Thursday, December 18, 2008

How To Engage Customer

Customer Engagement is built on simple human behaviour. It seems illogical that so many companies claim to have captured it in complex systems. Agreed, human behaviour does have its complex side ' often it shows it ' but at the level that counts it is simple. The preferred form of complex system that has been widely sold, only to disappoint, is CRM.

If ever there were a misnomer it is "Customer Relationship Management
System". As my colleague David Butler, a true doyen of the IT industry, has pointed out CRM is simply customer record management. Like all record management tools
it cannot aspire to be predictive in a meaningful way. If you plan on the basis of CRM you are in real danger of steering the ship while looking backwards at the wake.

If that were all it would be unfortunate that so many have invested so much with so little return. Sadly that is not all. Many of the vendors that tempt firms into investment in systems solutions go one huge step too far. They are actually saying to you "You are not up to running your business effectively in today's environment. Hand it over to us and we will run it for you - at a cost", (normally a huge cost). But Customer Engagement is a very human interaction. To pretend that a technological system can replace humanity is frankly ludicrous.

A conversation and more

Current marketing philosophy is at last becoming enlightened. It holds that marketing can no longer be a one-way street. It is a human conversation between real people in which desires, needs and feelings - particularly feelings - can be fully expressed and satisfied. Customer Engagement is the culmination of that conversation when customer and supplier have developed a "Customer Relationship" in which each is totally committed to the other's success and prosperity. It used to be said that "Unless everybody in a business is marketing that business, nobody is". The need for building conversations grows and with it the matching need for everybody in the business to seek to take forward that conversation at every opportunity grows with it. Sensitivity and involvement are essential.

So is leadership. If the top management in your business do not engage in these conversations that are vital to building relationships then how can they expect a computer system to do it?

Attract and retain

Businesses and governments across the globe are recognising the simple fact that there are not enough really talented people in the world to meet the growing needs of business. Intelligent governments and businesses are working together creatively to attract and retain the best of the best people. Help is at hand as much evidence shows that the environment that you build to foster top quality Customer Engagement is also the low cost way to attract and retain the very talent you need to provide it.

Having attracted the best of the best, howeverBusiness Management Articles, a need emerges that goes beyond avoiding hassle. Talented people need opportunities to use their talents. You must also provide the talented leadership that sets the example for them to follow. Can a system hope to provide it? Customer Engagement can.

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