Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Employees Play A Key Role In Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management is a complex art which encompasses several different activities, and several different media. And most of the time there is a fundamental part which is left on the side, whereas in my opinion it is probably the most important one: employees.

There are a lot of cases where CRM is approached by CEOs as a way to improve salary costs, by replacing human experience by a "robot". But it doesn't seem in my opinion a proper way.

Hence, I wanted to quote two very interesting quotes said by CEOs of companies which excel in customer relationship management:
  • "You can't expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don't exceed the employees' expectations of Management" Howard Schultz, Starbucks
  • "Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can't deliver good service from unhappy employees". Tony Hsieh, Zappos.
These two statements place human resources and employees at the core of customer relationship management. Not database. Not top of the line direct marketing campaign. They believe that customer relationship management is about corporate culture and employees happiness. You can't pretend to feel for your customers while you don't even feel for the people you manage on a daily basis.

In the retail industry, whatever the company it is, employee turnover is very high. People switch from job very easily, which drives high cost for hiring new people and train them, but also inefficiency for the whole staffs, as they are often undermanned.

This is the reason why it is very important while creating a CRM strategy to take into consideration the human factor. CRM is not about taking the place of people, but actually being able to optimize employees time and knowledge to improve customer service, and in the end, customer satisfaction.

What do you think about it?