The concepts and practices of CRM are evolving at a fast pace. CRM systems started as contact data store and progressed to track leads, opportunities, activities, appointment alerts and calculating pipeline. They were born with the idea that the customer profile data could be mixed with transactional information, collected by the CRM systems. Using transactional data, it can be possible to have past data about customer preferences and make some future predictions too. CRM’s focus was on customer analytics, automating processes to increase accuracy of forecasts, timely routing of leads and real time alerts to ensure consistent follow-ups. CRM’s focus on transactional and demographic data made it more like a static activity log and it lacked more dynamic data about the intentions of the customers, customer’s view points, opinions, and experiences.
Enterprise Feedback Management and Social CRM, both move the CRM from a static activity log to more dynamic interactive platform. Will it be possible to integrate these initiatives? Will they complement each other and be more insightful? Or will they both together just create unnecessary overlapping and more chaos? While thinking about these issues, I came across an interesting blog The Evolution of Customer Familiarity. It was interesting to read how they all can coexist and complement each other. With Enterprise Feedback Management, organizations began to use surveys, focused on customer satisfaction, intentions, needs, and wants. These feedback events, consolidated into an EFM system that integrated with the demographical and transactional data collected in CRM systems, focused on behavioral (what they did) and attitudinal (what they wanted to do) data from customers. Since we had analytics, this integration of EFM and CRM allows organizations to understand better customers behaviors and model experiences behind them.
With the use of open-edit or text-box questions added to the surveys, the data collected was rich and very valuable. This rich data, in unstructured form, became a treasure of sorts, where companies could learn more about their customers than they ever could before. This data is critical to all efforts across the organization to learn more about the customer. With the entry of social CRM, it is possible to be part of the customers’ experiences and real time conversations in the real settings and get much richer data. Analyzing these sentiments in addition to the behavioral and attitudinal data can yield a true view into the customer’s mind. It does not replace any of the other data, it complements it.
Instead of our age old constant pursuits of rationalization and simplification, finally we have started accepting and leveraging complexity and quantity of data and information.