The World is Upside Down

This blog spends a lot of pixels on the topic of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).  How can companies manage their customers.  How can we keep current customers loyal and retain them?  How can we find new customers who will be profitable and love us and stay with us?

Simple answer?

You can’t.

You don’t really manage customers anymore — if you ever did.  Perhaps the idea was always unreasonable.

Customers are people.  Newsflash.

People are unpredictable.  People are not, by nature, loyal.  If they were the divorce rate wouldn’t be at 50%.

People only care about what they care about NOW.  Today.  If you are selling Christmas trees to Jews they won’t care.  They don’t use them (well, some do but not many).

Customers buy what they WANT to buy and the key today is not in trying to manage your customers but in understanding who they are, what they want (or need) and making it easy for them to be in the right place at the right time with the right story.    Story is key here — because customers need to be able to find what they need when they need it.

And it needs to be simple.  Simple for customers to understand what your widget is.  Easy for them to understand why it matters to THEM (not you, they could care less about you) and then make it easy for them to get to the end result of what they want.   Intuitive (like a iPod, like a GUI (graphical user interface) versus a c: prompt).

The customer is now in charge of the world.  Realize it.  Embrace it.  So now more than ever is “know thy customer” and realize that while you need them, they don’t need you.  Unless you give them a reason to need you.

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About Sandra Eisenberg

Dynamic pragmatic marketing and sales executive whose biggest asset is converting technology to real corporate value -- for a variety of industries including health care providers (Adventist Health System Sunbelt), Teradata (Data Warehousing), RWD Technologies (quality improvement and professional services), Siemens and AT&T (telecom). Sandra brings twenty years of experience in sales, marketing and IT management. Her career spans entrepreneurial firms (E5 Marketing) and senior positions in sales, sales management (direct and indirect), marketing, channel development and product management at Bell Labs and NCR Teradata. A few career highlights: • Total product lifecycle management (PLM) using ISO 9001 and other quality methodologies. Sunset aging product lines and developed a migration path to a new, open standards platforms at Avaya, NCR and Bell Labs. • 1st woman to win the AT&T and NCR Teradata national sales awards -- top sales manager and sales rep at AT&T, NCR Teradata and Avaya • Delivered profitable marketing campaigns in the area of CRM, Business intelligence, contact centers and other high tech areas • Run call centers, sold call centers and been in product management of call centers (Avaya, AT&T and NCR) • Director of CRM Strategic Planning and Alliances at Avaya and NCR Teradata • Senior Manager of Product Management Bell Labs (business intelligence, data warehousing and CRM) Most recently Sandra managed the Central Florida territory for Siemens' telephony division. Siemens is selling this division soon and their loss can be your gain.

Posted on August 14, 2009, in business intelligence, click and mortar, CRM, customer relationship management, Guerilla Marketing, internet, internet marketing, Marketing, Pragmatic Marketing, product lifecycle, product management, viral marketing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. how true. Customers — you need them they don’t need you.

    This afternoon one customer rep. made me so mad I finally decided, after 40 years, to quit. I am going to find another bank that might appreciate ME as their customer.

    I find it astonishing that many organization/company do so little in selecting and training their front-line solders, employees that customers have their first contact – receptionists, personnel that man the counters such as at banks, checkout etc. , and believe me, the engineers, installers etc. for organization such as Lucent. Train these people how to deal with customers, how to communicate, active listening etc. The people management skills of these employees would either keep or chase your customers away.

    • Cindy, you are so right! Buyers are in charge, and if a CSR (customer service rep) makes you mad you may just “walk away.” If you’ve been a customer for 40 years you may want to escalate and talk to a manager first as your experience may have been an anomaly, but your reaction is more and more typical. Customer loyalty is dead — and price shopping as well as atrocious customer treatment by vendors is why. If you think the training of front line contacts is bad, just think of the contact center which is generally “manned” by Indians and Chinese who don’t even speak English well.

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