Why most ‘CRM’ systems are not really what they claim to be!

On the surface CRM systems give the appearance of covering most things you might need when you are looking for technology to help you manage relationships with customers.

But the reality is that they have been designed to only deliver the basics.

Yes, they manage what they call ‘contacts’ but these are usually only matched together using email addresses. The much bigger and key role of identity resolution is left unresolved.

Customers in fact have many different identifiers like mobile phone numbers, cookie IDs, postal addresses, account numbers etc and there are usually multiple versions of each relating to a single customer. All versions of these personal identifiers need to be stored so that customers reaching you through multiple channels can be properly identified.

Next CRM systems only include a part of your customer data. Your customers browse your website, they visit specific pages, they arrive there via different forms of on-line advertising, and all this vital information needs to be included in your single customer view.

CRM systems may report sales at a company or salesman level but they don’t look at longer term customer value, or how different channels and different customer recruitment propositions bring different types of customers with different kinds of customer needs.

CRM systems may undertake bulk email campaigns, but these are not usually synchronised with other channels such as post or SMS; also given that they don’t generate any added value customer knowledge such as probability of response or likelihood of attrition, the selections they make can only be via quite simplistic filters.

CRM systems were born out of the need to enable sales forces to record their activities and results; they were not designed to ingest data from multiple online and offline sources, and deliver a complete customer view.

Over the last five years or so a new breed of technology, Customer Data Platforms or CDPs, have been developed to allow you to properly relate to customers, and to make all aspects of your marketing accountable so that for instance an online order can now be linked back to the several online and offline contacts that preceded it.

If you would like to find out why you might need a CDP as well as a CRM, please CLICK.