Saturday, September 12, 2009

Situational Awareness with CRM and EFM

At the shore, Sandpipers walk in brisk and purposeful fashion in their pursuit of opportunities. There is a ridiculous joy watching them go about their business. As I move towards them they move away in unison to stay at a safe distance. When I move away, they likewise retake the territory. With their quick reaction time they appear to be reading the mind of a beachcomber like me. This is situational awareness and it makes them an apex survivor.

Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Feedback Management systems are tools that help less capable survivors like us obtain such situational awareness. According to the Aberdeen Group, these “technologies have helped many [organizations] apply structure into the management of their customer relationships and improve customer sales, service, and profitability.” In addition, Doyle, et al (2003, p 1) report that people using these systems have the highest success rates in the business. Why? “The reason is simple: salespeople actually use it. It’s the solution they love….”

To answer the Discussion Topic posed in the WVU IMC 626 Course, I disagree that CRM/EFM are “not the way to go with large customers.” To be fair, the tool under comment was customer sat studies, but as Gartner points out, customer sat surveys are the tactical end of EFM (see Kolsky, 2006, pp 3-5). Vanides (2009, p 4) points out that CRM is the who, what, when, where and how of customers. EFM is the why. In addition, EFM provides the surveying framework for customer management. Vanides sums it up by saying (p. 1) that everyone in the organization needs sales analytics specific to his or her role.

She goes on to say (p. 4) “Measuring and predicting a customer’s attitude toward a company and/or its products, however, is still quite new, and represents the third piece of the customer data trifecta when combined with behavioral and transactional information.” She mentions predicting. This predicting makes us quicker. We become just like Sandpipers and appear to be reading our customer’s minds.

Beasty (2007, p 29) says that companies now want to know what customers are thinking. They are turning to EFM systems for that answer. He also observes that EFMs have helped organize surveys and integrate them with the enterprise data so that the information they return can be used throughout the business (p. 30).

Enterprise Feedback management applications have three levels of functionality, (see Kolsky, 2006, pp 3-5), which are additive, the latter upon the earlier:

  • Tactical: Feedback is collected through a single channel, and basic reporting is done to understand opinions and feelings on a specific subject. It lacks historical perspective, centralization, advanced analysis and integration with processes.

  • Process: Feedback is used as part of a process to aid or improve profiling and interactions between the enterprise and employees, partners and customers.

  • Enterprise: Feedback is accumulated and centralized from internal sources and third parties (such as market research agencies) to analyze information and reach conclusions to establish or modify a strategy, and using data mining to derive unanticipated conclusions.
In reply to our guest visitor, I would say that customer sat surveys are valid by letting us know what is going on and how we can improve to keep our customers happy. The purpose is more than getting a customer tell us they are satisfied but more importantly to learn how to make them happy.

Aberdeen Group. Sovereign Bank: Improving Sales Processes and Customer Service with Salesnet. Retrieved on September 4, 2009 from WVU IMC 626 Week Three Readings.

Beasty, C. (February 2007) Feedback Mountain. Customer Relationship Management. Retrieved on September 4, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

Doyle, M., Starr D., and R. Martin (2003). Salesnet: Change or Die. Retrieved on September 4, 2009 from WVU IMC 626 Week Three Readings.

Kolsky, E (May 6, 2005). Making the Transition from Surveys to Enterprise Feedback Management Systems. Gartner Research. Gartner ID# G00126781

Kolsky, E (July 5, 2006). How to Decide Which Enterprise Feedback Management Tool is Right for You. . Gartner Research. Gartner ID# G00140842

Vanides, Alexia (2009). Lesson 3: Developing OST for B-to-B DM Campaigns, About Lead Generation Management. Retrieved from WVU IMC 626 Week Three Lesson on September 4, 2009.

No comments: