The story of CRM through my own interpretation of the facts. (Part one)

When my colleague, boss and friend Felix Robitaille asked me to participate in the XRM Vision blog, I was immediately drawn to use humor and simplicity as a means of sharing my thoughts and my experience of CRM. My first set of articles, will introduce the twelve chapters based on the story of CRM through my own interpretation of the facts.This first piece is a preview of the first four chapters pertaining to the evolution of CRM.

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Chapter 1: The Housekeepers

  • I am a fan of “Downtown Abbey”. For those of you who do not know, it is a British television show recounting the obstacles faced by English aristocratic families living at the start of the last century. The story is told through the point of view of the housekeepers.
  • The housekeepers understand and know every minute detail about their master’s tastes, wishes and desires, execution becomes the housekeepers sole responsibility.
  • In the sense of this article, the housekeepers are metaphors representing the CRM/XRM project and the level of productivity and improvement it can bring to a company or to a team of workers.
  • A warm glimpse reminding us that humans were created before machines and information technologies.

Chapter 2: Industrialization

  • On a more serious note, industrialization has imposed a way of life that is still ingrained in us today; working arrangements, factory working hours and the Monday to Friday working week are all outcomes of the industrial era. Did you know that the actual concept of weekends was passed on to us from the industrial times?
  • It was one of the first periods of history where community life was seen as essential in order to improve the productivity of companies.
  • Everyday life, started becoming something that was planned and organized this was true for all social classes.
  • Machines and assembly lines are perfect examples of how humans of that time, created the automation system.
  • Consequently, merchants had to adapt themselves to this new reality; lawyers and bankers for instance all kept registers, profile cards and files concerning each client.
  • The most prosperous merchants, always succeeds in presenting the right product at the right time and to the right person…Huh not at all a bad concept.
  • A management of customers based on the client’s profile… Now that’s a brilliant idea!

Chapter 3: The Rolodex:

  • Some may recall the well-known Rolodex which is a file device used to store essential contact information about a person or business.
  • Each Rolodex index card would hold information such as: the name and address, important dates as well as the tastes and desires of a specific person.
  • Comparable to their precious “black book”, many salesmen would use the Rolodex index cards to write down their leads and their contacts.
  • It is thanks to these index cards that many of these salesmen, had great success and reached record sales. Combining their intelligence and the information stored on the index cards, allowed salesmen to arrange for holiday greeting cards, birthday wish cards and other small thoughtful gestures.
  • One remarkable example, is the story of Joe Girard. Joe was the best car salesman of his time with record sales year after year, this lasting for over one decade. The combination of his Rolodex and his team of assistants was the key to his success since it allowed him to have direct contact with each client.
  • When the time came for the clients to purchase a new car, Joe Girard was the only salesman they had in mind.
  • Legend has it that Joe never solicited his clients to purchase a new car.
  • I encourage you to Google Joe Girard, and to let me know what you think.
  • Joe used the basic principles of CRM; profiling, a unique customer care experience, personalized service mixed with regular and direct contact with his clients are the tools he used to achieve continuous success year after year.

Chapter 4: Relational database

  • Computerized records bringing about a small evolution with the capacity of selecting, filtering and linking information. Less paper was being used since everything was on the screen, that is until we started printing the information!
  • A limited concept of database already existed in the 1960’s.
  • Relational Database allows us to link one table of data items to the next, while using just a single key. It is safe to say that this is a technological revolution allowing quicker access to search results and faster transfer of data.
  • The evolution of technology and the democratization of information technologies, give a great majority of mortals access to application solutions with great potential of improving productivity, provided these application solutions are used properly.
  • At the third quarter of the 1980’s many applications provided users with the ability to manage their contacts: ACT! Is a perfect example of the “electronic Rolodex”
  • The computerized CRM was just beginning to emerge.

My interpretation of the facts does not end here… The next four chapters will be following shortly. In the meantime, here is a question for you to answer: What was your first encounter with CRM?I am curious to know your perceptions of the facts!Sylvain Tremblay

The story of CRM through my own interpretation of the facts. (Part one)