CRM: Best Practices

End-to-end integration: Create incentives for suppliers to become part of a unified data flow that doesnt involve parallel data collections with high maintenance costs.

Think in both directions: Coordinate the messages from the enterprise to the customer as an entity, and the multichannel inputs from that entity to the enterprise, rather than fragmenting interaction among enterprise business units and what might be a single customers many separate accounts.

Measure what matters:: Dont work only with the numbers that are already being collected; seek potential new indicators of unmet customer needs and avoid a focus on internal op-erations.

Pick the right relationships: Sometimes, the lesson of CRM is that certain cus-tomers arent worth what they cost to satisfy.

Track the moving target: When analyzing a CRM investment, recognize that base-line levels of service are on the rise. Even the most successful CRM effort cant boost profit margins indefinitely without attracting competitors that will push things back down to a market rate of return.

Dont sneer at "soft" numbers: The specific data from operations needs to be weighed against less definite information from marketing studies to provide a complete perspec-tive.

Invite new opportunities: Dont let CRM become a microscope on what you al-ready do well; make it a wide-angle viewer that also includes potential new markets based on blank-paper thinking about enterprise products and services.