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We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trolling the CRM blog world... .

Found something I like:

"Don't blame CRM for your Customer Service Failures" by Rashid Khan of Ultimus.

The title caught my eye, and I very much agree with his first thesis:

"For years enterprises have tried to combat customer service issues with technology. For example, often organizations do not have a central location to keep all of a customer's data. The customer's e-mail requests are stored in one location while records of phone conversations are located someplace else. When this happens the call center manager approaches the IT manager and says, "We need a database". The IT manager then researches the latest in knowledge-bases and buys the technology that will best fit the current architecture.

After spending quite a bit of time and money getting this knowledge-base up and running, the system still doesn't seem to run smoothly. Data is not inputted regularly so the information in the knowledge-base is often stale, incomplete or inaccurate. The Call Center manager then goes back to the IT manager and complains that the customer relationship management (CRM) solution is not working properly. To which the IT manager protests that the technology is working fine, but it is the fault of the agents for not using it properly. The ensuing result of the project is another piece of technology not being used to the best of its ability and the gap between IT and the business user is driven further apart."

But I must take issue with his simple solution: "process planning and automation".

Customer Service is a human interchange, an interchange between people. YES, process planning and automation can help the interchange be more "productive", but it requires the human touch to make it more meaningful and memorable.

CRM, in fact technology of any kind, should augment our ability to fulfil the human desire to connect with each other and create value together through the connection.

For a customer, the ideal company to do business with is one that is designed exactly to fulfil the customer's needs.

With technology, we are getting closer to this ideal, but first we have to understand very well the range of experiences, services and products the business can deliver, and how to organize all of these so that each individual customer gets just the experience that is relevant, timely, memorable and personally valuable.

Process planning and automation is just part of the solution.

I do like Rashid Khan's blog of Nov 22, and just wanted to add the essential "human touch" After all, what is the good of "cheaper better faster" if there is no human meaning and human value involved?

Winners of the Best CRM Blogs: Paul Greenberg and Chris Carfi

Back blogging again! I'm inspired to write by Paul Greenberg's winning of the SearchCRM Best CRM Blog award. He won it with Chris Carfi author of The Social Customer Manifesto. Congratulations Paul and Chris!

Just returned from Singapore last week. The trip had two focusing themes:

BizARTS and Service Excellence. Both relevant to CRM.

BizARTS is the name of the new venture being launched by Min Lee, Singapore's prodigy violinist, just returned from studying in the US and amazingly, very interested in contributing to the community she grew up in. She believes Arts IS Life. I'm involved because I see business has so much to learn from the arts in the specific area of delivering Customer Experences!

Service Excellence is the Singapore National Initiative launched in October to increase the level of service in Singapore. Clearly its part of a long term push within the country to transform into a Service Economy. I'm thrilled that they are taking the long view and seeing that a gracious society is essential to having an attractive economically vibrant service economy, knowledge economy.

The Experience Economy is coming!