Interview: Professor Adrian Payne. Handbook of CRM: Achieving Excellence in Customer Management.

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1 Interview: Handbook of CRM: Achieving Excellence in Customer Management. Hello, this is Steve Macaulay from Cranfield School of Management. I am here today to discuss with his book Handbook of CRM: Achieving Excellence in Customer Management. So Adrian, what led you to write the book in the first place and what has been the reaction to it? Well, Steve, essentially the thing that led me to write this is it was a natural progression of the four earlier books I did on relationship marketing. One of the catalysts for actually getting the book underway was attending a conference as one of the speakers and hearing a speaker actually from of the large accounting firms talk about the most complicated model in the world, which I am sure no one understood and I thought there was real need to get to the essence of what customer relationship management was, especially from a strategic view aimed at creating shareholder value as opposed to a purely technological bias, that so many organisations are following. So what is the key message of the book that you would like people to remember? Well, I guess there are two very, very simple messages that I think are absolutely critical one CRM is not about technology as the main event. Technology can be a very important enabler, but you can do CRM perfectly well without a huge investment in technology, in many instances particularly with mid sized companies. The second element is the criticality of understanding what it takes to succeed in CRM implementation. I imagine that those messages have gone home very well. Yeah, I think they have and I have been delighted by the success of the book and I am constantly getting a stream of s asking me questions and saying helpful that it was. So it seems to be the time has come really for an intelligent strategic approach to CRM, rather than a very narrow technological focus on the topic. Now, lots of people talk about CRM, but I can see from the tone in your book that CRM is being seen as vital to succeed in the kind of competitive environment we have got now. Knowledge Interchange Podcasts Page 1

2 Yeah, I think I tried to explain this quite simply. It's what I call the corner shop corporation concept and this really provides the challenge for organisations today. If we go back in time the small corner shop would know intimately two hundred or three hundred of its customers it would know their name, how to address them, whether they were a good credit risk, the name of the wife, whether to address her as Sally or Mrs Smith, they would know the children, the children s names and they would be able to customise the service, whether they give credit, whether they put a favourite magazine under the counter when they only had a couple of issues left or a newspaper, etc. Now the challenge as companies get bigger and bigger is to maintain this corporate memory and the challenge as a company grows and grows and moves from hundreds to thousands, or perhaps even millions of customers, or it has a fairly small customer base, but gets involved in hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of transactions, how does it keep this corner shop mentality? So I would say the challenge as the world gets increasingly competitive, is to create the look, touch and feel of the corner shop corporation. If you can t do that customers are going to vote with their feet. Now, I know you have got a lot of experience of working with organisations. In your work with these organisations that have been successful in their CRM, what has particularly struck you and does any one organisation stand out from the others? I think that is an exceptionally interesting question that really raises broader issues, Steve and the broader issue is this what represents successful CRM will depend very much on the organisation. Let me give you some examples. For example, Citibank if we are thinking about its corporate and institutional business has developed an outstandingly good probably best of breed approach to key account management and global account management. It is way ahead of many of the other major competitive banks in this arena in fact they invented the concept. So for them CRM represents doing an outstanding job in managing relationships, cross border, cross functional in a sustained way against some very, very good competitors. Then we take someone like First Direct Bank which is a retail bank, they have built fantastic relationships, particularly over the telephone and more recently over the internet, through creating personality and being able to replicate the mind of the customer. They can intelligently use the past history of customer transactions and can relate in a very personable way with the customer. Other companies like RS Components, for example, again in the business to business context have been very successful at creating a fantastic web interface, I mean to say it is not the only way, you can actually go into one of their stores or use the telephone to order parts, but Knowledge Interchange Podcasts Page 2

3 engage the customer on the internet and in the phase three of the implementation of they use technology from Broad Vision they are able to replicate the mind of the customer. By that I mean the customer who couldn t remember what they ordered two years ago can actually physically go back and identify that order very quickly on the web, can click on it, it updates and updates the price and if you order by, I think four o clock, it gets there by ten o clock the next morning. And finally, somebody like Virgin Atlantic, again they don t use the technological focus on CRM they use the people focus on CRM and anybody who travels on Virgin Atlantic, I think would recognise them as having an outstanding value proposition and certainly very good at building relationships with their premium customers. Now, I was struck in the book that you take a strategic aspect to CRM and I would like you to tell me a bit about the core aspects of this CRM strategic framework. Well I think you can characterise CRM on a continuum ranging from at one end a rather narrow and I think slightly dysfunctional view CRM is about the technology through, or a particular technology, through to another option which is about creating a better relationship with shareholders and naturally from what I have said I guess you will understand that I favour the latter perspective. Now, we developed the strategic framework from empirical research with a large number of very advanced practitioners in CRM to identify five key cross functional processes that are present in virtually any organisation, at any size that you care to look at. There may be other specialist processes which are important, but the five processes are firstly having a clear view of your business and your customer strategy. We call that the strategy development process. The second process is the value creation process and this is a strategy of uniting the value you create for the customer and making sure that you get the value back from the customer. We sometimes called this process of interaction co-creation or co-production and it is absolutely essential that we manage this as an integrated process rather than seeing ourselves as in the business of extracting as much money from the customer as possible. We should start with thinking about what value we can deliver to the customer. Now the third process is really where the rubber hits the road, and that is what is called it s a bit of a mouthful the multi channel integration process. I prefer to call this in a way the customer experience zone. It is where you attempt to make sure that every interaction that you have with the customer is done in a consistent and logical way and regardless of the channel that you use, you touch customers with one voice to use a phrase that we often use in CRM. So we are trying to create a consistent experience across channels. More than that what we are trying to do is we are trying to create a perfect or an Knowledge Interchange Podcasts Page 3

4 outstanding experience obviously moderated because it has got to be done at an affordable cost for the customer, regardless of the channel in which they interact with us so that is the third process. The fourth process of the information management process and there are many aspects of this but the critical aspect of this to me at least, is that what we are trying to do is trying to create a memory trail so that we understand all the previous transactions of the customer, because it is my belief that the best way to keep and grow a customer is to have the same memory, or perhaps even a better memory, than the customers themselves. And finally, the last process is the performance assessment process and here it is absolutely essential that we have the right sort of metrics at all levels in the organisation to make sure we can monitor and indeed improve over time our CRM activities and my colleague, Tim Ambler who is an academic down in London, Tim s work shows very, very clearly that a lot of these needed metrics simply don t reach the right sorts of people. In fact he has shown that many important, indeed critical metrics simply don t reach the main top board in the organisation. From memory for example, something like only two thirds of companies get satisfaction measures taken to the top board, which I find absolutely astonishing. So there are the five processes that link together in a coherent way that give you the framework and the backbone for developing a CRM strategy. Interesting. Now one of the things that I can t help noticing is every single company says how customer focused they are, and yet there are not many there are not many that I would put in the category that you have described. How actually do you get genuine customer responsiveness throughout the organisation? Well, I think you have got to start with where companies are at present. My research shows that 90% of senior managers when asked about does your chief executive say you are customer focused, or they might used a different language customer oriented, market driven, etc, but essentially they mean the same thing. And I can report to you 90% of large UK companies say they are market oriented or have the chief executive saying they are market oriented, market focused, or similar. Now when you ask the same people in terms of all the people they interact with, whether they are operating in their business life with their business customers in their company, or whether they are dealing in an everyday basis with their electricity company, their gas company, any utility or bank or whatever, they will tell you that no more than 5 or 10% at the very, very most are customer oriented. So there is a huge gap between the rhetoric and the actual behaviour of companies. So I would say the first task is recognition of the problem. Most companies at a top level simply don t believe it is important and don t believe they are that bad at it. And there are some simple diagnostic tests one of Knowledge Interchange Podcasts Page 4

5 the tests I have used quite extensively over the years is a very simple, but quite effective one which is developed by my colleague Philip Kotler at Northwestern University called the marketing effectiveness order and this gives you a very quick and dirty reading on where organisations are in a range of five different key attributes, including customer philosophy. So that can actually give you a reading and then of course, I think you need to put in progress, you need to put underway, a process to try and manage that turnaround and some organisations have been quite successful at doing that, many have failed along the way, so it's not at all an easy task I mean to say British Airways in the days of Colin Marshall and John King, for example, was a classic example of being able to turnaround an organisation that was close to bankruptcy and being able to turn it into a first grade organisation sustaining that over time, of course, has proved somewhat difficult. And the final point I make is that it's very important, I believe, to have the metrics that reinforce behaviour. Companies like MBNA America in the United States have sixteen performance measures which are fed back to their employees every single day. These are put together in a composite measure and everyday their performance increases over a certain level or reaches a certain level they get a percentage of that day's profit, incidentally they measure profitability on a daily basis as well. So they are an example of an organisation that has overcome the folly of expecting behaviour A, whilst rewarding behaviour B. You ought to make sure that behaviours and the reward structures are congruent. Interesting. I would like to look at the future now and look at where your research is heading since you published the book and any trends that are coming out. OK, well the area that we are particularly interested in at the moment in pursuing the whole area of CRM implementation. The last chapter touches on this, but it is a huge area and the area that we are particularly focusing in the balance of this year is an investigation of all the literature that has been written and the empirical studies around CRM try to identify the reasons for success and the reasons for failure. People have looked at various reasons, there has been the odd article in the Harvard Business Review and so on, but we are trying to look very extensively using the systematic review methodology to identify what we call the corrolates of success in CRM, so we can try to understand across all that has been written what are the profound the insightful learnings about what drives success and indeed failure. Are there any early indications coming out of that that a practitioner could pick up? Knowledge Interchange Podcasts Page 5

6 I don t think so So, it's too early to say. Yes. Professor Payne this has been fascinating, thank you very much indeed. You are very welcome. Transcript prepared by Learning Services for the Knowledge Interchange Knowledge Interchange Podcasts Page 6

7 Produced by the Learning Services Team Cranfield School of Management Cranfield University 2007

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