Marshall Lager is the founder and managing principal of Third Idea Consulting, LLC. We've hired Marshall to provide his perspective on the CRM industry, Sage news, and the state of customer/company dialogue in general.
I was thinking today about the similarities between bad CRM practices and owning cats. I realize that telling you this and then writing about it may hurt my credibility, but (1) it’s true that I was thinking this and (2) I am really tapped for better ideas today, so here goes.
The dialogue, if you can call it that, between cats and their owners is mostly in one direction. I buy a new toy or type of food for the cats, and then try to interpret their interest—marketing. We don’t speak the same language, just as businesses often don’t think of a successful product in the same way a customer would.
Once I’ve started the marketing campaign, the next step in KRM (Kitty Relationship Management) is trying to close the deal, turning up the pressure in order to sell the cats (their names are Cookie and Dr. Harbl, in case you were wondering) on the wonders of these new rawhide mice, or frozen raw venison burgers, or whatever. Again, the success or failure of my efforts is dependent on factors I can neither predict nor understand. In time I might develop some insight to what these particular cats prefer, but I can’t necessarily communicate that information to somebody else, nor can I apply it to other cats.
Kitty customer service? Again, failure to communicate is the order of the day. I am prepared to respond to certain requests from my cats, so every time they provide input I try to interpret it in light of those expected requests: feed me, pet me, or clean the litter box. It took a while to learn that last request, mainly because my own data told me I was doing an adequate job. If I’m not doing what the cats want, they have limited means for setting me on the right track, and if they don’t lodge some kind of protest, I continue with what I’ve been doing.
Good CRM, especially the social kind, is like speaking cat language. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but trust me—it’s huge. If you’ve ever had a cat deposit its “customer feedback” on your laundry bag, you’ll agree.