Last month on Management Issues I suggested that you forget CRM and think MCR - Maximising Customer Relationships. That means proactively developing relationships that give the best to, and get the best from, the customers you want.
That's an approach that is central to being a 3D Businesses - one that takes a Dramatically and Demonstrably Different approach to their relationships - and is something that every business could and should consider.Here are some of the things that characterise how they do that.
Think strategically: They develop a strategic view to creating, developing and maintaining win-win relationships with customers they want to work with.
Understand: They understand who their best customers are, what they want, and what a maximised relationships with them looks like (for both parties).
Get Focused: They ensure their efforts and resources are focused on the customers they want and prioritise plans to proactively maximise those relationships and the opportunities they provide.
Create Dialogue, Not Diatribe: They recognise that customers need to be engaged - and engaged on their terms. As a result, they work hard at creating real conversations with their customers via the appropriate channels and formats and at the frequency that those customers want.
Add Value: They regularly and proactively provide customers with relevant new ideas, information and solutions that add value.
Get Personal: They make their customers feel valued by personalising their offer. They know that the more personalised it feels, the more difficult it is for competitors to get in there.
Maximise Opportunities: As well as giving the best to their customers, they also focus on getting the best from them - usually in the form of repeat business, more opportunities and loyalty by ensuring that their people can spot and maximise opportunities.
Think 'Share of Customer': They proactively identify and prioritise the customers where opportunities lie and educate their customers about their total capabilities. No 'heavy sells', but proactively building and maximising their relationships and the opportunities that exist.
Listen: They have proactive feedback mechanisms that tell them what their customers really think about them and their performance.
Leverage: They recognise the power of word of mouth, and encourage (and sometimes incentivise) their customers and contacts to refer them to others.
Please remember, this is NOT about pushing things at customers they don't want. It's about building relationships and maximising those relationships. It's an approach that was brilliantly summed up by Seth Godin. "Selling to people who already want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don't."
Want to see how your business measures up when it comes to Maximising Customer Relationships? Rate yourself via this simple online diagnostic tool using the promotion code: managementissues4.