If you use, or are required to use, a CRM tool at your current job I am sure you’ve got something negative to say about it.

No disrespect to Salesforce, NetSuite, Oracle, ACT!, or any of the other 46,000 ‘tools’ available, but honestly, stop and think about what you’re building. Then take a good hard look at what a CRM tool is supposed to do, by definition.

Why not let me, the user, decide what to call a campaign and what to call a template. Why not let me link things together sensibly instead of forcing me to use whatever architecture your developers came up with? Why not give me better and more convenient control over my sales territory information? How about drag and drop simplicity for building ROI and participation reports?

Most importantly, why can’t anyone give me a tool that actually lets me manage/monitor/maintain my customer relationships by synching up my entire staff’s communication with my customers, in a drill-down dashboard view (Google), with look-back and trending (Google)?

I don’t know about you, but I’d kick and scream to get the budget for a product like that (Google). If only to see, in real-time, how happy my customers are with my products, and how my staff is working to keep them happy.

Case in point: I received a call from a Bell customer service rep the other day, inquiring about my satisfaction level with their products and services and seeking to upgrade my subscriptions.

I asked them, politely, if they were kidding.

They paused then started into paragraph 2 of the canned speech.

I asked to speak with their supervisor, which took them a bit by surprise as to this point I hadn’t said more than 3 words to them. They told me that they would be only too happy to answer any questions I might have, and wondered if I had a problem I needed to discuss.

“Do you have my customer record in front of you?” I asked.

“Sir?”

I clarified by saying, “Do you have my customer record in front of you showing what Bell products or services I currently subscribe to?”

Stammering, he replied, “Sir, I have your name and phone number that is part of your account…”

“And what does it say about my current Bell services?” I interrupted.

Hesitantly, he says “That is why I am calling, sir, to see if you are happy with our…”

“Clearly you’re in a call centre, so tell me, what products or services are listed under my name in front of you on your screen?”

From the other end I could hear the hundreds of other reps chatting gayly away, but my guy is dead silent.

“I haven’t used Bell for phone or any other service for almost a year because of their deplorable lack of customer empathy. Please take my name off your list now.” and I hung up.

Summary: If you have customers, treat them well. If you lose a customer, update their record THAT DAY. If you’re inclined, conduct a post-mortem interview to identify what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening to another customer.

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