Dealing with the uneducated customer
Which CRM solution is the right one? The variety of CRM solutions is mind boggling, and their capabilities vary from almost limitless to the other extreme. Therefore, the solution selected by an organization will have a great bearing on how successful one's CRM effort will be.
An important point to remember in today's market, where you are dealing with customers you cannot see or even talk to directly, is that the customer may not always be "right." This may simply be from a lack of understanding, and with a little customer education, both you and the customer can be at the same place at the same time, allowing for an engaging interactive dialogue that has positive results.
With e-mail communication, you can't read facial expressions and body language. Therefore, it can be somewhat difficult to know when to ask the customer the defining question. The customer may seem to ask for something that is not truly what he wants � it may not even make sense. This is especially true when you're dealing with high-tech products, where customers may not know what is available or what product would best serve his or her needs. Customer emails often reflect this confusion.
The temptation in these cases is to dismiss the e-mail as a non-lead. Many large companies (85 percent in a recent survey) do not even respond to e-mails such as this. These organizations are passing up on
E-business has changed the role of sales, marketing, and customer service to one of e-Education. It is the role of the individual having contact with the customer to educate the customer. For an educated consumer is a buying consumer, and, after all, that is the bottom line to the success of an organization.
A CRM solution can assist in solving this problem for an organization, assuming one picks the most appropriate product to meet the needs of the company. One must select a product that allows a company to:
1) set up an automatic response mechanism, so the customer at least knows that the company received the message; and
2) sort and filter the messages so that they are answered by the appropriate people, wherever they are in an organization, in a timely manner.
The customer may be "wrong," but the customer always deserves a response. Responding with an education mission can only create a win-win situation for both the customer and the organization.
Stephen Brooks is director of product management at MultiActive Software Inc., www.multiactive.com.
This was first published in August 2000