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Do you know your customers?

CRM is probably one of the most risky business strategies evolved in the modern times. True, many customers would want to buy things from you, if they feel comfortable with your brand, but also true that most of the value the customer gets to you is when he purchases the product and not exactly the customer relation. Will you care about a customer if he really has no chance of buying a product from you?

An 80 year old man walks into the clothes store looking for a good tie for his (probably) last high-school reunion. Helping it out will lose your brownie points for any up-selling opportunity, but might as well score well in the humanitarian department. What would you prefer?

The most important malfunction of a CRM system is removal of the human touch from the whole system. We all detest system, we are born into one and have no choice but to choose and all humans avoid the system since then. You have a billion dollars and you set up a great call center, with a SLA of less than 5 hours, quite impressive, but what happens to your customer has another issue with your service? True your customer service agent will get all the case history along with it, but will he also get the sentiment out of the system?

CRM was one of the early strategies of free world, the local shop keeper knew my name, my school name, the class in which I studied as well as which pencil I use in school (he used to give it to me), now knowing all this was really cute, but if the pizza place knows that I was recently divorced because I know only order plain non-veg pizza without extra cheese in a different address, it is totally and exceptionally creepy.

So if you are implementing a CRM, do you know your customers?