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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Old School CRM.

For those skeptical whether a company wants or can have true relationships with its customers, here is the bulletin board of a Starbucks I happened upon in my travels:

A simple note, handwritten cards with customers' names, favorite drinks & details. The odd customer photo. How long do you think that it took to construct this mural? 30 minutes? 60?

The answer is on the blackboard. 4 years of investment in customer relationships, made 30 seconds at a time.

ANY company can have this kind of relationship with its customers. Only those willing to invest 4 years do.

(No, it’s not lost on me that it is really people that create and maintain the relationships. Service businesses are about people, and front line staff in particular. Front line people are the are “product”, the marketers and the customer service staff. Customers’ feelings about them are transferred to the company. Customers’ feelings about the company are likewise transferred to them.)

(One other note from this: Want to be the Mercedes of your industry? The Ogilvy of your local market? The Zappos of your niche? In service businesses, all three are represented by your front line providers. 3 functions in 1. Don’t tell me service businesses are inefficient.)

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