True romance

Date of publication: February 1, 2005

Author: Roger Sant


In service industries, companies are always talking about how customer focused they are, and more recently about wanting to build relationships with customers - but this is easier said than done. Technological advances have led to systems that enable more targeted messages to be sent to more receptive people at more appropriate times. In spite of these developments, the customer relationship bandwagon has failed to impress: 'CRM has become a senior management issue because it consumes staggering amounts of money and, notwithstanding the success stories, has mostly proved a disappointment' (McKinsey Quarterly, 2003). We felt that some fundamental questions had not been addressed. What are customer relationships, how can they be built and what benefits do they bring? CRM programmes measure functional delivery, but surely a true 'relationship' can only be built through the delivery of customer experiences that are both functionally and emotionally fulfilling.

Roger Sant


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