Friday, April 1, 2011

Customer Managed Relations (CMR replacing CRM) trends

In a Wiki-fuelled march towards collaborative intelligence expect customers increasingly to want control of the information their suppliers hold about them.

Think Amazon - As their customer, I make sure that my name and address(es) information is correct; I input my various credit card details; and I can self-serve not just the placing of the order, but the packaging and delivery options ... and I can track the parcel all the way to my door; and more.

This is Version 1.0 and Amazon loves it: there's huge brand loyalty as customers find it easier to go back to place an order than to enter details afresh in a competitor site; and the customers are bearing the cost of data entry and checking for Amazon. By giving them tools to self-serve Amazon reduces costs, retains customers, and locks out competitors. And the database helps them cross-sell or upsell products to increase revenue.

However, in early signs of customer demands evolving, expect customers to want still greater control of the information that companies like Amazon hold: customers feel the down-side of an Amazon-like system is the transfer of power that means the company can make increasingly detailed assumptions about products and services to offer based on their detailed database of customer browsing and purchasing history. Some customers are beginning to react against that and look for a redress of power. Expect suppliers to innovate a solution.
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