Customer Relationship Management (CRM) (Computers)
The Value of Pioneering – In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), the ship’s crew pioneered back in time to 1986, attempting to save whales from later extinction in the 24th century. In an early scene, Scotty, the Chief Engineer, along with his colleague Dr. “Bones” McCoy, attempted to use a computer to show a 20th century researcher how to design a new material. Scotty attempted to access the computer (an old Macintosh) by saying, “Hello, Computer.” When nothing happened, Bones handed him a mouse. Thinking it was a microphone, Scotty spoke into the mouse, repeating, “Hello, Computer.” When the computer still didn’t respond, the 20th century researcher told him to just use the keyboard. Reaching for the keyboard Scotty replied, “The keyboard: how quaint!” As for the researcher, his “ah ha” moment had arrived – luckily for him, he was at the pinnacle of technology for what was available in the mid-80’s, after all, the advent of voice recognition and natural-language interface tools such as SIRI, WATSON, Sherpa, and Skyvi had yet to be realized. Scotty knew this, and the value of the human interaction in this scene forecasted the benefits that we are realizing in our world today. With technology, we can either move with the times…or get left behind.
Move with the Times…or get left behind – What does Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology do for me, I mean, really, at the end of the day, for some it’s merely a nagging compulsion. But, have you invested any time at all at integrating CRM into your business strategy? Would you be “O.K.” with enhanced customer retention, abridged marketing outflows, and dynamic access to urbane, customizable information? – merely a few benefits that result when an organization incorporates CRM into their business strategy – especially with the synergy of PCs, MACs, smartphones, and tablets at our fingertips. Fun fact: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that more than 105 million Americans will telecommute by 2020 – just shy of one-third of the U.S. population! And, if you have invested any amount of time pursuant to identifying the “how” in integrating CRM into your business, the choices can be daunting. PCMag.com cites some of the best CRM software for 2017: Base®, Zoho®, Pipedrive®, Oracle+NetSuite OneWorld®, Salesforce®, Bitrix24® – for the “Rep-on-the-Road”. Smallbizcrm.com showcases mobile CRM options galore, with Sugar®, Salesbox®, Daylite®, OnePage®, Mavenlink® – “ugghhh”, the list keeps growing with no slowdown in sight! Then there’s the onslaught of virtual interaction with Email, Texting, Voice-to-Text, Twitter®, LinkedIn®, Facebook®, Yelp®, Pinterest®, Google+®, and Instagram®. Engulfed in a sea of technology, we risk falling ever so slightly, into an introverted well, all for closing more deals with faster data collection – are you sold? But wait, there’s more. #Ginsu #pitchtechnique. Swimming in an endless sea of software and CRM choices, how do we make the right choice and more importantly, what really matters most? Easy – never forget that no amount of software can replace the good ol’ fashion Proverbial Handshake!!!!
CRM alone cannot replace the essential human interaction between sellers and buyer. May we be reminded often that human use of language includes not only the translation of words and phrases from one brain to another, but also modulation by facial expression, tone, and intonation. In sending text messages, we improvise by using emoticons or bitmoji to give the semblance of a smile, raised eyebrow, or other expression. But these are poor substitutes for being proximal to another human and listening to their tone, seeing their facial expressions, and observing body language – no question. Who was it who said, “I mean, you can get a good look at a T-bone steak by sticking your head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it.” (RIP Chris Farley). We will leave you with this final thought: Our grandfather once owned and operated a Standard 66 Service Station in Wichita, KS for over 50 years. It was said at his funeral over two decades ago by one of his closest friends, “There was no mistaking the value of Don’s handshake.” While the most elite CRM makeup alone cannot replace that level of authentic endorsement, the impetus is on us to strategically employ CRM to avoid extinction, preserve our customer relationships, while accelerating the ever sought after, proverbial handshake.