras without gaining much in the way of substantial improvement in the fundamentals.
30. Every interaction is different. This is why case studies aren't as helpful as you think they would be.
31. It's always fun to read about how someone else failed at it.
32. Certain people just seem to have a gift for it that can't be taught. Those people will never be out of work.
33. Practice might not make perfect, but hopefully there are some mistakes you'll stop making.
34. The government's not good at it.
35. A lot of people have made a lot of money off it without really benefiting the end customer.
36. If what you do is working, stick with it.
37. There are a lot more failures than people admit.
38. Everybody thinks they can do it better the next time.
39. It's common for people to wrongly blame tools for failures, when the problem most likely is the wrong tool for the wrong job in the first place.
40. Great-looking products don't always provide satisfaction.
41. The importance of detailed knowledge of your customer can't be overstated.
42. Different people need it done differently to ensure satisfaction.
43. It's really hard to set down absolute rules for everyone to follow at all times, the trick is learning which alternatives to check down to.
44. Personal beats impersonal ten times out of ten — it doesn't have to be perfect every time, and if you show that you're trying to make up for a mistake, boy, let me tell you, that goes a long way.
45. Your customer is the final judge of how well you did it.
46. If the three basic ingredients are people, process and technology, that's the correct order for them.
47. Having everything mapped out and scripted ahead of time is not the way to provide the optimal experience, since it can come off as cold, calculated and impersonal.
48. You wouldn't believe how important communication is to it.
49. Speed really isn't an advantage if you want a long-term relationship.
50. If you want to ignore human nature and expect people to fit into your abstract theories, you're going to be pretty lonely.
51. Learning on the job is half the fun.
– David Sims is contributing editor, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.