Intrigued by the discussion in Customer Think about the definition of CRM, I went to take a look, and found it, well…. “so yesterday”.
So I’ve jumped in an started working my way down the text, revising.
Here’s what I’ve changed so far. Your thoughts ?
“Customer relationship management (CRM) is a customer-centric business strategy with the goal of maximizing profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction.  Technologies that support this business purpose include the capture, storage and analysis of customer, vendor, partner, and internal process information. Functions that support this business purpose include Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, Training, Professional Development, Performance Management, Human Resource Development and Compensation. Technology to support CRM initiatives must be integrated as part of an overall customer-centric strategy. Many CRM initiatives have failed because implementation was limited to software installation without alignment to a customer-centric strategy.
There are many aspects of CRM which were mistakenly thought to be possible to be implemented in isolation from each other. 
From the outside of the organization, a customer experiences the business as one entity operating over extended periods of time. Thus piecemeal CRM implementation can come across to the customer audience like a rock band whose members are playing independently of one another, yet standing on the same stage at the same time.
CRM is the coordinating glue that gets the band members playing the same tune, in the same tempo, to create the overall desired effect for the customer.
Who is in the CRM Band?
Vocals = Customer facing Operations – The people and the technology support of processes that affect a customer’s experience at the frontline interface between the customer and the organization. This can include face to face, phone, IM, chat, email, web and combinations of all medium. Self-service kiosk and web self-service are doing the job of vocals and they belong here.
Lead Guitar = Internal Collaborative Functions – The people and technology support of processes at the policy and back office which ultimately affect the activiites of the Customer Facing Operations concerning the building and maintaining of customer relationships.
Bass Guitar = External Collaboration functions – The people and technology support of processes supporting an organization and its cultivation of customer relationships that are affected by the organization’s own relationship with suppliers/vendors and retail outlets/distributors. Some would also include industry cooperative networks, e.g. lobbying groups, trade associations. This is the unmistakable foundation and beat to which the Vocals and Lead Guitar play against.
Back up Vocals = Customer Advocates and Experiene Designers – Creative designers of customer experience that meet customer relationship goals. They write the music and lyrics for the CRM Band.
Percussion = Performance Management and Marketing Analysis – Design and collect metrics and data so as to design marketing campaigns, call campaigns, Web strategy, and determine if CRM strategy is working in delivering ultimate outcomes: market share, customers, revenue, profitability, intellectual property concerning customers preferences.
Recording studio technicians and producers = Customer and Employee Surveys and Analysis to see how the customer would hear it
The technology requirements of a CRM strategy must be guided by an overall view of who is the customer and what value they are to get from engaging with the organization.
The basic building blocks: (continuing the Band analogy)
Power = *A database for customer lifecycle (time series) information
Music = Translating customer needs and profitability projection into game plans for different segments of customers, captured by customer interactions (Human, automated or combinations of both) into software that tracks whether that game plan is followed or not,and whether the desired outcomes are obtained.
Lyrics = Numbers and description of whether goals were met and models of customer segments and game plans worked as hypothesized.
Practice, Practice, Practice = Training and improving processes and technology to get closer to desired results. Its a complex system. Practice is required. No one gets it right first time, and a band has to find its rhythm before it rocks.
Playback = Analytical and quality monitoring CRM using voice recognition, video pattern matching, statistical analysis, activity-based costing to ultimately determine profitability of customer relationship policies and activities over the lifecycle of each customer segment.
Each of these can be implemented in a basic manner or fully orchestrated.”
CRM definition in Wikipedia continues, and I will work my way down in the next few months.
1 Bligh, Philip and Douglas Turk. 2004. CRM unplugged – releasing CRM’s strategic value. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
2 Rigby, Darrell K., Frederick F. Reichheld, and Phil Schefter. 2002. Avoid the four perils of CRM. Harvard Business Review 80 (2):101-109.
3 Searls, Doc 2006, http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1000137
“I will know the silo system has been replace(d) by a free market when vendors realize that they can learn far more, sell far more, and improve their offerings far more, if they actually relate to their customers, rather than lock them in CRM silos that remain instruments of global indifference to what customers might actually want.”