These are all things of great power. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is put simply, the art of consumer mind reading; with this, you’ll be in-sync with your customers’ wants and needs. Since the birth of retail, vendors have sought the power to second-guess which commodities, products and services will be most popular with their customers; which days, times and even weather are best for business. Until recently, these variables were calculated based on the aggregate. Today, the key to successful CRM is breaking down the aggregate and your target market — instead of analysing ‘London based females between the ages of 18 and 25’, one analyses Chloe, Pippa, Cookie and Josie; instead of ‘American Pensioners living with disabilities’, it’s Joe, Harry, Dorothy and Jeremy. In practise, that means if you know that Chloe visits your Burger bar every Wednesday at 2pm for the same original cheeseburger, fries and Diet Coke, you can send an email or push notification through your app (push notifications are more engaging) an hour before her usual visit with the message, “don’t forget to pre-order through the app so we can have your favourite meal ready and waiting for you when you arrive”.
CRM is so significant that Gartner anticipate the global CRM market to be worth $36.4 BILLION by 2017. This is all great but, as is common knowledge, all things great have their downsides and with this form of high-focus CRM, the problem is being able to process and use this colossal amount of data. When you consider that in the most controlled of CRM examples, a business will be measuring email click rates, website usage stats, app usage stats, physical footfall rates, what everyone’s ordering, when everyone’s ordering, how much they are all spending and who they’re spending it with and of course, each piece of data is assigned to a customer profile with their name, age and gender.
To collate these ‘vats’ of data into one leviathan of an extremely well organised library is extremely hard. To put this to our Chloe example, for Chloe to receive her notification at 1pm inviting her to order, someone or something has to recognise who she is, where she is and what she usually orders and send it to her. To make matters more challenging, if we are sending Chloe the same message word for word each week on Wednesday at 1pm, she is not going to be happy at all — personalisation quickly turns to spam.
A perfect CRM system not only serves the consumer, by providing personalised and relevant communication, but also the business. It organises all the data from the myriad of data inputs and notifies the vendor to send out correspondence to the right people at the right time. A well utilised CRM ensures the digital relationship lives up to the in-store service and experience, vendors work tireless to deliver each day.