WHAT IS CRM, really?

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CRM=? customer relationship thumb up

CRM=Customer Relationship Management, on the one hand, and CRM=Customer Retention Management, on the other.  Which is it?  Why does it matter?  Who cares?  Aren’t they both the same anyway?

Whoa!  First of all, there’s a remarkably big difference.  I heard a major sales muckity-muck from a humongous corporate entity–who really should know better–give a presentation today to one of my clients, and he tossed out the terms interchangeably before finally parking himself in the retention garage.

A careless miscue methinks.  Something about that ambivalence represented his whole attitude, which was essentially to laugh and smile his way through misleading and oh-one-more-thing half-truth price quotes that seemed to change with each clock tick closer to New Year’s.

Managing relationships with customers and attracting new ones by virtue of positive-oriented, proactive processes that involve some give and take, some sharing, the development of “high trust,” and mutual respect based on consistent demonstrations of integrity is where best-practice, leadership companies continue to move.

On the flip side, managing to retain or keep customers is a negative-oriented, knee-jerk reactive, desperation-based process that amounts to clinging-on-to-customer behaviors and seeking to appease at all costs . . . even giving away the store (or farm, or horse, or youngest son or whatever)because customer RETENTION programs are driven by insecurities and fears.

Ah, yes, well there is that little economic suffocation pit we’re thinking we need to be crawling out of.  Bull!  If you think that, you show that, and you won’t sell stilts to pygmies.  Get off your knees and out of the hole and stand up tall and sell value and sell your confident self!  Focus on the relationship!

And customers, by the way, get this.  It’s easy to spot people selling their wares from a position of perceived weakness, compared to those who register in the strong zone as they present themselves.

Think about it.  Would you rather have someone level with you and work to cultivate a relationship with you, or speak to you with crooked mouth and work to retain you?  There’s a much bigger difference in the RE words (RElationship and REtention) than most probably stop to think about.

The differences though account for the both the personality and the character of a given company.  Because the difference is a matter of attitude.

Attitude, we might want to remind ourselves is what accounts for the difference between success and failure, on the athletic field, on the stage, on the factory floor, in the farmland, the office cubicle, the great outdoors (to make sure we cover all you forest rangers, lumberjacks, truck drivers, lifeguards and ski patrol people out there), the boardroom, or the computer workstation.

It’s all about attitude.  All. 

What’s YOUR business ALL about?                  

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 931.854.0474    Hal@BusinessWorks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”  [Thomas Jefferson]

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