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I Know You're Out There

I Know You're Out There

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's possible that tens, more likely hundreds, of millions of dollars have been spent by organisations to better interface with the customer and nobody, but nobody is managing the relationship

Do you remember Evil Bill and Evil Ted? No, well then you obviously didn't have kids the same age as mine. But if you do remember them, then you know all about evil doppelgangers - and I am starting to believe in them. Meanwhile, I anxiously await the day I can yell: "Okay, Evil Linda Kennedy - the jig's up. Come out with your hands up, Amex card held high. Now slowly bend over, lay the card down and back away."

Evil Linda, come clean. Give it up. I know you're out there because somebody's gotta be getting my CRM - I certainly ain't. I'm not getting upsold, catered to or consumer profiled. So I figure it's Evil Linda who is enjoying my CRM benefits while I'm the one paying the bills.

Evil Linda is the one getting the special pre-sale notices sent out by the shops I frequent (and buys everything in my size before I get there). She's the one getting upgraded on aeroplanes and, since we're on the subject, getting my preferred window seat. She's the one my travel agent calls to tell about the great discount holiday package at my favourite hotel in Bali. She's the one my bank calls to offer better money management. She's the one my telco provider contacts to offer a less expensive monthly plan.

Me? Well, I'm still trying to find a human voice at the end of the phone when I ring the customer hotline.

But wait. Perchance I accuse Evil Linda in haste. Mayhap I am mistaken. Could it be, oh please say it ain't so for we've writ far too many words on the subject in and out of these pages, could it be that this CRM thing is a load of crappola?

(Methinks it is, she saith.)

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's possible that tens, more likely hundreds, of millions of dollars have been spent by organisations to better interface with the customer and nobody, but nobody is managing the relationship.

Let me run this real-life situation by you. About two years ago I started having flowers delivered fortnightly to my home. I have no complaints: the flowers are lovely, come like clockwork and my Amex is debited likewise. This was all done over the Internet and I filled out a "customer profile" with pertinent details. At the time I had a handful of choices: weekly or fortnightly, large- or medium-sized arrangement. However, because I wasn't sure how long the flowers would last or if the larger arrangement might in fact be too large, I opted for the medium-sized bunch with the fortnightly delivery schedule.

I have heard not a word since. No one from the company has called to find out: a) if I'm happy with their product, b) if perhaps I would like weekly delivery or c) whether I might now prefer a larger arrangement or maybe two medium-sized bunches. And the truth is I actually would like flowers delivered weekly now, but I keep forgetting to ring and change my order. I'd do it in a second if they rang or e-mailed me.

Then again, now that I think about it maybe they did ring or e-mail but reached Evil Linda instead. I'd better go and check my Amex bill, right now.

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