CRM Buyer Talkback
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As a callow youth, I enlisted in the Navy and found myself at sea aboard the USS Gray as a bosun's mate. That meant standing a lot of watch on the bridge, and being on the bridge meant knowing how to report positions of other things based on a 360-degree arc. The idea was to have a 360-degree view of what was out there -- primarily so we didn't run into it. We had radar, and it provided a nice idea of the large items that were around us; all the contacts were written on a Plexiglas board on the bridge, with continual updates coming from the people manning the radar scopes.
I think this is absolutely right. Purchasing and browsing activity, despite how much they reveal, are still only one small part of what makes a customer tick. But we want to believe in their predictive power because that whole notion of the complete, numbers-driven wraparound system is the dream CRMs are made of. After all, anyone with a rudimentary database system (hey, anyone with a pretty good spreadsheet!) can record contact information, purchases, contact history, and so on. Users have to think of a CRM as not a way to make their work just a mechanical process of data entry, but as a way to facilitate--not replace--the kind of real relationship-building that leads to repeat business and general goodwill.
John-Paul Narowski - founder of karmaCRM