Blog post

New Definition of CRM: Getting and Giving Attention

By Scott Nelson | September 29, 2021 | 1 Comment

Customer Service and SupportCustomer ServiceCRM StrategyCRM Strategy and Customer Experience

If you don’t know who Alan See is you really should. He is one of the people who has helped build the CRM space over the years. In a recent tweet, he caught my attention with the comment that CRM has become all about attention; getting it and giving it. This comment got me to thinking,

To be sure, firms have always worked hard and spent big to get the customer’s attention. Marketing and Sales are all about standing out to potential customers, i.e. getting their attention. And as the attention span of individuals has become more fragmented, more and more money and effort has been devoted to those efforts.

But the other side of the coin has not been emphasized as much, namely how does the customer get the attention of the firms they do business with? Contact centers have supposed to help with that. And indeed their has been a proliferation of channels designed to supposedly allow the customer to get the attention of firms they deal with. But do they really accomplish that goal?

It would seem that if companies really built their CRM strategies around helping their customers get the firm’s attention, there would be more emphasis placed on the central idea of CRM, namely building a relationship. Yet the sad reality is that most firms still treat customers as transactional entities, not relationships. They try to streamline the transactions, not build the relationship.

If CRM were really about the latter, and about allowing customers to get our attention, we would emphasize knowing what the customer was really saying, not what they are asking about in this transaction. Where are they on their journey? How can we remove friction in our interactions, and build on them? How are they feeling about the relationship? And that would mean more than a voice of the customer survey that asks how they are doing on a 5 point scale.

It’s something to think about. Attention. How do we get it, and how do we let our customers get it from us?

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1 Comment

  • Hi Scott,
    These are similar concerns from many years past it seems to me.
    The keyword added to this discussion is “friction”.

    With increased concerns with data privacy and breaches friction has had to be increased to assuage these concerns. The difference is clients on what type of interactions it is expected or not. Risk appropriate friction is becoming more important.
    For instance for a contact center or online session to an FS organization clients expect and hope for more friction if they are transferring or paying huge sums of $ to other accounts. Conversely low risk functions such as inquiries on balances much less friction is expected. Many firms continue to treat these the same in spite of the difference in risk. Only a layered fraud and identity strategy to verify the client and authenticate the transaction can help mitigate this issue.

    As in the past, point solutions don’t offer the same level of protection and focus on customer experience. I think gaining mutual trust is every bit as important in getting the attention of the vendor and improving the customer relationship.

    Keep up the great work with the blogging.