Many large organisations have been soaked by the waves of CRM and Customer Experience. Money has been spent on CRM software, teams have been set up to change processes, call centres have been outsourced or brought back in-house, CRM teams have been set up and some organisations even have Directors and VP’s of Customer Experience.
Yet the divide between what customers expect and what they experience when interacting with large organisations continues to be a large – customers are not satisfied. Churn rates are high in industries where it is easy for customers to change supplier. And many CRM and Customer Experience team leaders are burnt out and/or have become cynical.
This got me thinking on why it is so hard for organisations to become customer centred. Then I thought about it differently: why do must CRM and Customer Experience teams struggle to make a significant impact on the quality of the experience that the customer receives? The answer is quite simple if we use a computer analogy.
The possibilities and limits of a computer system, in the final analysis, are set by the operating system; computers are simply pieces of metal or plastic without the operating system. That means that we cannot take a software application such as Microsoft Word and make it run on a UNIX operating system – they are simply incompatible. That is what is just so. Microsoft Word has been designed to work with the Microsoft family of operating systems e.g. XP, Vista, Windows 7.
Now the funny thing is that I have never come across an instance when someone has attempted to run Microsoft Word on a UNIX platform. Yet that happens all the time in the world of business. That is what many organisations are doing when they attempt to impose CRM and Customer Experience programmes into / onto the organisation.
Organisations also have an operating system that primarily consists of strategic objectives, executive mindset, culture (what we consider to be important, how we do things around here), organisational structure (typically functional), business processes and the technology infrastructure.
Many, if not most, organisations are running operating systems that are simply incompatible with CRM and Customer Experience programmes. These operating sytems are used to talking at the customer not listening to the customer; ‘changing/moulding’ the customer to meet the organisation’s needs not changing the organisation to meet the customer’s needs; treating all customers the same not treating different customers differently; focussing resource on conquesting new customers rather than doing the hard work of building sustainable relationships with existing customers and so forth.
Which is why most CRM and Customer Experience teams and initiatives struggle and many fail to deliver.