Why customer research is an essential element of any CRM programme
It’s all too easy for the focus of a CRM programme to become too inward looking, to focus on organisational improvements.
Indeed many CRM business cases will rightly have much benefit attributed to efficiency improvements, showing a tempting reduction in headcount that will delight the cautious CFO.
By all means consider internal benefits but remember that the focus of Customer Relationship Management is the customer, and improving their experience. It could be that the operational efficiencies you have identified add value to the customer experience, but this may not be the case. The only way you’re going to find out is to talk to your customers and prospective customers.
A good starting point is to review any customer feedback you already collect, find out their concerns and the improvements they seek. Whilst this will help you progress quickly, you cannot beat pro-actively seeking customers’ views on what they perceive as valuable. This could either be through a focus group, where a moderator uses a scripted series topics to lead a discussion with a representative group of your customers, or by sending questionnaires to a similarly representative group or groups.
Once you have this insight, your CRM programme needs to find ways to deliver that value to the customers, remembering to monitor the effect on sales and loyalty, and continuing to regularly seek customer feedback and opinions.
Image Credit: Lisa @ Sierra Tierra CCBY2.0