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Customer facing verses customer centric strategies

I'm a CRM consultant who has been asked to help define a customer facing strategy. This may be a bit philosophical, but could you shed some light on the difference between a customer facing strategy, a customer centric strategy, and a CRM strategy?

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These are all closely related animals in the CRM kingdom. Let's split some hairs and try to distinguish these things.

Customer Facing: This usually pertains to the people, processes and technology between a customer and the service provider. Or, put another way, it's the physical and logical interface between a firm's customers and the firm's operations.

Customer Centric: This term is generally used to describe processes and technologies that are designed to enhance the customer experience. So, you might have customer facing technology and processes, but they may not be "Customer Centric" -- meaning, they aren't focused on improving the customer experience.

CRM: This is a broad category that includes everything related to the management, retention, and attraction of customers, partners and prospects. A CRM strategy could include both Customer Facing and Customer Centric considerations.

This was first published in November 2003

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