Mobile Moments: CRM Is Bullshit
Building, maintaining, and managing customer relationships is key to a sustainable business. Ironically, however, today’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools speak about customers not as relationships to be fostered but as transactions to be realized. Modern CRM tools have made us more distant from our customers, and it all goes back to the difference between seeing customers as users and seeing customers as people.
In the third edition of Apptentive’s Mobile Moments series, Robi Ganguly explains the limitations of today’s CRM tools and the implications they can have on our actual customer relationships. He then shares two tips on how we can put the R (Relationship) back in CRM.
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Rather read than listen? See below for the full video transcription.
Hello, and welcome to Mobile Moments with Apptentive. I’m Robi Ganguly, co-founder and CEO of Apptentive, which is the easiest way for enterprises to communicate with their mobile customers inside their mobile apps.
I want to talk to you about something that is a little controversial, and that is “CRM is bullshit.” No, seriously, that’s what I mean. CRM, as we think about it, is ridiculous. And the reason is that CRM, today, is a database. It is a transactional database that tells you, “Did I talk to this person?” “Are they interested? “Where are they in my lead funnel?”
But the “R” in CRM is supposed to stand for “relationship.” It’s supposed to be customer relationship management. And yet, everybody uses CRM as a transactional database to tell me about the status of a customer, or a prospect, or an opportunity. And they use these words that are so dehumanizing, it’s really actually quite embarrassing to talk about in front of actual customers.
CRM as a concept, that’s valuable. But the way it’s executed today, it’s not happening. And we think that it’s time for a change. We think it’s time for companies to think about CRM in its real meaning, developing relationships with customers.
So there are two things you can do today to really change how you’re thinking about your customers and the notion of CRM. The first is to really proactively go out and communicate and listen to your customers. What I mean by that is start conversations. Don’t just wait for them to happen. Start them. And when I say “conversations,” I don’t mean send them a push notification and see if they clicked on it. I mean, ask them a question and hope that they respond so that you can converse. That’s the first thing.
And the second thing is to tell everybody on your team and educate them about the value of listening to more of your customers at scale. Drive that behavior internally. Evangelize it if you have to. Make sure that everybody understands that there’s a difference between database entries with actions, and relationships with your customers, and that they need to get to the second place.
Software today should actually help you do that better. It shouldn’t be dehumanizing, it shouldn’t be distancing. The software should know you. It should know what you’ve done. It should help the company communicate with you at the right time and the right place. And it has to drive forward a relationship. It has to be about the connection between people. Or we’ve all failed.
So today, CRM is bullshit. Tomorrow, we’ll fix it.