Yesterday I received a very nice brochure from a luxury travel specialist. Let's call it A&B, so no one takes this personally. Among the various destinations meant to entice me was an African safari, which I found quite amusing - not because the safari was inherently entertaining, but because I requested information from A&B on an African safari just about two years ago to the day.
Obviously A&B thinks I take a long time to make a decision. Well, I didn't this time, A&B, so nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. Nope, my husband and I did the safari thing two Christmases ago - with another agent.
Now, maybe a luxury travel specialist doesn't need my money; but in October 2001, when I made my online request for information, people weren't exactly in a mad rush to travel anywhere on an aircraft. (Believe me, if the lions had opted for a human protein fix that December, it was pretty slim pickings.)
So now A&B has my name (well, actually my husband's) on its handy-dandy database, and we'll get regular luxury travel brochures until I have to pack my support stockings and a walker. Maybe one of these days an A&B package will pique my interest and I'll look into it. But the point here is that A&B didn't get back to me when I definitely wanted to spend money.
Of course, this is all leading to something or other, which I hope will be a somewhat cogent observation. Let's try this one on for size: There's been way too much talk, for way too long, with basically almost no action when it comes to - for lack of a better term - the whole "customer value thing".
So listen up, CEOs, CMOs, et al. Pipe down about delivering a better customer experience. Believe me, it ain't happening anywhere near most of your front lines. Instead, spend some time getting your house in order. Hire some people who understand the customer and how to interface with him or her. In fact, if you do nothing else, hire some people who understand the word response. Until you do, fuggedabout technology solving your problems, because the problem quite frankly is the business itself - not the CIO's, not the IT department's.
Want to know my hunch? I'll bet you that A&B's database is technically perfect, that the data in its CRM program is complete and pretty close to accurate, as those things go. And I will bet that, had anyone in sales actually bothered to use that data to contact prospects like me, they would have been able to without a hitch with a user front end designed for ease.
Oh, one other bet. I'll bet someone somewhere in that organisation has blamed the IT department, the CIO, the computers, the software and anything else but themselves for not increasing customer value. Any takers?
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