As architects of optimal CRM programmes for clients, we are often privy to CRM ‘pitfalls’ which we call the ‘Seven Deadly Sins of CRM’. Avoid them at all costs if you truly wish to create positive and enduring customer relationships…
‘Pride’ can be positive for sure but it can also be your downfall – as in ‘it’s all about us/our company/aren’t we great’. CRM is not about corporate monologue and telling your customers all about you all of the time. This makes you the equivalent of the dinner party bore. Relationship is the key word here – think about creating two-way dialogue, interaction and soliciting opinion for example. Be interested and interesting. At BURN we have an engagement framework which ensures our creative is both.
‘Greed’. Ahem, well. Of course most companies are seeking to create profitable revenue. There’s no shame in that. However, CRM is not simply an arsenal of weapons to fire out a multitude of cross-sell and upsell messages – however ‘shiny and clever’ your tech stack is. Instead, understand your customers – what they feel, what they want and what they need preferably by combining data-led insights with primary research. In other words, be customer and not self-centred and work towards genuine value exchange over time rather than seeing customers as ‘cannon fodder’ to hit tactical sales targets.
‘Gluttony.’ Similar to the above really – but this one is about volume. Companies wanting too much too often can be responsible for turning CRM programmes into a ‘spam machine’. Sure email provides a low cost of entry as a direct channel but everyone is at it. Your own inbox tells you so! So manage frequency to avoid over-contacting your customers and ensure that your company considers the customer first in terms of prioritising communications – too often everyone is shooting at customers from silos and sending them straight to the unsubscribe button.
‘Envy’ is OK if it means you’re looking jealously at competitor CRM and wondering how you can create even better customer experiences. But the smart marketer will innovate for its own audience when going one better. For example, Waitrose didn’t do a Tesco Clubcard ‘me too’ to drive loyalty, they did it in a way that was right for their customer base and built brand connection. It’s a great example of not needing a functional points scheme to achieve a loyalty objective.
‘Lust’ I am not going to condemn, as long as you seduce your customers with TLC appropriate to their needs. Put your customer at the heart of CRM planning and you’ll be rewarded with a partnership that rewards you with revenue, tenure and advocacy. Just don’t expect great things from quick flings i.e. short term, trading communications that masquerade as CRM!
‘Wrath’ these days tends to present itself as frustration amongst clients around certain aspects of CRM. Stakeholders not being supportive is a common reason for ‘wrath’, so it’s important to get senior level sponsors from across the organisation on board from the off (which is why our CRM roadmap for clients does just this). Buying a costly CRM solution and then finding it is not fit for purpose or well enough supported is another. So scope carefully and for the long term.
Finally..sloth. Not a slow moving tropical mammal but a reluctance to make an effort! In fairness, we don’t encounter many lazy marketers – it is more often companies’ senior management failing to make investment decisions around data and tech support soon enough that stymies CRM success. Of course utopia is when you have the optimal programme up and running, with automation making your job a breeze. Reach that point and you do deserve to put your feet up for at least a few minutes a day…just don’t let the boss see.