CRM applications, on the other hand, generally purposed to increase revenue through better customer management, tended to yield mostly poor results. [Diane Farrell, “The Real New Economy”, Harvard Business Review, Oct 2003, pp.110]
When we try to manage our human relationships with technology, we will always fail. Learning about our customers is primarily a personal, human action. This is why corporations can lose accounts when a new salesperson takes over, something Xerox learned when it attempted to shift its salesforce to a new model and saw a customer exodus. It is shown again and again that customers want a trust and trust comes from a relationship with an individual, which then accrues to the corporation.
(Trust can also be destroyed by a single individual, making hiring the right people vital.)
I’ve watched the same people who will hang up on automated attendants with curses loudly and adamantly advocate IT-based CRM systems. Will we ever learn that relationships aren’t created by technology, that “virtual teams” can only go so far, that real work often requires — no, demands — physical interactions over a longer period of time. This is a reason that the old Well BBS had so many get-togethers in “real” space. You can’t create the appearance of community where none exists.
Have software engineers develop applications to improve relationships. Did none of these folks ever spend time with software engineers? Among them, I am a god of socializing. What was America thinking?
“CRM applications, on the other hand, generally purposed to increase revenue through better customer management, tended to yield mostly poor results.” — Diane Farrell, “The Real New Economy”, Harvard Business Review, Oct 2003, pp. 110.
Image credit: Belgian royal conservatory’s dome, interior with sun. © E. Forrest Christian