What’s With The Complicated Social CRM Maturity Models?

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Since becoming a reborn CRM consultant – at least how I think about CRM – I’ve always tried to look at a business and figure out where they were, evolution-wise, on the path to true customer-centricity.  Placing a business on this simple linear chart makes it easy to understand the work that needs to be done, and it paints a simple picture for your customer.

  1. You never even think about your customers
  2. You realize that maybe products aren’t everything
  3. You realize that customers are everything
  4. You realize that your customers deserve more value
  5. Your have everything you need to deliver what your customers really need, and you can even shape their behavior

Customer-centric companies have always gotten it. They’ve gone through this, or a similar evolutionary (or maturity) process. But you will stumble upon companies that are at varying stages of this process. Actually, some may think they are standing erect, because the own CRM software, but are actually still dragging their knuckles.

Then Everything Has To Go And Change

We’ve all been so focused on the exciting changes in technology and communication media that many of us have missed the fact that our customers are changing at the same rate as technology. They’ve become social.

OK, the cavemen were social too. Actually, I believe that we’ve come full circle because in the days of small communities and no high-speed travel, you lived among the customers. So business itself hasn’t evolved, it’s revolved. But a specific business is fully capable of having a knuckle dragging cave-like (think cubicle) culture where nothing is important outside your own four corners. You leave to hunt for your prey, and return to the safety of the cave.

Of course, with Raquel Welch there, it’s a great place to come back to, right?

If I’m going to attempt to show a business the path to customer-centricity and social engagement, an elaborate Visio chart may confuse them more often than not. Personally, I haven’t worked with anyone that didn’t glaze over when one of those went up on the screen. In fact, I’ve seen prospects and customers nearly revolt when a complex series bars, triangles, zooming clouds and exploding pie charts jammed onto a single screen – all in an attempt to explain a simple concept.

Maybe everyone in large enterprises need to congratulate each other for their ability to confuse and obfuscate a concept; so no one stands up and challenges what they see. Are they trying to look smart for their clients?

Sure, it may be accurate, but is it effective? I’ll leave that to each of you to figure out. Meanwhile, I will continue along in my simple-minded ways, painting easy to understand pictures and using analogies that my simple-minded customer base (just kidding) can actually use it to their benefit.

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